Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving in Ireland

I may have mentioned that I live near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Yes, that place where Thanksgiving began. Recent archeology seems to have pinpointed exactly where the first settlement was located—where those poor cold and hungry settlers were struggling to survive, with a little help from the local Indians.

But right now I’m not at home, I’m in Ireland. This is a nice time to travel to Ireland, since it’s not too crowded and not too cold. And this year I’m setting up my own cottage (including the kitchen), which is a real thrill.

I’ve been visiting Ireland since 1998, and it grabbed hold of me then and never let go. Now I own a half-acre piece of it, in sight of where my great-grandparents were married, and where the bride’s family, the O’Regans, had lived for generations. I can see the church steeple from my land. Rather than braving a new and unknown land, I’m taking back a bit of the old country.

But this is a food blog, right? Let me say up front: Irish food is great. That wasn’t true when I first visited, when watery stew with lots of potatoes and carrots was all too common. Now it will stand up to anyone’s cuisine. I’m not talking about fancy white-tablecloth places, I’m talking about little storefront restaurants with a couple of hardworking women turning out simple tasty and creative dishes (I promise I’ll share one of those with you soon).

Here's one good example, from the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen: a warm steak salad.
The steak was sauted with coconut milk, soy sauce and red chiles and served on "mixed leaves"
(don't you love it?)

I’m madly in love with the Skibbereen weekly farmers’ market—I plan my visits to include at least one Saturday there. The local supermarket Fields is also terrific, with fresh game, and bread baked daily, and an amazing array of cakes (the Irish do seem to love their sweets—maybe that’s where I get it).

Freshly-baked bread
From the farmers' market: on the left,
goat cheese with fresh herbs; on the right,
gubbeen ( a local specialty)

Yes, that thing at the bottom left is a rabbit
I passed.
But I had to have the pheasant.

But I can’t give you a recipe right now because I’m still getting to know my kitchen. The appliances all work, but they’re tiny by U.S. standards (no way an American turkey would fit in that oven!). We’re still scrubbing and sanding and filling and sorting and so on, and we’re lucky if we can even see a countertop. I’m also still buying all the “essential” cooking tools. Give me a few more days and it will be ready to roll.

It's coming along. At least all the
appliances work!

In addition, I have a vintage Rayburn cooker (the Irish term for stove/oven). It dates from around 1950, so it’s probably original to the cottage. I’m hoping that as soon as I get it clean(er) and patch up a few joints, I can manage to produce something like food in it—at least a loaf of soda bread!

My Rayburn cooker, ca. 1950

I am grateful to all you followers that have read our books, which helped me find a way to reclaim a piece of my own history. Don’t worry, I’ll be headed back to Massachusetts soon, but I hope I’ll be able to get over here a few times a year. So now I have two homes, each with its own history.

Next week: a recipe! (I hope). 

Cruel Winter, the next in the County Cork Mystery Series, coming from Crooked Lane in March 2017.

Of course I'm doing research here! No snow yet, but definitely frost in the mornings.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Easy Pear Muffins, gluten-free #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber

Who are we kidding? You are (I am) too busy to go to the grocery store today. You've got (I've got) too much to do. You're probably hungry. (Yes, I am!)

Here's a recipe that might be perfect for you if you're in dire need of a goodie and you have some pears or apples on hand.

I remembered a recipe Cleo shared a while back when peaches were in season...

Cleo's pretty muffins!

...and thought, pears or apples! 


So riffing from Cleo's recipe and making this one gluten-free, here is a simple muffin, perfect for any morning or afternoon pick me up!

Speaking of afternoons, I have been so busy getting ready for the release of GIRL ON THE RUN, my new suspense. I am self-publishing this, and I've got to tell you, the whole process is so much more complicated than I ever knew. I'm excited that I'm doing it. I'm learning so much. I have a great street team that is helping me get the word out. I've written an article about the process with step-by-step instructions, because I kept a journal. It will be helpful for any of you who are aspiring authors or aspiring self-publishing authors. I'm going to post that in my Savor the Mystery fan club section of my website.

Do you know about my fan club? It's on my website HERE! Take a peek. There are fun puzzles, special pictures, tidbits, and giveaways. Perfect for any time of the year.

Just like these muffins!




1 cup diced ripe pear, skinned (1 large) (use an apple, if you don't have pears
1 egg
½ cup low fat milk (I used 2%)
2 tablespoons canola oil
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (make sure gluten-free or use vanillin)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup gluten-free flour (I used artisan blend by Pamela’s; can use King Arthurs’, etc.)

Finishing sugar (like raw sugar)


Peel and dice pears.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 6 muffin cups with paper holders and coat with non-stick spray (gluten-free).

In one bowl, crack egg. Beat. Add mik, oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until blended. Add cinnamon. Whisk. Now add baking powder and xanthan gum. Whisk well.

Using a spoon or spatula, mix in the gluten-free flour until completely mixed in. (With gluten-free flour, there’s no worry about overmixing). Fold in the diced pears.

This makes 6 muffins. Divide the mixture up evenly among the muffin cups. Dash each muffin with raw sugar.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the muffins frm the pan and set on a wire rack to cool.

[*Note: Cleo's recipe uses white sugar, so these muffins will be “darker” than Cleo’s muffins because of the brown sugar!]

Savor the mystery and say cheese!
Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest

Plus check out my website.

Do you get my newsletterSign up today so you don't miss out in the future. I won't inundate you with mail. Just share announcements when special things are happening, like the release of a new suspense, GIRL ON THE RUN, April 9th!

When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, 
Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free? 
To pre-order: CLICK HERE.

GRILLING THE SUBJECT, the 5th Cookbook Nook Mystery, can be pre-ordered. 
Click here to pre-order.

the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery.
Click to order.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE release week + book #giveaway from author @AveryAames

It's out! It's here!  The 7th Cheese Shop Mystery: 

It's release week for Sheila and me!  
I hope you've ordered, pre-ordered, or hope to get to a bookstore this week! 
Good reading for all.  Congrats, Sheila!

To celebrate, I have a give away below! 

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE is the 7th in the series. What's it about?

The whey to a woman’s heart is murder...

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s Fromagerie is ripe with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest from the past—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation. 
Since any love for Lara curdled long ago, Charlotte isn’t surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one sticking to Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a gamey pall on the festival’s future.
And, now, here's a delicious recipe that I created for For Cheddar Or Worse. You know there are recipes in all the books, right? And did you know that there has been a quiche recipe in every book since The Long Quiche Goodbye?
When I am in recipe-making mode for a book, which means I wrack my brain trying to figure out new and fun recipes to include, I try to imagine tasty items, but sometimes I have to force the issue. Now Charlotte, of course, is always thinking quiche since she offers those in the shop on a daily basis. So I, channeling Charlotte, decided upon quiche, too. I love when Charlotte and I are in synch. 
I love the texture of quiche. I love the combo of flavors. 
For this experiment...I had a ton of carrots in the refrigerator, just sitting there staring at me one day, and I knew that I needed to do someone with them. I'd recently made a carrot cake. I didn't need another.
Carrot quiche, I thought. Hmm. What would pair well with carrots? This time I scoured my cupboards and found pine nuts and thought, yes! Nice texture with toasty flavor. Perfect!

 Pine Nut Carrot Quiche

(serves 6)

1 frozen 9-inch ready-made pie shell (regular or gluten-free)
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. dried sage or 1 Tbs. fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup milk
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Remove pie shell from the freezer and thaw for ten minutes. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove crust from the oven to cool.
 [Of course you can make your own pie shell if you wish...this was just the easy way!]

Chop the carrots. I used my Cuisinart to shred really small. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic powder (or garlic cloves, chopped), carrots, salt, white pepper, and sage. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Stir in pine nuts.

In a small bowl, mix Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. In another bowl, whisk milk and eggs together.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on the cooled piecrust.  Top with half of the carrot-pine nut mixture. 
Add 1/2 cup cheese mixture and then remaining carrot mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese mixture.

Don’t worry – I didn’t forget the milk mixture. First, place the pie pan on a sheet pan. 

Carefully pour in the milk mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes. Check. If necessary, cook another 5-10 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.


Now I have to knuckle down for recipes to include in my next Cookbook Nook Mystery, GRILLING THE SUBJECT.  Barbecue is the theme. I think I'm going to have fun! Don't you love the festive cover? 

By the way, do you get my newsletter? Are you part of the fan club? There are fun puzzles, special pictures, tidbits, and giveaways. One of my fans won this prize just a few days ago. Five more won books and mugs! 

Sign up today so you don't miss out in the future. I won't inundate you with mail. Just announcements about when special things are happening, like the release of FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, release parties, giveaways, and more!  Good luck.


Leave your name and email so I can contact you if you WIN, and tell me if you like to attend festivals and such!  I'll be giving away a SAVOR THE MYSTERY MUG. Winner will be picked Friday, the 5th.

Savor the mystery and say cheese!
Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest

Plus check out our website with lots of trailers, excerpts, plus a fan club with puzzles and giveaways!

FUDGING THE BOOKS, the 4th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is HERE!  Click to order.

New in February
Click to order.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blueberry Cheddar Cobbler, gluten-free + book #giveaway from @AveryAames


Another giveaway today!  See below.

But first…

I have an empty refrigerator. Unlike all the people on the East Coast, I did not go to the store. I did not fill up on staples. All I have in my refrigerator is cheese and berries and milk, butter, and eggs. That’s about it!

Staples…for a mouse!

But our Clean Sweep Week theme from earlier this month has gotten me charged. I can make something tasty with what’s on hand, right? And since I’m in Cheddar Mode, because of the upcoming release of FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE (Next week!!! Eek!!), I decided I should make something with the cheddar cheese.  I used Kerrygold Private Reserve Cheddar.

But I wanted sweet. (Yes, I do have sugar and such in the cupboard.)

So I looked in my cookbooks and searched for a recipe with cheese and blueberries. I didn’t find anything, so I resorted to the Internet, and I landed on a site called HowSweet It Is!  There was this beautiful skillet dessert, and I thought, yes, I can make this gluten-free.

Side note!  As I started the project, I couldn’t find a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon and that was because, though my refrigerator was empty, my drawers were full: i.e., cluttered. Have you ever done that? Started a project and stopped to complete the other project first? I emptied out my utensils drawers, found a box of things I could give away because I would NEVER use them, and then continued with baking. Welcome to spring cleaning…three months early!  Sheesh.

Anyway, here you have it, my tweaked version of How Sweet It Is Skillet Blueberry Cobbler with Cheddar Cheese!

PS  I did NOT find an oven-ready skillet in my clean-out, so I had to scramble for another solution. See below.

(Gluten-free version, serves 6)

Blueberry Filling Ingredients:

3 cups blueberries, rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon gluten-free flour (*I used sweet rice flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheddar Biscuit Topping Ingredients:

2/3 cup gluten-free flour (*I used sweet rice flour here, too)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated (about 2/3 cup grated)
7-8 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*vanilla ice cream or whipped topping for serving

Note: if you don’t need to eat gluten-free, swap out the sweet rice or GF flour for regular flour and omit the xanthan gum! Easy as, um, cobbler!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, toss the blueberries with the sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon and add them to a 6 or 8-inch oven-safe skillet. *THIS IS WHERE I realized my 8”-skillet wasn’t oven proof, so I used an 8-inch square baking pan. [If I do this recipe over again - and I will - I’ll get a skillet, or I will use increase the whole recipe by 1/2 because 8”-square is MORE THAN 8”-round. THAT’S YOUR MATH FOR THE DAY!]

In a larger bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture looks crumbly, like little peas. [PERSONALLY, I REALLY LIKE A PASTRY BLENDER!]

Add in the grated cheese, then add milk and vanilla extract and mix until the dough has come together but is just combined. [IT WILL RESEMBLE COOKED OATMEAL]. Spoon the dough on top of the blueberries. It does NOT have to be uniform and smooth.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the topping is set and the blueberries are juicy and bursting. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream. 

PS  KNOW your oven. I finally got this gadget [by Taylor, about $12] to make sure my oven is the right temperature. And guess what?  My oven has been running about 10 degrees too hot which reduces the baking time. Now I get the 350 degrees correctly by reducing my oven temp. Yay! My sister gave me that tip!


Leave your name and email so I can contact you if you WIN, and tell me do you have a spring cleaning project?

 I'll be giving away your CHOICE of the first 6 Cheese Shop mysteries. I'll also pick two more winners to win some fun swag. Winners will be chosen this Friday.

Savor the mystery and say cheese!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest

Plus check out our website with lots of trailers, excerpts, plus a fan club with puzzles and giveaways!

FUDGING THE BOOKS, the 4th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is HERE!  Click to order.

New in February
Click to order.