Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Guest Susan Shea

Join us today at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen in welcoming Susan Shea, author of a lovely series set in France, who gives us a delicious dessert recipe.

A mid-summer field of blooming rapeseed in rural Burgundy

Thank you so much for having me today!

Love & Death in Burgundy, the first in my new mystery series, was loosely inspired by the experiences of two middle-aged California friends of mine who moved with two large dogs and a cat to rural Burgundy on not much more than a whim. Their romantic dreams hit some snags (leaking roof, leaking stone walls, the mystery of the carte de sejour, the downpours that inevitably drench the sheets just hung outdoors to dry) but they persevered, slowly working their way into the life of their crossroads village. While most of the novel is complete fiction, the pear tree under which Katherine and her friends sit in the opening scene is a more productive version of the one I have sat under many times during my visits. The summer day in Burgundy I write about mirrors my experience there, quiet except for a passing tractor and the sounds of birds. Burgundy is famous as the origin of boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, escargot, and pain d’espices, among other gourmet recipes. Pears poached in wine are served in restaurants in the region, but my recipe is one I’ve been making at home in California for many years.

Summer pears poached in Burgundy wine

Love & Death in Burgundy begins with a scene under a fruiting pear tree in the heart of agricultural France, so this recipe seemed perfect. I have made it several times with different kinds of pears and wine. I prefer the dessert chilled, and that also means you can make it ahead of time.

1 bottle of red wine  
(I chose a pinot made in Burgundy, France, because my new book is set there)
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
the juice of 1 orange
the zest of that orange, but save 4 lengths of peel for decoration
a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
4 firm pears, peeled but not cored

Make the poaching liquid by combining everything except the orange peel and the pears in a tall saucepan and bringing to a high simmer so the sugar dissolves.

When that has happened, reduce the heat, add the pears and poach, spooning liquid over the pears at least a few times. The cooking time required will depend on the type of pear and how much poaching liquid touches the pears. You don’t want them to get mushy! (To keep them looking pretty, test them for doneness near their bases.)

Gently remove the pears from the poaching liquid and either chill them or set them aside while you bring the heat up and reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup. Spoon the syrup over the peaches and decorate with a curl of orange peel. If you cool the syrup first, you can serve the pears with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or tart lemon sorbet. 

Susan will give a copy of Love & Death in Burgundy to one lucky person who comments today.

Biography: Susan C. Shea is the author of the Dani O’Rourke mysteries, set in San Francisco ("Fresh, fast-paced and great fun." - Library Journal) and a new series, set in France (“…a pleasant getaway from hard-core killers” - NYTBR). Before quitting her day job to write full time, she was a non-profit executive for more than two decades.

You can find her at and on Facebook

About the book: After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that’s no easy task.
When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town’s secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine’s quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

"Shea launches a cozy series that richly details life in a small French village. The outlandish antics of the eccentric locals add to the humor. Suggest to fans of Rhys Bowen's early "Evan Evans" series for the humor, the characters, and the charming setting." -Library Journal

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Guest Post and Giveaway! Welcome Kathy Kaminski, Blogger and Sisters in Crime Chapter President

Please welcome former police officer and current mystery maven, Kathy Kaminski! To honor her longtime support of mystery writers, we're sharing a giveaway to inspire your mystery reading. Congrats to the winners of our two gift cards. Scroll down to find out who won! Now...take it away, Kathy! 
~ Cleo

I’ve been a fan and follower of Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen for years, so you can imagine my delight when Cleo Coyle invited me to join you today. For those who may not know, I’m the Kathy behind the cozy mystery blog, Cozy Up With Kathy. I’m also the President of Murder on Ice, the Western and Central New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

This is a very special year as Sisters in Crime is celebrating its 30th birthday. Dedicated to promoting female crime writers, SinC is an amazing organization. It’s not just for writers either. While Sisters in Crime provides tremendous support for both published as well as aspiring authors, it also welcomes other members of the publishing and book community-and that includes fans. If you enjoy mysteries, I encourage you to seek out a local chapter and join in the fun. If you live in or near Western or Central New York, I hope you’ll consider coming to one of our meetings or events. I’d love to meet you in person!

Now for the food. 

From watching Wok with Yan on PBS as a kid to being a devotee of the Great British Baking Show now, I consider myself a bit of a foodie, but, when contemplating a recipe to share I came across a dilemma. I consider myself a good cook, but I take after my Grandma Gertie. When it comes to dishes I’ve developed, I use a bit of this and some of that. 

"How much chicken?" 
As much as you’re going to eat. 

"How much parsley do you add?" 
Keep putting it in until it looks right.

I admit, not so helpful. My other recipes, which have actual amounts written down, are more autumnal and holiday based, and I wanted to share more summery fare. Then it dawned on me. While Grandma Gertie never wrote down her recipes, my other grandmother, Lucy, did.

Once my mom was married and out of the house, her mom started making a recipe that once she shared everyone requested. Having a party? Ask Lucy to bring her pineapple squares! 

Lucy’s Pineapple Squares

A note on this recipe: I went to my mom’s house and the two of us made her mother’s recipe (this very one!) for the first time. We hadn’t eaten it in over 20 years, and since neither of us ever saw her make it, we had to make a few educated guesses and may make some changes in future efforts. My mom wasn’t happy with the filling and thought we didn’t use the tapioca correctly. She found another way to make the filling, so I’m including both versions, the first is from the original recipe. --Kathy

For the Crust:

4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-¾ cup butter
¾ cup cold milk

Directions: Work dough as for pie. Divide dough in half. Put one half in the bottom of sided cookie sheet.

For the Original Filling (version 1):

2 medium size cans crushed pineapple 
7 Tablespoons tapioca 
1 cup sugar 

Directions: Mix and spoon into pie crust. Top with remaining rolled out dough. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.


For An Updated (Improved) Filling (version#2)

2 cans (20 oz each) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Directions: Combine the first 4 ingredients and cook until thickened and clear (3-5 minutes). Stir in butter and lemon juice. Cool slightly. Spoon into pie crust. Top with remaining rolled out dough. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.

For the Topping:

Small package of cream cheese (We actually used half of a large package, which is slightly more, and that worked perfectly.)
2 Tablespoons softened butter
1-½ cups confectioners’ sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla (We estimated.)
milk "small amount to get spreading consistency" (Mom and I didn’t need any.)
Walnut pieces, crushed (1/2 cup or so)

Directions: Beat together the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla. If the frosting is too thick, add a little milk until it has a good spreading consistency. (Mom and I didn't need to add any milk in our version.) When the pineapple pie is completely cool, then frost. Sprinkle the frosting with crushed walnuts if desired. Cut into squares. 

Thanks so much for joining me today! I love passing down recipes from the past. I hope you give my grandmother’s pineapple squares a try-and please, let me know if you make changes and how it all worked out! I'd also like to know...


Kathleen J. Kaminski is a bookworm with a myriad of interests including art deco architecture and Victorian funerary art, not to mention mid-19th century Utopian societies.

As a former police officer who currently works on the forensic unit of a psychiatric center, Kathy is naturally drawn to mysteries. She’s the Kathy behind the blog Cozy Up With Kathy which features author interviews, reviews, and other mysterious topics. Although the focus of the blog is cozy mysteries, Kathy is a voracious reader and welcomes all genres to her library and her blog.

Kathy lives in Western New York amid piles of books, five cats, two rats, and an off track thoroughbred named Harley. She currently serves as President of Murder on Ice, the Western and Central New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Visit Kathy's Blog Cozy Up With Kathy
Join Kathy on Facebook 
Follow Kathy on Twitter: @KatreaderKJK 

Learn more about
Sisters in Crime by clicking here. 

Learn more about Kathy's
SinC Chapter "Murder on Ice,"
by clicking here.

Thank you so much
for joining us today, Kathy! 


Answer Kathy's question - DO YOU HAVE FAMILY RECIPES? -- in the comments below, and you will be entered in our random drawing for two $10.00 gift cards (to Amazon or Barnes &, your choice). 

The contest is now over.

Congratulations to our two winners:



BECKY (@ Becky's Place)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Little Chocolate Clouds from Coffeehouse Mystery author Cleo Coyle #Chocolate

With warmer weather finally making its appearance here in New York City, my craving for something chocolate needed to be tempered into something light.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

The result is this recipe for Little Chocolate Clouds, which I make every spring and throughout the summer. These simple chocolate meringues are easy to whip up and bake. They are bursting with chocolate flavor, yet they're very light and have the added bonus of protein, thanks to the egg whites.

My husband (and partner in crime-writing) loves these sweet, little morsels. He describes them as "little chocolate cotton candies," which perfectly captures their melt-in-your mouth appeal, especially after you soften their crunchy exteriors by dipping them into a cup of warm coffee or tea.

The only tricky technique in making this simple
recipe is whipping up the egg whites...

To watch a quick video tutorial on how to
whip egg whites properly, 
click on the little
white arrow in the window below.



If you don't see a video above, watch the
video on YouTube by
clicking here.

"I had some dreams, they were
in my coffee..." ~ Carly Simon

Little Chocolate Clouds

You can serve these little clouds as a light, after-dinner treat or eat them as a satisfying coffee break snack. You can even float one in a hot coffee or espresso. It will melt into the liquid, giving you a lovely hint of mocha in your cup...

To download a free PDF
of this recipe that you can
print, save, or share,

click here.

Click here for the
free recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's
Little Chocolate Clouds

Makes 24 to 30 cookies, depending on size


4 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (to stabilize the egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Optional decorations: chocolate sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts


Step 1 – Before You Begin: First preheat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Some notes to help you get the best results here: Start with a mixing bowl that is glass, metal, or ceramic. The bowl must be free of grease for your egg whites to whip up properly. (Grease clings to plastic bowls, which is why you should not use plastic.) Also, for best results, your egg whites should be room temperature. I simply set my cold eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 2 to 3 minutes before cracking.

Step 2 – Whip Egg Whites: Place egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt into bowl. Using an electric mixer or handheld whisk, begin to whip the whites. When you see soft peaks begin to form (see "soft peaks" photo below), continue beating while slowly sprinkling in the sugar.

When the egg whites have become stiff and glossy (see "stiff and glossy" photo below), stop whipping. Sift the cocoa over the egg whites and gently fold into the mix. The whites will deflate a little, but that’s okay.

(Below) Egg Whites Beaten into "Soft Peaks"

(Below) Sugar Slowly Added and 
Egg Whites Beaten Until "Stiff and Glossy"

Sifting in the Unsweetened Cocoa

Folding in the Unsweetened Cocoa 

Step 3 – Form Little Chocolate Clouds: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make rustic little chocolate clouds by dropping batter by heaping teaspoons onto the paper. As a fun option and to create variety, try sprinkling some with finely chopped nuts, others with shredded coconut, chocolate sprinkles, or a few mini chocolate chips.

Step 4 – Bake in the preheated (300° F.) oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. Meringues should be dry and firm on the outside (not hard just firm) and still gooey in the center. Remove from oven and carefully slide the parchment paper off the hot pan and onto a rack to cool. 

Note: Warm meringues will stick to the parchment paper. But as they cool, they will harden. Then you can easily lift them free and…eat with joy!

Click here for the
free recipe PDF.

☕ ☕ ☕

Eat with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
Friend us on facebook here.
Follow us on twitter here.
Visit our online coffeehouse here.

☕ ☕ ☕



Find out by watching our fun,
new Book Video (below)
or view it on Facebook

☕ ☕ ☕

Our new Coffeehouse Mystery

is now a bestselling hardcover! 

Top 10 Best Mysteries 
for Book Clubs 2017

A "Most Wanted"
Mystery Guild Selection

To buy now, click links for... 


This culinary mystery includes
more than 25 delicious recipes!
To get the Free Recipe Guide,


☕  ☕  ☕

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
16 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


See mini plot summaries 
for every title and news on
 Cleo's next release!

🔎 🔎 🔎

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

To get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

To learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost...

 📖  📖  📖 

☕ ☕ ☕


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next giveaway and receive special
bonus recipes, sign up for our 
Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter...


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