Showing posts with label mint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mint. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  I will admit, I grew up not really knowing what an eggplant was. (Raise your hands if you, too, were raised in the hinterlands!) Then, when I started learning to cook, eggplant scared me. They often came with brown spots on the inner flesh, which made me worry that they were bad and would attack me. (Not so; it can mean age or bruising, or sometimes, it’s just the way they roll.) Some recipes call for salting them, and then I wondered how much salt, for how long, and would I over-salt or over-rinse or over-worry? (Too late for that, I know!)

But they are so yummy that I persevered. And discovered that they are mostly worry-free. My local grocery rarely has the tender baby eggplants, or the yummy Japanese eggplants, so for this recipe, I end up with the larger Italian variety. No matter—the purple skins are glorious, regardless of the variety, and the flesh inside cooks so beautifully. Mr. Right is a mean man with a grill, and it turns out that roasting eggplant is easy, relatively quick, and totally fab. (Here’s last month’s Tangy Summer Vegetable Salad with Bulgar—featuring roasted eggplants, bell peppers, and zucchini.)

This recipe is a slight variation of a Weight Watchers recipe; WW counts it zero points, which veteran trackers will know is a ploy to get us to eat more veggies. (If you brush on olive oil, rather than use a spray, count it one point.) I am here to tell you, that is a successful ploy!

It may seem odd to thin the Greek yogurt. I like the Greek variety for sauces because the flavor is more intense than regular varieties; WW likes it because it’s a little higher in protein. If you’re using a standard variety, skip the thinning, especially if your yogurt has a little liquid on top—pour that off and use it, or stir it in before spooning it up.

Regular paprika will be fine, if that’s what you have. But if you’re shopping, try a smoked paprika. Sweet and spicy varieties are equally fabulous—and worth the hunt.

We served this initially with grilled shrimp seasoned with Old Bay, and a second time with a basic grilled chicken. Yummy both ways!

Congratulations to Daryl Wood Gerber on today's release of GRILLING THE SUBJECT, #5 in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries!


3/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus extra for garnish
3 baby eggplant or one full-sized eggplant (about 1-1/4 pound), sliced lengthwise, 1/4" thick
olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup mint leaves, thinly sliced (“chiffonade”)

Pre-heat your grill.

In a small bowl, stir the yogurt, water or yogurt liquid, salt, cumin, garlic, and paprika. Set aside to let the flavors meld while you prepare the eggplant.

 Slice the eggplant. Brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Grill until tender and lightly charred, about 8-10 minutes, turning once. Place on serving platter. Spoon yogurt over slices; garnish with mint and paprika.

One serving is two slices and two tablespoons of yogurt sauce. Serves 6.

From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper. 

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

Now available in audio and large print, as well as paperback and e-book And watch for KILLING THYME, out October 4! 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lemony Sugar Snap Pea Salad

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: “Summer time, and the living is easy.” And one reason, of course, is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Even if we aren’t growing them ourselves – and I confess that since I started writing two books a year, my gardens have not gotten the care and feeding – let alone the weeding – they deserve.

Happily, chives and mint need no tending – if they grow at your house, you know both those tasty herbs have minds of their own and spread on the wings of the wind. It’s fun to snip them into summer teas, pastas, and salads. This salad – a variation of a Weight Watchers recipe – takes full advantage of that herby tang. I’ve made it with both mojito mint, a classic green mint, and a combination of mojito and a nameless darker variety that seems to have appeared in my garden without a name tag!


Lemony Sugar Snap Pea Salad

1/4 pound sugar snap peas, about two cups, trimmed (Chinese or flat peas will do fine, if that’s what you’ve got)
1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2-3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and toss in the peas. Cook 1-2 minutes, until peas are bright green and still tender crisp. Drain and rinse in cold water, stirring or tossing to release the heat. Drain and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. Then slice the peas once, lengthwise, and toss into a large flat bowl with the cucumber, feta, and herbs.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the other ingredients and toss to mix and coat.

Makes 4 one-cup servings that taste like summer!

(That's feta, not butter!)

Mint and chives, so fresh they're practically still growing!

This salad is terrific with shrimp or any kind of fish, and even by itself!

From the cover of KILLING THYME -- out October 4, available for pre-order now:  

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer… 

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join her on Facebookwhere she often shares news of new books and giveaways from cozy writer friends.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Minty Summer Drink Recipe

From Daryl aka Avery

Cheers! This week has been a whirlwind for me. FINAL SENTENCE came out last Tuesday. I've received some lovely reviews from Cozy Mystery Book Reviews and Melina the Readers' blogs.

I then went to Arizona (yes, it was hot! 116 in the shade!!  91 at 5:30 a.m. yipes!!). I went for a Cozy Conference sponsored by Poisoned Pen Bookstore, known as "The Pen." Great event. I was on a panel with the NYT authors Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay (a former MLK'er).

Kate Carlisle, me, and Jenn McKinlay
 I also got to see a sweet friend, author Jane Cleland. She's holding her latest book, Lethal Treasure.
Jane Cleland and me
 We met a few Facebook friends who are AZ residents, including Elizabeth. Darling! And her husband Chris.

Jenn McKinlay with our lovely Facebook pal Elizabeth 

Then yesterday, I flew to New York for Thrillerfest, a conference for thriller writers and fans. [No pix yet!!  Next week.]

I go to this conference not only because I hope to have a thriller published someday but because my sweet son lives in New York. What a great excuse, right? I also get to see my editor. And this Friday, there will be a cocktail party where a couple of fans will attend, one of whom is the delightful Dru Ann love, a die-hard reader and fabulous reviewer on Cozy Chicks.

And then it's back home to write, write, write.

Oh, and I sent off the books to the winners for last week's giveaway. Congrats to NoraA and Linda R. 

Now...before heading for New York, I decided to enjoy the fruits of my garden in a new way. I planted an herb garden this year - just one pot, but it's packed. I wanted to see if the spot in the garden would help the garden thrive. Yes!!!

My mint especially.

I love mojitos. And I love mint in iced tea. But I wanted to see what else I could do with mint. I found this lovely mint drink recipe, non-alcoholic, and decided to try it. The recipe called for honey syrup, but I'd heard so many good things about agave that I decided to try using agave. Yes!

[According to All about Agave website, agave has a low glycemic index.  The glycemic index is a way of measuring the relative impact of foods on blood sugar levels.]

Here's a picture of a chart on the website. I hope they don't mind that I'm sharing, but I was intrigued. Agave has a lower glycemic index than an apple.

The drink is light and lovely and perfect for a summer barbecue.


Non-alcoholic Mint Cocktail

Makes 1 drink


1/4 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup * RECIPE BELOW
2-3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Chilled club soda or seltzer


Strip the mint of the stem. Mush the mint at a bottom of a 12-ounce glass with a muddler or spoon or the back of an ice cream scoop. Tip: Do you best not to crush the mint into tiny pieces. Just coax the essence out. Add the cooled syrup and lime or lemon juice. Stir. Add ice and fill to the brim with club soda or seltzer or even Pellegrino water.

Serve chilled.

HONEY or AGAVE SYRUP (for a lot of uses)


1 cup honey or agave syrup
1 cup water


Pour honey and water into a small pot. Bring to boil and stir until honey/agave is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

(If desired, you can add more syrup. If you really like it sweet, add one packet of a non-caloric sweetener.)


* * * * * * *

The first book in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is out!! It's set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California and features Jenna Hart, a former advertising exec who returns home to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and cafe.

You can order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

You can also follow and "like" Avery Aames the same way:  Facebook and Twitter.

or chat with my alter ego 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pineapple Crush

I saw this fun drink in a Sunset Magazine and had to try. With a little creativity in the kitchen, this is a great way to "wake up your water," as the article in Sunset said.

Pineapple Mint Crush

Put 1/3 cup pineapple chunks (chopped up fine) and 4 large mint leaves in a large cocktail shaker. Add 1 tbs. water. Mash well with a muddler. Stir in 2 cups cold sparkling or still water, then strain into an ice-filled glass.  Serves 1


Number one, I couldn't get my cocktail shaker to open. It's never been used. I gave it to my husband as a gag gift back when I gave him everything "James Bond" for a Christmas gift. Silly but fun. So I had to improvise. I used a measuring cup. 
I didn't have a muddler.  Don't even know what it is. But I figured it muddled something. So I tried a meat tenderizer. Didn't work. Too big and too flat. Then tried an ice cream scoop. Worked!

I used a sieve (since I couldn't use the strainer on the cocktail shaker). Worked fine.

I tasted the drink and it was nice, but I like my drinks sweet. So I added a Sweet 'n Lo. I'm sure you could add sugar or simple syrup.  

Here's a recipe for that.

3 parts water to 1 part sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cold water and sugar to a boil. Turn the heat to low and stir, approximately three minutes.  Note: the longer you boil the mixture, the thicker the syrup will become.

Delish and refreshing. Any time of the year. And so pretty!

Now, what was really cool, is I still had some muddled pineapple and mint leftover. So I added it to some grilled salmon for dinner and it was fabulous!  How easy is that?!!!



REMINDER: To save this recipe (and any that are posted on MLK,  click the Print Friendly button below 

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* * * * *
The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, you probably know about my alter ego.
Daryl's new series: A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...okay, maybe least...:)

I'm pleased to announce that my short story, PALACE ON THE LAKE, 
in Fish Tales: A Guppy Anthology has been nominated for both
the Anthony Award and Macavity Award. 
Go Sisters in Crime Guppies! 
Without the Guppies, my career would not be on the right track.
The group support is invaluable!
You can read PALACE ON THE LAKE by clicking on the title above. :)

Say cheese!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mojito Sorbet

I see these ads on local TV all the time, touting the great bounty of fruits and vegetables that grow here in Texas.  I'm not sure what magic these farmers are using, what strange ju-ju makes their plants grow, but everything in my yard is deader than disco.

The one bright spot in my otherwise brown wasteland of a yard is my little duo of earth boxes.

Earth boxes, you ask?

Yes, earth boxes.  You can buy them ready-made, though I made mine with a big storage tub, a plastic colander, some duct tape, and a drimmel tool.  Basically, it's a big ol' box of dirt.  But the secret is that about a third of the way from the bottom there's a divider.  Below that divider, instead of dirt, there's a reservoir for water.  A small bit of the dirt (in my case, contained within the colander) dips down into the reservoir and wicks the water up to the plant roots.

The advantage to the earth box is that the water is deep, so it doesn't evaporate in the hot Texas sun.  The plants take just exactly what they need (no more, no less).  And when you refill the reservoir (through a 2 inch pipe with an "L" in the bottom), it waters the plants for at least a week ... so you can go away for a weekend without all your plants dying in the heartbeat you look away from them.

Spearmint and oregano going crazy in my homemade earth box.  Note the dead stuff on the ground nearby.

I use my earth boxes for herbs.  I have one chock full of beautiful basil (just made a simple pasta with vegies and basil last night!).  The other, this year, has oregano and spearmint, both of which are going nuts.

That abundance of spearmint--which I'm using in iced tea and lemonade and half-and-halfs every day--inspired this yummy grown-ups only, completely refreshing summer treat.  I bring you ...

Mojito Sorbet

1/2 c. fresh lime juice (strained)
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 bunch spearmint leaves, cleaned
2 Tbs. rum (I used coconut rum, but regular is fine)

In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and spearmint to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to steep until cool.  Strain the minted syrup through a sieve and add the lime juice and rum.  Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, until nice and cool.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.  Note that the sorbet will melt quickly, so be ready to serve right away OR pack into a container, cover, and freeze overnight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Got Candy Canes? Cleo Coyle’s Candy Cane Frosting recipe for Cakes and Brownies

Got Candy Canes? Good! Set some aside in your cupboard for the coming months. Why? Because candy canes are very easy to find in stores now, and after the holidays are over, when the dreary months of January, February, and March settle in, you can bring them out and make this beautifully festive Candy Cane Frosting to cheer you up again. Just looking at this frosting lifts the spirits and the taste is fantastic.

Cleo Coyle, notorious
hoarder of candy canes,
is author of 
Coffeehouse Mysteries
While my recipe is very basic (crushed candy canes in a standard buttercream), I've made sure to keep my version light on the peppermint extract. The candy canes are crushed so finely that they give the frosting a gorgeous pink color. It's sweet and flavorful and perfectly complements chocolate so it's a winner on brownies as well as chocolate cakes and cupcakes. 

These brownies were featured in my holiday-themed Coffeehouse Mystery Holiday Grind as an invention of Tucker's, one of the beloved baristas at my fictional Village Blend coffeehouse. FYI...

If you're new to me or this blog, the Coffeehouse Mysteries are culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the added bonus of recipes. To learn more about my Coffeehouse series, click here.

Cheers, everyone! I hope you're all
enjoying the holiday season...

Merry Christmas 
and Happy Chanukah!
~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle’s
Candy Cane Frosting

This recipe is now archived. 

For a copy of my Candy Cane Brownies and Frosting recipe, stop by my website: Coffeehouse


The Origin of Candy Canes

In 1670, in Cologne, Germany, a choirmaster wanted to solve the problem of noise caused by children in his church during Christmas Eve services. He asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to the baby Jesus. From Germany, the candy canes spread to other parts of Europe. Around 1882, people began hanging them on Christmas trees and in the early 1920s, Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed the earliest patents for candy cane making machines. (Source: Wikipedia)

Eat with Joy to the World!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

My December 
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11 Recipes plus CM News 
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