Showing posts with label onions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label onions. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Trip to Munich's Oktoberfest plus Beer-Braised Brats and Beer Onions from Cleo Coyle

As Joyce Tremel mentioned on Sunday, with her Soft Pretzel and Beer Cheese recipes, Munich's traditional 16-day Oktoberfest is well underway now and will continue until October 5th.

While I've been to Germany and thoroughly appreciate their mastery at making some of the best beers in the world, I've never made it to an Oktoberfest. Attending this world-famous festival is 
on my (beer) bucket list. Is it on yours, too? Or have you been to it? Let us know in the comments.

In the meantime, join me now for a little 
video visit to this year's Oktoberfest! 


To watch the tapping of the first keg,
click the arrow in the window below...

If you do not see the video above, click here.


To join me for an Oktoberfest 2014
band stand concert, click the arrow
in the window below...

If you do not see the video above, click here.


For more videos, directly from
this year's Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany,
click here and have fun!

And when you're ready for a food break, 
I've got an easy and delicious recipe for you...

But first...

A quick toast to my fellow 
crime-writing cooks...

Daryl Wood Gerber 


Sheila Connolly 

on their new releases today!
(Okay, Sheila's is officially next Tuesday, but
 I'm sure she won't mind an early shout-out.)

Happy Book Birthday to you both!

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

Beer-Braised Brats 


Caramelized Beer Onions

by Cleo Coyle

Cooking brats in beer is far from a new idea, but it is a great one, especially if you have a favorite brew! 

We like to butterfly our brats to allow more surface area to absorb the beer flavor, which is why you should use your absolute favorite suds for the recipe. No matter how special or expensive your beer, you don't have to worry, this method will not waste a single drop. It will all go into the infusion process. You'll see what I mean as we braise the brats in one pan, caramelize the onions in another, and use the delicious beer-brat braising liquid to infuse the golden brown onions with even more flavor. 

Then spread your favorite roll (pretzel, potato, or seeded Kaiser) with whole grained mustard, pour an ice cold glass of amber nectar, and you'll be in beer heaven. Follow this recipe, and we'll meet you there!

~ Cleo
To download this free
recipe PDF,
click here.
To download this recipe in a free PDF document you can print, save, or share, click here.

Serves 4

4 bratwursts (pre-cooked or uncooked)

3 medium or 4 large onions, chopped

12 ounces of your favorite beer

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 tablespoons butter

For serving: 

Fresh rolls (pretzel, potato, or Kaiser)

Whole grained mustard

Optional additions: Sauerkraut, creamy horseradish, pickles, your favorite pepper (banana, jalapeno, etc...)


Step 1 - Cut each bratwurst down the middle but not all the way through. (In our photos, you see pre-cooked brats, but you can also use uncooked.) 

Spread the halves enough to flatten them but not enough to separate the halves. Note that brats curve slightly, like bananas. Be sure to cut along the inside curve before butterflying. Set brats aside and start cooking the onions.

Step 2 - In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onions and sauté over medium heat, stirring often.

Step 3 - While the onions are cooking, take out a second skillet. Add a bit of butter or oil. When the pan is hot, add the butterflied brats, warming/browning for about 5 minutes. Once brats are warmed/browned on both sides, add about 8 ounces of beer to the pan. 

You are not entirely covering the brats, just creating a shallow bath as shown in the photo below. 

Simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping at least once during the process. This is the cooking time for pre-cooked. If you are using raw brats, you will need to cook the brats longer. Raw meat should no longer be pink inside, and the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.  

When the brats are done cooking, turn off the heat under the pan and allow them to sit while you turn your attention to the onions...

Step 4 - Finish the onions: Continuing cooking the onions. After about 15 to 18 minutes of sautéing, the onions will have absorbed all of the fat in the pan. They will begin to caramelize, turning golden brown. If you need to add a bit more butter or oil to prevent them from burning before turning golden brown, do so. Do not move to the next step until the onions brown as shown or you will boil the onions instead of properly caramelizing them.

Step 5 - Once the onions have turned golden brown, add all of the liquid from the brats pan in Step 3. (We remove the brats from the pan first, putting them in a covered dish to keep them warm.) 

If for some reason you don’t have much liquid left in your brats pan, add a generous splash of fresh beer to the onions. Cook the mixture until the liquid is absorbed by the onions, about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Step 6 - Serve the brats and beer onions on pretzel rolls or potato rolls or Kaisers. 

We like to spread whole-grained mustard onto our rolls (as you see in the picture below). A bit of creamy horseradish is also delicious. Other possible additions include sauerkraut, pickles, and/or hot peppers. 

Click here for the free PDF, and
however you top your own beer-braised
brats and beer onion sandwich,
Marc and sincerely
 hope you will...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.


Download a Free Title Checklist for
all 13 Coffeehouse Mysteries
(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

Visit us our
online coffeehouse here.

Haunted Bookshop

Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Grilled Cheese from TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE

I just got back from Salt and Pepper Books, where a bunch of us signed a ton of books - what a great selection of cookbooks and culinary mysteries, the Malice Domestic Conference, and the Festival of Mystery held by the fabulous indie bookstore, Mystery Lovers Bookshop. They have a great online mystery book selection! Check 'em out!

I've posted pictures on my Facebook page.

Here are a few highlights...

"Victoria Abbott" aka Mary Jane with one of the goodie bags we were giving away from MLK

Lucy, Peg, former MLK'er Ellery Adams, and Sheila at Salt & Pepper Books, a fabulous culinary bookshop!!

Krista and the other nominees for the Agatha Award best novel 

Me, pal-ing around with my critique buds, Janet Bolin (often a guest on MLK; she has a new book out in June)
and Krista (who also has a new book out in June!

It was great to connect with old friends, who aren't old, just darned fun! If you want to see more, go to my Facebook page (link below).

Speaking of old friends...

One of my favorite characters in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is Delilah. She is an "old" friend of Charlotte's. [She's in her me and my pals! LOL]  Delilah runs the Country Kitchen Diner with her father, Pops. Delilah returned to Providence after trying to make it on Broadway as a dancer.  Because she’s a go-getter, she wouldn't let her failure on Broadway lessen her love of life. Now that she’s back in town, she’s become the go-to actress or director. She’s even tried her hand at writing a play. My kind of gal. Busy and creative. On a personal note, Delilah is on a quest to make the best grilled cheese ever. She tries all sorts of ingredients.

For my second Cookbook Nook mystery, I’m channeling Delilah. Yes, I’m already writing the "second" as I prepare to publish the first in the series, FINAL SENTENCE. In the second, INHERIT THE WORD, The Cookbook Nook is hosting the town's grilled cheese challenge.  Jenna,  (the protagonist and devoted foodie),  has recently learned that there are recipes at the end of many of the culinary mysteries that she sells in the shop (like all of ours). Talk about a fun surprise. And some of them are easy! So, of course, Jenna has to try her hand at making something from one of the books.

By now, you must be realizing that these two worlds often "collide" in my creative and somewhat over-taxed brain, but it’s so much fun!

I share with you now Jenna’s remake of Delilah’s grilled cheese from TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE. Confused? Delilah offers this sandwich when Charlotte, Matthew, Meredith, and the twins come into the diner to discuss the floral arrangements for Matthew and Meredith’s upcoming wedding. The recipe includes bacon!


(serves 2)

4 slices bread
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese
4-6 oz. Doux de Montagne or Fromage d’Affinois cheese
6-8 grapes
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon, cooked crisply and chopped
1 teaspoon pepper
dash of paprika

For each sandwich, butter two slices of bread on one side only. Spread cream cheese on the other side of the bread.

Meanwhile, grill the bacon to crisp and drain on paper towels. When cool, cut or chop into small bites.  [Delilah suggests grilling the bacon in the microwave, on paper towels. No mess. Takes about 3-4 minutes.]

Sauté the chopped onion in the sauté pan with the olive oil for 3-5 minutes until slightly browned.  Cool.

Rinse and slice the grapes into “chopped olive” sized slices.

Mix the bacon, onion and grapes together like a salsa.

Heat up flat grilling pan. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, on hot grilling surface.  Layer with Doux de Montagne or Fromage d’Affinois (or other favorite soft) cheese. Top with the grape salsa. Top with the other piece of bread (butter side up).

Grill the sandwich on low to medium for 4-5 minutes. Flip the sandwich and grill for another 4-5 minutes, until a nice golden brown and cheese oozing.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

[This can be made on gluten-free bread. It is still amazing.]

Say cheese and savor the mystery!

* * * * * * *
Daryl Wood Gerber also writes as Avery Aames, 
author of the Agatha Award-winning,
nationally bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY SERIES 

The 1st in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming July 2013!!
You can pre-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 me, 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! Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego, Avery Aames. Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Make an 8-Napkin Patty Melt (with advice from Mandy Patinkin) via Cleo Coyle

Whenever I make a patty melt, I think of Mandy Patinkin (one of my favorite actors) and a scene from his television show Dead Like Me, in which he lays down the culinary law for putting one together. 

If you're curious (or would simply like 2 minutes and 21 seconds of entertainment), watch the YouTube clip below. In the scene, Mandy plays a short order cook at one of the show's standard settings: Der Waffle House

(Der clip includes adult language.) 

Whether you melt der cheese on der patty or on der bread, patty melts are absolutely delicious, and even better than burgers (in my opinion, anyway). 

The traditional version is made with juicy ground beef, but you can certainly mix it up with ground turkey or chicken. The only drawback to making these instead of burgers is an extra step or two in the process, which is why I make them extra-large—eight big ounces per patty melt. No, I do not eat the whole eight-ounce sandwich myself, and that's the point.

Cut this mondo patty melt in half, and you’ve got dinner for two—a four-ounce serving each. Cook two of these big boys, and you’ve got dinner for four. 

Less sandwiches = less work. 

And less work always helps me eat with joy...

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle, patty melt
maven, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cleo Coyle’s 
Patty Melt 

The 5-Napkin Burger is a real-life eatery here in New York City, which is what inspired my 8-Napkin Patty Melt. Why eight napkins? One napkin for every ounce of meat, of course. :)

My readers might remember this sandwich from a scene in my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Holiday Buzz

Coffee hunter Matteo Allegro, weary of the healthy but tasteless appetizers served at a string of Manhattan holiday parties, ventures into the December night to bring back a more satisfying snackthis 8-napkin patty melt. 

Of course, a patty melt this large is made for sharing, and Matt entices his partner in the coffee business, Clare Cosi, to share it with him while she shares the facts (and a cogent theory) behind the murder of a part-time employee. 

To see more recipes from the book, click here.

To contact me or "sign up" for my free
E-newsletter (with recipes) write to:


A few tips for the
perfect patty melt…

* Be patient with grilling the onions. Cook them long enough to caramelize and you’ll have a much tastier sandwich.

* Use large slices of bread and shape the patty long in order to fit the bread.

* Don’t make the patty or bread slices too thick, about an inch. 

* Once your ingredients are ready (the onions caramelized; the burger cooked), build the entire sandwich on a spatula. This will allow you as much time as you need to fix the ingredients just right. Then you can move the spatula to the hot pan, and slip the entire sandwich into the bubbling butter in one quick move.

* To prevent your grilled onions from falling out of the sandwich, follow the "building" instructions in the recipe (you'll see it below). The trick is with the placement of the cheese.

* Use the spatula to push down on the sandwich during cooking; a simple way to make a delicious “pressed sandwich” without a sandwich press. 

Cleo Coyle's 8-Napkin
Patty Melt Recipe

Makes two 8-ounce Patty Melts (for four servings) 


1 large yellow onion 

vegetable oil and butter

4 large slices of bread (see my note below*)

16 ounces (1 pound) ground beef

8 slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese 

Kosher or sea salt

*A note on the bread: A patty melt this big requires large (but not overly thick) slices of bread. Fresh crusty Italian or rye bread from a rustic loaf will make a truly amazing patty melt. If using pre-packaged bread, go for the super-sized sandwich-style and not the standard slices. 


Step 1: Cook the onion – Peel and chop the large yellow onion. Place a pan over low heat, melt a bit of butter, add a splash of oil, and stir in the onions. Slowly cook the onions, stirring often, until they are caramelized (soft, sweet, and dark golden brown), about fifteen minutes. Set the cooked onions aside.

Step 2: Form and cook the patty
The shape of the ground meat patties should fit the bread that you're using, so shape the meat accordingly. Each patty should be 8-ounces in weight and about 1-inch in thickness (or a little less). Cook the patties over medium-high heat, three to four minutes per side. For best results, try to flip the patties only once. When the patties are cooked through, set aside. 

Step 3: Build your sandwich – Start by b
uttering two slices of the bread...

- Place one slice on a spatula, buttered side down
- Lay two thin slices of cheese on the bread. 
- Place the cooked ground meat patty onto the cheese. 
- Place a third slice of cheese over the patty.
- Add half the caramelized onions. 
- A final slice of cheese should cover the onions (when it melts this last slice will help to hold the savory sweet onions inside the sandwich). 
- Finally, top the patty melt with a slice of buttered bread, but this time you want the buttered side up. 

Step 4: Grill and press – Heat a skillet and add a bit of butter. When the butter begins to bubble, use your spatula to transfer the fully-built sandwich to the hot pan. From this point on, treat the patty melt as if it were a grilled cheese sandwich...

Toast one side for three to four minutes and then flip. After flipping, press down hard on the sandwich with your spatula. Pressing the patty melt as it cooks will help the parts of the sandwich fuse together. Grill for three or four more minutes, until the cheese is completely melted. (Make the 2nd sandwich exactly the same way.)

Serve hot! A dill pickle is a thing of beauty with a patty melt. The bright tartness of the pickle (not to mention the happy, green color) nicely complements the rich unctuousness of the sandwich. Cole slaw, French fries, or potato chips are tasty sides, too. However you serve it, I certainly hope you will...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

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


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.