Showing posts with label oranges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oranges. 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 www.susancshea.com 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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Writer’s Breakfast: Secret Ingredient Cornbread Squares from Cleo Coyle


On most mornings, my breakfast table
is also my writer's work table.


So the comments on this blog have made it ginormously clear: some of you like your cornbread sweet and some of you think it makes about as much sense as adding garlic to fudge. :)

Certainly, if you’re baking up cornbread as a side dish for a hearty lunch or dinner, then jalapeños and corn kernels are delicious additions and putting sugar in such a mix would be oh-so wrong. But…

For me, well...cornbread is a breakfast food, especially here in New York City, where a toasted corn muffin has been a classic morning deli order for decades. That's why my cornbread is on the sweet side, and I treat it more like a coffee-break cake. 

If you’re no fan of dry, grainy cornbread, this may be the recipe for you (with or without the sugar). The crumb is tender and tasty (more cake-like). The sour cream is my secret, along with my (subjectively favorite) ratio of flour to cornmeal. I often cut the fat and calories by using low fat milk and sour cream; and I sometimes increase the fiber and nutrition by using white whole wheat flour (more on that below).

Are Oranges Safe? Yes! No worries…

This is a peak time for California and Florida oranges. They're a great source of vitamins and with winter taxing our systems, they’re also a good immune booster so don’t pass on them because of that recent issue with some brands of orange juice. 


In a nutshell, orange juice products made from Brazilian oranges are being inspected for a health issue: Brazilian farmers were using a fungicide on their oranges that was not approved for use on foods in the US. There is no recall, and it has nothing to do with oranges grown in the United States. You can read more about the orange juice story by clicking here.

To read about the harvesting seasons for (and varieties of) our California and Florida oranges, click here and here, and eat US-grown oranges with joy!


A note on white whole wheat flour…

What is it? A lighter type of whole wheat flour that gives you the fiber and nutritional benefits of whole grain but with a taste and texture closer to white flour. You can substitute white whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio. While this won’t work in an angel food cake or puff pastry, you can get good results using it in cookies, muffins, brownies, quick breads, and yeast breads. Learn more from King Arthur flour by clicking here




Cleo Coyle, sweet on
cornbread, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
CLEO COYLE’S
BREAKFAST CORNBREAD

This sweet cornbread is delicious plain, slathered with butter, or even drizzled with the orange blossom honey. And speaking of a slight note of citrus, here’s a second secret to something amazing…

With a bounty of California and Florida oranges cheering up our winter produce aisles (as I mentioned above, this is a peak time to go orange!), I’ve started adding a little orange zest to my morning cornbread. The light orange fragrance in the warm, sweet bread starts off my winter day just right. If you’re not a fan of oranges, leave it out. But it you are, I think you’ll go Lady Ga-Ga for it.




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




Makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan of cornbread (This recipe will also work in a 7 x 11-inch pan.)



Ingredients

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1/2 cup sour cream (regular or low fat)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola (or vegetable) oil
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for more fiber and nutrition I often use
          “white whole wheat flour,” more info on this above)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
(optional) 1 tablespoon orange zest (grated orange peel, no white pith)



CLEO NOTE: I'm adding this bit of info on zesting based on a query in the comments section. If you've never "zested" an orange, lemon or lime, Chef Gordan Ramsay will show you how in the video below... 





CLEO NOTE CONTINUED... Although I do have a boxed grater similar to the one that you see in Chef Ramsay's video, I find a MICROPLANE grater/zester makes zesting citrus fruits even easier and well worth the small investment. To see the microplane tool (and/or purchase one for yourself), click here. To see me using a microplane grater in a recipe, jump to my Key Lime Coolers cookies post by clicking here.


Directions:

One bowl mixing method: First preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg, milk, sour cream, sugar, salt, and oil. 




When the mixture is well blended and the sour cream smoothly incorporated, measure in the flour and cornmeal. Evenly sprinkle over the baking powder and soda. If using, add orange zest now. 

Switching to a spoon or spatula, mix to create a lumpy batter. Do not over-mix or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your cornbread will be tough instead of tender. 



Prep an 8- or 9-inch square pan by coating
with non-stick spray (or buttering and dusting with flour). 




Pour batter into pan and 
spread into an even layer.




Bake in preheated oven
for about 25 minutes. 





When a toothpick inserted in the center 
comes out clean, remove from oven. 





Cool, cut, and... 








Eat with joy!


~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

------------------------------




To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:





The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure


Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
Mysteries
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.