Showing posts with label salads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salads. Show all posts

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Spicy black bean salad with lime and cilantro #recipe #mystery #giveaway @AbbottMysteries

What is more refreshing than lime and cilantro? And they both go so well with black beans. If you know us, you know that we love our bean salads. They are especially good if you are trying to bring down the carbs and also great if you’re going gluten-free.  If you just want to increase the proportion of veggies to ‘other’ then they are for you. Plus, like the gift that keeps on giving, they are better the next day. Most of our bean or lentil salads are savory, but the lime and cilantro give this one an exotic taste, that is ramped up by the seasonings.   

I wanted it as a side for our annual writers get together at Lake of Bays, Ontario. I tested it at home and DH and I both loved it. At the writers’ get together, Linda and I were a team for dinner. Because of the lime and cilantro, this went well with the chicken skewers and peanut sauce.  I’ll post the chicken skewers and peanut sauce recipe in two weeks! Wait for it.  

 This black bean salad is very pretty and everyone liked it, although I did forget the avocado on day one.  I added that the second day for lunch and and one more ingredient.   It was a hit both days.

All in all, we find this recipe to be a keeper. I think you can mix and match veggies as long as you keep to the essential lime and cilantro ingredients.  Giveaway alert:  we’ll have a draw for a copy of The Hammett Hex (or substitute). All you have to do is spot the new ingredient in the second version and mention in a comment.  Get your detective chefs hats on and good luck!

All you need for Spicy Black Bean Salad with Lime and Cilantro

      1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
      1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
      2 green onions, sliced (white and green)
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons sugar ( I usually use Splenda)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice from 3 1/2 limes
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus some for garnish
1 ripe avocado chopped

All you do is:

Rinse and drain beans.

Dice peppers, We're just showing the yellow here.

Seed and chop tomato.

Slice green onions.

Chop cilantro.  Not sure where that photo went!

Combine all veggies except for avocado in a large bowl and mix well. 

In a pitcher, combine oil, limes zest and juice, salt, sugar and Sriracha.  

 Please notice the size of Sriracha I had to buy to get the one tsp.  The avocado will give you a sense of proportion.  Have since found smaller containers, but you can expect to find Sriracha as an ingredient in many recipes to come.

Mix dressing into salad.  Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Right before serving, chop avocado, add to salad and fold gently, being careful not to squish the avocado..  Serve the salad at room temperature.

With the chicken and Linda's great veggie dish (coming soon!), it was a hit.  

Any suggestions for how to change this up (as they say).  You can see what I did, but what would you add or subtract from it?  

Here it is on day two, with an addition and the avocado.

Happy eating everyone!

Mystery Lovers Kitchen is celebrating it’s
7th anniversary!

7 years of recipes, books, and loads of fun.
As we begin our 8th year of the blog,
help us celebrate by entering our photo contest.
5 people will win a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag
and the 9 mysteries shown below - one from each of us!
Don't delay, enter today!

Photo of prize

Here's how it goes:

1. Take a picture of any one OR MORE of our books (does not have to be one shown above) in the following categories:
a) with a cat
b) with a dog
c) having summer fun
d) in a library
e) in a bookstore

Whose books?

Why the 9 Mystery Lovers Kitchen authors, of course.

Krista Davis * Cleo Coyle *  Leslie Budewitz  
Daryl Wood Gerber * Lucy Burdette * Linda Wiken  
Sheila Connolly * Peg Cochran* Victoria Abbott what you gotta do! There's a sweet prize at stake.

2. Submit your picture below.
Submission period ends midnight July 25th.

3. Share your entry (on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or else-wise,
we'll be flexible). 

We'll choose one winner in each category!

5 chances to win! Good luck!

In case you don't know, Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between  me, Mary Jane Maffini, and my daughter Victoria. Together we write the book collector mysteries.   We think that reading them is like taking a lovely trip to a mysterious place where books are everything and, yes, murder happens and great meals are served and some relatives are not to be trusted. Of course, justice prevails in the end and books are loved.


We like to think our book collector mysteries are fun, easy to read and surprising too. All five titles are available in print, e-book and audio format. Don't miss out.  You can get to meet Peachy (posing below) aka Walter the Pug.  Watch out for the Siamese cats - one is good and one will get you!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Orange Marmalade Salad Dressing #Recipe @Peg Cochran

Like many people, you have probably vowed to eat more leafy greens in the new year.  They're so good for you, right?  And salads are a great way of getting your daily dose.  But sometimes you get tired of the same old, same old.  This dressing is a delicious twist on the usual vinegar and oil.  Frankly, I'm a bit of a salad dressing snob having grown up with homemade vinaigrette, so I'm not a huge fan of bottled dressing.  Things can get a little dull after while, but this dressing really perks things up.

I like to add dried cherries or cranberries to the salad along with mandarin oranges or clementine sections, both of which pair nicely with this dressing.  If you don't have a nut allergy, a handful of chopped pecans would also taste good. 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 TBLS orange marmalade
2 TBLS balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
pepper to taste

Shake in a closed jar or whisk in a bowl until blended. Any leftover dressing can be saved for another day. 

Gather your ingredients

Measure your ingredients and put in a bowl or jar

Whisk ingredients until emulsified and well combined

I added sliced onions (red onions are especially good), dried cherries and clementines.

Bon Appetit!

 Lucille is BACK!  Out Now -- A Room with a Pew

One reviewer said: "I love this series. The characters to me are so real that I feel that I might know some of them...It's always a joy to visit with Lucille, her family and friends. This series gives 
you a laugh on practically every page."

 Coming May 2016, #2 in my Cranberry Cove Series

Now available as an audio book. #1 in my Cranberry Cove Series

Saturday, August 22, 2015

SMOKED CORN SALAD #recipe #bookgiveaway from author @abbottmysteries


It’s corn season here in Ontario and we’re picking it up almost every day and loving it.  Here's our neighbor, Anne, at the corn stand on the corner. How's that for friendly convenience?

 We often eat corn on the cob, but we love to change it up with salads.  All you need to do is cook three extra and you’ve got the main ingredient.  This year’s version is grilled on our smoker, but you can get that same smoky taste with a handful of hardwood chips.

Soak your corn for about thirty minutes.  We took out the silk and tied the ends of the husks with tinfoil.  

To cook the corn:  Prepare your barbecue/grill and add about ½ cups of hardwood chips. Follow the directions on your package of hardwood chips.

Remove the corn silk and husks if you want or leave the husks on.  This time we left the husks on, but in the past we have grilled without them.  This gives a smokier taste and a nice charred look. Try it both ways.


All you need is:

3 ears of fresh corn, smoked and shucked
3 green onions, sliced thin, green and white part ( or 1/3 finely chopped red onion)
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can of black beans, well-rinsed
3 – 4 tablespoons, chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons green chillies (about half a small can) or substitute your favorite spicier pepper. Live dangerously, if you dare
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of two limes  (we like it with lots of lime)
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste.
All you do is:

Scrape your corn kernels from cob. Place kernels in a bowl with the black beans and red peppers and onions. Should be looking pretty already,

Juice the limes.  We like our new stainless reamer.

Add the rest of your ingredients and toss.  

Don't forget a nice sprinkle of salt.  We like this pink Himalayan salt, a gift from our friend Barbara Fradkin who has been a guest here at MLK>

Refrigerate.  This is better the next day when the flavors have blended.


That shadowy body known as Victoria Abbott is actually us: artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother Mary Jane.  Together we write the book collector mysteries. We are very happy to announce that THE MARSH MADNESS, the fourth in the series, is now available for pre-order by clicking the links below or through your favorite source of books!

Of course, the corn isn’t the only think we’re ready to harvest!  Our fourth book collector mystery is ready to be picked on September 1st.   Today we’ll draw for a review copy.  Simply leave a comment here and your name goes in the hat.  We’ll draw on August 23rd to give you breathing space. 


Good luck!  If you win it and you've already pre-ordered, we'll arrange a substitute book.  Be lucky, friends.

We'd love it if you would friend us on Facebook where there's a lot going on.

Check us out on Pinterest: 


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jessica Conant-Park on "Leftover Failure"

Please welcome our guest blogger for today, mystery author Jessica Conant-Park. (That's Jessica in the photo below with her adorable son, Nicholas.)
Jessica is not just a great cook and foodie, she's married to a professional chef and co-authors the fantastic series of culinary-themed Gourmet Girl mysteries.

Lucky for us, the paperback edition of her latest Gourmet Girl adventure, FED UP, hits stores shelves this week! Huzzah! And her new hardcover, COOK THE BOOKS, is coming in March. And now, here's the Goumet Girl herself,
Jessica Conant-Park!

~ Cleo Coyle

The Leftovers. Blech, right? Visions of overcooked pasta, dried out casseroles, soggy salad, and congealed fish dancing in your head? Yeah, me, too. Usually. Unless it’s a hearty soup that has doubled its flavor overnight (as many good soups do!), then I usually dread leftovers. But, aside from soup, I have two exceptions to this attitude: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Both days we go to my parents’ house and my mother puts together a fantastic meal with the things I’ve demanded be served. (I’m a brat.) My favorites are the main meat dish (usually a crown roast of pork or a decadent prime rib), a cheese and cream laden scalloped potato dish, her absolutely perfect green salad, a cheese course, and finally her ultra-rich chocolate sauce on vanilla ice cream. And each holiday I gorge myself silly. But even before the actual meal I am already anticipating what leftovers I’ll be bringing home. Look, there’s only so much even I can eat in one sitting, but give me a few days and I can really pack it in.

So the meat dish, the potatoes, and the expensive sampling of cheeses are all perfectly delicious treats for the few days after the holiday. I just don’t run around paying a small fortune for delicacies throughout the year and so, believe me, I take advantage of free food when I can get it. The joys of being an only (gluttonous) child.

I will admit in the privacy of this blog that I had a particularly selfish moment this season when it was unclear if three of our guests would be joining us at Christmas dinner… and my first thought was, More leftovers! That’s awful. I know that. I’m a terrible person and I’ll work on being less vile in 2010.

But as apparent punishment for my greedy thoughts, my anxiety about remembering to take my fair share of leftovers seemed to have depleted some of my brain cells, because I screwed up at Thanksgiving. And at Christmas. Big time.

I spent the day after Thanksgiving salivating at the thought of reheating the pork roast and the gooey potatoes for dinner. The way the cheesy potatoes’ sauce would run across the plate and coat the meat…. Ahhhh, it would be bliss! But as I began rooting through the fridge, I could not find the meat. I found side dishes, and chocolate sauce, and the potatoes…. But no meat. I swear that I had heart palpitations as I called my husband at work, hoping beyond hope that he’d stashed the leftovers in some secure part of the fridge. I must be blind with hunger and not seeing what was surely right in front of me, right? No luck. I called my mother who located MY pork in HER fridge. Seriously, people, my emotional upset at this error was no laughing matter. What the heck was I supposed to have with my potatoes now? I could practically taste what I was missing, but even my hallucinating skills were not vaguely satisfying.

Okay, I resolved, this hideous leftover failure on my part will NOT happen at Christmas. But, yeah. It did. Mom had assembled a particularly noteworthy cheese selection this year. Epoisse (which is one of the smelliest, gooiest, richest cheeses out there), St. Andre (to die for!), Explorateur (another triple-cream delight), a smooth, spreadable blue, a firm goat’s milk, and a few others that I’ve blocked out because the memory is too painful. But by the time we got to the cheese course at the end of the meal, I was stuffed and didn’t eat nearly my share. No worries: there would be plenty of leftovers. I never pay that kind of money for a multitude of cheeses just to keep around my house, so this would be a treat. God, the next few days were sure to be lovely.

And you know what I did? I helped clean up the table, divided up all the goods, wrapped up little packages, and promptly forgot the cheese! All of it. Not one little hint of Epoisse for me. Again, the emotional trauma that ensued the next day was not pretty. There were the usual frantic calls to my husband and mother. And the usual tragic result.

I’ve been craving cheese since December 27th and so used New Year’s Eve as an excuse to spend an ungodly sum of money at the supermarket and throw together a meat and cheese plate. I was in a huge rush on the 31st and basically ran through the supermarket at top speed, haphazardly throwing things into my basket. I won’t tell you what I spent, but I’m not proud of myself. And the kicker is that the supermarket selection pales in comparison to what one could find at a specialty shop. Again, a rather ordinary selection was probably appropriate punishment for my selfish approach to leftovers. But our gourmet-ish plate of munchies was still lovely, although not viable competition for my mother’s.

So my New Year’s resolution for 2010 is to never again forget valuable leftovers. Never!


As I mentioned before, I’m not a fan of leftover salad. My mother, God love her, will eat a soggy nightmare the next day. But I won’t. I want fresh, crisp, perfect. I have one beautiful hand-carved salad bowl but really wanted more, so for I asked for a few for Christmas. I got two gorgeous ones: A medium sized dark one from Crate and Barrel, and a very large one from the Vermont Bowl Company.
I guarantee both are already being put to good use. (Side note: My mother-in-law wrapped the bowl she gave me just in wrapping paper, revealing it’s shape and obviously not disguising the gift. My son Nicholas thought it was very un-Christmas like of me when, on Christmas morning, I kept shouting, “I wanna open my salad bowl!”)

Here is the salad that my mother makes on a regular basis. It’s very simple but sometimes a light, uncluttered bowl is heaven. You won’t need all the dressing here, but it will keep for ages. Feel free to play around with ingredient amounts… I happen to like a really spicy dressing so I sometimes add more mustard, and I’m a mint fanatic so I also use a ton of that. But adjust as you like!

1 cup olive oil (a light/medium blend)
1 Tablespoon good quality Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 good squeeze fresh lemon juice (don’t you dare try and use that junk that comes out of a plastic lemon!)
Salt and pepper, to taste (Be generous. An under-seasoned salad is a waste.)

Mix all together and let stand at least ½ hour before using. Refrigerate leftovers.

1-2 heads Boston/Baby Bibb lettuce, thoroughly washed (unless you enjoy grit.)
¼ thinly sliced red onion
½ cup fresh tomatoes (in the winter I like grape tomatoes, cut in half)
1/3 cup good feta (Trader Joe’s carries a delicious kind that comes in a white and blue container… I forget the name, but it is wonderful.)
1 small handful chopped fresh mint
1 small handful Calamata olives

That’s it! Toss with the dressing and you’re set!


In book news, the fourth Gourmet Girl mystery, FED UP, is out in paperback on January 4th. I love this book because there is both a baby shower and wedding in it, and who doesn’t love those scenes, right? I also throw out a juicy cliffhanger at the end… But don’t worry, COOK THE BOOKS comes out in March and I promise I take care of it then.

I’m also blogging with my pal Michele Scott at Adventuresnwriting. Or rather, I occasionally blog there when I think of it. Mostly I write about stupid things like Levi Johnston’s photo shoot, Lady Gaga’s outfits, or inform the public about very insightful things my kid has said. (BTW, his most recent eye-rolling statement was that the parents from Cheaper By the Dozen “must have had a lot of sex!”) So I suppose I should resolve to blog more. I’ll work on it. And Michele is generally better behaved than I am, so we balance each other out. She and I also have a Food Fiction newsletter that we send out every few months with recipes, book news, contests, and wonderful guests. We’d love to have you sign up, so stop by our site and enter your email address in the form!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Leftover Champagne Vinaigrette

This post was named
a Foodbuzz Top 9 Pick.
Thank you, Foodbuzz!
~Cleo Coyle

Got Leftover Champagne?Waste not, I say…

So the countdown is toast, the ball has dropped, and the last of the champagne has gone flat. You know the stuff I’m talking about, the dregs in that bottle sitting in your fridge.

Well, for heaven’s sake, don’t pour that sad, fizzless liquid down the drain. Do what I do every New Year’s week. Use it to make champagne vinaigrette.

Yes, I know, champagne vinaigrette is typically made with champagne vinegar, but my version is a nice alternative for frugality and fun. My vinaigrette is light, bright, refreshing, and the delicate flavor of champagne comes through very nicely, too.

A fresh salad is also an especially intelligent way to start off the New Year. Why? Lettuce is mostly water and hydrating will help set your body right after an evening imbimbing to excess (aka attempting to pickle yourself).

My amateur sleuth, Clare Cosi, actually received this same advice from her
ex-husband, Matt, a guy highly skilled
in the art of party survival.
To learn more about my mysteries,
click here or on the book cover.

Got a hangover? My in-house editor Mr. Fellows says:
"Drink lots of water. Hydrate with salad. Even better, dress those crisp,
healthy, greens with a hair of the cat that bit you..."

Cleo Coyle’s Leftover
Champagne Vina

Servings: This recipe makes about 3 tablespoons of dressing, enough to dress an average salad for two people.

2 tablespoons champagne (fresh or leftover)1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon white rice vinegar (or white or cider vinegar or lemon juice)1 clove garlic sliced into big pieces (optional)
Combine all ingredients (but the garlic) in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork. Add the garlic and let stand 15 minutes (this optional step will impart a light garlic flavor). Remove all of the raw garlic. Whisk again with fork and pour dressing over your favorite salad. The salad you see pictured is one I often make: romaine lettuce and mixed greens, grape tomatoes sliced in two, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.

*CLEO'S FINAL TIPS: Oil: the oil flavor really shines through in this vinaigrette so choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Salt: sea salt and Kosher salt are much better choices than table salt for flavor. Pepper: I often use black pepper or a pepper mix for this dressing, but if you want a really nice presentation, use white pepper. Grinding it fresh always gives you better flavor. Vinegar: I like white rice vinegar for this dressing, but any white vinegar will impart that needed note of astringent brightness, which will balance the sweetness of the champagne. If you don’t have any white vinegars on hand, use lemon juice to taste. I would not recommend red or balsamic vinegar for this vinairgrette. Not only will those darker, heavier vinegars overpower the delicate champagne flavor, they will change the dressing’s color and defeat the culinary concept. (Then again, if you’re hung over, snow is piling up outside, and it’s all you’ve got on hand, go for it!)

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle
author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries

You can get more of my recipes
at my virtual home...

"Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."

National Hardcover
Mystery Bestseller

National Bestseller

Now in paperback.

Click here
or on book covers to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.

"Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle, a new addition to the coffeehouse mystery series…adds in jolts of souped-up coffee, sweet cooking…and super sleuthing to deliver a fun and gripping fa-la-la-la latte surprise."

~ The Huffington Post

Text and photos in this post are copyright (c) 2010 by Alice Alfonsi
who writes The Coffeehouse Mysteries as Cleo Coyle
with her husband, Marc Cerasini