Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Salt Pork Brine #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

It's not even spring and I'm getting in the grilling mood.

Salt brine for pork roast

½ cup kosher salt
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
3 fresh rosemary springs, plus 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 cups water
1 boneless center-cut pork loin, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar, more
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika

*I made a much smaller roast, about 1.5 pounds so I cut this recipe in half.

In a small saucepan, mix the kosher salt, brown sugar, pepper, rosemary sprigs, apricot jam, and water together. Heat for about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Set the pork in a 13 x 9 pan and pour the brine over the pork. Refrigerate and let sit for 4 hours. Turn once or twice to coat.

When ready to grill, rinse the pork, and pat with a mixture of the brown sugar and spices.

Over a medium-hot grill, cook, rotating on the grill about every 6 minutes until cooked through. About 25-35 minutes. Meat thermometer inserted in fattest portion should read 145 degrees.

*Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

*You could also cook this in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes, turning once or twice. Meat thermometer inserted in fattest portion should read 145 degrees.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Roasted Pepper and Orzo Soup

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: As I write this, in the first week of February, we are deep into Soup Weather. The forecast is for Continued Soup Weather, maybe for the rest of the month. Happily, we love soup, and I bet you do, too.

Some soups take all day, perfuming the house with the scents of bay leaf and broth. Others, happily, can be made in half an hour or less, and this is one. The original, which I’ve adapted almost beyond recognition, called for adding a few ounces of seasoned ground lamb. We love lamb, but if we’d got a few ounces hanging around, it’s probably in the form of left-overs that Mr. Right is looking forward to enjoying just as they are. If your fridge offers up a bit, though, give it a pinch of sumac or za’atar and toss it in.

Don’t know sumac or za’atar? You should. Both are Middle Eastern spices, sumac a dark red with a hint of lemon. Za’atar is a blend; we like both the dark red Syrian version and the greenish Israeli blend.

We served this with salad and Parmesan-topped toasts. Brush a few slices of baguette with olive oil, top with grated Parmesan, and broil 2-3 minutes.

Roasted Pepper and Orzo Soup

2 tablespoons pine nuts or cashews, for garnish
1 medium shallot
1 clove garlic
One 12-ounce jar water-packed roasted red peppers (sliced or whole)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or pecorino-Romano cheese
1/3 cup dried orzo
Kosher salt
½ teaspoon za'atar or ground sumac
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade
additional cheese, for garnish

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Toast pine nuts or cashews about 10 minutes. Remember that nuts will continue to brown after you remove them from the oven.

Coarsely chop the shallot and garlic. Drain the red peppers.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the shallot and garlic. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until just softened, then transfer to a blender.

In the blender jar, add the drained peppers and ½ cup broth; puree until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Return to saucepan. Add the remaining 2 cups of broth and the cheese; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then stir in the orzo and sumac or za’atar. Cook until orzo is tender, about 9-10 minutes, stirring regularly to keep it from sticking. Taste, and add salt as needed.

Just before serving, add the spinach and basil into soup; reduce heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide among individual bowls. Top with nuts and additional cheese, and serve with the toasts.

Serves 4.  

"Budewitz's finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan." --- Kirkus Reviews

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink,  available in trade paper, e-book, and audio):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

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. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

A while back I bought a new waffle maker. I found it interesting that they recommended using a buttermilk powder in all of the waffle recipes that came with the machine. I bought Cultured Buttermilk Blend by The Saco Pantry.

I often use milk combined with vinegar as a buttermilk substitute. But how would this work? The instructions said to mix the powder with water. And in another location, they said most cooks get very good results adding the powder directly to their flour and increasing the amount of liquid accordingly. Hmm.

The buttermilk powder had been sitting in my pantry waiting for me to try it.  So when I had a yen for lemon blueberry muffins, I gave it a try. To be honest, one would have to bake one batch with the powder and one without to determine if there is a difference. But I have books to write, so I just made the one batch. And it turned out great! I think I'll be using this buttermilk powder in other recipes.

If you don't have buttermilk powder, omit it and simply add 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar to the milk.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups flour
6 ounces (little flat container) fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pink sea salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 teaspoons dried lemon peel or fresh lemon zest

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup 2% milk

Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake papers into cupcake baking pan.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool in a medium bowl.

Add the flour to a large bowl. Wash the blueberries. Take one tablespoon of the flour and mix it into the blueberries (so they won't sink). To the remaining flour, add the baking powder, salt, buttermilk powder, and lemon peel and mix very well.

Pour the sugar into the cooled butter and whisk. Add the two eggs and whisk well. Pour in the lemon juice and combine with the whisk. Finally add the milk and mix. Pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture. Using a large cooking spoon, stir and turn the ingredients until they are thoroughly moistened and no clumps of flour are visible. Be careful not to over-mix! Add the blueberries and stir them in. Divide the thick batter between the 12 cups. Bake 20-22 minutes until the muffins are very lightly brown on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Lemon Sugar Glaze (optional)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix together until all sugar is dissolved. If it's too runny, add a little bit of sugar. If it's too stiff, add a little bit of lemon juice. Place muffins or rack on wax paper and pour the glaze over the muffins. To clean up, simply throw away the wax paper!

Toss blueberries with flour.

Mix all the dry ingredients.
Mix the wet ingredients. Such a pretty color!

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones.

Stir in the berries.


Coming in paperback this month!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Something Good Simmering in the Kitchen While Planning a Winter Wedding

A very warm welcome to our friend Eva Gates, whom you may also know as Vicki Delany. She has a brand new book coming out in her wonderful Lighthouse Library Mysteries. 
Don't forget to leave a comment below to enter her giveaway of a copy!

A winter wedding!
At last it’s time for the wedding of Josie O’Malley and Jake Greenblatt. Josie is the owner of Josie’s Cozy Bakery in Nags Head, North Carolina, and Jake is the head chef at Jake’s Seafood Bar, so they’re both very busy people.  They planned their wedding for winter, when it’s reasonably quiet in the Outer Banks.
Josie and Jake want a small simple wedding, a quiet celebration with close family friends. And a small, simple wedding is what librarian Lucy Richardson, the maid of honor, is determined that they will have in Something Read Something Dead, the fifth Lighthouse Library mystery from Crooked Lane Books.  
But Josie’s paternal grandmother, the imperious Gloria, a Southern matron of the old school, doesn’t do small and simple. And when she arrives with a gaggle of cousins and aunts who Josie (not at all fondly) calls the Louisiana Mafia things start getting tense. Particularly as cousin Mirabelle has just started her own wedding planning business, and she sees Josie’s wedding (and Josie’s parents’ bank account) as a way to get her name established as a specialist in high-end weddings (think yachts and yacht clubs). Lucy realizes she’s going to have to do some cunning subterfuge to distract Gloria and Mirabelle and give Josie the wedding she wants.
Fortunately, the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Reading Club is reading The Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers and Lucy is inspired to do some distraction.
Then a guest dies at the shower Lucy throws for the bride, having eaten tainted baked goods specifically prepared by Josie herself, and it’s up to Lucy, inspired by her favorite fictional detective, to save Josie from an early death-do-us-part.
This curry will not be served at the wedding (if the wedding ever takes place) but it’s perfect to have simmering in the kitchen while you read all about Lucy’s adventures in Something Read Something Dead, and the other books in the Lighthouse Library series.
Slow Cooker Squash and Lentil Curry
3 cups vegetable broth
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and drained
½ cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp chilli power
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground turmeric
Sat and pepper
1)     In the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours
2)     Serve with rice or naan

Assemble the ingredients.

Peel and chop.

Combine spices.

Add to crock pot.

Curry cooking.

Dinner time!

Visit Eva and her alter-ego Vicki Delany at
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                  Twitter: @vickidelany

Leave a comment with your email address to enter Eva/Vicki's giveaway of Something Read, Something Dead! US entries only, please.