Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fettuccine with Hazel Nuts, Broccoli, and Bacon #Recipe by @Leslie Karst

A friend recently gifted me with a bag of raw hazel nuts, but since I’m not a big fan of baking, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. But then I remembered how common they are in Italian cooking, and came up with this recipe, based on items that I had available in my fridge and larder. And it was delicious--a wonderful one-course meal. Definitely going to make it again. (And Sally Solari would absolutely approve!)

Note that the amounts listed below are not set in stone. Feel free to use more or less, depending how cheesy, bacony, or broccoli-y you desire your pasta to be.

Fettuccine with Hazel Nuts, Broccoli, and Bacon

(serves 4)


½ lb. (½ box) fettuccine, or other pasta of your choice

½ lb. bacon, chopped into 1” pieces

2 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces

2 T butter

1 cup raw hazelnuts, chopped

½ cup grated Parmesan (or other hard) cheese


Bring a large pot of heavily salted (1 T) water to a boil and cook the fettuccine as directed on the package.


While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a large pan over medium heat till it’s cooked through, then remove the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.


Sauté the broccoli in the bacon fat till tender, but still crispy, and starting to brown. Remove broccoli to a bowl.


Into the same pan, add the nuts and the butter, and sauté over medium heat until the nuts start to brown and become aromatic. 


Add the bacon back into the pan with the nuts and stir it in.


When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it into a colander, retaining 1 cup of the pasta water. Dump the pasta into the pan with the nuts and bacon and stir them together. 


Add the cooked broccoli to the pasta and stir (this is why you need a large pan to begin with!), heating everything over medium heat until the dish is once again hot. Add ½ cup of the pasta water and stir it in. Add more of the water if desired, until you get a creamy texture for the dish. 


Stir in the cheese, the plate it up! You can garnish the pasta with more cheese and/or chopped green onions or parsley. (See photo at top.)

Buon appetito!

 🍝 🌿 🐖

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Leslie’s website
Leslie also blogs with Chicks on the Case
Leslie on Facebook
Leslie on Twitter
Leslie on Instagram

Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:
“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


And Dying for a Taste, A Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are now available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars from Author Cleo Coyle for National #BananaBreadDay

From Cleo Coyle: Two layers of flavor and texture make these bars an outstanding treat. A soft banana cake layer floats over a rich, brownie-like base laced with chocolate chips.

It sounds complicated, yet it's very easy to make, and a perfect snack for afternoon coffee breaks or late-night noshing. These beautiful bars make a great home-baked gift for friends and family, too.

Marc and I originally published the recipe in our 13th Coffeehouse Mystery, but since today is (no kidding) National Banana Bread Day, we decided to re-bake it for ourselves—and re-share it here in the Kitchen with all of you...

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

☕ A Recipe Note from Cleo

"Lovin' from the oven" is how coffee hunter Matt Allegro described these fresh-baked squares in one of our most popular Coffeehouse Mysteries, Billionaire Blend. And Matt was right.

You'll notice we put a bit of earthy espresso powder in our chocolate bottom layer. Yes, we’re coffee lovers, but here’s the truth. You won’t taste coffee, only a more powerful note of chocolate. As bakers know, espresso powder is a way to deepen the flavor of chocolate in recipes.

These bars pair beautifully with coffee, espresso, and strong black teas. May you bake them with love and eat with joy!

~ Cleo

To download this recipe in a free
PDF document that you can print,
save or share, click here or on the
image below...

Click for the Free Recipe PDF.

☕ Cleo Coyle’s
Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars

Yield: 16 squares (one 9 inch-square pan)


2 cups mashed ripe* bananas (about 4 to 6 depending on size)
      *See my note at the end of this recipe to ripen bananas in oven

1/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup canola oil (or cold-pressed coconut oil, melt before measuring)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten with fork

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon table salt or finely ground sea salt

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Step 1—Prep oven and pan: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch-square pan with parchment paper, allowing the ends to hang over the side like handles. You’ll use those handles to easily lift the baked banana bar slab out of the pan. Coat paper lightly with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Step 2—Make batter: Combine your 2 cups of mashed bananas and sour cream with a fork. Add the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fork-whisk well (or use an electric mixer) to blend until smooth. Now add your flour and mix until a lumpy batter forms, but do not over-mix at this stage.

Step 3—Create chocolate bottom:
Remove 1 cup batter and place it into a separate bowl. Add cocoa and espresso powder, fork-whisking until the batter is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips, and (optional) chopped walnuts.

Step 4—Assemble: Spread the chocolate batter across the entire bottom of the prepared pan. Take your time, using the back of a spoon to spread the batter all the way into the corners. Be sure the layer is even. 

Now pour your remaining banana batter on top and once again use the back of a spoon to even out the layer (otherwise your bars will bake up lopsided).

Step 5—Bake: Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before transferring to a solid surface to cut into squares.


How to Ripen Bananas Fast

Place yellow bananas on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 F. for 10 minutes, turning once. Bananas will blacken. Peel right away (be careful, they’re hot!) and cool flesh in fridge before mashing.

Eat (and read) with joy!

Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us -- Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Visit our online coffeehouse here.
And follow us at these links...

Coming May 4, 2021...

Our new mystery!

Learn more or pre-order at:

Amazon * B&N 

Indiebound * BAM 

More Buy Links

"He is hardboiled in the tradition
of Philip Marlowe, and she is a genteel
Miss Marple; yet the two opposites
make an explosive combination..."

—Midwest Book Review

To learn more, visit our
Haunted Bookshop
clicking here.