Friday, February 28, 2020

Easy Jambalaya

Maddie Day here. I would never pretend to be from Louisiana, but I know comfort food when I eat it. And since Mardi Gras just ended, I wanted to share this yummy - and easy - recipe for jambalaya.

Easy Jambalaya

One onion, diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow (or red) pepper, seeded and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 13-ounce andouille sausage, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
8 ounces frozen okra
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about five minutes.

Stir in sausage, garlic, oregano and thyme, and tomato paste, and cook until fragrant, about another minute.

Stir in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, rice, and okra. 

Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about twenty minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, three to five minutes. Stir in green onions and parsley before serving.

Serve with a salad and a glass of wine and enjoy!

Readers: Do you have a favorite food from the south?

My next book is Murder at the Taffy Shop, which comes out March 31 in an exclusive paperback deal from Barnes & Noble and is the second Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery. 

I hope you'll visit my alter-ego Edith Maxwell and me on our web site, sign up for our monthly newsletter, visit us on social media, and check out all our books and short stories.

Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell) is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha-nominated and bestselling author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau north of Boston, where she’s currently working on her next mystery when she isn’t cooking up something delectable in the kitchen.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, recipe from Essie Lang

I needed a slow cooker recipe that would allow me free time before my guests arrived. I find slow cookers can be great for that. And, it had to be chicken, due to food restrictions of one of the guests. So, I was flipping through The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone and decided, this was the one. The prep work seemed easy enough and not overly time-consuming and better still, it sounded absolutely delicious. And it was!

I made a few tweaks and cut the amounts in half for starters and what I made was ideal for a dinner for three. I added Basmati rice and broccoli to round out the meal.

 The aroma was wonderful and enticed the others as soon as they arrived.

This is what I used:

1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 garlic close, finely chopped
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced ginger (because I didn't have any ground ginger on hand)
1 c. chicken broth
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c. dried apricot halves
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. roasted slice almonds
chopped fresh basil

What to do:

1.  Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic, cooking for about 10 min. or  until onions are golden.
2.  Mix in spices and floor, cooking for 1 minute.
3. Add the broth, whisking it in along with the honey and lemon juice. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened and then add the apricots.
4.  Add half the mixture to the bottom of the slow cooker; top with the chicken, overlapping as needed; and add the remaining sauce.
5.  Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until chicken is done.
6.  Serve, topped with almonds and basil.


Exciting News:
Just a couple of weeks until
is out - March 10, 2020

  The first in the Castle Bookshop Mysteries is available in hardcover, e-book, and audio! And, now, also in trade paperback!

  Dine out with the DINNER CLUB MYSTERIES

Here's a taste of the reviews for Marinating in Murder, #3:     

Wiken’s third entry to the Dinner Club series is a clever twist on the classic whodunit… The book will have you guessing until the very end…. All in all, an intriguing read by Wiken.” – RT Reviews

"Foodies will love this book and this series. Great recipes are included as well....A fun romp of intrigue filled with foodie fun." -- Open Book Society

Writing as Erika Chase -- the Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery series are available on-line or at your favorite bookstore.

Visit Linda at
Love to hear from you at my Facebook author page and
on Twitter  @LWiken  
Check me out at

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Lemon Citrus Shortbread Cookies by @EllieAlexander

The first signs of spring are starting to appear here in the Pacific Northwest as the light lingers later into the evening and buds begin to burst on the cherry trees. I’m so tempted to start planting spring flowers and move my lemon tree back outside. But, I know all too well that spring can be a fickle beast. It’s just as likely to snow next weekend, so for the short term I’m settling with a touch of spring in my kitchen. These Lemon Citrus Shortbread Cookies are light, buttery, with a lovely lemon and orange zest. They’re quick and easy to bake with just a few ingredients. While you wait for spring wherever you are, might I suggest baking up a batch of these delights to tide you over.
~Happy baking!

Lemon Citrus Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
3 cups flour
Turbinado sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter in a mixer until pale yellow and fluffy.

Add in powdered sugar, lemon and orange juices and zest. Mix until well combined.

Slowly add in flour, one cup at a time. Form dough into ball. Dust a cutting board with flour and roll dough out until 1/8 inch thick.

Cut out round shapes—or your favorite spring shapes. Arrange cookies on a parchment-lined baking tray.

Dust with Turbinado sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Coming this June the 11th book in the Bakeshop Mysteries, Nothing Bundt Trouble!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Cleo Coyle's Ancient Grain #PancakeDay + Giveaway News #glutenfree #dairyfree #sugarfree

Because today is Mardi Gras (aka "Pancake Day"), I'm delighted to share my "ancient grain" pancake recipe with you below. 

And what grain is that? 

Despite its name, the ancient grain of buckwheat is not any kind of wheat. This healthy grain comes from a fruit seed via a plant that's related to rhubarb, which makes it naturally gluten-free. Japanese cooks use this grain to make their healthful soba noodles. And because buckwheat is a good source of protein, calcium, and minerals, as well as fiber, you can actually feel good about this classic Fat Tuesday indulgence...

A Recipe Note from Cleo

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

When I bite into a buckwheat hot cake, I always feel as if I've been transported to a log cabin in the wintry woods. My husband and I grew up on them, and we both enjoy its nutty, hearty flavor.  My pancake recipe below carries a subtle buckwheat flavor. If you'd like a stronger flavor simply increase the amount of buckwheat while decreasing the same amount of the white (or gluten-free brown rice) flour. There are plenty of other ways to experiment with my basic recipe, and below are options for gluten-free and dairy-free versions, as well. These are also in the downloadable, PDF of my recipe...

How to make this recipe:

*Dairy-Free: Replace the butter in the ingredient list with canola oil or coconut oil and replace the cow's milk with almond milk or another nut milk. Buckwheat adds a nutty flavor to the pancake, and a nut milk will pair nicely with that flavor.

*Gluten-Free: Replace the all-purpose flour in the ingredient list with brown rice flour. Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch or potato starch to the recipe. Make sure your other ingredients are gluten free, including the baking powder and vanilla.

To download this recipe in a 
free PDF document you can 

Above are two examples of buckwheat flour. I can recommend both.
On the left is the Hodgson Mill buckwheat flour and on the right
is Bob's Red Mill brand. Look for buckwheat flour in the baking
section of your store. If they don't carry it there, try the
"health food" section. You can buy it online, as well.

☕ Cleo Coyle's (Ancient Grain)
Buckwheat Pancakes

Yields 5 pancakes about 5-inches in diameter


2 eggs

2 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled (or canola or coconut oil)

3/4 cups whole or low fat cow’s milk *OR almond or other nut milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons either white, granulated sugar *OR the equivalent of your favorite sugar-substitute

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or a pinch of table salt)

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

3/4 cups either all-purpose white flour *OR for gluten-free eaters, use the same amount of brown rice flour + 1 T. corn starch or potato starch.

Click here to see or
buy this bestselling
sugar-free syrup.

For sugar-free version, be sure to use sugar-free maple syrup. Click here to see or buy one of the bestselling sugar-free syrups on Amazon.


Step 1 - One bowl mixing method: Break eggs into the bowl and whisk. Add the melted and cooled butter (or oil), milk, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk well, until smooth and the baking powder is fully incorporated. Measure in the buckwheat and either white flour or (for the gluten-free version) brown rice flour. If making the gluten-free recipe, add 1 T. corn starch or potato starch now.

Stir until all flours are incorporated and consider thickness. Depending on your climate and the weather, the batter may be too thick at this point. If so, add a bit more milk (I usually add 1 more tablespoon). Stir and continue to adjust until the batter is pourable but still thick. Do not make the batter too thin or the pancakes won’t have enough structure and substance. (See my photo below...)

Step 2 – Cooking the perfect pancake: If your pancakes are too small and thin, they'll be crusty and tough instead of fluffy and tender. If too big and thick, they won't cook through. Here's what I do to get the perfect pancake. This method will help you keep each pancake a consistent size, as well...

(a) Pre-heat: Pre-heat a nonstick griddle or skillet. If you have a good quality nonstick griddle or pan (and there is absolutely no residue on the surface), you will see prettier results without using grease. Butter, cooking spray, and oil all produce mottled surfaces on your pancakes. If you have an older pan or it does not have a nonstick surface, lightly grease with butter, oil, or spray.

(b) Pour: Using a measuring cup, pour ¼ cup of batter onto pre-heated griddle (do not try to get every drop of batter out of the cup, this is a quick pour and some of the batter will remain stuck to the sides of the cup, that's okay). Immediately pour ¼ cup more right on top of the first pour. The pancake batter should spread into a perfect circle, about five inches in diameter. 

(c) Flip and finish: When you see bubbles begin to form on pancake’s top, it’s ready to flip. Carefully slip your spatula under the pancake and gently flip it over. Cook on the other side and serve.

Culinary pairing note: These pancakes are fantastic with blackberries. The two flavors together are out of this world!

P.S. This ancient grain also makes a nice addition to muffins and quick breads. Try substituting 25% to 50% of the standard all-purpose flour in your recipes for buckwheat flour. It's great way to add fiber, nutrition, as well as a slightly nutty, earthy complexity to your baked goods.

Eat (and read) with joy!   

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries &
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

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

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