Friday, May 27, 2022

Shrimp Quesadillas from @MaddieDayAuthor #giveaway

MADDIE DAY here with an easy and delicious recipe for you.

Shrimp Quesadillas

Note: I used flax tortillas because that's what I had in the house, but these are better with flour tortillas. I also didn't have ripe avocados for guacamole, but it's a great additional topping. You can also substitute lobster, chicken, beef, or refried beans for the shrimp.


1 pound frozen shrimp, thawed, shelled, and cut in half

Juice of ½ lime

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon powdered cumin

Olive oil

1 small onion, minced

½ red bell pepper, seeded and minced

4 flour tortillas

1 cup grated pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese

Salsa and sour cream to garnish



Mix lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and oil in a bowl. 

Add prepared shrimp and toss. Refrigerate covered until ready to cook, no more than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté onion on medium low heat in a tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add pepper and sauté until softened. Remove to plate.


Add 1 tablespoon oil and increase heat to medium high. Drain shrimp and quickly sauté until just past translucence. 

Remove to the vegetable plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil. On one half of each tortilla, place a few tablespoons (depends on the size of the tortilla) of filling, sprinkle with cheese, and fold over.

Fry two at a time, pressing down with spatula, until lightly browned on one side, then flip and fry other side. (Sorry, forgot to grab a photo of this stage! 

Enjoy with any combination of sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.

This recipe has nothing to do with Christmas, but I'd love to give away two ARC of Christmas Scarf Murder, the new novella collection that includes my "Scarfed Down!"

Readers: Do you do the Feast of Seven Fishes at Christmas? What's your favorite Mexican food?

My most recent release is Batter Off Dead, Country Store Mystery #10, out now!

My next release is Murder in a Cape Cottage, the fourth Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery.

We hope you'll visit Maddie and her Agatha Award-winning alter ego Edith Maxwell on our web site, sign up for our monthly newsletter, visit us on social media, and check our 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 Award-winning 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, May 26, 2022

Guest Author Mary Jane Maffini's Homemade Chocolate Pudding with Caramel Sauce, Toasted Hazelnuts and Whipped Cream #dessert #Italian dessert #giveaway

Today, I'm thrilled to welcome back to the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, Mary Jane Maffini. Mary Jane is sharing her homemade chocolate pudding with caramel sauce, toasted hazelnuts and whipped cream. Yum! She's also going to share information about her new book and there's a giveaway!

Hello, everyone! It feels wonderful to be able to visit you all again at Mystery Lovers Kitchen.  I’d like to add a special thank you to Valerie Burns for inviting me.  

Today, I am kicking up my heels to celebrate the launch of the sixth in my Charlotte Adams series. 

Death Plans a Perfect Trip (Charlotte Adams number 6) will take you on a mysterious and high-stakes jaunt with Charlotte and Jack through Paris, Lisbon and Northern Italy, specifically the wine country of Piedmont and the enchanting villages of Cinque Terre.  Along the way, you’ll find danger, suspense and plenty of good food.  This recipe is inspired by two staples of the beautiful Italian region of Piedmont: chocolate and hazelnuts. After all, this region is the home of Ferrero Rocher.  I enjoyed a dessert much like this in a lovely hilltop restaurant there and tried to duplicate it. I had additional inspiration from a recipe by Christine Cushing, one of my favorite cookbook authors. I promise that this knock-out dessert is well-worth every minute that you invest in it. It blew everyone’s mind when I served it. Extra bonus: I will probably make both the silky chocolate pudding and the very easy caramel sauce on their own from time to time and will continue to jazz up whipped cream with Frangelico: so three recipes in one really.

As for you: here’s a question: do you like a little travel mixed in with your mysteries? There are no right or wrong answers and I will be offering a copy of Death Plans a Perfect Trip to one lucky commenter. 

Ready, set, go!

Homemade chocolate pudding with caramel sauce, toasted hazelnuts and whipped cream



3 1/4 cups milk, divided

2 tsp. good quality vanilla

3 large or extra-large egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely

1 tbsp butter

3 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur (you could use another liqueur or different flavoring)


1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar

2/3 cup (160 ml) 35% cream


1 1/2 cups (375 ml) 35% cream

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Frangelico


1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, peeled and chopped

DIRECTIONS:  Scald the 3 cups milk in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over medium low heat with sugar.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk and cornstarch. Add the hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly and then pour back into pot.

Cook the pudding gently over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon for one to two minutes or until mixture thickens and boils. Change to a whisk towards the end of stirring to ensure a smooth cream.  Remove from heat. Whisk in the chopped chocolate, butter, vanilla and Frangelico.  

Wisk until smooth and silky. Cool if your dishes are not heatproof. Divide pudding among six ramekins, dishes or small bowls and chill, preferably for three hours.

Heat sugar in a heavy-bottom pot until caramel colour.

Remove from heat immediately and add 2/3 cup cream. Let stand for two to three minutes until bubbles subside. Cool, then set aside.
  You can make this ahead.

Whip cream until peaks begin to hold.  Add the icing sugar and Frangelico and continue to whip until smooth.  

Add toasted hazelnuts to each serving dish. 

Drizzle the top of pudding with caramel. Swirl a little whipped cream on top.  Ta dah!

Enjoy! Thanks for coming by. Hope to see many of you in the comments and on Facebook.

 Mary Jane Maffini

Lapsed librarian and former mystery bookseller Mary Jane Maffini is the award-winning author of nineteen mysteries, in three and a half series and two dozen crime shorts. Her Charlotte Adams professional organizer mysteries have recently been optioned for television. The series has been reissued by Beyond the Page Publishing and the sixth has just been released.


MJ’s Camilla MacPhee mysteries are set in Ottawa and her Fiona Silk capers take place in a quirky village in West Quebec. As Victoria Abbott, she collaborated on the five collector mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime) with her daughter, Victoria.  Book Four, The Marsh Madness, won the 2015 Bony Blithe for mysteries that make us smile.

 MJ lives, plots and cooks in Manotick, Ontario with a pair of rescued dachshunds at her feet.  Her husband sleeps with one eye open.

Looking to read Death Plans a Perfect Trip? These links might help!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Potato Pasta with Onions by @LeslieKarst


This recipe comes from the New York Times food section, but—as always—I’ve tweaked it some. A bit of a mash-up (pun intended) of gnocchi and noodles, this pasta makes for a tasty side dish for meat and veg, but would also work as a main course if you added cheese to it, or perhaps some sautéed prawns or scallops. 


Potato Pasta with Onions

(serves 4 as a side dish)


1 large or 2 small baking potatoes

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons salt, divided (plus more for pot)

¾ to 1 cup flour, plus more for rolling out

1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup panko or bread crumbs

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped



Peel the potatoes, quarter them, and place in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until a fork goes easily into them, 10-15 minutes. Drain, then put the potatoes back on the stove over medium heat until they dry out, and no water remains in the pan. 


Remove from heat and mash potatoes until smooth in a large bowl. Let cool till lukewarm, then stir in the beaten egg and 1 teaspoon of salt. 


Mix in ½ cup of the flour, then continue adding flour until it forms a soft dough that’s not sticky. (You may need more than 1 cup of flour, depending on the size of your potatoes, the humidity, and other changeable elements). 



Sprinkle more flour on a cutting board and knead the dough for a minute or two, adding more flour to the board as needed to keep it from sticking. Pat the dough into a rectangle or square about ¼ inch thick. Slice the dough into ¼ inch wide strips, then cut into 1-inch long pieces. 


Place the sliced onion and remaining teaspoon of salt in a large, heavy skillet, then cover and steam over a low heat until tender and just starting to brown. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the onions, along with the chopped oregano, and sauté over medium heat until the butter melts. Set aside.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then drop the pasta pieces into the water. Cook over medium heat until all the pieces rise to the top, about 3 minutes, then drain. 


Reheat the onions if necessary, then add the pasta, the rest of the butter, and the panko, and toss gently. Garnish with more oregano or chopped parsley. 


🍃  🐓  🍜  

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


THE FRAGRANCE OF DEATH, coming Aug. 2, 2022, 

is now available for pre-order!



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 five Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are also available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Battling "Senior Moments" with Berries by author @CleoCoyle

That Senior Moment

(A Play in One Act)

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here.

Cleo walks into room. Stops. Stares.

Cleo: Why did I come in here?

Husband: (Glances up from his phone screen.) You're asking me?

Cleo: I can't remember.

Husband: Animal, vegetable, or mineral?

Cleo: I think I wanted to tell you something?

Husband: Are you asking me or telling me?

Cleo: I wanted to tell you something. I can't remember.

Husband: Time to eat some berries.

Cleo: That's it! My idea for today's post!

And here it is: 

The Annals of Neurology published the results of a major medical study that suggested blueberries and strawberries might protect brain function in woman, including memory.

The story was big health news when it came out. Investigators found that women who had the highest intake of blueberries (more than 1/2 cup a week) and strawberries (more than 1 cup a week), delayed mental aging by as much as 2.5 years.

To quote Dr. Robert Graham, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York: "I would advise all my patients, at any age, to eat more berries. Berries are an easy, nutritious, and delicious way to preserve brain function."