Friday, May 28, 2010

You Are Cordially Invited to a Mystery Lovers Cookout (by Cleo Coyle)

Hear the sizzle of that steak? Feel the butter dribbling down your chin as you bite into your sweet corn? Smell the caramelized sugar of the toasted marshmallows?

There are few things I enjoy more than a good old-fashioned cookout. With the start of summer grilling season finally here, I decided to present to you what a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen back yard spread might look like...

I'll kick it off with throwing a couple of steaks on the barbie. But not just any steaks. Being the java lovin' author that I am, I give you a recipe that many of my readers tell me they have tried and enjoyed...

Coffee Crazy

Cleo's Coffee-Marinated Steak (Redux!)

Why I love this recipe: This easy coffee marinade imparts a wonderful, earthy character to the meat while also plumping it up, keeping it moist throughout the grilling process.

Steaks for grilling or broiling
Cold coffee
Salt (sea or Kosher)
Pepper (freshly ground)
Worcestershire sauce
Scallions or shallots
Steak dry rub

(1) Prep meat: Pound the steak out with the spike side of a meat hammer. If you don’t have a meat hammer, then put your steak in a plastic bag and pound it with a regular hammer or the back of a ladle – and then prick it all over with a fork. This starts the tenderizing process. (It also gets all kinds of frustrations out. Who needs therapy when you can pound meat?)

(2) Cover with coffee: Place your steaks in a glass or plastic container and pour enough cold coffee over them to cover. Now sprinkle in about a tablespoon of Kosher or sea salt, a dash of freshly ground pepper, and a couple of diced scallions or shallots along with a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Cover the container with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours. No longer.

(3) Grill, broil, or pan cook: Pull the steaks out of the container and discard the liquid. Do not rinse the meat. Apply a favorite dry rub. (I'll be posting a favorite coffee-rub recipe very soon. Stay tuned!) In the meantime, I'm happy to recommend a very good pre-made rub: Szeged brand Steak Rub in the cute little black metal can. (See photo.) Finally, throw your coffee-marinated steaks on a charcoal or gas grill, broil the meat in the oven, or in a pan on the stovetop. Cook time is about 12 minutes for medium-rare (140° F) and 15 minutes for medium (160° F).

(4) Rest: Remove meat from heat and allow to "rest" for 5 to 8 minutes (depending on thickness) before serving. This rest period allows the steak to re-collect its juices. If you cut into meat the moment it comes off the grill, the juices will run out and the meat will taste dry. Just tent foil over the meat to keep it warm and...Eat with joy!

Okay, so we've got the meat course for our cookout menu. Now what else are we going to eat? How about some garlic bread made right on the grill? Oh, yes! And some homemade basil butter for the steak and corn on the cob...

Domestic Diva

You can get both of these delectable recipes from Krista Davis, author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries. Just click here.

But I think we need a few more side dishes, don't you? How about those "Southern Sides in a Snap" that Delicious and Suspicious author Riley Adams whipped us for us not too long ago?
Riley (aka Elizabeth)
Delicious and Suspicious

 To get Riley's recipes for easy corn pudding, garlic cheese grits, and crock pot mac 'n' cheese, click here.

So what about our vegetarian guests? Or those of us who want to enjoy the fresh taste of spring veggies, maybe with a glass of chilled wine?

Say Cheese!
I know who can help us here: Avery Aames, author of The Long Quiche Goodbye with a recipe for asparagus and zucchini quiche. Get Avery's springtime perfect recipe by clicking here.

What else do we need to get this party started? How about a couple of sweet, tart, refreshing and relaxing Raspberry Lemon Drop martinis?

Grace Under Pressure

Julie Hyzy, author of Grace Under Pressure, brought us this amazing recipe that should get everyone in the “spirit” of enjoying the start of summer. Click here to get Julie’s recipe.

Finally, we need an amazing dessert. How about a “cupcake for grown ups,” one with the cool flavors of sweet mint, frosty lime, and island rum?

Cool cupcake expert
For this, we’ll turn to our cupcake maven, Jenn McKinlay, author of Sprinkle with Murder. Not long ago, Jenn shared her recipe for Mojito Cupcakes. Click here to get the scoop on this inventive treat.

Well, that about does it for today's menu. And you want to know the best part? There are many more possibilities in our right column. Just scroll down and you’ll see our recipes tagged by descriptive names: appetizers, vegetables, barbecue, desserts, you name it! We hope they’ll be of help for you this weekend – or any weekend.

There's plenty of strife in the world right now. Cooking a special meal may seem like a small thing, but cooking with love for those you love may just be the remedy for staying sane in this crazy world.

Have a Happy
Memorial Day weekend,

Eat with joy!

~Cleo Coyle
author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

For even more recipe ideas or to find out about the books in my nationally bestselling Coffeehouse Mystery series, visit me at my official website:

August 2010
Roast Mortem
by Cleo Coyle


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Have you entered
Julie's May Contest?

You may have noticed that Julie's been running a pre-order contest for her new book, Grace Under Pressure. Well, guess what? The books are starting to be available *already* - got them into readers' hands last week and her friends have spotted them at Borders brick-and-mortar stores. So the contest below is not only a pre-order, it's a current-order contest! Hope you take a moment to check it out:

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series,
Grace Under Pressure (starred review in Publishers Weekly!), debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Purchase Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here
- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!)
- Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore)

And don't forget to check out Avery's website: Avery Aames for fun stuff, tidbits, and upcoming contests. Only six weeks to the launch of The Long Quiche Goodbye.


  1. Great post, Cleo! And not just because you mentioned my mojito cupcake (love that one) but because you made me realize we could throw a heck of a cook out party in "the kitchen". Here's hoping you all enjoy a relaxing long weekend with loved ones and lots of yummy food!

  2. Oh boy, steaks, BBQ and booze! And Julie, come to this link to see your book in paradise... they have three copies (actually, only 2 now, I bought one). IS that enough for you to come down for a booksigning???

  3. Coffee? Really? How clever. I must try this.

  4. Such a fun post, Cleo! I've been itching to get out and barbecue, too, and you've now inspired me to get my butt in gear! Thanks for the mention -- I've made Krista's bread on the grill, btw, and it was a major hit.

    Everybody - check out the link Dave posted ... that is one cool and quaint bookstore. Thanks so much for picking up GRACE, too! What a guy! But does this mean I should hope for rain out there? *grin*


  5. I'm so excited about coffee marinated steak! Yum. And look...we're all part of the party today! We could have one heck of a Memorial Day cookout! Thanks Cleo!

  6. Yum -- of course, we haven't bought our grill yet. Outdoor season here is dreadfully short, I fear. We had snow last week. But we have a brand new fridge--those drinks look good.

  7. Great post. This is a cookout as only the ladies of MLK could have - great food and wonderful company. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend.

    Thoughts in Progress

  8. What a terrific post, Cleo. You made a meal from all our recipes! Yum! Can't wait for Monday. But I guess we could do a cookout any day of the week, right? ~Avery

  9. Snow? Terry! Say it isn't so!

    How nice to see all out recipes set up for a great cookout! One more side dish coming tomorrow. : )

    ~ Krista

  10. What time would you like me? (And, hey, you forgot to leave directions.)

  11. Love the post and the great food being offered at MLK's bbq. Have a great weekend!

  12. What a great *virtual* cookout! Thanks for coming, everyone! :)

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter