Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Blueberry Buttermilk Firehall Pancakes + 4 Instant Giveaways!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment
on Sunday (on this post or on my
Facebook page)




LSU Reader won the"Gimme Coffee" Latte Cup.   
Pattie T of Pattie Tierney Designs: Wearable Literary Art
won a pound of Cops Coffee  
Dana Ford Halicki won the Firehouse Cookbook.   
Mickie Vee won the signed copy of my new  
Coffeehouse Mystery:
Roast Mortem,

releasing this week in hardcover from Berkley!


Sunday is usually our "guest" blogger day.
We six *mystery writing* cooks take turns inviting guest authors to tell us (and you) about their upcoming releases. But with my new Coffeehouse Mystery releasing this week, I decided to be my own
guest and tell you about this very special entry
in my ongoing series...

Cleo Coyle , New York City 2010. Yes, that's
an FDNY ladder truck behind me. :-)

To find out more about me
and my series of national bestselling
mysteries, click here and jump to
the"About the Coffeehouse Mysteries"
page at my website.
For newcomers to this blog, my name is Alice Alfonsi, and I write mysteries as Cleo Coyle in collaboration with my husband, Marc Cerasini. 

Marc and I have been living and working in New York City for over twenty years. Our Coffeehouse Mysteries—a unique blend of crime, romance, humor, and action—are set here, too, around a landmark Greenwich Village coffee shop called the Village Blend.

Through eight books now, our quirky town has fueled us with strange-but-true ideas for characters and plotlines from criminal to culinary. For the ninth entry in our series, we drew inspiration from yet another local source: New York’s Bravest.

FDNY Firefighters 2010. Photo by
Alice Alfonsi who writes as Cleo Coyle.

It's hard not to admire New York firefighters (and I’m not even going to flash you with the annual hunks in hardhats calendar). Oh, sure, they can be as cranky and crazy as the rest of us. After all, most of them actually like running into burning buildings. But I think of them more as knights in bunker gear.

Every day, these men and women beat back a new fire monster, rescuing citizens from the jaws of its wreckage. Their firehouses look like castle strongholds. Even their symbol is a knightly one—the Maltese Cross. “Every firefighter works in courage,” states the FDNY, “a ladder rung away from death, willing to lay down his life for you.”

FDNY Maltese Cross. Photo by Alice Alfonsi
who writes as Cleo Coyle

Now that’s the stuff of heroes and (crazy or not) heroes inspire writers. In fact, the very idea of running into a burning building to save an innocent victim struck me as the perfect analogy for what Clare Cosi does in our Coffeehouse Mysteries.

A divorced single-mom in her forties, Clare is a coffee shop manager by day, an irrepressible snoop by night. When something is wrong, she considers it her mission to right it—and arson that leads to murder is as wrong as it gets.

“Coyle's strong 9th Coffeehouse
Mystery pays tribute to
New York City firefighters.”
~ Publishers Weekly

At the start of Roast Mortem, an unknown arsonist begins torching cafés around the city. When an FDNY ladder company comes to the rescue of Clare and her co-workers, she returns the favor by rescuing these fearless few from some seriously bad coffee. Then her new firemen friends begin dying in suspicious ways, and Clare finds reason to believe their deaths are connected to the “Coffee Shop Arsonist.” Unfortunately, an overly-flirtatious member of the FDNY stands in her way. This strapping captain clearly has something to hide. But as Clare starts to dig deeper, someone threatens to extinguish her.

If you’ve never read a Coffeehouse Mystery, don’t let that stop you from picking up Roast Mortem. You can certainly enjoy it as a stand-alone novel. If you’ve been a fan of the series, this is one you won’t want to miss because this is more than just another murder mystery for Clare Cosi. The events of the story trigger highly personal consequences that keep her reeling until the very end.


Like my previous Coffeehouse Mysteries, Roast Mortem has a culinary theme and includes delicious recipes of foods mentioned in the story. CLICK HERE to get a sneak peek at the book’s recipe section, partly inspired by some firehouse kitchen favorites.

And speaking of firehouse kitchens, the recipe below was supposed to go into Roast Mortem, but I ran out of room! I'm very happy to share this bonus recipe with you now...

Cleo Coyle's
Blueberry Buttermilk

Firehall Pancakes

To download these recipes for free
and print, save, or share, click here  

Ever since I was a little girl, growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I've associated firefighters with pancakes. Why? Unlike New York with its full-time professional department of over 11,000 firefighters (the largest fire department in the United States), my little hometown had a volunteer service.

One of the ways we raised money for them was attending their periodic Firehall Pancake Breakfasts. (They had Fish Fries, too, but it's WAY to hot to fry fish in NYC at the moment. Check back for my Beer Batter Firehall Fried Fish recipe after the fall weather hits!)

Now that my hometown is NYC, I'm trying to help the firefighters in other ways. One of them is giving away copies of this Firehouse Cookbook, which benefits the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund, a charity established in the name of a decorated member of the FDNY who lost his life while rescuing victims on 9/11. There are some fantastic recipes in this cookbook and the proceeds go toward helping the Fund. If you'd like to learn more or purchase one for youself, just click here (or on the book cover above). Otherwise, make sure you leave a comment so you'll be entered to win this cookbook today! Now for the recipe...

To start,
you will need
to turn this...

Into this...

By making

Cleo Coyle's
Fresh Blueberry Syrup

Yields: 2 cups of amazingly delicious syrup

2 pints blueberries (pictured above)
1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and lightly stir until all sugar is dissolved. Allow to stand 30 mintues to an hour. Transfer everything to a saucepan (ideally your pan will have a non-stick surface). Be sure to include all excess liquid that accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. Heat the blueberry mixture to boiling then reduce heat a bit and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. The mixture will thicken and darken (see photo above). Remove from heat and serve immediately over pancakes, ice cream, slices of angel food or pound cake. To store, allow to come to room temperature then pour into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Now we're
going to
make these...

Cleo Coyle's Favorite
Buttermilk Pancakes

Yields: 12 pancakes (about 5 inches in diameter)

4 Tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)
+ 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (measure after sifting)
3 Tablespoons white, granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder


Step 1 - Make Batter: Melt the butter and set aside to cool a bit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk (or regular milk with lemon added). Add sifted flour (be sure to measure after sifting or you'll have too much), sugar, salt, baking powder, and finally the melted butter. As you stir together the ingredients, consider the thickness of the batter.

Step 2 - Adjust Thickness: If you like thick, heavy pancakes, you're good to go. I prefer to add in that additional 1/4 cup of buttermilk at this point. (The pancakes you see pictured were made with 1-3/4 cups buttermilk.) Depending on your climate, you may need to add even more buttermilk to get the batter to your desired thickness (or thinness). Note, however, do not over-mix or you'll produce gluten and your pancakes will be tough instead of tender.

Step 3 - Ladle, Flip, and Serve: You can either make the pancakes immediately or allow the batter to sit in the refrigerator (and hydrate) for 30 minutes to an hour. Ladle batter onto a pre-heated, non-stick griddle or skillet. For best results, do not grease. (TIP: If you have a good quality, non-stick griddle or skillet, one that conducts heat evenly, you should get prettier pancake results without the grease. Butter, cooking spray, and oil will all produce mottled surfaces on your cakes.) When the tops begin to bubble, flip. Serve with butter and syrup.

Click this photo to get
recipe for "Pourable
Candy" Strawberry Syrup


See my blueberry sryup recipe above or (if you missed it) give these a try with my homemade strawberry syrup (the recipe is extremely easy, incredibly delicious, and makes great use of your overripe berries). CLICK HERE!


Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle


To learn more about 
Cleo's mysteries
 click here  or on the book cover.


Sign up for Cleo's free E-Newsletter by sending an
e-mail to that says
"Sign me up"
and you will be entered in all of Cleo's weekly
free coffee drawings, in which she gives away a free package
of her latest Coffee Pick. More info at Cleo's
Web site.

Congrats to the winners of my Sunday giveaway. Check my web site over the next few weeks for more chances to win great prizes in celebration of the release of my new Coffeehouse Mystery: ROAST MORTEM!

To download these recipes for free
and print, save, or share, click here