Friday, August 5, 2011

How many mystery writers does it take to turn on the grill?

Big congratulations to two of our own

Cleo Coyle with a new Coffeehouse Mystery
Sheila Connolly with a new Orchard Mystery

What a week!

Shrimp in Coconut-Lime Glaze

In the course of this recipe, I’ll answer the age-old question: how many mystery writers does it take to turn on the grill? The answer – as I am sure you all know – is five.

Some members of the Ladies Killing Circle, thrilled by the publication of Little Treasures, their first e-collection of short stories were celebrating with food. I mean what are friends for? My contribution to the food festivities was to be this shrimp in coconut-lime glaze.

We were also having coconut cumin rice and chicken with grilled peaches, salad and ice cream and fresh berries for dessert. Some other time, we'll diet.

The only problem was our hostess’s new grill. It had never been used. I mean never. So while I was merrily trying to get the glaze to turn the right color (tan), others were working hard to get the grill lit, and may I add squealing dramatically with every toss of a match. Dave (of A Year on the Grill) if you are reading this, try not to fall off your seat laughing.

The automatic starter didn’t work, but eventually, mystery writer Erika Chase tamed that grill single-handedly. Joan Boswell is the cheering section here. By the way, we’ll be celebrating again when Erika’s first mystery: A Killer Read (Berkley Prime Crime) hits the stands in April.

The shrimp as well as everything else was a big hit. A suitable culinary celebration of the launch of Little Treasures. We think that’s a treat too.

Shrimp in Coconut-Lime Glaze

■ 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined. I used colossal!

metal skewers, or bamboo skewers (if bamboo soak for an hour to keep them from burning)

■ Salt and freshly ground black pepper

■ 2 limes, cut into wedges

For coconut-lime glaze:

■ 1 cup coconut milk

■ 1/2 cup cream of coconut

■ 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

■ 8 drops Tabasco or other hot sauce (or to taste)

■ 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by two-thirds. It will take on a tan color. Stir to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Skewer two or three shrimps onto each skewer. Heat grill to high and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes.

3. Season the shrimp all over with salt and pepper and slather on the glaze, coating well.

4. Oil the grill grates with vegetable oil and place the shrimp skewers on the grill. Keep the lid open so the shrimp don’t overcook before the sugars in the glaze caramelize.

5. Grill the shrimp for about 4 minutes per side, basting with glaze. The shrimp are ready when they turn opaque and the glaze begins to caramelize.

6. To serve, arrange the shrimp skewers on a platter and serve with lime wedges.

These are great as an appetizer for a group or as a main with coconut rice and a crisp salad.

The recipe was fun to make, the shrimp were even more fun to eat, and we hope the story collection we were celebrating will be fun to read.

Little Treasures: by Ladies Killing Circle is available through Kindle and Smashwords!

When seven award-winning women authors with crime on their minds join forces the result is seven anthologies in just over a decade. In these stories from the first anthology, The Ladies' Killing Circle, everyone has secrets and sometimes murder is the only way to keep them safe. Some of the stories are sweet, others spicy. Other are haunting and tragic.

Mary Jane Maffini won Best Short Story Award from Crime Writers of Canada for Cotton Armour in which ultimate power is wielded from a death bed.

Cross Country Skiing turns out to be deadly in Joan Boswell's One Cold Cookie.

Audrey Jessup's The Little Treasures proves that a lonely woman with a houseful of valuables can be far too trusting.

In Birdbrain, by Vicki Cameron, dumb animals turn out to be both smart and vengeful.

Linda Wiken (Erika Chase) proves the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words and all of them end in murder in There Goes the Neighbourhood.

Sue Pike's story, With Friends like These, asks the question, what's a girl to do when she believes all of her friends are gunning for her?

And, finally, in Barbara Fradkin's Secrets of the Night, the darkest stories are revealed just before the dawn.

All to say, the ladies will slay you!


  1. I don't think there's *any*thing better than grilled shrimp! A brand new grill would be a little scary...sounds like you did great, to me! Thanks for the recipe, MJ!

  2. Your story reminds me of a surprise 50th birthday party the husband of one of my college friends threw, and invited the rest of our old "group" (since it was a women's college, I used the term deliberately, with a nod to Mary McCarthy). Amongst us we had like five PhDs and a degree in veterinary science, and it took all of us to figure out how to use the coffee-maker.

    I love shrimp; the rest of my family, not so much.

  3. Throwing matches at a gas grill??? Come on, get in there and light it. You never really use the hair on your arm anyway (and one of those clicking long gun like lighters is a great thing to have around, as the auto lighter only works the first month and rarely after that)...

    My wife just got to work and sent me the link to your post (she reads you every day, but never comments... except to me). I am not sure if she wanted shrimp tonight, Liked that I was mentioned or simply likes the idea that a Ladies Killing Society exists.

    Dave (formerly Year on the Grill)

  4. Mary Jane, what a fun evening that must have been! Your shrimp are the perfect summer dinner, light and tropical! I love the idea of combining lime and coconut as a glaze. It sounds so refreshing.

    Congratulations to all the authors in Little Treasures. What an elegant cover! I like to keep a book of short stories on the nightstand in the guest bedroom and this sounds like just the thing!

    Sheila and Dave, you're cracking me up this morning! Dave, I see this shrimp on your dinner table tonight!

    ~ Krista

  5. Believe me, it was a delicious appetizer for a hot and stressful (the long lighter didn't work either, Dave!) evening. when the laughing finally eased off, we were able to enjoy quite a feast. Thanks, MJ!

  6. You had me at "How many mystery writers does it take..." Yes, five to fire up a grill but (clearly) seven to create an outstanding series of anthologies. LITTLE TREASURES sounds like a treasure. Thanks for letting us know about it, and congrats to Erika on her upcoming launch next spring!

    TGIF (shrimp is one of our faves!),
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Thanks Elizabeth, Erika, Krista and Cleo. I am glad there are shrimp lovers here. I am quite addicted to the little critters and will be back with more. These were special because of the fun evening.

    As for Sheila and Dave, you two crack me up!

  8. MJ, love the tale of too many cooks. And nobody spoiled the broth! Love the shrimp and I'm thrilled for your anthology. Way to go!


  9. Thanks, Avery! There's nothing like a bunch of writers to spark a story about a story.