Saturday, September 7, 2013

Welcome our librarian guest, Louise Paziak!

Louise Paziak is the Library Assistant, Programs and Publicity at the fabulous Burbank Library in Burbank, California. She has been a wonderful supporter of authors in the area.

Take it away, Louise!

* * *

I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy being in the library. All those stories, ideas, and knowledge right there for the taking. I was fortunate to get a job at the Burbank Public Library right out of high school. I thought it was something to do part-time while attending college, and yet here I am, still at the library after some 40+ years! Maybe that's because I really love my work and have the wonderful opportunity to combine all my interests into my job. I especially love mysteries, having graduated from Nancy Drew school of mystery readers.  I began writing a mystery column in the library newsletter under the nom de plume of "Aunt Agatha." This has evolved into the creation of my blog, Death in the Stacks.

I frequently attended author signings at local bookstores, and I thought: I can do that. So I began to invite authors to speak at the Burbank Public Library. A chance meeting several years ago at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books hooked me up with the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime and I was able to book several programs a year with this great group of mystery writers. Our patrons loved it!

When I asked Avery Aames aka Daryl Wood Gerber to visit the library for the finale of our "Eat...READ...Live" summer reading club, I knew her Cheese Shop Mystery series was the perfect fit to our event. Her new Cookbook Nook series was an added bonus.  While we had platters of cheese, crackers, and fresh fruit catered for the evening, it kept nagging at me that we hadn't arranged to serve any Brie. Since her most recent book was To Brie or Not to Brie, we really must have some Brie!  I looked at some recipes online to see what kind of ingredients were used in dips, then came up with my own version. In all modesty, this simple little recipe was a huge hit at the event.

Hot Brie and Pesto Dip

8 ounces Brie with the rind removed
2 large pkgs. (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of Basil Pesto
1/4 - 1/2 cup of pine nuts, as desired

Put the cheeses in a crockpot and let them melt together on LOW. When the cheeses are melted, stir in the pesto.  Keep the crockpot cooking on low, stirring frequently.  About an hour before serving, put in the pine nuts. This recipe filled my 1.5 quart crockpot. It would be easy to double or triple the recipe for larger pots and more guests. Great with crackers.  [Note: it takes about a half hour for the cheese to melt.]


  1. Louise, welcome to our kitchen! Writers and readers are so lucky to have a librarian like you designing programs--and food to match:). The dip was perfect for Daryl/Avery's book!

  2. Welcome, Louise! Librarians like you are so important to our communities and in maintaining our literary heritage. Thank you for your longstanding love of books and dedication to readers and writers. Thanks also for the brie dip recipe--so many flavors; what a great dip for parties and holidays.

    May you have a delicious weekend...
    ~ Cleo

  3. Louise, I'm so glad you could be our "special" Saturday guest. We love librarians! And I love the Burbank library. All of you make it so easy to be an engaged reader.

    And for our foodie fans, this recipe is really to die for. I made it for a neighborhood party. It disappeared in seconds!!!


  4. Welcome to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, Louise. Thanks for this excellent recipe. Perfect for a crowd. I know just when to serve it too. I'll be a hero!

  5. Brie and pesto? Could it get any better than that? YUM! Thanks for joining us today, Louise. I love your enthusiasm for books and libraries. Nancy Drew really doesn't get enough credit. She started a lifelong love of books for so many of us.


  6. Thanks for being part of MLK today, Louise! Librarians were some of my best friends growing up-suggesting books, putting titles aside for me. Now, as a writer, I doubly appreciate librarians! This dip looks awesome--perfect for something to bring to my wine tasting group!

  7. PS Does the dip have to be kept warm while it's out--should you serve it from the crockpot?

  8. What a great way to make and serve this appetizer. How wonderful that your city has a librarian like you, Louise. Any town or city would be grateful for a person like you to be arranging the events that you do and have such great enthusiasm as well. Keep up the great work, and thank you for the recipe too.

    I have loved the Cheese Shop Mysteries soooooo much. I read everything that Avery/Daryl has written I am sure of it. :)

    Read, read, read!!!!

  9. My alter ego, Aunt Agatha, really loved the dip. It didn't last long at Avery's event, either! I must say that the Cheese Shop Mysteries really did inspire me. Every time I read one, I feel the urge to go out and try something other than cheddar or swiss.

    1. Louise, you know when I started the series, I was up to date on many cheeses, but I had NO IDEA that there were thousands to choose from. I've gotten a real education from writing these books.

      Say cheese!

      Daryl / Avery