Thursday, October 23, 2014

Creamy Scallop Bake: purrfect for Cat Week

It’s Cat Week at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, as I am sure you all know.  You may not be aware that, although we are usually all about dogs, we do love cats too. There are two beautiful and slightly unpredictable Siamese in all three of our Book Collector Mysteries. To prove it, here is a picture that Victoria painted of one of them. Not sure if it's Good Cat or Bad Cat. It's kind of hard to tell them apart.  

And to celebrate cat week, MJ has knit a darling little cat hat for a baby and we will have a draw for it. If there's no baby handy, you could use the hat for a decoration or a tea cozy.  Check the details for the giveaway at the end of the post.

Here's Baby Ella wearing a version of the cat hat.   Please note, that Baby Ella is not included in the draw.

And now, if you’ll excuse us, it’s time to get cooking. We have no idea what has gotten into those dogs today.  Really, they’re too excited. At any rate,  we want to share a recipe that crossed generations in our family. Victoria’s grandmother and MJ’s mum used to make it.  We’ve added a bit of green onion,  lemon and a bit of garlic and it is now our new best thing.  Maybe that’s what’s getting the pooches so wild.  Oh well, the recipe’s coming up!

Psst: This is it, Daisy!  It's our chance and I know it will work.  Did you see the headline? It’s Cat Week! Hurray, this time we’ll get those cats next door.  Yes, I am sure it will work.  We look just like felines in these hats. Mom won’t notice them missing.  She made a batch of them. We’re just as important as any old babies, so it’s all right. 

Lily, the cats are outside now!  We have to strike while … oh, I forgot how that goes.
Right, let’s go get 'em, Daisy. 

Hey Cats Next Door!  We are your neighbor cats, um, what was it, oh yes, Fluffy and Whitey.  We just want to be friends. Nothing else. Nothing to worry about at all, right Lily, I mean, what was it? Oh yes, Whitey. 

Right. Our mum is making the best stuff to night. It’s a creamy seafood dish.  You are going to love it.  How about coming over to our house to have a saucer full?  We’ll help you, won’t we, Daisy, I mean Fluffy.  Just step through this conveniently open front door and into our parlor, er, kitchen, and watch the fun begin! 

Hey!  Why are you looking at us like that?  You can trust us. For sure.  This way!



Oh boy! sorry, just have to close that door.  How did those cats get in here? Out you go!  And you two dogs, just cut the racket.

Uh oh! Are we in trouble?  We have no idea how the cats got in the house.  Hats? What hats?

Fine, we'll deal with that later. And now, if you’ll excuse us, it’s time to get cooking. At any rate,  we want to share a recipe that crossed generations in our family. Victoria’s grandmother and MJ’s mum used to make it.  As we mentioned, we've added a bit of lemon, a bit of garlic and some green onion and it is now our new best thing.  Ta da!

Creamy Scallop Bake

All you need is:

1 slice toast (we like whole wheat, but you can suit yourselves)
1 clove garlic (peeled)
3 + 1 tablespoons butter + 1 more (!) and a bit to butter baking dish
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (we used 2 %, but again, suit yourself)
One tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Two green onions, finely sliced
Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice + 2 tsp for scallops
1 pound large scallops, patted dry
½ tsp salt and a pinch of ground pepper

All you need to do is:

Preheat oven to 450

Butter a baking dish. Rub both sides of the toast with the garlic. Get as much garlic on that toast as you can!  Pulse in food processor until you have crumbs (but not mush)  You can save a couple of seconds and garlicky fingers by putting the garlic and the toast in together, but really, it’s better our way. 

In a saucepan, saute green onion and parsley until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Then remove and melt 3 tablespoons butter. When foamy add flour.  Stir and cook on medium for two minutes, without browning. Turn down the heat if you must.   Add milk and heat, stirring until thickened, about two minutes. Stir in two tablespoons lemon juice. Return onion and parsley to sauce and stir well.  

Add scallops to buttered dish.   

Sprinkle scallops with 2 tsp. lemon juice.

Pour cream sauce over scallops. Top with garlic crumbs and dot with butter. 

 Bake for about fifteen minutes until brown and bubbly.  Scallops cook quickly, so don't bake too long.  Enjoy. 

Victoria Abbott is the mysterious collaboration between the artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, the mystery writer, Mary Jane Maffini.  Strangely enough, their three book collector mysteries, The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow all contain Siamese cats.  The next two will as well!



And now for our giveaway!   Here is the baby hat with a little extra bow, just for you..  Just leave a comment saying which Book Collector Mysteries have Siamese Cats.  Easy peasy.   In case you are worried, no dogs will have been wearing this hat.   Good luck everyone!  And have fun.


  1. MJ/Victoria--you have OUTDONE yourselves. Love the doggies, the mean cats, the hat and the scallops:) xo

  2. We are silly old things, but thanks, Roberta. Glad you liked it. And absolutely true: I took dozens of pix of those cats and those were the best. Some pointed shots of their behinds were not included. Snort.



  3. These hats are so darling! No wonder the Maffini Princesses want to wear them. Adorable!!! I love the recipe, too, I know someone who will *love* it!

    1. Thanks, Krista! Glad other people love scallops too. The MP's loved their cameo on your post this Monday.


  4. Scallops are absolutely my favourite seafood so I LOVE this recipe (especially the toast - garlic topping). Baby Ella is adorable in the hat; dogs are cute in their hats too - however did you get them to co-operate!?
    by the ever-anonymous Nancy R

    1. Thanks, Nancy! Treats were involved in the cooperation for sure. Glad you love scallops too.



  5. Have enjoyed Jordan adapting to the Siamese in The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow.

    The scallops look great. Family still smacking lips over your recent roasted chicken.

    Are you sure we can't have Baby Ella? Hat is adorable, she is adorable, combo even better. Baby Delaney is due to arrive early December and would look adorable in that hat, too. Could never get it on Pep, even if I showed him the picture of Daisy & Lily (Fluffy & Whitey ;-) ).

    1. Ha! Baby Ella is non-negotiable according to her mom.

      Fingers crossed for Baby Delaney and hat.



  6. Victoria/MJ: Love this post. Laughed out loud. Those feisty, tricky dogs. And the hats? Did I mention the hats! Darling. Victoria, nice cat painting. Quite lovely! So talented. Did I mention those hats?? :) Still laughing at the dog exchange. :)

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Thanks, Daryl. Did you notice the hats? Snort. The dogs give good dialogue.


  7. All three books have Siamese in them. Is the hat big enough for a 3yr old?
    Becky Prazak

    1. Good for you, Becky. The hat is really newborn size, but sooner or later, I'll have one for a three-year old. I love knitting.



  8. I love the painting! The kitten hat is lovely! I have never had scallops, will try.