Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Herby Cheesy Spread -- #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  I’ve often said one of the secrets to adult life is to have friends who cook well, and I’m particularly fortunate in that regard. When I visited Seattle for the launch of ASSAULT & PEPPER, my first Seattle Spice Shop Mystery, I stayed with Lita, my best friend from college. She inspires me in many ways, not least in the kitchen. She’s got a knack I’ve given my main character, Pepper, for being able to step into her kitchen and emerge with what appears to be spontaneous deliciosity.

The moment I tasted this dip, loosely based on a three-cheese dip she watched Alton Brown make on his TV show, I knew I’d have to share it with Mr. Right—and with you.

If you’ve read my Spice Shop Mysteries, you know that the recipe section includes one or two recipes for the seasonal spice blends Pepper and the crew are mixing up at the shop. KILLING THYME includes a terrific Italian blend. I posted the blend two weeks ago with the Herbed Black Bean Pasta Salad; here’s the link. You can also use a commercial blend if you have one.

This spread is even better the second or third day—if you can keep yourself from eating it all at once. An easy flavor variation: substitute 2 tablespoons of the Italian blend for the herbs and spices listed below, and omit the ½ teaspoon salt.

(Sorry the pictures aren’t so great—I took them with the old camera, now-deceased!)

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of KILLING THYME, the second Seattle Spice Shop Mystery!

Pepper’s Herby-Cheesy Spread 

4 to 5 ounces Parmesan or Parmesan-Reggiano, cut in small cubes
4 to 5 ounces Asiago, cut in small cubes
4 scallions or ¼ cup chives, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper***
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons black pepper
½ cup olive oil, more or less

***Aleppo pepper is hard to find these days, because of the war in Syria. Substitute Maras peppers, the Turkish counterpart, or any good red pepper. A paprika, especially a smoked paprika would also be tasty.

Place the cheese cubes in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse or chop until coarse. Add the scallions or chives, and the oregano, red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Process until fully mixed.

Pour in the olive oil and process until fully blended and smooth. Use less oil for a thicker spread, more oil for a thinner, smoother spread. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your palate.

Let the spread sit at room temperature until you’re ready to serve it, to allow the flavors to develop. Store leftovers in the fridge, but let the spread return to room temperature before diving in again to get the fullest flavor. Serve with hearty crackers, crostini, or cut vegetables.

DO YOU have a favorite recipe from a friend? Do tell!

Leave a comment below, with your email address, for a chance to win a signed copy of KILLING THYME, the second Seattle Spice Shop Mystery! The winner will be chosen on Friday, October 21.

From the cover of KILLING THYME. out October 4 in paperback, e-book, and audio:  

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Yes! Cheesy pototoes!!! I really am looking forward to reading your book soon! If I'm lucky I'll win it! Thanks donamaekutska7@gmail.com

  2. I have many great recipes, but I think my grandmother's soup is my favorite. This looks like a fantastic recipe, I can't wait to try it. Thank you for all of the fun books! konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Love this recipe; and the book sounds fantastic! EMS591@aol.com