Monday, May 15, 2017

Welcome Edith Maxwell!

A very warm welcome to our friend, Edith Maxwell. Edith writes three series. Her latest book, MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER, will be in bookstores on May 30th. Don't miss Edith's giveaway!

Kale and Couscous Salad

I’m delighted to be back here to share a taste of my fifth Local Foods mystery, Mulch Ado About Murder, which releases at the end of this month. I’ll send an ARC to one commenter here today, too!

In the book, it’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap when a fellow farmer is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching a set of rosary beads.

Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex‑husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own visiting mother, one of the two Drs. Flaherty. Lucky for Cam, her father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing—not to mention dealing with chickens. Will he and Cam be able to clear her mom’s name before the killer strikes again?

Cam orders this delicious and easy locally grown salad for her dinner when she takes her visiting parents to Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, New Hampshire. The actual brewery’s co-owner, Nicole Carrier, was kind enough to share a version of the recipe for my book, which I have modified slightly.

1 cup pearl couscous
4 cups washed and finely chopped kale leaves (discard the stems)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Cook the couscous until al dente and drain well. Sprinkle the salt over the kale in a big bowl and rub with your hands for a few minutes until it wilts. Add the cooled couscous, walnuts, cranberries, cheese, and cumin, and mix. Stir in two tablespoons olive oil and one tablespoon vinegar. Adjust oil and vinegar to taste, and grind black pepper over the salad. (The picture shown here omits the cranberries because of a non-fan at the table.)


Readers, how do you feel about kale? Where is your favorite farmers’ market? Do you have any local-foods based restaurants you enjoy eating at? And remember I’ll send an advance copy to one commenter.

2017 double Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries; as Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies and journals, and she serves as President of Sisters in Crime New England.

A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens (and wastes time as a Facebook addict) north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at,, and with the Midnight Ink authors ( Find her on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at


  1. The salad looks yummy. I haven't had any problem with kale, but green is my second favorite color.... maybe that explains it. The kitten trying to catch a flutterby is cute. One of my did catch one once. It wasn't dead but damaged. I put it back outside where it would be safe. I just couldn't kill it.

  2. I like kale but am lazy about eating it unless it is part of a bagged salad. My hometown has a lovely farmers market, but I do not visit it nearly enough. I used to be part of a CSA, and the farm was only a mile or so from my house. Now that was wonderful. As a Texas girl, any local establishment that serves chicken fried steak is good with me. Dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

  3. Welcome, Edith! I love kale as long as it's sautéed or steamed soft, along with some garlic or caramelized onions. I have a few local farmers' markets near my home that supply ingredients for local restaurants as well - love this system!

  4. I have a love/hate relationship with kale!!! I know it's good for me and I try to eat it, but my taste buds are not happy. I swore off it during the winter but am willing to try the new baby kale now that our local farmer's markets are open. Your recipe looks like the perfect way to give kale another try!! sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

  5. I'm not big on Kale but I will eat it if it's chopped up in soup. I'm looking foward to our local farm stand getting in fresh corn. They grow their own and pick it fresh every morning.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  6. My daughter would LOVE that kale recipe. She really loves it. I do like kale, and there's a sausage and kale soup that I like to make. My daughter always asks me to make it for her when she's coming to visit. I like to go to Farmer's Markets, especially when I visit other places. We just went to one in D.C. I don't have a favorite one in my area. They're pretty far away. No local foods based restaurants I can think of either, unfortunately.

  7. The salad looks wonderful! We love kale, one of our favorite snacks are kale chips, with a little garlic and red pepper!

  8. Kale would have to be well-disguised before I would be adventurous enough to eat it. I tried it once and didn't like it at all, kinda glorified parsley is what I was thinking lol. But then I'm picky and don't like many vegetables to begin with. I think there is one little cafe in town that just opened that tries to use locally grown livestock and vegetables. I haven't eaten there yet but would like to.

  9. I like kale as long as it is combined with other things. I like it in soup and with salads but have a hard time eating it by itself.

  10. I love salad but I'm not a big kale fan. I muck prefer spinach.

  11. Thank you for the recipe. I will send this to my sister in FL.who loves kale. Due to being on a prescription blood thinner I have to be very careful with foods that are restricted. So I rarely eat many dark leafy vegetables for that reason. We are lucky enough to have farmers markets in our town and surrounding towns and a number of Quaker families that sell eggs and bakery goods.
    We also have a fairly new restaurant very close to our house that serves all fresh locally sourced foods and as much farm to table products as possible. And no additives and preservatives are used at this restaurant and that is very important to me with my allergy problems. I am truly looking forward to Much Ado about Murde. Cynthia B.
    ceblain (AT) tmlponline (DOT) net

  12. I really enjoy kale and though I do not use it as much as friends who jumped on the bandwagon when it grew popular, am particularly fond of it in a white bean and sausage soup. Since I don't eat out much, I haven't a favorite local foods based restaurant. As for farmer's markets, they seem to be pretty plentiful and I enjoy wandering through for purchases, but am not faithful to any specific one.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  13. Omit the Parmesean & I would devour this- I love Kale! I have 2 Farmer's Markets I buy at:Crown Point and Chesterton. My favorite Restaurant (she has VEGAN- squeee!) is Green is Good by Kate in Crown Point (all here in Indiana). All of her food is local & fair trade 😄
    Kelly Braun

  14. I used to have kale soup at my friend Debbie's when I stayed over when when were teenagers. It was very tasty but I didn't like the kidney beans and would pick those out. I wish I could find a local farmers market. I'm in SW FL and you would think they would be all over the place but not that I can locate. Congrats on the new book!

    1. oops, my email is pgenest57 at aol dot com

  15. Congrats on your upcoming release. We shop the local farmers markets May - October. I've had baby kale in my salads often. Don't ask me why. But I just could not cotton to kale other than that. Couscous I've had once and it was terrible, tasted old too. Might have been the way it was fixed. But I've never had the occasion to try it again. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  16. I'll keep this recipe in mind when I start making salads this summer
    judytucker1947 atgmaildotcom

  17. I love kale! We have a salad that we make literally 3-5 times a week in our house and even my daughter can't wait to have it when I'm putting it together. It's got kale, zucchini, brussel sprouts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and poppyseed dressing. It's amazing!!!

  18. Kale? It's a bit too bitter for me since most of my green consumption is with salads. My closet famers' market is down the freeway; it pops up once a week now, but my favorite one is in Monterey on Alvarado Street...everything you could ever want, including fresh baked goods, food truck delights, music, and crafts.

  19. Do like kale have tried it a few ways I dont like the biitter taste. We do have CSA that we love and eat well all summer. I also buy from local big markets that buy from local

  20. I love steamed kale topped with fermented chili bean curd. I don't have a favorite farmers' market as there are different vendors at each one.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  21. I don't really understand the kale craze but then I don't understand the other food fads either. I know it's good for you but so is spinach. I really only "eat" it in a smoothie. I don't go to the local farmer's market. I never have extra cash lying around.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  22. Most of the kale in my CSA shares becomes kale chips with other greens showing up in cooked dishes and salads. Kale chips are so satisfying!
    Eagerly awaiting MULCH! <3

  23. I like kale when it's roasted with a little olive oil and garlic and they end up being kale chips. A great snack.

  24. We have a farmers market in town. I never had kale.

  25. We have a farmers market in town. I never had kale.

  26. We all like kale in this household however it's usually used in a mixture with lots of other greens. Most years we have a garden and love the veggies fresh out of it. However, we are in the process of moving so gardening will be limited this year. We just may have to find the local farmers market in out new home town. :) This recipe looks and sounds delicious so will be trying it as well.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER.

  27. In south Florida the farmer's markets are closing for the season. It's getting too hot for growing vegetables around here!
    We've had our local strawberries, blueberries, corn, tomatoes, etc.
    My husband and I love kale, steamed/sauted with onions or added to stews.

  28. I find kale bitter and do not eat it. All summer, I enjoy buying from several farmer's markets near my home and work.
    Thank you for the chance to win your newest book.

  29. Need to try the kale recipe. Thanks for the chance to read Mulch Ado about Murder.

  30. Kelly Braun is our randomly selected winner of Mulch Ado About Murder! Congrats, Kelly. I sent you an email. I wish I had a book for everybody - thanks so much for your comments.

  31. Haven't tried any kale yet but with the right recipe I would. Thanks for the chance to win a copy

    Becky Prazak

  32. My Niece loves kale based recipes...the closest thing to real food and not processed here is a Chinese Rest. they do everything fresh and I love it. Your book look good..