Monday, May 6, 2019

Around the Kitchen Table + #Book #Giveaway

LUCY BURDETTE: As I'm deep into writing the first draft of Key West mystery #10, THE KEY LIME CRIME, I've been wondering what recipes I should choose for the back of the book. (I assume there will be Key lime pie of some sort!) In #9, A DEADLY FEAST, hitting bookshelves this week, the action centers on a food tour. So I chose and developed my version of some recipes that we actually sampled when we took the tour (smoked fish dip and lobster macaroni and cheese), some that are from my Thanksgiving trove since that's the season, and one from Chef Martha Hubbard, a real chef and also character--Sponger Key Lime Pie.


Where do the recipes come from in your books? 

DARYL:  I do a lot of research for my recipes. First I start with a theme. And then comb through my files as well as cookbooks and online. Then I tweak, tweak, tweak. The interesting thing about recipes is the ingredients aren't "proprietary." How many versions of a sugar cookie can there be?  But the verbiage we use to describe how to make that cookie is "ours" so it had better be in our voice, using our words. when I was doing recipes for PRESSING THE ISSUE, the 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery, which featured a Renaissance Fair, I actually found a recipe online for a 14th century cheesecake with rosewater. So much fun. It turned out great - with a lot of tweaking. Also, one time when I was at Ruth's Chris, I asked them for their flourless chocolate cake recipe. They brought it to me. It was for 40 portions!  Ha!  So I fiddled with that to make a cheesecake-sized cake, and voila, my own recipe. LINK TO THIS CAKE RECIPE


Although I don't include recipes in my books, I do choose one dish that I've describe in the book and include the recipe for it in my newsletter. I also put that recipe on my website. Since my newest book is Leave No Scone Unturned I choose a scone recipe. I usually research recipes on line, then tweak them.


SHEILA CONNOLLY: The only series of mine that includes recipes is the Orchard Mysteries, and I have a wealth of apple recipes, from antique to modern, to choose from (and my own apple trees to harvest, when they cooperate). Otherwise most of my characters are too busy or too distracted by solving crimes to cook, and Maura Donovan from the County Cork Mysteries doesn't know how to cook anyway (he grandmother used to do most of the cooking, when they lived in Boston). But! I find a lot of inspiration in local restaurants, and all my characters do enjoy eating. Which of course gives me the perfect excuse to check out real restaurants in various locations, including Ireland. And I shamelessly borrowed a sugar cookie recipe from an English baker at the Skibbereen farmers market (she doesn't mind), where I discovered that adding cornstarch to the dough makes a real difference.


ESSIE LANG:  Although I talk about food in the Castle Bookshop Mysteries, I don't add recipes. What I do is try to think of what dish I've tasted or would love to have eaten, that would fit well on the menu of the restaurant that Shelby Cox, often with Zack Griffen, dine in. And, of course, they usually comment on their meals, as diners do. When I wrote the Dinner Club Mysteries, as Linda Wiken, each dinner that the Culinary Capers Dinner Club held was based on a real cookbook. So, if I used any as recipes in the back, I tweaked them. In the second book, Roux the Day, I used the Mystery Writers of America Cookbook and had permission from the writers to use their recipes intact. What was guaranteed with that series was, no poisons were ever used!

PEG COCHRAN: I am always tweaking the recipes I use for cooking--lightening them up, leaving out things we don't like or can't get or combining two similar recipes--and some of those have made their way into my books.  For my Cranberry Cove series, I experimented with adding cranberries to recipes I've made like cookies, coffee cake, etc.  Some of my experiments were a bust but some were lucky finds!

Leslie: The sources are as varied as the recipes themselves. In the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, the recipes are designed to let the reader recreate the food from the festival featured in the book, as well as a few faves from Erin and her mother, Fresca, often with a Montana flavor. Some come from my own repertoire while others are new, for the theme of the book. My BFF has contributed a recipe or two, like Erin's Enchiladas, from TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST. And now and again, I eat something I just have to give my characters

Many of the recipes in the Spice Shop series use the featured herb or spice, and I'll go scouting for those, like this Lemon Thyme Shortbread from KILLING THYME. Others Pepper throws together at home, using ingredients she finds on her forays through Pike Place Market, or one of the Flick Chicks serves at the weekly movie gathering. Pepper and her girlfriends occasionally go out on the town, and I love creating, or recreating, a special cocktail they enjoy. This month and next here at the Kitchen, I'll be sharing recipes from CHAI ANOTHER DAY, the fourth Spice Shop Mystery, coming June 11!   


Krista Davis: Most of the Domestic Diva Mysteries have a theme, so the recipes usually correspond to the theme. It's not a stretch to figure out that when The Diva Sweetens the Pie there should probably be pie recipes. I try to think of my readers, too. For instance, I did took a very unofficial poll on Facebook to find out how many people make their own pie crust. 

Most people buy a pre-made pie crust or use the refrigerated kind that you roll out. So why spend a lot of time on pie crust recipes? I did include one traditional pie crust recipe that I like (you make it with frozen butter!), but I made others with gingersnaps and graham crackers. Not only did they suit the pies better, but they're super easy to make at home. No rolling necessary!

Cleo Coyle: Marc and I have been cooking (and experimenting in the kitchen) since we were children. We grew up around the Pittsburgh area in big, food-loving families, but we didn't meet until we moved to New York City....
Behold my kitchen fails on the road to finding the BEST OATMEAL MUFFIN (high in fiber yet super tasty with great texture and hearty, nutty flavor). To get my final recipe, featured in our Coffeehouse Mystery DEAD COLD BREW, click here or on the photo above.

During our thirty+ years of living (and cooking and eating!) in New York, Marc and I have been inspired by its vast array of human stories, its diverse cultural influences, and its food. Readers of our Coffeehouse Mysteries have seen that influence in our culinary mysteries for going on 16 years and 18 books, and we look forward to many more (years and books) to come. Sample some of our recipes right here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen or at our Cleo Coyle Recipe Blog and may you always eat with joy! ~ Cleo


Where do you get your recipes? To one commenter, we're giving away these books from Lucy Burdette, Krista Davis, Sheila Connolly, and Daryl Wood Gerber.
Leave an email so we can contact you if you win. The winner will be chosen on Friday May 10 at noon!


Click to see more of our
upcoming releases.


  1. I get recipes from cozy books, Facebook has lots of recipes that get posted. I have some recipe books and my Mom's and Grandma's recipes too . when I was 12 I received a recipe book to write in and saved recipes from my aunt's and people I babysat for. Thank you for the chance to get these awesome books from wonderful authors.dauthors.doauthors.dauthors.donakutska7@gmail com

  2. my email got messed up in my post.

  3. I get recipes from cookbooks, magazines, and relatives. lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I have many recipes that are from my family: grandmoms, aunts, cousins. I love reading cookbooks and my librarian can vouch for that! I also get recipes from the mysteries I read.
    Thank you for the contest.

  5. I get my recipes from a lot of different places. One of my favorites is I get a lot from Pinterest so they are from different sites on the internet. I also have all of Pioneer Woman's cookbooks.

    1. Almaj, I find things on Pinterest I must make. If there isn't a recipe, I try to come up with one for the picture. Love that site. ~ Daryl

  6. I get my recipes from all over.
    1.Cookbooks(I have lots of cookbooks modern to vintage)
    2.Online(different sites)
    3.New & vintage recipe cards from family,friends and eBay.
    4.Cozy mystery Books
    I love collecting and reading recipes as much I love baking and cooking.

  7. My recipes have come from all over: family, friends, cookbooks, cozy books, internet, food packages, magazines. Thanks for the contest. Your books are great! ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. It's fun to read about everyones recipe finding and making process! I typically find the bulk of my recipes in cookbooks and on food blogs; however, I also find them in magazines, the backs of books, from a friend, etc. Thank you all so much for sharing your recipes with us and for the chance to win!

  9. I get my recipes from all over! Friends, Family, Cookbooks, Cozies, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook... I love a good recipe! Awesome article today- Thank you for this opportunity 🥰
    Kelly Braun

  10. I get my recipes from a lot of different places. Online, cookbooks [old & new], magazines, cozy books, news papers, and relatives. I generally follow the recipe the first time, then play with them, trying different flavors, amounts, etc. deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

  11. Everywhere. Originally of course from my mom and grandma, but my mother collected recipes from the newspaper and magazines and the back of food cans and boxes so I developed that habit and added getting them from blogs like this and food sites. I also like to experiment when making something standard to liven it up a bit or when using up leftovers. Thanks for all the great recipes and the giveaway.

  12. I have 3 bookshelves full of cookbooks from around the world. I have a 30yr old copy of The Joy of Cooking which a friend gave me years ago when she bought a new one. I have a Chinese Cookery book from the 1950's that is amazing. AND, I also watch ALL of the cooking shows on PBS.

    I love to cook and have even been paid a time or two by friends who wanted me to cater their parties. I made sure all four of my children could cook, including the boys. I reminded them that they'd probably leave home one day and being able to prepare their own meals would save them a fortune.

  13. I get recipes from multiple sources (including random internet browsing) but my favorites are those that were passed down from my grandmother and the treasures I've found in old church cookbooks!

  14. Love hearing about where you all find your treasures! I think it's probably easier these days with recipes online. But I sure do treasure my recipe box with handwritten directions from people I loved!

  15. I have cookbooks from my engagement years ago, but I go online mostly since it is quick and efficient and I can access suc special recipes. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  16. I get recipes from my monthly issues of Cooking Light, Cooks Illustrated, and Cooks Country, as well as from email and when I look up a recipe online. And yes, I also get them from cozies. Thanks for the great post and the great giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  17. I never can follow a recipe to the letter, so baking is not a good option for me, lol. I usually look up recipes online and find several of the same thing so I can play with them to make it the way I want it. Also when I bought my instant pot, i found several recipe books. My way of thinking with recipes is that they are a starting point for me to jump off. Thanks for the chance to win. Kayt18 (at) comcast (dot)net

  18. I get recipes from friends and the internet. I also have my Mom's recipe box and lots of cookbooks. I also copy recipes I like from the cozies I read.
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  19. The internet, cookbooks, friends, and, occasionally, my imagination.

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  20. I was given a treasure trove of recipes which I use and hide away since they are old and enjoyed for special occasions. When I need a new outlook I browse online which gives me so much to practice and try out. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com