Sunday, October 4, 2020

Moussaka from @TinaKashian1 plus #GIVEAWAY

MADDIE here, delighted to welcome my friend and fellow Kensington cozy author Tina Kashian! She has a new Christmas book out and will give away a copy to one lucky commenter. Read down for details. Take it away, Tina.



Thank you for inviting me as a guest in your kitchen! I love to cook all types of cuisine, and I grew up in a family-owned restaurant in southern New Jersey. My Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series is set in a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey shore.

In my new release, Mistletoe, Moussaka & Murder, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to Ocean Crest, NJ to manage her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. As you can tell by the title, it is a holiday themed book and Mediterranean food plays a major part of the festivities.

Some people ask me what is moussaka? The easiest way to describe the importance of this dish is simple: moussaka is to the Greeks what lasagna is to the Italians. It’s a staple dish. The recipe has many steps, but the food is well worth the effort. Of course, you can always order it at your favorite, local Mediterranean restaurant.

Moussaka by Tina Kashian

This Mediterranean dish is often served at holidays and family dinners.

Prep Time: 20 minutes 
Cook Time: 40 minutes


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large finely chopped onion

2 pounds ground beef

4 tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup red wine

½ cup chopped parsley

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 large eggplants

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ pound butter

6 tablespoons flour

1 quart full-fat milk

4 beaten eggs

teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 cups ricotta cheese

1½ cup fine breadcrumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


For the ground beef:

Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions until they turn transparent. Add the ground meat and cook until fully cooked. Transfer the meat to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain off any excess fat. Return meat to the pan and heat. Add the tomato paste, wine, parsley, and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer over low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.


For the eggplant:

Cut unpeeled eggplants into ½-inch-thick slices. Lightly salt the slices and let them sit for five minutes. Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a separate skillet. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slices until they are golden brown on both sides. Set eggplant slices aside on sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb the oil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


For the béchamel sauce:

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth. In a separate saucepan, bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture. Whisk constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove it from the heat. In a bowl, whisk together beaten eggs, nutmeg, and ricotta cheese. Add it to the béchamel sauce and whisk until smooth.


Putting it all together:

Spray an 11-x-16 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Layer half the eggplant in pan, then add half of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add the rest of the eggplant and then the meat sauce. Pour the béchamel sauce on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly. Allow it to cool for twenty minutes before serving.


You can top it off with fresh herbs, parmesan cheese, and even tomato sauce if you prefer. Here’s a dish from my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. Enjoy!

To celebrate the release of MISTLETOE, MOUSSAKA & MURDER, I’m offering an ebook or signed print (U.S. only for print) copy to one commenter. Thank you!

Readers: Please share! What’s your favorite type of ethnic cuisine? Mediterranean, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai, or anything else? 

Tina Kashian
is an attorney and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two daughters. Please visit her website at to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

You can also connect with Tina at:




Instagram: Kebab Kitchen Mystery

Not even her impending nuptials can keep Lucy Berberian, manager of her family-owned Kebab Kitchen, from the Jersey Shore’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. But her dive into the icy ocean is especially chilling when she finds a fellow swimmer doing the dead man’s float—for real . . .
Who would kill a man in cold blood during Ocean Crest, New Jersey’s most popular winter event? When Lucy learns the victim is Deacon Spooner, the reception hall owner who turned up his nose—and his price—at her wedding plans, she can’t help wondering who wouldn’t kill the pompous caterer . . .
Perhaps the culprit is the wedding cake baker whose career Deacon nearly destroyed? Or the angry bride whose reception he ruined? With her maid of honor, Katie, busily planning Lucy’s wedding without her, Lucy will have to get to the bottom of this cold-hearted business in time for Kebab Kitchen’s mouthwatering Christmas celebration—and before her hometown’s holiday spirit washes out to sea . . .
Recipes included!
“With a warm cast of characters and an ingenious main character, this is a series that will prove delightful for cozy fans.”
Parkersburg News & Sentinel on Stabbed in the Baklava

“Clever and charming . . . A culinary delight that will have readers salivating over the food and hungry for literary answers.”
RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars, on Hummus and Homicide



Barnes & Noble:

Google Books:





  1. My favorite ethnic cuisine would be Czech. Potato dumplings, kolaches, sauerkraut, Jiternice (a type of sausage) I'd prefer a print copy, if I am the lucky winner!

    1. Hi Dianne! The Czech sounds delicious. I've never had this but would like to try it. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Oh my, Moussaka sounds absolutely wonderful. It made my mouth water early this morning just reading the recipe. This one is a keeper for me and I'll definitely be trying it.

    Growing up as an Army brat and even though we didn't travel like a lot of military families, I was exposed to a lot of different nationalities and their cuisines. Mom was often in the kitchen learning authentic Italian, Mexican or Japanese dishes to name just a few. I feel fortunate to have been passed on how to make dishes from around the world.

    One of my favorites has to me the lasagna that an Italian neighbor taught Mom. We were eating lasagna before it became a popular dish and loving it. As were the times, recipes weren't written down, but where passed down from one to another by showing. I'm forever grateful that many years back and before Alzheimer hit my Mom that I decided to make a family cook book of tried and true recipes. It often meant being in the kitchen with Mom taking exact measurements of spices and ingredients after she measured them by eye in her hand. Then I would make the dish and Mom would tweak it telling me what I needed more or less of until we got it just right. When the urge for some fine Italian hits now, I can reach for my cookbook and know it's going to taste just like Mom. Although it lacks one important ingredient - Mom's love, the sweet memories of the past add an extra ingredient to make up for it a little bit.

    "MISTLETOE, MOUSSAKA & MURDER" sounds like a wonderful book and has been on my TBR list since I first read about it. Absolutely LOVE the cover! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy! I would love the chance to read and review. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay. What a wonderful story and I'm glad you had a chance to be with your mom in the kitchen and write down all her recipes. I remember doing this with my own mom before she passed away. I was fortunate enough to find one of her recipe boxes when we were cleaning out the house and I treasure it to this day. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your touching story.

  3. Sounds wonderful. Would love a print book. Thanks for the chance ❤ Kris Harn :

  4. Sounds great! I would love a print book! Happy book Birthday!

  5. Would love to read this book. Print for me. Thank you for this chance!! pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com Paula

  6. I am a foodie and love all ethnic foods.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

    1. Hi Christine. I'm definitely a "foodie." I like to try all different types of cuisine. Mexican and Italian are also favorites with my kids.

  7. I love lots of different ethnic cuisines. My all time favorite has to be Mexican food.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Hi Nancy! My kids like Mexican food and we had enchiladas last night. Always a hit in my house.

  8. Love ethnic foods -hard to pick a favorite one.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

    1. You sound like me. I always tell my kids to try a different dish at least two times before making up their minds if they like it or not. We all usually end up liking it.

  9. My favorite cuisine would probably be Chinese with mexican a close second. That said I enjoy a number of different ethnic cuisines. I do not however like Thai or Indian cuisine.

    1. Hi Laurie! I like Thai and Indian, although I can't handle spicy like I used to. I have to pick dishes that aren't super spicy.

  10. Mexican is my favorite. Followed by Chinese.

    1. Hi Beth. Yes to both of Chinese and Mexican. We have two great restaurants near us that we order from.

  11. Moussaka! Have added this recipe to my Pinterest for next years garden party if my eggplants do well. I’ve always salted my eggplant to reduce bitterness but I’ve always peeled it. This is interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hello! Yes, eggplant can be bitter, and salting them helps. Sometimes you can peel the eggplant, then salt it. That also helps. Thanks for the tips!

  12. Love Italian food! Yum. Would enjoy a print book! Love your books! Thanks for the chance!

    1. Lasagna is always a delicious choice. Thanks for reading my books!

  13. Chinese would be my choice. Thanks for the review.

  14. It really depends what I’m in the mood for but my favorites are Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

    1. Hi Sandy! I forgot about Korean. One of my aunts through marriage was Korean and we always enjoyed her cooking.

  15. I've changed my mind about which is my favorite 3 times since you asked! I like them all! I guess, if I had to choose, it would be Italian. Of course, nothing beats good old Southern cooking! Would prefer print book. Hope I win!

    1. We really enjoyed southern cooking when we visited Alabama a few years ago. It was all from local and fresh produce and it was delicious!

  16. Its not really Ethnic, but i love Japanese . Lived there 4 years and fell in love with their food, my 2nd choice would be Italian, love pizza, pasta etc

    1. What a great experience to live in Japan for four years! I'd love to visit, and I'm sure the food was fabulous, too!

  17. Mexican (I love burritos) and Italian. I live in what was once a Hungarian neighborhood so I love chicken paprikas and I've also had crepes at the festival, palacsintas with fillings such as apricot or cinnamon.

    I just bought the book so if I win maybe I could choose a different book in the series.


    1. Hi Michelle, I've never had chicken paprikas, but they sound good. I do love breakfast crepes with fresh strawberries or apricots

  18. oh but this book looks like fun. thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. i love italian but it doesnt love me anymore. so i have gone to meat and veggies and by body is happy now. LOL age LOL
    quilting lady 2 at comcast dot net

  19. Hi Lori, my husband can have marinara sauce, but he can't tolerate tomatoes, so he has to be careful with some Italian dishes. But he loves lasagna and moussaka.

    1. Interesting that marinara sauce is ok since it is made from tomatoes.

  20. Alicia