Monday, May 10, 2021

Welcome Guests Cathy Wiley and Shawn Reilly Simmons #recipe #giveaway

Hello from TINA KASHIAN! I'm excited to have my first guests at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and it's a group of authors in an anthology! "Murder on the Beach" is written by Cathy Wiley, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Shari Randall and other fabulous mystery writers. Both Cathy and Shawn are sharing tasty recipes.

CATHY WILEY: Do frog legs really taste like chicken? I sampled frog legs while doing research in Louisiana, the setting for my story “Frog Days of Summer,” one of eight short stories in the MURDER ON THE BEACH anthology. The frog legs do have a comparable texture to chicken, and the taste is similar, although with a slight fishy flavor (this is better than it sounds, really.)

After my trip, I came home and created this recipe. Brining the frog legs overnight plumps them up and ensures a moist interior. If frog legs aren’t your thing, you can substitute chicken wings, which would also benefit from a brine.

A pink peppercorn sauce adds delicate citrus notes. Pink peppercorns aren’t actually related to commercial peppercorns; they are a berry. Please note that pink peppercorns are members of the cashew family and may cause a reaction in those allergic to tree nuts.



1.5-2 pounds of frog legs (or chicken wings)

For the Brine:
4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
1 ½ tablespoons pink peppercorns, whole
1 ½ tablespoons pink peppercorns, crushed

For the sauce
1/2 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 tablespoon salted butter

4 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 teaspoon salt



Search for frogs.


Realize you don’t have enough product.  Plus, the product is really, really cute. Go to store. Purchase frozen frog legs (we found them at an Asian grocery store) or you can order them online. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.



Prepare the brine. Pour water into medium-sized pot, add salt and sugar. Heat mixture until salt and sugar dissolve. Cool mixture, pour into gallon bag. Add in the peppercorns, lightly crushing about half of them (in your hands, these are more fragile than regular peppercorns). 

Zip up bag and place in a container in case of leaks. Place in refrigerator for 6-18 hours. (Please note, the longer they are in the brine, the saltier they are.)




Remove frog legs from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.  Coat with olive oil.

Turn the grill on to medium heat. (I used a gas grill, but charcoal would be fine, or even an indoor grill pan.)



While the grill is heating, prepare the sauce.  Melt butter, then add shallots and cook until they are soft, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully add brandy.  Return pan to heat and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add cream, peppercorns, and salt. Reduce heat, simmer for nine minutes. While the sauce is simmering, begin to work on the frog legs.  



Grill frog legs over medium high heat, covered, 3-4 minutes per side. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and begins to separate from the bones. (If using a meat thermometer, the temp should be 145 degrees F.)


Plate the legs with the sauce and enjoy.

Cathy Wiley is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She’s written two mystery novels set in Baltimore, Maryland, and has had several short stories included in anthologies, one of which was a 2015 finalist for a Derringer Award for best short story. Right now, she’s working on the Food Festival Fatalities series, featuring a former celebrity chef trying to rebuild her career.

Cathy lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, with one spoiled cat and an equally spoiled husband. For more information, visit

Readers: Have you had frog legs or any other unusual meats/food? Place your answer in the comments and one lucky commenter will win an ebook of MURDER AT THE BEACH, now available for pre-order and scheduled to be published on May 28th. Please include your email address when commenting.

Pre-order now at:


For a less unusual recipe, Shawn Reilly Simmons, another foodie author in MURDER ON THE BEACH, has provided a quick recipe for crab dip to go with her story “Bay of Reckoning.”

 SHAWN REILLY SIMMONS: At one point or another in my life, I have lived in the following places: Indiana, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. I’ve lived in Maryland longer than any other place. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland and own a home in Historic Downtown Frederick, Maryland, one of the most beautiful towns in the state, in my opinion.

I was having dinner with my husband’s family, who were all born and raised in Maryland, and I mentioned that I was basically from Maryland, given that I’ve lived here for almost thirty years…and they politely let me know that no, I could not claim to be from Maryland. Close but no cigar.

So although I am a Hoosier by birth, I am a Marylander in my heart.

And everyone from Maryland has a good crab dip recipe in their repertoire, as it suits any occasion you can think of from cradle to grave, and all those in between.

Here is mine:

One 8-ounce package cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning (like Briny Bay!)

1 1/2 cups shredded white gruyere

16 ounces of crab meat

Set out your dairy products for 20-30 minutes before beginning, to take the chill off.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, or a stand mixer on low, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and heavy cream until smooth. Stir in the white cheddar, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, pepper, seafood seasoning, and 1/2 cup of the gruyere until well combined. Fold in the crab meat. Transfer to a 1-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake until browned and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with a baguette and Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’d like to get the secret Briny Bay recipe from Shawn’s story “Bay of Reckoning”, make sure to pre-order the book, now on sale at 99 cents until June 5th!


In addition to the tales from Cathy Wiley and Shawn Reilly Simmons, there are also stories b Ritter Ames, Karen Cantwell, Lucy Carol, Barb Goffman, Eleanor Cawood Jones, and Shari Randal

Pre-order now at:


 MURDER ON THE BEACH is the first in the new Destination Murders anthology series. To hear about additional anthologies, find out more information about our authors, and get a recipe for a “Murder on the Beach” cocktail, please subscribe to our newsletter at



  1. We love frog legs! Thanks for the recipe for another way to serve them.

    Although I was a picky eater growing up, difficult times as an adult showed me not to be a food snob. I've tried many unusual foods. Rattlesnake for one. There was an event in town where a snake rangler had a pit that he got in and handled the snacks as well as a booth selling fried rattlesnake meat. It also is very similar to fried chicken. While I enjoyed tasting it, I'm sure not going to go out and hunt them for that specialty meal. Growing up my hubby ate chicken feet which to me sounds pretty unusual. However, I've noticed them for sale now at WalMart. On that one I'll just pass - for now any ways. :)

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of "MURDER ON THE BEACH"!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. I was also a picky eater, but a friend in college introduced me to unusual meats. I've also had rattlesnake and yes, tastes like chicken. And I agree with you that no, I DON'T want to hunt that. I can't do chicken's a textural thing.
      Thanks for commenting and good luck with the contest!