Posted on January 28, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: In Key West in the winter, we get lots of houseguests (no surprise!) Suppose you’re looking for something special to serve your visitors for breakfast? Over a year ago, I made some blue cornmeal pancakes that were to die for (she said modestly.) But when I went back to look at the recipe, I was shocked about how much sodium was involved. In pancakes! Who knew? So this is a revised version, equally delicious, probably under 100 mg of sodium for the whole batch. Next time we’d double the amount and freeze any extras for quick lunches or snacks.
2/3 cups cornmeal (I used Bob’s organic)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Featherweight no-sodium baking powder
1 teaspoon Ener-G sodium-free baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar added (less than 150 mg sodium vs 257 in one cup buttermilk)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing griddle
1 cup blueberries (frozen works fine)
Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add the blueberries. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until mostly combined.
Heat the pan or griddle and melt some butter to cover the bottom. Add the wet batter to the pan. Cook over medium heat until bubbles pop, then flip the pancakes over and cook the other side, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve with real maple syrup. Next time I would also top with a dollop of plain yogurt.
KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but available for pre-order today!
And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,
Posted on January 5, 2016 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: In October, my husband went on a dream trip —playing golf in Scotland with his three brothers and four other childhood friends. (Aren’t they so cute?) They had an amazing time, and he came home with small packages of Walker’s shortbread cookies, which they found at every hotel and B and B…
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 to 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• almond extract, 1 tsp
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the extract. Mix in the flour on low speed until it’s just combined. (If you work the dough too hard, the cookies will be tough.)
Roll the dough out on a piece of floured parchment into a rough rectangle (no more than 1/2 inch deep), then move the whole thing to your baking pan. Score the dough into the size cookies you want. Bake at 325 until lightly browned.
You might want to whip up a batch for National Shortbread Day on January 6!
Posted on December 20, 2015 - by Lucy
This recipe was tweaked from one filed by Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times. I made her version and then revised for my second attempt, which we modestly judged delicious. The recipe is quite flexible and can absorb about any vegetables you have lying around. You’ll notice that I added no salt, though of course some of the ingredients have sodium naturally occurring. We did not miss it! And I’m very, very fussy! I’ll list the approximate sodium content at the end for those interested. (And I have to watch sodium these days…)
For this version I used the following ingredients:
Two ears corn, kernels stripped off the cob, or frozen, 1 cup
2 to 3 cups fresh spinach
Half a green pepper diced
One small onion diced
4 to 5 okra pods, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh basil
Half cup milk
2 to 3 ounces lower salt Swiss cheese
1 ounce Parmesan, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8 x 8″ pan well.
Sauté the onions, peppers, okra, and chopped spinach until the vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Mix in corn, dill, and basil.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Then stir in the vegetables and the grated Swiss cheese. Scrape this mixture into the prepared pan and top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until sides and top are starting to brown. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before serving with a green vegetable and salad.
(Now for the sodium count: Eggs, 62 mg per one medium egg. Spinach, 24 mg per one cup. Low sodium Swiss cheese, 4 mg per ounce. Shredded Parmesan, 85 mg per one Tbsp. Fresh okra, 411 mg per one cup-wow! One ear of corn, 262 mg. Half cup 1% milk, 53 mg.)
KILLER TAKEOUT is coming next April, but available for pre-order today!
And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,
Posted on December 16, 2015 - by Lucy
People look at me with suspicion if I show up somewhere with a key lime dessert (and that’s with some good reason–I did off someone with a key lime pie in AN APPETITE FOR MURDER). But there’s no reason you shouldn’t have this delicious recipe, perfect for a holiday party. They will never suspect a thing…
Beep! Beep! Beep! There’s a calorie alert associated with this recipe. You should not go in with the idea (as I did) that a Key Lime Parfait would be a light dessert because of the citrus…
With that warning out of the way, here’s the story behind the recipe. The fifth Key West mystery (DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS) features a New York chef who’s just opened a restaurant in Key West. She wants her new menu to reflect some of the tastes and history of the island, and this key lime parfait is one of the desserts she offers. So of course I had to try making one, and this is the result.
Key limes are smaller than regular limes–and here I have to tell the truth–kind of a pain to juice. John helped me and it took all the limes in a pound bag to end up with 1/2 cup of juice. (Next time, I might try the recipe with regular limes.)
5 whole graham crackers, crushed, to make about one cup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
Preheat oven to 350. Crush the graham crackers. (Easy way–place the graham crackers in a ziplock bag, seal the bag, and roll them to crumbs with a rolling pin.)
Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread this on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or until golden. Let this cool, then break into crumbs again.
Meanwhile, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla. (I used my food processor, which was a snap.) Set half of this aside for the topping.
Layer in some of the baked crumbs, then some of the key lime mixture, and repeat. When you have distributed all the ingredients, top with dollops of whipped cream and sprinkle with more crumbs and some zested lime if you want a stronger flavor.
And then lean back and enjoy the compliments! (and by way, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS makes a Perfect Stocking Stuffer!)
Posted on June 1, 2015 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: Life is a little crazy right now, with FATAL RESERVATIONS coming soon, so I thought I’d share a really easy recipe. I know, what sense does that make, right?
But some night when you’re pressed for time and want to quickly dress up a piece of fish or some shrimp, you’ll be glad to have this one in your hopper.
|Salsa with Yellowtail|
|Ignore the ginger, I changed my mind on that!|
One large ripe mango
One ripe avocado
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Two key limes
1 to 2 teaspoons orange flavored olive oil
Salt-and-pepper to taste
Putting this together is so easy, it’s almost embarrassing: Cut the mango and avocado into small chunks. Mix this gently with the onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. Squeeze the key limes over the top and drizzle all with the olive oil. Then salt and pepper to taste.
Voila–salsa! You can serve this with pan fried yellowtail snapper or Key West pink shrimp. You could even serve it with tortilla chips as an appetizer. No one would complain!
When she is not blogging and cooking, Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries.
Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the series, will be in bookstores on July 7, but you can certainly order it now!
Posted on January 22, 2015 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: I have a new obsession in Key West–this is hot pepper jelly made by the Pickle Baron, a local company here on the island. They also make bacon jam (bacon jam!!), and all kinds of pickles.
|one of the Pickle Barons|
John and I put the jelly on our sandwiches all week–it has just the right smoky heat to raise cold cuts to the next level. Then I remembered of my favorite hors d’oeuvre–a recipe for hot pepper jelly cheese puffs that I got years ago from my good friend Cathy Crook.
These puffs are positively decadent and delicious. There’s one drawback: They look like little thumbprint jam cookies so it takes a while for the party guests to catch on that you’re talking cheese, not sugar. Once a few people taste them, however, word spreads like wildfire and the plate will be snatched clean. So gobble a couple before you put them out.
HOT PEPPER JELLY CHEESE PUFFS
Mix the first 3 ingredients until they hold together in a ball–either by hand or using food processor. Wrap in parchment paper or Saran wrap and chill 1/2 hour.
Fill with Pickle Baron’s Habanero hot pepper jelly (or other jelly, or mild pepper jelly if you can’t take the heat.)
Return puffs to the oven and bake until golden. (5-7 more minutes.)
And watch them disappear off the plate!
Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries:
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here now!
Follow Lucy on Pinterest.
Posted on January 15, 2015 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: Say it’s the pit of winter and the short days and cold temps are bringing you down. Nothing cheers me up like a new dessert:). So I started to think about my favorite gingerbread recipe which I found many years ago in Moosewood’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook. Three things made it special: fresh ginger, molasses, and honey.
Could I transform this into a rolled cake stuffed with cinnamon-scented whipped cream that would appear fancier than gingerbread and fit for a party or a special family meal? Taste testers said I did–here’s the new recipe:
Ingredients for the Cake:
4 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp powdered mustard
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
Whipped cream filling:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Grease a 15 X 10 inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper; butter the paper and set aside.
Saute the grated ginger in the butter. Cool.
Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Separate the whites from the yolks.
With your stand mixer or mixer, beat egg yolks on high speed until thickened, about 3 minutes.
In a small bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue beating on high until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into yolk mixture.
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake in a 375 pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes.
Turn the cake onto the towel, peel off the parchment, and roll the cake up in the towel.
(You are rolling the towel right in with the cake–which I found fun and amazing…)
In a mixing bowel or cuisinart, combine the cream and vanilla and beat. When this begins to thicken, add cinnamon and sugar to taste, then beat until thick.
Roll up the cake again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve the cake slices with dollops of leftover whipped cream—or in the case of my family, with ice cream AND whipped cream. (ALWAYS ice cream, and preferably chocolate:).
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is in stores now!
Posted on January 8, 2015 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: Our daughter and son-in-law visited Turkey this fall and look at what they brought back to us: samples of one of my favorite desserts, baklava. Isn’t that the best gift ever? Those tasty nuggets inspired me to try making it–again.
Quite a few years ago, I was asked to help our son’s elementary school class make baklava. (They must have been studying food from various countries around the world.) Though I’ve always been a fan of this pastry, I had never had the nerve to try making it myself. Believe me, if a group of schoolkids could make it, anyone can:). The only problem we had was discovering occasional brush bristles in the finished pastry–this I blame on poor quality pastry brushes and intense paint strokes…
1 pound package of phyllo dough, thawed overnight, then brought to room temperature
1 pound walnuts or mixture of pistachios and walnuts (I used 1/3 salted pistachios and 2/3 walnuts)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 sticks unsalted butter, melted
12 ounces honey
Chop the walnuts and pistachios finely in a food processor and then add the sugar and cinnamon and pulse to combine these. Set this aside.
Remove the phyllo dough from the package and unroll it on a clean counter. Butter a 13 x 9″ baking dish and layer in 8 of the phyllo sheets, one at a time, buttering each sheet with a pastry brush dipped in the melted butter.
As you work, cover the remaining sheets of phyllo with a damp towel so they don’t dry out. (Don’t sweat any little tears–they won’t show up in the end.)
Pour 1 cup of the nut mixture over the eight layers of phyllo and spread this evenly to the edges. Continue to layer eight more sheets of dough, painting each with melted butter.
Spread another cup of the nut mixture over the top. Repeat the layers and the nut mixture until all the nuts are used, ending with phyllo.
Remove the dish from the oven and drizzle honey over the dough until it does not absorb any further. To the left is the honeyed pastry before it has soaked in. (I used a full one pound jar of local honey.) Then sprinkle with some ground up pistachios if you like that look. (I did.)
Let cool and sit for six hours or overnight, then serve at room temperature, well wrapped. Oh the agony of waiting! But it’s worth it. My guests told me this was the best baklava they had ever eaten. My hub and I had to agree.
These little squares could make a splendid addition to an party cookie platter!
Answer: Many layers!
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here now!
Follow Lucy on Pinterest.
Posted on December 27, 2014 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: Before visiting Cuba last month, I had never tasted a Mojito, never mind made one. But now it’s my new favorite drink. And I think it would be a perfect holiday libation, what with the red and green coloring–red from the bitters, and green from the mint.
First I’ll take you on a tour of some of the drinks I tasted (all for your benefit of course, in order to bring you home something spectacular.)
Here was the one that was most perfect:
And this was the daiquiri that I was forced to order when the bar was out of mint:
And here’s my recipe:
Start by crushing several slices of lime, several slices of lemon, the mint, and 2 teaspoons of sugar in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Add the rum and stir. Fill the glass with ice. Fill the ice with club soda. Mix and add a splash of bitters on top.
This might be the perfect drink to sip on while reading a Key West mystery!
Cheers! Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! Happy New Year!
Posted on December 7, 2014 - by Lucy
LUCY BURDETTE: I am so excited about DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS hitting shelves this week! So of course, I spent a long time thinking about what recipe would be festive enough for the launch of a brand new book.
First I looked at the recipes in the back of the book. But you’d already seen Chef Edel’s cheesy polenta with spring vegetables and Parmesan crisps, as well as the decadent Key lime parfaits, and Hayley’s mom’s spaghetti Bolognese recipe. Obviously, a recipe for hot dog casserole was not up to the big day, LOL. (Though I did get some fan mail last week in which a reader told me her husband had already made that dish and the whole family gave it a thumbs up!)
Then it hit me – coconut shrimp! In the fifth Key West mystery, Hayley’s mom is working as a caterer at Small Chef at Large for the winter season. (Based on the real-life Jennifer Cornell.) During one of the scenes, they are preparing coconut shrimp for a wedding:
My mother, swathed in a white apron, stood before an eight-burner gas range, fishing shrimp out of boiling oil and placing them on paper towels to drain.
“It smells wonderful in here,” I said. “What’s on the docket tonight?”
“It’s a wedding at the Oldest House on Duval Street,” Mom said. “The bride is a woman after my own heart—after choosing her man, she’s focused her heart and pocketbook on the menu.” Mom clapped her hands. All business.
“Will you taste this sauce, honey?” she asked, clip-clopping across the kitchen in her green clogs to grab two bowls of dipping sauce. “Jennifer usually serves the coconut shrimp with mango chutney, but I was thinking something a little more spicy and Asian might be a fabulous contrast.”
She handed me a small plate containing a piping-hot shrimp coated in a crispy coconut crust.
So here’s my attempt to replicate that recipe and celebrate the new book.
Ingredients (dinner for two people, hors d’oeuvres for four)
1/4 pound large Key West pink shrimp, peeled and deveined (You may leave the tails on for a little extra visual oomph)
1/2 cup flour
One egg, beaten
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut, with more as needed
Vegetable oil (I use canola)
Prepare the shrimp by washing and peeling and deveining, and then pat them dry. Prepare three shallow bowls, one for the flour, one for the beaten egg, and the third for the coconut. (If you notice in the photo with the raw shrimp, the ones on top are Argentine pinks, while on the bottom are the Key West local pinks. We preferred those!)
I served the shrimp with two sauces, one simple mango chutney from a jar.
The other, a combination of 2 tablespoons of Thai sweet chili sauce mixed with 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade.
If you plan to serve these for dinner, add white rice and a green salad.
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS can be found wherever books are sold.
DON’T FORGET: Mysteries make great stocking stuffers!