Posted on December 31, 2012 - by Lucy
Happy New Year Friends!
I had a wonderful tour of the cats inhabiting the grounds of the Hemingway House this week, thanks to my new friend Donna, and today my husband and I marched in the Dachshund Parade along with Tonka, who is by no means a wiener dog.
It’s always fun to find out what’s new in town. I adore the cafe con leche from the Cuban Coffee Queen, paired here with a glazed donut from the new donut shop next to the movie theatre.
Speaking of food, I’ve done lots of good cooking and eating over the last couple of months. Recipes for the best bloody Mary, an easy and tasty 15-bean soup, a gorgeous pomegranate, olive and walnut salad, and pesto pizza, are all posted over at Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Lots more to come, as I’ll be the regular Thursday correspondent on that site. Also busy with my fabulous friends at Jungle Red Writers–and starting work on the fourth food critic mystery. But more about that soon–I just wanted to wish you much happiness and many good books in the new year!
Love from Lucy
Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of TOPPED CHEF, which will hit bookshelves on May 7:
Posted on September 28, 2012 - by Lucy
I’m delighted about the reviews that have been coming in for DEATH IN FOUR COURSES.
Here’s one from Phil Jason in the Florida Weekly: “I’ll say it unashamedly: “Death in Four Courses” is mouthwatering. Hay- ley Snow is delicious. This humor- seasoned food for thought will tickle your mental taste buds.”
And from Booklist: “This enjoyable mystery series, with its attractive tropical setting, is also seasoned by the appealing characters and meals. The novel, done in the style of the Joanne Fluke series, is sure to attract food-fiction fans and will also appeal to Key West readers, although the combination of the two here is unique.” Booklist
And from Story Circle Book Reviews: “By the second book, Hayley has settled into her role more, though we rarely see her at her computer and we agonize with her over looming deadlines. Then magically she turns in that stunning article. Would that it were that way in real life. Still Hayley and the series show growth, and I’m eagerly looking forward to Topped Chef, next up in the Hayley Snow series.
From Shirrel Rhoades in the Key West Citizen: “The Food Critic series may feature Key West cuisine but I’d compare these tasty books to Chinese food: After reading one, in a half hour you’ll be wanting to read another.”
And I have new recipes up on Mystery Lovers Kitchen–fried okra from me, and recipes for roach poison and cough remedy from my grandmother’s recipe box: here’s a photo of the recipe for poison, in my grandmother’s handwriting. I can’t help saying that the handwriting was on the wall that I’d become a mystery writer–way back in my gene pool:).
And here’s Screw the Roux stew, which is one of the dishes Hayley makes in DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. I guarantee this will turn out to be a family favorite.
And last but not least, Back to School Hotdog Casserole: (embarrassing to admit, but this one actually appeared in a cookbook!)
As always, happy reading and I will so appreciate anything you do to help spread the word about the food critic mysteries!
Posted on July 8, 2012 - by Lucy
I realized that since joining the wonderful mystery writer/recipe blog Mystery Lovers Kitchen, I’ve been lax about posting recipes to this blog. But I have been cooking–and eating–so here I’ve gathered a few of my favorites.
Good for anything granola–I call it that because I’ve served it everywhere from a wedding brunch to a sailboat and it’s always popular!
I served these scalloped potatoes at our bi-monthly supper club–they were rated swoonworthy, even if not on anyone’s diet.
These stuffed mushrooms are an oldie but goodie–an easy appetizer that’s a step up from cheese and crackers.
My mother-in-law loves these stuffed peppers. In fact the whole family does too!
When we go out to an Italian restaurant, guaranteed either my husband or I will order the broccoli rabe. Here’s my version–easy and good for a family supper.
Don’t forget this strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake–it’s one of the recipes coming in DEATH IN FOUR COURSES–September!
I’m a huge sucker for sesame noodles, but this recipe is my favorite outside of what you get in a Chinese restaurant.
I know it’s not exactly pea soup season, but bookmark this for the fall–pea soup and cornbread, couldn’t be better on a cold night!
New recipes are posted every day of the week on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, from my fellow writers Krista Davis, Avery Aames, Ellery Adams, Cleo Coyle, Sheila Connolly, Wendy Watson, and Peg Cochran, plus lots of guests too. Please stop by! And we’ve got less than two months to go before the publication of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES! If you haven’t already, I’d love to have you follow me on Twitter, or facebook, or Pinterest.
Posted on November 27, 2011 - by Lucy
We made it through a wonderful Thanksgiving, but now I have a sheer million things to do to get ready for Christmas and the big launch of AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. One thing I’d hate to give up is baking cookies. If I only get around to making one kind of Christmas cookies, this is the recipe I turn to. They always turn out well–don’t skimp on the butter or the chilling part of the process. And then have fun with decorating–my favorite are the little green Christmas trees. But as you can see below, one year I made them for a Hanukkah party and they got snapped up in spite of the bilious blue icing!
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2.5 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
cream butter and sugar. then beat in the egg and vanilla. in a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt, then mix with butter/egg/sugar mixture. chill dough for 3 hours. preheat over to 350. roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured surface, dip cutters into flour before each use. place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 ” or until lightly browned. let cool and frost.
Creamy vanilla frosting: mix 3 cups powdered sugar with 1/3 c butter softened. stir in 1.5 tsp vanilla and about 2 tablespoons milk. beat until spreadable. add color and sprinkles as desired.
Posted on November 21, 2011 - by Lucy
As my husband would gladly tell you, I’m a sucker for gnocchi. I almost always order it if it’s presented on a menu and about half the time, it’s a disappointment. So when I was invited to help cook an Italian extravaganza with Nikki Bonnani and Hallie Ephron, I jumped at the chance.
By the time I reached Hallie’s kitchen, a good bit of the work was already done. We were using Nikki’s grandmother’s recipes, beginning with escarole soup, studded with homemade croutons and tiny little meatballs. Next came the made-from-scratch red sauce crammed with big meatballs and delicious Italian sausage. And then the potato gnocchi–Nikki was kind enough to share the family recipe. And we finished up with flash-fried bow ties drenched in powdered sugar. I’ll save that story for another time!
- Boil potatoes with skins. Cool. Peel. Put through ricer.
- Make a well with ~4 cups of flour
- Break eggs into the middle of the well one at a time (use ~3-4)
- Add salt
- Add potatoes a little at a time (~4-5 potatoes)
- Beat eggs and little by little incorporate the flour until you have a ball of dough
- Add more flour as necessary and knead until not sticky
- Roll into long logs about 1/2 inch in diameter and cut into 1 inch pieces
- To make gnocchi, push down on each little piece with 2 fingers and roll the dough into hollow logs. Drop them into boiling, salted water without crowding. They should finished shortly after they rise to the surface.
All I can say about this is call Nikki if you get stuck! it was a lot of work but oh my, were they delicious! Here they are floating in that heavenly red sauce….I’m pretty sure you’ll find a scene like this in book three of the Key West food critic mystery series…
Posted on November 2, 2011 - by Lucy
You don’t see tomatillos at the grocery store that aren’t past their prime too often, so I seized on the ones I noticed at the farmers’ market a couple of weeks ago. The green sauce I make isn’t hard and freezes just fine so you can save it for supper later in the season. Or whip up these yummy enchiladas if you have access to half a roasted chicken.
For the green sauce:
20 or so medium tomatillos (Remove the paper husks and then wash them)
1/2 box organic chicken broth (or homemade of course if you have that lying around:)
1 onion, quartered
1-3 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed well, stems removed, coarsely chopped
Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chicken broth in a pan and simmer about ten minutes until the veggies are soft. Cool and pulse in a food processor, adding the cilantro at the end. The sauce should be smooth rather than chunky. Set that aside. If you’re cooking the enchiladas right away, oil a 9 x 13 inch pan and pour the sauce in. Preheat the oven to 350.
For the enchiladas:
1 package tortillas (whole wheat tastes just as good as white and is better for you:)
1/2 roasted chicken, deboned, de-skinned, and shredded
2-3 green or red peppers, halved and sliced
1 onion, halved and sliced (white is fine but red is prettier)
4-5 ounces cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
Saute the onions and peppers in a tsp of olive oil until soft, then combine them with the chicken, cheese, and sour cream. Spread a heaping spoonful in the center of each burrito skin and roll tightly. Nestle these into the sauce in the pan. Bake for 1/2 hour or until bubbly. Serve with an extra dollop of sour cream if desired.
Posted on July 30, 2011 - by Lucy
Every so often I’ll try a recipe from an odd source. This one from
Woman’s World struck me as something we might like. They called for a
Boboli pizza crust. If you possibly can, go ahead and make your own
pizza dough. The recipe from THE JOY OF COOKING is very good and
really not that hard. You’ll just need to plan ahead a couple of hours
to let it rise. (And it makes dough for two pizzas, one of which you can freeze
for another day.) Or you can buy premade dough from a pizza joint–definitely a step up from Boboli!
1 pizza crust, unbaked
1/2 jar of Bone-Sucking sauce (my fave BBQ sauce lately, definitely
sweet and tangy)
1.5 cups shredded cheese, smoked Gouda or cheddar
1.5 cups shredded chicken (Here again, plan ahead and save this from
the chicken you roasted on the weekend. Or buy one from the supermarket deli)
1/2 thinly sliced large red onion
Roll out the dough and place on oiled pizza pan. Spread sauce on the
pizza dough, followed by cheese, chicken, onion, more cheese on top.
(Do not use the 475 temp called for by THE JOY OF COOKING:). Although
it turned out crispy and delicious all the same!)
This is one of our favorite suppers. Making myself soooo hungry–off to scrounge up some lunch….
Posted on July 28, 2011 - by Lucy
There is no doubt in my mind that homemade pickles are head and shoulders better than store bought. And I have a great recipe for you. But before deciding to embark on this project, please promise that you’ll study the section in a pickle-making book about sterilizing jars and lids, and proper use of the boiling water bath. I may be a murder mystery writer, but I don’t want to kill anyone off in real life!
The recipe I use is from an old cookbook called PUTTING FOOD BY by Hertzberg, Vaughn, and Greene. You’ll need to plan ahead for this–it’s not a last-minute kind of project. But I’ve been making these for years and never had a bad pickle. Out in the garden, I found four enormous cukes that were begging to be used. So here’s my list of ingredients, which made 3 pint jars and one quart-sized for refrigerator snacking.
4-5 large cukes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large onions, sliced
peppers, seeded and sliced (we had 3 banana peppers on our bushes so that’s what I used)
1/3 cup salt
2 large garlic cloves, whole
ice cubes or crushed ice
4.5 cups sugar
1.5 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp celery seed
2 TBSP mustard seed
3 cups of white vinegar
Wash the vegetables well, slice and add them to a large bowl with garlic. Sprinkle the salt over and mix thoroughly. add ice to cover and mix that in too. Then leave the bowl for 3 hours. Drain off the liquid and remove the garlic. Meanwhile, in a large stainless pot, combine sugar, vinegar and spices and heat to a simmer. Stir in the veggies and simmer for ten minutes. Pack into hot, sterile jars, remove air bubbles, add lids and place in the boiling water bath. Process ten minutes.
Posted on July 3, 2011 - by Lucy
We’ve had a lot of company this weekend and company means cooking. I’ll save the Screw the Roux Stew for another day, and also Joe’s pulled pork recipe and the amazing fourth of July birthday cake with whipped cream and three kinds of berries. Because you only have one day left and so you need something fast, and probably preferable chocolate!
My friend Linda Juliani gave me this recipe and I’ve made it many times. It’s perfectly fast and easy and yet has all the advantages of a homemade dessert, hot out of the oven. With no further ado, I give you:
HOT FUDGE PIE
Melt one stick of butter and 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate together. (Linda uses the microwave–just be sure to cover the bowl as it will splatter. I use the old-fashioned pan on a stove method.) Add to the bowl 1 and 1/4 cups sugar and 4 tablespoons flour and a dash of salt. Mix. Then add 3 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour the batter into a greased 9 inch pie plate and bake at 350 degrees fro 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream.
Happy Fourth of July one and all!
Posted on June 10, 2011 - by Lucy
My friend Peggy has brought this cake to the past two choir potluck dinners and let me just tell you people fight for a square. Baked in a jelly roll pan, it doesn’t look like much, but it tastes delicious and feeds a crowd. Peggy lightened it up with applesauce and low-fat yogurt, so it’s not as caloric as it could be:)
1 stick of butter
1 cup water
4 heaping TBSP cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp soda
2 eggs beaten
½ cup applesauce
½ cup plain no-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
Heat in a saucepan, melting butter & add water and cocoa powder.
Bring to a boil on stove and remove from heat.
Sift dry ingredients in a bowl
Beat all these ingredients and then blend with dry above and add in cooled chocolate liquid from saucepan
Pour into a greased & floured (or Pam sprayed) 15 x 10 x 2 “jelly roll” pan.
Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Make frosting five minutes before cake is done and spread on cake while still hot and then let cool.
1 stick of butter
4 TBSP (or more for darker chocolate) cocoa powder
6 TBSP milk
1 pound box powdered Sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chopped peanuts or pecans (nuts optional)
Heat & melt butter in saucepan with cocoa & milk but do not boil. Remove from heat and beat into powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread on hot cake.