Archive for November, 2011

Posted on November 27, 2011 - by

Midwinter American Library Association Meeting

All day January 21 I’ll be joining a fabulous group of mystery writers at the Midwinter ALA. Oh how we love librarians!

Posted on November 27, 2011 - by

Favorite Christmas Sugar Cookies

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 egg

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

Making Gnocchi

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!


Potato Gnocchi


  • 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 19, 2011 - by

Only in Key West and some praise

Only six weeks until AN APPETITE FOR MURDER is launched–wheeeee! Meanwhile, if you’d like to get in the Key West frame of mind, I’m a guest at Kaye Barley’s wonderful blog, Meanderings and Musings. There are some cool pictures taken by a Twitter buddy who lives down there–thanks Sandra!

It’s too early to get any official reviews, but here are some comments that have come in from writers I love:
“What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about Key West and food —
a winning combination. I can’t wait for the next entry in this charming series.” Diane Mott Davidson, author of Crunch Time

“A true taste of paradise….The victim may not be coming back for seconds, but readers certainly will!” Julie Hyzy, author of Affairs of Steak

“Food, fun, and felonies.  What more could a reader ask for?” Lorna Barrett, author of Sentenced to Death
And the second Key West food critic mystery, coming 9/12, has a name: DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. My brain is spinning!

Posted on November 2, 2011 - by

Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo Sauce

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.