Archive for August, 2018


Posted on August 31, 2018 - by

The Chugs of Key West

LUCY BURDETTEAbout 10 years ago my sister and her husband were visiting us in Key West, but had taken two days to camp on the nearby Dry Tortugas National Park. My sister called me from the boat on the way back. 


“You’d better get over to the dock quickly,” she said, “we picked up a group of Cuban refugees.” 

Photo from Wikipedia

We hurried over. The refugees were huddled on the bow of the boat, faces impassive, dressed in clothing and blankets loaned by the staff of the Yankee Freedom. Who knows how long they’d been at sea, and on what craft? And it was chilly! A group of their relatives had gotten the word about their rescue and gathered on the dock. The tears and the joy were amazing to witness.

Since Key West is only ninety miles from Havana, we hear a lot about the island and many Key Westers have an intense curiosity about Cuba and what life might be like for its inhabitants. Up until 2014, when the wet-foot, dry-foot policy (in which Cubans who reached the US were allowed to stay,) changed in the Obama era, frequently we heard news stories about Cubans who attempted to reach the US in a variety of homemade, unseaworthy vessels— even windsurfers—with some disastrous results. Many of these crafts are on display at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden on Stock Island. I’ll show you a few–hope you get a sense of the shakiness!

When I wove some of that backstory and conflict into DEATH ON THE MENU, I had no idea that immigration would become such a national hot button issue. But whatever a person might think about the special Cuban  policy that was in place for years, it seemed to me that it would be hard not to be moved by the dangerous attempts immigrants made crossing the Straits of Florida. 

I knew it might be considered risky to weave this subject into a cozy mystery, but it felt more impossible not to do so. Despite our differences in politics, I think we need to remember that the policies that governments make affect real people with sometimes heart-breaking results. 

across from the Statue of Liberty

When it came time to choose a dedication for this book, this is the only thing that came to mind:


Where did your family come from and how did they get to the US? 


Posted on August 26, 2018 - by

Delicious Mystery Discussion at Savoy Bookshop

Savoy Bookshop & Café is delighted to present an evening of food and mystery with New England authors Lucy Burdette and Maddie Day. This event is free and open to the public.


Posted on August 26, 2018 - by

Mojito Cake #recipe #booklaunch @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: In the eighth Key West mystery, Hayley and her mother Janet are catering a Key West/Havana conference at the Truman Little White House. This is the dessert they serve for the final dinner. And it is the perfect recipe to celebrate the arrival of DEATH ON THE MENU!

The basis of this recipe came from a cookbook called Cuba! – Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen. I love lime cake and yellow cake and whipped cream, so you can imagine that this recipe was irresistible. I know Mojitos require rum, and yet I am not a big fan of alcohol-flavored desserts. So I chose to leave the rum extract out of the cake, and instead add a teaspoon of rum. This gives it a little soupçon of flavor without overwhelming the cake. I also reduced the salt in the batter and the rum in the frosting. You can adjust the rum upward to a tablespoon if you choose.

 

Ingredients for the cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder (low-sodium works fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Two sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
Four eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Half cup whole milk
1 teaspoon rum

For the lime mint syrup

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum

Thin slices of lime, or lime zest, or mint leaves, for decoration

Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by buttering them and lining with parchment paper. Butter the paper too. Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients for the cake together and set this aside. In your KitchenAid, food processor, or with an electric beater, beat the butter well with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract, the lime zest, and the rum. Fold in the dry ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in the milk.

Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake about 30 minutes until the cakes spring back when touched. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove them from the pans and cool completely.

For the lime mint syrup, heat the sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and stir in the mint leaves. Let them steep for 10 minutes, then strain them out and stir in the lime juice. Paint this glaze onto each layer of cake with a pastry brush.

Whip the cream and sugar until stiff, and stir in the rum. Drop half of the whipped cream onto the first layer. Place the second layer on top and spread the remainder of the cream over that. Decorate with thin slices of lime or mint leaves as desired.

Death on the Menu, the 8th Key West food critic mystery, hit bookstores on August 7 from Crooked Lane Books. You can buy it in hardcover, e-book or audio book, wherever books are sold.



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