Posts Tagged ‘cozy mystery’


Posted on August 21, 2016 - by

Fresh Cherry Cobbler with whipped cream #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: My hub and I are mad for cherries when they are in season, and trust me we’ve eaten pounds and pounds of them this summer. But we’ve never done anything except eat them from the bowl. I couldn’t imagine pitting all those little guys. But then I got the image of a cherry cobbler in my head, and it would not be denied. (Sadly, I went to the grocery store yesterday and the cherries were GONE FOR THE SEASON! I’m quite certain you can use this same recipe for blueberries or peaches. Back to the story…)

So I went in search of a cherry pitter and found this one on Amazon, which handles 6 pieces at a time. So it still takes a while (maybe half an hour) to pit enough for the cobbler, but this time it’s worth it. Be careful because one diner did find a pit in her portion. You don’t want your guests cracking their molars on your dessert! (Recipe has been adapted for low-sodium diets.)

For the cherry filling:

Six cups pitted cherries
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
Half a lemon, squeezed

Place the cherries in an 8 by 8 Pyrex pan, ungreased. Mix in the cornstarch and sugar, and squeeze the lemon over the top.

For the crust:

6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon no sodium baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in the chilled butter, using a pastry cutter. When the lumps are pea-sized, stir in the cream or milk. Do not over mix. With a large spoon place blobs of the crust over the prepared cherries. Do not worry about smoothing the crust or covering every square inch.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. The cherries should be bubbling and the crust a light brown. Let the cobbler cool a bit and serve with almond-scented whipped cream.

For the cream:
1 cup organic whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 tablespoon sugar

Whip the cream with the almond flavoring until thick. And the sugar and stir that in. Serve with the cobbler and swoon. (This is very rich–serves 6-8.)

It’s perfect for celebrations, like the publication of a new book! Or simply reading a great book.


Posted on April 5, 2016 - by

KILLER TAKEOUT is here!

A few years ago, one of my friends mentioned that the foodie mystery series I’ve been writing since 2012 is really a love letter to Key West.

I hadn’t thought about it in exactly that way, but she was right of course. In all seven books, I’ve been excited to share the food and the setting and the people I’ve grown to love since John and I first visited the island ten years ago.

And since that conversation, we’ve had many wonderful moments. The Key West Island Bookstore (where I’ll hold a signing with some of my “characters,”) has a hard time keeping the books in stock.

coverThis winter, the series was included in a feature in Key West magazine about the best Key West beach reads. (I had to giggle seeing the young beach beauty on the cover reading AN APPETITE FOR MURDER–in large print!)

Of course, most of all I love hearing from readers who’ve become fans, whether because of the characters, the island, or the food. Let me tell you a little bit about the new book…

KILLER TAKEOUT: #7 in the Key West food critic series

Killer Takeout-1 Killer Takeout takes place during Fantasy Fest, a zany ten-day festival beginning with the unofficial zombie bike ride, and ending with an enormous, creative parade winding from the Truman waterfront across the length of Duval Street.

As always, John was a super good sport, as we got our faces painted like zombies for the bike ride, trotted around town in tutus (no body paint costumes for us though), and served as Fantasy Fest parade ambassadors. We also ate every kind of takeout we could get our hands on–because what seasoned food critic tries to elbow her way into a restaurant with 90,000 visitors crammed onto the island? The only research we avoided was experiencing a hurricane, which to me would be much more scary than zombies or people wearing body paint only.

I’ll be doing some signings to celebrate the new book–and hope to see you at one of them! Any of these stores will be happy to send you a signed book, or two…

April 7, from 5 to 7 pm, Key West Island Bookstore, 513 and 1/2 Fleming St.

April 21, 7 pm, Murder on the Beach, 273 NE 2nd Ave, Delray Beach, Fl

May 4, 7 pm, RJ Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 06443, 203.245.3959

June 5, 1 to 3 pm, Barnes and Noble, 1375 Boston Post Road
Milford, CT 06460

Starting today, KILLER TAKEOUT can be found wherever books are sold! You can also follow me and the Key West gang on my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. And I blog every week with the wonderful writers at Jungle Red Writers and Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Also you might enjoy listening to this interview on NPR with reporter Nancy Klingener.

Posted on December 7, 2014 - by

Festive Coconut Shrimp for a Book Launch #recipe @LucyBurdette @penguincozies

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!)

Dip the shrimp in flour, then egg, and finally coconut, and set them on a plate until you have prepared all of them.

Now heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. When the oil is hot, fry them several at a time until they are crispy and brown. This will only take a few minutes.

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.

And big congrats to my Mystery Lovers Kitchen blog sisters, Krista Davis for THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER and Cleo Coyle for ONCE UPON A GRIND!

DON’T FORGET: Mysteries make great stocking stuffers!


Posted on December 5, 2014 - by

Trimmings is Launched!

This has been a whirlwind week–so exciting to celebrate the launch of a new book. #13 for me–but it never gets old! I thought you might enjoy this interview from Jungle Red Writers…
Today all the Reds are humming Christmas carols and wearing Santa hats to celebrate the launch of Lucy Burdette‘s fifth Key West food critic mystery, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS. Lucy herself is simply floating so we thought of some questions to ask about the new book…although she did edit out some of our best suggestions like: What do you really think of skate? (Hallie) and Have you ever eaten cod cheek? (Hank)

REDS: Seriously, tell us what are the best–and hardest–things about writing a cozy mystery series?

LUCY: I’ll start with the hardest part: Suspension of disbelief. My readers must be persuaded to suspend disbelief in every way—characters, plot, setting, everything! For example, what business does a food critic have solving murders? Since Hayley Snow’s profession does not explain her involvement with criminal investigation, the sleuthing must evolve because of her relationships with other characters and because of her own personality and history. Challenging!

What I enjoy most is learning more about the characters with each book I write. Do you know that I had no idea Miss Gloria would become such an important character when I started out? A series is always full of surprises…and so is the Key West setting.

REDS: Speaking of relationships, this story has a lot to do with Hayley and her mother. What do you find most interesting about this duo?

LUCY: I love writing about the push and pull of the mother-daughter relationship over time. Hayley is “finding herself” as a true adult, and her mom is revealing herself as a regular person with flaws and fears, not just a mother. I lost my mother when in my early twenties so I think I get extra satisfaction imagining the transition of Hayley and Janet Snow’s relationship–how it changes and matures in ways that I didn’t have the chance to experience.

REDS: What’s so special about Key West during the Christmas season?

LUCY: So many things! It’s funny how just a string of white lights around the trunk of a palm tree looks festive. But Key West does a lot more than that. They hold a lighting decoration contest, a lighted boat parade, the hometown holiday parade..

And don’t let me forget to mention the Winter Wiener Wonderland which is a parade of costumed dachshunds. (I marched in that last year with John and Tonka—we all wore hot dog costumes.) It was so much fun to work all of those events into the book!

REDS: What was the best thing you ate while in training for this writing this book and the book launch?

LUCY:  Now you’re getting to the heart of the matter:). The recipes in the back of the book are mine, except, of course, for the Jungle Red cocktail, which is Susan’s brainchild. And I’m crazy for the Scarlet O’Hara raspberry cupcakes (which are also wonderful with mocha icing…)

Thank you readers for all your support! The new book can be found wherever books are sold, including independent bookstores, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Burdette infuses the mystery with Key West spirit and holiday fun along with delicious food references and recipes. This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery.  Booklist, December 1, 2014


Posted on November 30, 2014 - by

Sour Cream Scallion Biscuits #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: These are what I call special occasion biscuits, because they are loaded with butter and sour cream, so you wouldn’t want to eat them every day. Not that you’ll have the chance, because they are most likely to be snapped up right after you serve them. They are definitely lovely enough to find a place on your holiday table, but could also accompany a hearty soup–and call that dinner!

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
four scallions, cleaned and chopped
one half teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp or so of milk as needed
  

Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the chopped scallions and mix well. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Now add the the sour cream and stir lightly until the mixture is moistened and holds together in a shaggy dough. You may need to add a tablespoon of milk, if the mixture is too dry.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, then shape into a rectangle about one inch thick.

Cut the dough into squares, to make the size you like. I made 12 biscuits out of this dough. Place them on greased baking sheet with room to grow. Bake at 450 until golden, about nine minutes.

Serve hot with more butter, and honey if you like!

And don’t forget, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will hit bookshelves on December 2–just in time for Christmas stockings! You can preorder the book here.

(PS, we’re really excited about the first review: Burdette infuses the mystery with Key West spirit and holiday fun along with delicious food references and recipes. This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery. )

 Booklist, December 1, 2014


Posted on November 20, 2014 - by

Crab Cakes #Recipe for #Cat Week–and a #Haiku @LucyBurdette

CAT HAIKU by Lucy Burdette, in honor of Yoda on Cat Week!

White whiskers on gray
Purr box sputtering to life
What else but Cat Week

LUCY BURDETTE: You might reasonably ask, what the heck was Cat Week? And why was it happening at Mystery Lovers Kitchen?

Cats are smart and secretive and mysterious and quiet stalkers–and yet so adorable that we forgive them anything. And so they go together with cozies like butter with hot biscuits, or chocolate cake with cold milk, or fresh tomatoes with basil and olive oil… You get the picture!

I’ve had a cat in my life ever since the year I turned 13. I was desperate for a date with Mickey Dolenz for my birthday, but my mother was smart enough to give me a kitten instead. (Yoda, seen above doing his best trick, is our current feline denizen.) All my fictional characters have had cats too–Cassie had Cashbox, and Dr. Rebecca Butterman had Spencer, and Hayley has Evinrude, of course!

Evinrude posing for DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS

We each put our own special spin on Cat Week, but to my mind this theme cried out for a fishy recipe. Yoda the cat loves tuna fish, so I thought he would love crab meat too. And that would give me the chance to snap a photo of him eating daintily from a treasured crystal goblet that belonged to my mother. Right?

Wrong.

He’s a cat after all, so this is the closest he came to posing.

Now on to the recipe…

Yoda’s Crab Cakes

Ingredients

One pound crab meat, picked over to remove bits of shell

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Two scallions, finely minced

One half small hot pepper, minced

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon red and black cracked pepper

About 4 tablespoons mayonnaise

One egg, well beaten


Mix the first seven ingredients, from crab meat to pepper. Then begin adding a tablespoon of mayonnaise at a time until the mixture seems wet enough for you. Add the beaten egg.

Shape the crab mixture into cakes. This should make about eight.


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add four crab cakes at a time. Sauté them until brown, then flip and continue to sauté the other side.


Keep the first crab cakes warm while you are preparing the next four. Serve with cocktail sauce (one part horseradish to two parts ketchup) and coleslaw.

Purrfectly delicious!

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. Murder with Ganache is in stores now.

Death with All the Trimmings will be on bookshelves December 2. Pre-order it here.

 

Yoda the cat says: “Buy the darn books so she can get off my case and keep me in catnip.”


Posted on November 13, 2014 - by

Chicken and Dumplings with a Tex-Mex Twist #recipe

 

Chicken and Dumplings in Tomatillo Sauce

When I’m looking over recipes, I seem to vacillate between garden vegetables to decadent cakes, with comfort food in between.

Now that I’m headed toward the launch of DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, I’m in the comfort food phase. If you happen to have some frozen green tomatillo sauce, this recipe is so easy. Also easy to whip that sauce up, so if you see tomatillos in the supermarket, grab them! I’ll link to the recipe for the sauce below. This is chicken and dumplings with a Tex-Mex twist–oh my mouth is watering…

Ingredients

Half a cooked chicken deboned and broken into pieces (could also use leftover turkey, about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups salsa Verde, also called tomatillo sauce *See Cook’s note
1/2 cup milk

Dumpling ingredients

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
One and a half cups all-purpose flour unbleached
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
One bunch scallions, cleaned and sliced
One handful (about 1/4 cup) fresh cilantro, chopped

To make the chicken, melt the butter in a large saucepan, and stir in the flour to make a paste. Cook for a minute or two longer, being careful not to burn the butter or flour.

Mix in the half cup milk and stir until slightly thickened. Then add the salsa Verde and cook a little longer, until the mixture is bubbling and thick. Add the chicken pieces. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400.

To make the dumplings :

In a medium pan over low heat, heat the milk and butter until steaming. Then stir in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, scallions, and cilantro.

 

Pour the hot salsa Verde and chicken mixture into a well buttered Pyrex bowl. Drop hunks of dough into the chicken. Cover the casserole and bake until the dumplings are cooked through. This may take 20 to 25 minutes. Keep checking.

*Cook’s note: I’ve made a similar recipe using jarred green salsa and it was salty to the point of being inedible. So, worth it to make the salsa yourself if you can find the tomatillos. Recipe here.

 

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be out on December 2, just in time for Christmas stockings!

Pre-order it here.

 

 


Posted on October 25, 2014 - by

Trouble in Paradise #KeyWest

 

by Lieutenant Steve Torrence from Lucy Burdette‘s Key West food critic mysteries


People seem to have this idea that cops in paradise (the island of Key West in this case) have an easy life. Shovel in a couple of doughnuts, walk along the beach, drink a cup of Cuban coffee, ride our (fill in the blank) cruiser/bike/horse up and down Duval Street–plum assignment right?

What they probably don’t know is that our little island gets a couple million visitors a year. That’s right, a couple million. Spring breakers, New Year’s Eve revelers, FantasyFest attendees–we’ve got a party for every occasion and all the trouble that goes along with that.

We attract a lot of homeless “tourists” too. And believe me, our residents and visitors don’t care to see those folks on the streets. They don’t want to see them panhandling or drinking or sleeping or worse…it’s a delicate balancing act, keeping the peace.

 

The real Steve Torrence

I have a little extra on my plate too, in the form of a new island resident named Hayley Snow. She’s a nice kid, with a nice family–and I’m glad I was able to help out with her brother this spring. But she scares me–she’s gotten the idea that she notices things the way a cop might. And she takes that further than she should.

 

How many ways can I think of to say “stay of out of it” in a nice way? Got any ideas about how to get the message across so she stays safe?


Add caption

MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now!

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be out on December 2, but you can pre-order wherever books are sold…

Follow Lucy on Facebook

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And Pinterest.


Posted on October 20, 2014 - by

Killer Menus in #KeyWest @LucyBurdette

by Edel Waugh from Lucy Burdette‘s Key West food critic mystery, Death with All the Trimmings
  

You’ll hear the whole story in December, but let me say that starting a new restaurant is a killer proposition. So far, Key West feels even harder than New York City, if you can believe that. Here’s my theory: Established eateries don’t welcome newcomers who can cook circles around them. People don’t like it when someone else is in the limelight. A chef who can cook both new dishes and old standbys better than anyone else on the island is considered a threat. And when people feel threatened, they lash out.

Photo by Jay DeFehr

You know what’s been the hardest? Finding good help. Maybe you’ve heard what they say about this southernmost island: Turn the state of Florida on its end and and shake it hard. All the loose nuts fall down to Key West.

I did manage to bring down some of my people from New York City, because I know I can rely on them. Even so, bad things are happening in my kitchen. And no, I can’t take it to the police. I can’t afford one sentence of lousy publicity. That old saw “any publicity is good publicity”doesn’t work for a restaurant. One hint of cockroaches or spoiled fish or food poisoning, and the amateur food critics will be all over the Internet dissing the Bistro on the Bight.

The best I can do is try to cultivate my employees’ loyalty, and make them see that if I succeed, they succeed. And the only way I know to do that is by example–cooking like I’m on fire. Tonight I’m trying to win them over by serving my grandmother’s recipe for Bolognese sauce at the family meal. Do you think that will help?

If that doesn’t work, I may call that food critic, Hayley Snow…people say she’s good at nosing out a mystery…

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be on bookshelves on December 2. But you can pre-order it now:

Independent bookstores

Barnes and Noble

Amazon


Posted on October 15, 2014 - by

Like a Little #Romance in Your #Mystery?

LUCY BURDETTE: DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS comes out on December 2, so I’m obviously not working on that. Other projects have surfaced of course…

In the early days of my marriage to John (when most things were still mysterious,) one of the biggest mysteries about my husband was this: What in the world he could possibly be discussing with his buddies over a 4 to 5 hour golf round several times a week?

So I asked him. What do you talk about?

His answer?

Relationships.

Even a new wife couldn’t argue with that!

And that’s what I’m writing about now in the sixth Key West food critic mystery, which will be called FATAL RESERVATIONS, and will come out next July. Hooray! Did I forget to mention that I signed a contract for two more books in the series?
Anyway, back in the third book, TOPPED CHEF, I thought I had figured out the relationships in Hayley Snow’s life. But it turned out, I wasn’t feeling the zing between her new detective boyfriend and her. So I looked around to see who else might come into the picture. And I’ve been heading in that direction ever since.

Until I got a fan email from Sue P. last week that made me question, well, everything…

I recently found this series and love it. I do have a complaint though. I was just getting interested to see how the romance would work out between Hayley and her detective. And you bring back his ex and she gets dumped! I was not a happy camper at this development. I still would like to see where this would go, more so than with her boss, which is where you seem to be leading. I think she needs a challenge and this is not her boss. Bring him back!! Just my opinion. Thanks.

So like I said, I’m puzzling over relationships…here’s a snippet from FATAL RESERVATIONS:

Fifteen minutes later, I climbed the very steep steps to the Old City Hall building, an imposing red brick structure with ornate black railings and a bell tower. For a hundred years, the city commission had been meeting here on Greene Street, a half block from Sloppy Joe’s bar and the chaos of Duval Street. I doubted that visitors had any idea how much city business was conducted while they swilled beer and shouted choruses of Buffet’s Margaritaville and Kenny Chesney’s Key West theme song No shirt, no shoes, no problems.

The hall was cavernous, handsome, and clearly set out to differentiate the commissioners and city staff from any interested onlookers. A text from Wally buzzed in, reminding me to turn off the ringer on my cell phone.

Let me know outcome tomorrow? Mom’s chemo was brutal today. I’m going to watch a marathon of Breaking Bad and then crash. See you a.m.at staff meeting.

As my relationship with Wally took a turn for the better over the last couple of months, his mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse. In that sense, our new half-owner Palamina Wells had been a godsend. She was smart enough to step right in and run the day to day nitty-gritty details of Key Zest while Wally took care of his mom. She was also smart enough to recognize the attraction between me and Wally, and to remove me from reporting directly to him, so we could see where this love train might take us.

All I can say is, stay tuned to see where this is going. And thanks Sue!



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