Monday, April 11, 2011

Avery Ames: Guest Post & Book Contest

Today I welcome Avery Aames with a unique post. Not only does Avery tells us about her Cheese Shop Mystery Series, but she gives a recipe with photos...and she's offering three copies of her latest novel, Lost and Fondue to commenters. To win a copy, just comment on why you would like to read the book. Winners (random numbers) will be announced on this post on April 13. Be sure and stop back to see if you've won. 

4/13: WINNERS are Gram, Fricka & Janet Bolin. Please email me with your snail-mail address, so Avery can send you a copy of Lost and Fondue. Thanks for commenting!

Avery Aames is the author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series. The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a national bestseller. Avery is an Agatha Award nominee for “Best First Novel.” Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen - a blog for foodies who love mysteries. And some of her characters show up on the Killer Characters blog,  You can pre-order LOST AND FONDUE HERE.

AVERY AMES: “I’m melting…”

I love fondue. Don’t you? And guess what? It’s National Fondue Day. That’s right. According to a number of Internet sites, every April 11 is National Fondue Day. Who came up with the idea of a day to celebrate cheese fondue? Well, I’m not exactly sure. I couldn’t dredge up a name after extensive research. It might have been a cheese company that originated the idea. Who cares, right? Fondue has been around for a while. There are references in Homer’s The Iliad about a dish prepared with wine, goat cheese and flour. But the Swiss made it popular. The dish came into being centuries ago as a result of food preservation. Breads and cheeses made in the summer and fall needed to last through the winter. The bread turned hard; the cheese turned hard. But the cheese, when heated and mixed with wine, turned into a thick sauce. The bread, which was so hard it required an axe to chop it, [I’ve had bread like that in my breadbox, haven’t you?] became soft if dipped in the warm cheese. Yum!

What’s not to love about fondue? It’s romantic, it’s easy, it’s delish. It’s usually made up of two or more cheeses, heated in a caqualon, or communal pot.

So why am I so obsessed with fondue? Because my next book in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is called LOST AND FONDUE. In the story, Charlotte’s friend Meredith decides to throw a fund-raiser to create a liberal arts college. Meredith asks Charlotte to provide cheese and fondue for the event, and Charlotte is excited until she learns the location for the fund-raiser—a long-abandoned winery that is rumored to hold not only buried bodies but buried treasure. Charlotte’s joie de vivre deflates like a bad soufflé. Her fears are realized when an art student is found dead in the wine cellar, and Meredith’s niece is the main suspect. Fondue is a mainstay of the novel. Charlotte shares a few recipes. She serves different fondue tastings at The Cheese Shop. And fondue actually plays a part in solving the mystery.

In honor of the release of the book, I’m sharing a new fondue recipe with you today. It’s something I created by combining a couple of normal cheeses with Doux de Montagne fondue. Doux de Montagne cheese is a pale light cheese with teensy little holes and a fruity, buttery flavor. It’s one of my favorites.

Ingredients:
For Fondue:
2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons chopped yellow onions

1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Half ‘n Half 

8 ounces Doux de Montagne cheese (may substitute with cream cheese)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (packed) grated Gruyère cheese

For potatoes:
1 pound new potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Wooden skewers

Directions:

For Potatoes:
Combine 6 cups water and salt in large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are just tender when pierced with skewer, about 6 -12 minutes. Drain. Cut potatoes in half or quarters (bite-sized). Transfer potatoes to bowl. Add olive oil and parsley; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Potatoes may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover refrigerate. [Reheat potatoes in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.]
For Fondue:
Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Half ‘n Half and grated cheeses. Whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. [If it feels too thick, add a little regular milk to thin.]
Place potatoes on platter. Spear each with skewer. Serve with warm fondue.

Click this link to print a recipe card. Just so you know, I have created a how-to-make fondue movie on my website and on youtube. Feel free to share it.

Also, if you’re interested, I’m running a launch contest on my website. Check out the “rules.” You’ll also find a sneak preview of chapter one and my new book trailer.

What’s your favorite fondue? Or where did you first taste fondue? Or if you’ve never tasted it, who would be the one celebrity you’d like to taste fondue with?

Three commenters today will win signed copies of LOST AND FONDUE. Remember to provide your email. You can put it in the post and separate by extra spaces to avoid spammers.

38 comments:

Meg London - Sweet Nothings Series said...

That sounds absolutely yummy and so does the book!

Judy Alter said...

Fondue brings back romantic memories. I first had it when it was all the rage in the '60s with entire restaurants devoted to fondue and called things like "The Melting Pot." Having been raised under strict British table manners, I loved dipping and dripping and using my fingers.

Krista said...

How very intriguing, Avery. I've never dipped potatoes in fondue. Why didn't I think of that? Potatoes with cheese -- yum!

~ Krista
Domestic Diva Mysteries

Avery Aames said...

Hi, Meg/Peg, Judy and Krista. So glad you dropped by. Yes, potatoes and cheese. I saw that in a recipe and almost smacked my forehead. Apples are good for dipping, too. They hold up beautifully!

~Avery AveryAames.com

Marian Pearson Stevens said...

Great post Avery! I heard the word Fondue and came right over! LOL! Your book sounds awesome and fondue is so much fun! Must try potatoes!

Kaye George said...

I don't remember my first, but I remember the worst. It was in Switzerland! We thought they would have the best. The one at the restaurant that starts with Z next to the Spy Museum in DC is awfully good.

I still have my old fondue set from years ago and your recipe is tempting me to dig it out....

Dru said...

You know, I never had cheese fondue before. I must change that. Love the idea of it with potatoes.

Avery Aames said...

Hi, Marian, thrilled to see you here. Yes, fondue is a lure, isn't it? I adore it.

~Avery

PamelaSueJames said...

I like to dip pears in fondue.

cyn209 said...

i'll be reading Lost & Fondue because i'm new to CozyMysteries & i am SOOOO enjoying them!! i love the concept of everyday people solving mysteries.....& really enjoy the 'normal' settings!!!

Good Luck, Avery & thank you for the giveaway!!!!

Cynthia
cyn209@juno.com

Janet Rudolph said...

Pears...fabulous, Pamela

Crack in the Walk Designs said...

This looks positively sinful! Oh well, why not? I've gotta eat! and since this is my favorite type of mystery (with recipes), I can't wait to read it. Hey, maybe I could win one today. I'd love to curl up with the book and some fondue and a nice bottle of Reisling. Sounds like a plan to me!
Holly Price
hollisterprice@yahoo.com

Avery Aames said...

Kaye, I've never been to the spy museum. Is it cool?

Dru, yes, fondue is yummy. It's a real comfort food. I'll be sharing a couple of different recipes in the book, and then I'll have a few that I share on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. So many cheeses, so little time. :)

Pamela, pears. Firm pears, right? LOL

~Avery

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

PoCoKat said...

I haven't had cheese fondue in years but do love chocolate fondue!

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

Janet Rudolph said...

PoCoKat, go on over to DyingforChocolate.com for Chocolate Caramel Fondue today:
http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2011/04/chocolate-caramel-fondue-national.html

Avery Aames said...

PoCoKat, I love chocolate fondue. Love it! But then I love chocolate. Dark, dark chocolate.

~Avery

Janet Bolin said...

I love the classic recipe, gruyere, white wine, and a bit of Kirsch. And several baguettes.

I did not know that National Fondue Day existed. Now that I do know . . . where is that fondue set?

Kaye George said...

I've never made it inside the Spy Museum. No one I'm with ever wants to go. Someday, though!

I just looked up the restaurant, Zola, but the fondue isn't on the menu any more. Sigh. It was a chocolate fondue.

Avery Aames said...

Holly, love that you love mysteries with food. Check out my blog!
~Avery

Avery Aames said...

Holly, love that you love food mysteries. Check out the Mystery Lovers Kitchen blog.
~Avery

Gail M Baugniet said...

Love the recipe though it's way over my 2-minute time limit for preparing meals. I may give it a try, though.
I loved The Long Quiche Goodbye and know I'd enjoy reading Lost and Fondue (especially if I "won" it!)

Marilyn Levinson said...

Avery,
Your recipe sounds yummy. Can't wait to read Lost and Fondue.
Marilyn

Avery Aames said...

Gail, thanks for chiming in. Take a look at the video. It's not that hard or time consuming. ;)
Marilyn, hope you do enjoy the read. I had so much fun writing it!
~Avery

Kellie M. Rix said...

Hi Avery,
I haven't had fondue in years!! My mom made it when I was little and I remember having so much fun. I can't wait to read Lost and Fondue. I read A Long Quich Goodbye and I am looking forward to finding out more about the wonderful characters and of course more about cheese. I love cheese. My dad would even eat blue cheese with cake. I can't say I've tried that :) I am going to try your recipe. It looks great!

Kellie M. Rix said...

Oops! I forgot to add my name to my comment. Kellie M. Rix the one whose dad ate blue cheese with cake :D

Avery Aames said...

Kellie, thanks for the compliment! That's funny re: your dad. Blue cheese with what kind of cake? With white cake, it might just taste like cheese with a biscuit and that would work. With chocolate cake? Hm, I'm not so sure, but I'm not against an experiment. :)

~Avery

Skye said...

Very mouth watering...Going to print up this recipe as I know my husband will love it..Yum..thank you!! Skye

Janet Rudolph said...

Try these blue cheese truffles. They're fabulous! Of course, you should use a mild blue cheese..nothing too strong. I use Humboldt Fog. http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2010/10/blue-cheese-truffles-moldy-cheese-day.html

Avery Aames said...

Skye - thrilled you like it.

Janet, I have a goat cheese truffle that's delish. Light. Here's a link to that: http://www.averyaames.com/goat_cheese_truffles.html
Aren't we just a bundle of recipes today?

Enjoy.
~Avery

Janet Rudolph said...

Avery, I'll give your goat cheese truffle recipe a try. Here's my Goat Cheese Truffle Recipe from last year's Goat Cheese Month http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2010/08/goat-cheese-truffles-for-national-goat.html

Kellie M. Rix said...

Hi Avery, my dad would eat blue cheese with chocolate cake. Also, cheese with apple pie -a cheddar or sharp over apple pie. I have other family members who have eaten peanut butter, jelly, and sliced cheese sandwiches. Very unusual if you ask me :D LOL

Stacie said...

Fondues are delicious & so much fun. They are a great excuse to "play" with your food. I loved Avery's first book & have been anxiously awaiting LOST AND FONDUE. Please enter me. I'd love the chance to win.

scouts579 AT aol DOT com

Gram said...

It's 7 in the morning and my mouth is watering just reading the fondue recipe....thanks
grammyd..01..@...comcast.///net
Dee

Fricka said...

Pears...potatoes...cheese fondue. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!. Avery, I don't think I've ever actually tried fondue, as it had pretty much gone out of style by the time I started cooking for myself. I've read your first book, and am really looking forward to its follow-up! Hope to see you soon in Scottsdale!
Fricka

Carol N Wong said...

Back in junior high, I had a French teacher who invited us to his place for fondue. That was my first time. He had a tiny trailer and we all crowded around his dining area. He fixed chocolate and cheese fondue. He cut up strawberries, bananas, pineapple and crusty bread. We all ate standing up in the candlelight. He had Eva Pilaf playing on his stereo.

It was such a good memory that I bought my mother a fondue set for Christmas.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Avery Aames said...

Stacie, Gram, and Fricka, yes, this is a post better read closer to dinner time, don't you think? LOL

Carol, what a great memory. I tink you mean Edith Piaf playing, right? I did a play about Piaf when I lived in Charlotte. Her music is so hauntingly vulnerable! Great memory.

Avery

Lexie said...

My favorite fondue is dark chocolate! Especially with strawberries! :)

shakespeareanlover1215@yahoo.com

Avery Aames said...

Lexie, I think we've all agreed we like dark chocolate. Now, how about a cheese fondue with chocolate to dip into it?

~Avery