Monday, September 28, 2015

Will Write for Foodies: Mystery Lovers Kitchen (#1)

The following article from Mystery Lovers Kitchen appeared in the Mystery Readers Journal: Culinary Crime I (31:1). Be sure and check out the issue, and Mystery Lovers Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs,  for more Culinary Crime and recipes.

Will Write for Foodies: Mystery Lovers Kitchen

Food trends and cooking bloggers may come and go, but the writers at are celebrating almost six years of daily recipes and stories. Aside from the daily blog posts, these writers have had more than forty cozy culinary mysteries published by Berkley/NAL over the past five years. They use current themes like competition between celebrity chefs, reality TV cooking shows, and fatal food allergies to spice up their culinary mysteries.

“The best part of the Kitchen is the friendships we’ve developed, not just between the
authors but with readers, too,” says blog founder Krista Davis.

“We feature a recipe every day and invite other authors to share favorite recipes with us on Sundays. There’s something for everyone.” Here’s a taste of our culinary crime files.
Be sure and check out the Mystery Lovers Kitchen authors in the second Culinary Crime issue.

Fatal Reservations
SUBJECT: Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib 
GUILTY OF: Turning up the heat.
Hayley Snow, the restaurant critic character in my Key West mystery series, is a serious foodie. She loves sampling the flavors of the restaurants in the city, and teasing out what makes one meal good, but another magical. For her, the cooking itself is not so much the miracle. It’s all about the eating. 
And then choosing the words that bring food to life on the page.

Here’s how she describes food writing in Death in Four Courses:
When we write about simmering a stew or a sauce for hours or days, we are really talking about how much we owe to the folks who came before us and the importance of cherishing their memory. And how much we yearn to give to the people in our present who’ll be gathered around our table. We are writing about food as family history, and love, and hope, and sometimes a little splash of guilt.
Writing this series has expanded my food horizons. I have to cook what Hayley Snow might cook and eat where she might eat. Since Hayley came on the scene, my husband and I have enjoyed her shrimp and grits, key lime cupcakes, coconut cake, and many more ravishing dishes. And we’ve tried about every restaurant in Key West. There’s only one problem. These days, if I don’t photograph dinner before putting it on the table, my husband worries: Does this not meet Hayley’s standards?

Hayley Snow’s Key Lime Parfaits
5 whole graham crackers, crushed, to make about one cup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1⁄2 cup key lime juice
key lime zest
2 cups whipping cream
1⁄4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Crush the graham crackers. (Easy way: Place
the graham crackers in a ziplock bag and roll them to crumbs with a rolling pin.)
Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread this on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or until golden. Let this cool, then break into crumbs again.
Meanwhile, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set half of this aside for the topping.
Juice the limes and strain out any seeds. Mix the condensed milk with the lime juice. The citrus will cause the milk to thicken. Gently stir in one cup of whipped cream.
Layer some of the baked crumbs into eight parfait or martini glasses, then add some of the key lime mixture, and repeat. When you have distributed all the ingredients, top with dollops of whipped cream. Sprinkle with more crumbs and some zested lime if you want a stronger flavor.

Lucy Burdette’s sixth Key West food critic mystery, Fatal Reservations, will be published on July 7. Her website is

As Gouda as Dead
SUBJECT: Daryl Wood Gerber and Avery Aames 
GUILTY OF: Double booking

From Charlotte: Hi. I’m Charlotte Bessette, owner of Fromagerie Bessette, or as locals in Providence, Ohio like to call it, The Cheese Shop. I took over management from my grandparents a couple of years ago, in partnership with my cousin, a wine connoisseur. Together, we’ve created a go-to destination in our darling tourist- driven town. I’ve lived in Ohio all my life. Recently I married the love of my life.

The only thing that doesn’t make my life bliss is the fact that I occasionally find myself investi- gating a murder. Needless to say, the chief of police, who happens to be a good friend, isn’t thrilled, but I’m a bit of a fixer and I can’t sit idle when a family member or friend is accused of murder. Would you? Oh, by the way, drop by The Cheese Shop any time for a sampling or a taste of our daily quiches.

By the way, have you heard about the fabulous culinary bookshop in Crystal Cove? I’ve been online chatting with the owner. I think we’re going to become fast friends. I’ll let her introduce herself.
From Jenna: Hey, thanks, Charlotte. For those who don’t know me, I’m Jenna Hart. Yes, my aunt and I own The Cookbook Nook and the Nook Café in Crystal Cove. We’re located along the northern portion of the Central Coast of California. It’s beautiful here, with a crest of hills, the gorgeous blue ocean, and a Mediterranean-style climate to beat all. I used to work in advertising, but I wasn’t thriving after my husband died. I returned home to find my smile. And I have. I adore Crystal Cove and all of its residents. We, like Charlotte, have a tourist-driven econ- omy, which is great for a shop like mine. We sell cookbooks as well as culinary fiction and darling kitchen items. I have a ginger cat named Tigger. He adopted me. Charlotte, you forgot to mention Rags, your sweet Ragdoll, also adopted. I live in a cottage on the beach. It’s part of my aunt’s property.

Like Charlotte, I, too, have found myself embroiled in a few investigations. The first involved my college roommate. Such a loss! How could I not get involved? Unlike Charlotte, I don’t cook. Well, I do. I’m learning, but I didn’t learn until recently. Right now, I’m tackling ten-ingredient recipes. Quite a giant step for a non-cook like me. I am a foodie, however; I adore gourmet food. Stop in The Cookbook Nook, and we’ll chat. If you want, ask my aunt to do a tarot card reading for you. She tells fortunes on the side. She’s pretty on the mark. See you soon!

We’re sharing Apple Bacon Gouda Quiche. Quiche because Charlotte makes a daily quiche. Quiche because it’s only a few ingredients, which means Jenna can master it as long as she doesn’t attempt the crust!

Apple Bacon Gouda Quiche
1 pie shell (store-bought, usually frozen, can be gluten-free)
1 green apple, pared and sliced into thin slices
4–6 slices of bacon, crisply cooked and crum- bled
1⁄2 cup sour cream
1⁄2 cup whipping cream
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese) 2 eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1⁄2 cup shredded Gouda cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired


Heat oven to 400° F. Bake pie shell for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce oven heat to 375° F.

Arrange apple slices in cooled pie shell. Arrange crumbled bacon on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
In a small bowl, mix sour cream, whipping cream, milk, mascarpone cheese, and eggs. Mix in the shredded cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie shell on top of the apples and bacon. (The apples and bacon will rise in the cream. Don’t worry.) Dust with cinnamon, if desired.
Bake 35 minutes until quiche is firm and lightly brown on top. Serves 4-6.

Daryl Wood Gerber writes the Cookbook Nook mystery series; as Avery Aames, she pens the Cheese Shop mystery series. Daryl is an avid foodie and loves to cook. As a girl, she sold chocolate cream pies around the neighborhood. Prior to her breakout as an author, she catered, ran a restaurant, and even did some shortorder cooking.

The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss
SUBJECT: Krista Davis 
GUILTY OF: Chocolate theft
Food was always a big deal in my family. It didn’t have to be fancy, it just had to be good. Let’s face it, entertaining and celebrations always revolve around food. So it wasn’t a big stretch for me to add recipes to my mysteries. Like my protagonist, Sophie Winston in the Domestic Diva mysteries, I love to entertain friends. What’s more fun than friends and family gathered around the table enjoying a great meal?

When I started my new series about dogs and cats, I could have omitted recipes entirely. But Holly Miller has the ultimate luxury of living in the Sugar Maple Inn where someone else does the cooking. She’s busy running the inn with her German grandmother but there’s no shortage of
delicious meals. There’s even a refrigerator in their private kitchen where yummy leftovers end up! Ahh, now that’s the good life!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1⁄2 cup butter
2 cups flour
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs
1⁄2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips additional 1⁄4 cup semi-sweet or dark choco-

late chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt the butter, and set

it aside to cool. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Use a fork to mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
Mash the bananas with a fork in another large bowl. Add the cooled butter and vanilla and mix. Add the eggs and mix well with the fork.
Pour the flour mixture on top and fold until the flour disappears. Do not overmix!
Gently stir in 1⁄4 cup chocolate chips. Spoon into the cupcake liners, filling them almost to the top.
Bake 20 minutes or until the muffins are a light golden brown on top.
Melt 1⁄4 cup chocolate chips in microwave on 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Use a fork to drizzle chocolate over top of cooled muffins.
Makes 12–16 muffins.

Krista Davis’s next release is The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss on June 2nd. She is the author of the Paws and Claws mysteries, including Murder, She Barked and the Domestic Diva mysteries, including The Diva Wraps It Up. Her friends and family
complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices that they keep coming back for more. Visit her at

Once Upon a Grind
SUBJECT: Cleo Coyle
GUILTY OF: Brewing up murder

New York City may be crowded, loud, and expensive, but it’s also a delicious mix of peoples, cultures, and cuisines. It’s such a tasty melting pot that “Eat with diversity!” has become our motto —one we’ve lent to Clare Cosi, the amateur sleuth in our long-running series of Coffee-house Mysteries. Clare grew up baking biscotti and serving espressos in her grandmother’s Italian grocery, an upbringing she puts to good use managing the landmark Village Blend coffee-house in Greenwich Village.

Of course, in New York, crime happens; and when murder crosses her coffeehouse doorstep, Clare steps up as an unlikely but capable sleuth—and what appetizing turns her sleuthing takes.... From the best egg tarts in Chinatown, to Little Manila’s exquisitely purple Ube Cake, to Brooklyn’s finest bean-to-bar chocolatier, Clare leads readers on the same foodie odysseys we’ve experienced in our three decades chewing on the Big Apple. As for the murders on our menu, they’re often culinary crimes.

In French Pressed, a chef is sliced and diced, and Clare’s daughter is charged with the killing. Clare’s sleuthing puts her into tight (but yummy) spots—like sampling smuggled beluga caviar amid shady characters in Brighton Beach’s Little Odessa.

In A Brew to a Kill, a nutritionist is struck by a van that might belong to a crazy cupcake queen on New York’s competitive food truck scene. Clare is on the case with a Salvadoran pupusa in
her pocket and a ticket to New York’s Dragon Boat Festival, where more exotic treats await.

In Once Upon a Grind, Clare investigates a sleeping beauty and discovers the bliss of Frisbee-sized Bosnian burgers in Queens, and the true story behind the best frankfurter in Yorkville—one that comes with classic New York hot dog onions.

You’ll find those recipes and many more in our culinary mysteries, another way we happily share the tasty contents of New York’s melting pot. Now for another classic recipe...

New York Coffee Egg Cream
Into a tall, frosted glass, pour 1 inch of chilled coffee syrup, recipe below. Add cold milk until the liquid line reaches 2 inches. Using a fork, whisk the coffee syrup and milk. Once they are fully blended, continue whisking as you slowly add cold seltzer (do not use club soda) until the fizzy, white head reaches the top.

COFFEE SYRUP: Brew very strong coffee by placing 1 cup of ground coffee (medium to fine grind) into your drip coffee maker. Place 2 cups of water in the reservoir and brew. This will yield about 1 cup of concentrated coffee. Place this coffee into a small saucepan over medium heat and slowly stir in 11⁄4 cups of white, granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer. Continue stirring for about 15 minutes until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Store in the refrigerator.

Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym of Alice Alfonsi, who collaborates with her husband, Marc Cerasini, to write the Coffeehouse mysteries and the Haunted Bookshop mysteries for Penguin. When not haunting coffeehouses or hunting ghosts, Alice and Marc are also media tie-in writers.

No comments: