Tag Archives: baking

Cute Cozy Culinary: Pies & Peril by Janel Gradowski #weekendcooking

cover image of Pies and PerilPies & Peril by Janel Gradowski – the first in the Culinary Competition cozy mystery series, set in Michigan – is a fun read for foodie mystery fans. Readers with a sweet tooth will drool over the descriptions of the prize-winning baked goods made by the main character Amy, such as Bumble Apple Crumble Pie, Lemon Cheesecake Muffins, and Hot Fudge and Pound Cake Trifle.

As in all cozy mysteries, the person found dead at the beginning of the story was someone who wasn’t much liked and won’t be missed much by anyone, but friendly, generous Amy, the perennial baking contest winner in town – at first a suspect, herself – quickly finds herself in danger of becoming the murderer’s next victim.

Here’s a short paragraph from the early part of the story, where Amy’s friend Carla is trying Amy’s latest “chocolate therapy” – a fresh-out-of-the-oven batch of Quadruple Chocolate Muffins – the morning after Amy discovered the dead body of her main competitor in the annual baking contest:

“Carla peeled the paper wrapper off a muffin and took a bite. Heavenly was too weak a word to describe the taste. Tender, intensely chocolate cake studded with pockets of gooey, melted chocolate. If there was a more decadent thing to eat for breakfast, she couldn’t think of one at the moment. Poor Amy was exhausted and stressed out, but she still turned out muffins that were ten times better than anything Maxson’s Bakery ever served.”

The recipes in the back of Pies & Peril are not on my diet, so I haven’t tried them, but they sound delicious!

Fruit & Nut Brownies
Savory Parmesan & Salami Muffins
Tomato Pies for Two
Spicy Maple Dipping Sauce

The Culinary Competition Mysteries series titles in order so far are:

  1. Pies & Peril
  2. Chicken Soup & Homicide
  3. Christmas Canapés & Sabotage
  4. Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes
  5. Fudge Brownies & Murder
  6. Banana Muffins & Mayhem (June 14, 2016)

Pies & Peril
Gradowski, Janel
Gemma Halliday, 2014
9781500385835

Disclosure: I won a free SmashWords download from the author in a Novel Meals giveaway in July 2014. I don’t read many cozy mysteries, but I like culinary ones the best, so I’m glad I finally got around to reading Pies & Peril!

Other opinions on Pies & Peril:
Joy’s Book Blog

Happy Weekend Cooking!

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Weekend Cooking Posts That Weren’t, Part Two #weekendcooking @BethFishReads

My first  Weekend Cooking Posts That Weren’t, Part One post was about our scientific taste test of King Arthur Flour’s Cake Enhancer. Now comes Part Two – some more of the Weekend Cooking posts I planned to write in 2015 (or 2014, 2013, etc.) but didn’t:

1. Cupcakes! by Eleanor Klivans

cover image of cookbookI bought the ebook edition of Cupcakes! by Eleanor Klivans (Chronicle Books, 2005) for my Nook Color way, way back, long before pretty, pastel macarons became the new thing and cupcake bakeries started going out of business.
Cupcakes! is a lovely book with beautiful photographs and lots of yummy-sounding recipes, but the only one I tried before I switched mainly to gluten-free baking was for these Coconut Cupcakes one Easter a few years back.  Delicious!

photo of Easter coconut cupcakes
Aren’t they pretty? I even used food coloring to color the coconut green like Easter grass.
Cupcakes with colored sprinkles
I left the coconut off of some for people who don’t like coconut.

2. Le French Oven by Hilary Davis

cover imageThis Weekend Cooking review post is still to come, so this is just a preview.
I feel bad about not reviewing Le French Oven by Hilary Davis before Christmas this year, but hopefully you saw it somewhere else and put it on your wish list. If you have a French oven or those cute miniature ones called mini cocottes, you MUST GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS COOKBOOK. I, unfortunately, do not, and, for some reason, did not get one for Christmas. 😉
I’ve earmarked many recipes to try anyway, such as Artichoke Parmesan Soup, Soft Parmesan Polenta with Arugula Salad and Poached Egg, Simply Delicious Roasted Vegetables, Braised Leeks and Swiss Chard with Feta and Raisins, Roast Turkey Breast with Provencal Vegetables, and Fresh Orange Creme Caramel.
This isn’t a good choice if you’re vegetarian or on a gluten-free diet, but for everybody else…especially if you love having gorgeous photographs in your cookbooks…this is a beautifully written and well-designed cookbook to have in your collection. Plus, it lies flat and the pages are not going to come loose from the binding.
Warning: You’re going to start planning a trip to France after reading this or either of the author’s other cookbooks – French Comfort Food and Cuisine Nicoise. (Links go to my reviews.)

3. Lobster Rolls

Plate of lobster roll with French friesSummer is not official until we have our first lobster rolls. Preferably at some seaside restaurant. But my husband grew up lobstering with his father and brothers, so he knows how to cook fresh lobster, and sometimes we have it at home.
My husband makes lobster salad just the way I like it, heavy on the lobster and light on the mayo. Here’s his homemade lobster salad on a gluten-free, spinach wrap. Yummy!

IMG_2216In the Weekend Cooking post I had “planned”, I was going to discuss the different ideas people have of lobster rolls and the regional divisions between the ones with mayo and ones that are just lobster and butter in a roll.
But I like the mayo version best, so I’m not even going to bother. The lobster salad, though, has to be made with big pieces of fresh lobster with, at the most, a little chopped celery, and it has to come in a New England-style hotdog bun…grilled in butter (but not burnt like the one in this picture)…for it to be my ideal lobster roll.
Eating a lobster roll on the ocean adds to the flavor. Massachusetts lobsters are the best, of course, but we actually had our best-ever lobster rolls up in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I forget the name of the restaurant, but it’s right on the water.

Me and my husband at a table on the beachThis photo is from 2009! Since then, my hair has been steadily going gray and my husband went on a low-carb diet, so in 2016…he looks better and I look worse! (For the record, however, having seen the new Star Wars movie, I believe Carrie Fisher has aged just as well as Harrison Ford.)

Happy Weekend Cooking!

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Christmas 2014 Foodie Gift Haul

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Weekend Cooking is a weekly feature hosted by Beth Fish Reads linking up food-related posts. Click here to check out other Weekend Cooking posts.

Family, food, and Christmas music, movies, and reading are what I like most about Christmas, but the giving and receiving of gifts can be fun, too! I know Weekend Cooking fans are dying to know which books I received from my Christmas wish list and Cookbook Gift Ideas posts this year, so here you go!

Moosewood Restaurant Favorites

Not a foodie gift, but may be my first book of 2015:

cover imageAlso, a nice surprise that wasn’t on either list:

cover image

To keep me caffeinated at work when I go back January 2nd:

MS_Jingle_Bell_JavaSomething I’ve been wanting for a while, a flat-bottomed wok!

Flat-Bottomed Wok

Cute chef Christmas tree ornament tied to a gift from my mom-in-law:

photo of ornament on gift box
It lights up!

And, maybe the most impressive food gift ever…homegrown popcorn, two varieties layered in a Mason jar, from my sister with gardening contributions from my brother-in-law:

photo of small jar of popcorn with layer of red popcorn in middle

Some photos from our gluten-free Christmas baking from this year:

Happy Weekend Cooking!