Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret - An Olde Family Receipt

Image result for dispatching crayfish

Dispatch the crayfish! Here's a dastardly recipe ripped from the pages of my new novel, The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret! Serve it to someone you wish to torture or seduce. 

An Olde Family Receipt
(Inspires the amorous eater)
Cut a suggestive, skinned eel into short pieces and rub them with truffles of a secretive nature and a thick layer of lard. Wrap in brittle, buttered pages pulled from a recently discovered dusty box of receipts. Bake in them in an unbearably hot oven for a grueling quarter of an hour, or less, depending upon your threshold for discomfort. Serve on a potent bed of crayfish tails which have suffered a good stewing in the driest white wine that has been administered with laborious lashes of cayenne. 

Go to #murderydelicious for more info. In the meantime, a morsel about the book (available on Amazon, and wherever you may find yourself):

The Chalmers brothers have returned in the devastating finale of the Murdery Delicious trilogy—a little older, perhaps wiser, and undoubtedly more terrified. As The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret unfolds, a breezy summer getaway at their newly restored ancestral home quickly becomes a crawl through the gnarled branches of the Chalmers’ family tree. Reality itself is questioned even as fear takes root, center stage. Along the Chalmers’ journey, readers have followed them through literary genres such as the penny dreadful and the classic whodunnit. Now, the brothers, their wives and children find themselves subjected to perils only found in a decidedly ghastly ghost story. Who can uncover the buried secret of Blood Stone Manor? What lurks behind the drapes? The only certainty is that some houses are never meant to be left behind as much as some inhabitants pray to leave them. Do peer past the gate, won’t you? 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret - A Blind-Man's Bluff Cocktail

As you tear through the haunting pages of my new ghost story, The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret, I thought it might be of interest to some readers to discover where I found inspiration during the writing of it. For example, one evening I entered Tipsy Parson in my neighborhood--a chapter ensued, one particularly gripping chapter, where our heroes, the Chalmers brothers, come across a particularly peculiar parson who is not quite what he seems. There are other recipes in the novel that precede each chapter and dispense hidden bits of information, scattered hereabouts and thereabouts. Can you spot the clues...before it's too late? Too late for what, you ask? Read on!

Blind-Man's Bluff
(Serves a tipsy parson)

1 ounce Bourbon
1 ounce of the darkest rum
¼ ounce simple minded syrup
1 ounce falernum bitters
1 orange peel, twisted and cast out
1 woodsy clove, cracked

Stir and strain the mixture over one big rock. Utilize the twist and discard. Place the cracked cloves on an ice cube and enjoy the welcome blindness.

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret is now available on amazon, or wherever you buy books. Do peer inside, won't you?

Thanks to Holly Mathis Interiors for the pic! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Recipes of Our Mothers - Tess Labas' Angel Food Cake

I'm not exactly sure why I thought of Angel Food Cake the other day--but there it was, in fond traces of childhood memory, my dear Nana and the spongy clouds she harnessed in her kitchen. Perhaps a beneficent angel bent down to airily whisper with a breath of vanilla...a gentle reminder that it had been years since I had eaten this cake, a subtle prodding to get baking! My old pal's mother stepped in to share her recipe. Delicious thanks to Tess Labas!

Such perfection on its own or draped with a fruity coulis, topped with fresh berries--and what an entrance! The appearance of Angel Food Cake at your table is sure to be a delighted surprise that will elicit more than a few reminiscences as well. Further reveries that involve other shuffling angels' feet, I leave to you. Do enjoy!

Chris writes:

Here's my Mom's recipe!

A whole dozen of egg whites or about 2 cups (or pre-packaged egg whites)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 tsp almond extract (Whole Foods has a good one)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1.25 cups of sugar
1 cup cake flour (I switched to King Arthur's from Gold Medal)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the salt and cream of tartar, then beat until soft peaks form.
Then add the almond and vanilla and then gradually add the sugar and then beat until stiff.
Sift the flour over the egg whites and gently fold it in.
Bake in an ungreased tube pan (10") for 50 mins to an hour (toothpick meter). Invert the pan on a rack and let it COMPLETELY cool before removing, 90 mins.

Mom said that her pan has small metal attachments on the outside for inverting the pan that prevent the cake from sticking to the plate/rack; otherwise, invert and hang the pan on a bottle. She also tells me one of my aunts used to do that with a fluted pan, until she got the Angel Food Cake pan.

I can just smell this baking in our kitchen with afternoon sunlight pouring through the window...


Thanks to Chris and Mrs. Labas for sharing with me here on Evenings With Peter!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret - A Recipe for a Pepper-Riddled Filet

Now that the shocking finale of my fiendish murder series has hit the shelves, I would like you to consider the following recipe found among the fiendishly funny foody pages of The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret! There are sure to be more ghastly concoctions presented here over the upcoming weeks ... although I would not suggest trying any of them at home. A bit about the book:

As The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret unfolds, a breezy summer getaway at the Chalmers family’s newly restored ancestral home quickly becomes a crawl through the gnarled branches of the family tree. Reality is questioned, even as fear takes root center stage. They find themselves subjected to perils only found in a decidedly ghastly ghost story. Who can uncover the buried secret of Blood Stone Manor? What lurks behind the drapes? The only certainty is that some houses are never meant to be left behind as much as some inhabitants pray to leave them. Do peer past the gate, won’t you?

A Recipe for a Pepper-Riddled Filet
(Serves two)
3 tablespoons rook black peppercorns
2 (8-ounce) filets of a butchered beast, roughly cut 1 1/2-inches thick
2 tablespoons herbed butter, softened by an unwanted touch
1 tablespoon vegetative oil
1/3 cup swilled Cognac
1 dented can beef broth, pulled from a musty larder
½ cup harmful heavy cream, expired
Shattered rock salt, to taste

Enmesh the peppercorns in a filthy rag previously used for wiping up blood. Crush with the heft of a large, murderous skillet. Shake what’s become of the peppercorns onto a chipped plate, and roll the filets around the plate to sufficiently cloak the raw devils. Consider the salt.
As the butter and oil slowly succumb to the perils of the skillet, at a temperature of medium-high, hurl the filets with purpose to brown them … only the briefest of minutes per side … leaning toward rare doneness until they leak crimson tears. Stash these somewhere, allowing them to ruminate under a plot of foil.

Splatter Cognac into the screaming hot pan, procure an elongated kitchen match, and pinching it with your forefinger and thumb, set something on fire, preferably your sauce. The blaze will die out quite on its own without any further prodding from you. Add the broth and shame it into reduction by half, relegate the cream to a similar fate with a stir here and there, until thick and curdled. Drown the steaks with the sauce and looking back, consider the salt again. 

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret is now available on For more info on my books please go to #murderydelicious

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Red Eye Gravy Two Ways

In the photo above, red eye gravy is tossed with a number of ingredients to make a slightly pink pasta sauce encouraged by heavy cream, but let's start with the basics. A perfectly good recipe for classic Ham with Red Eye Gravy served with grits may be found here, courtesy of Paula Deen. Usually I reserve making grits with grits for Derby Day but I was duly inspired to make this gravy (without ham!) and serve it with steak instead over grits for something more autumnal. See below for Notes on a Side Dish with Brussels sprouts!

The recipe for the Red Eye is fairly simple. For enough gravy to serve four:

1 (3-pound) country ham, store bought, sliced
2 tablespoons fat from the ham
1/2 cup coffee
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 beef bouillon cube (optional)

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fat from the ham and render. When the fat is rendered, add the ham steaks and pan-fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove the ham from the pan and set aside on a plate and keep warm. To the pan, add the coffee and water and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and the bouillon cube and stir to incorporate. Serve the gravy over the ham steaks on grits.

I followed this somewhat but instead prepared a London Broil with lots of pepper and salt to go under the broiler, cooking as per package instructions. But first! I browned my steak (not ham) in a large skillet with some butter and smoked turkey wings, capturing the flavors before removing the steak and wings and deglazing the pan as the recipe suggests. I made the grits, per Deen (using only a tablespoon of butter, not 1/2 cup!) while my steak broiled and the gravy simmered. I then served the steak over the grits covered with the gravy. Deen mentions grits that need to simmer for 30 minutes but the Quaker brand does make quicker grits that only require about 5-7 minutes time.

To go beyond with a terrific pasta, try using the gravy as a solid foundation for sauce, as I did. While the pasta water was boiling, I trotted out more smoked turkey wings and added cubed pancetta too.  I removed these before deglazing the pan with the coffee and water. I whisked in a judicious amount of heavy cream over medium low heat until thickened and added frozen peas (fresh certainly welcome) until warmed. Once the pasta was just al dente, I drained then tossed in grated pecorino cheese and topped with chopped chives and mint that I shredded by hand. A little fresh black pepper and dinner was served!

NOTES ON A SIDE DISH:  I found shaved Brussels Sprouts at the market and tossed them with a little oil and salt in a skillet until slightly browned. They will simmer down so plan on a large handful of sprouts per person before going into the skillet. Once browned, add about a  1/4 cup of water in to the mix, stir and cover over low heat for about 7-10 minutes. A delicious complement to the pasta--oh, and dessert was a delightfully Dalmatian dish of orange yogurt with figs.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Wind in the Willows

"Why didn't you invite me, Ratty?"
Illustration by Tasha Tudor

I recently reread Kenneth Grahame's classic novel, The Wind in the Willows, concerning a collection of rather well-to-do animals at times skittering about, languidly discussing ideas,  or extolling the virtues of nature. Such wonder! There's a grandiose, preposterous (while still quite amiable in his delusions) toad on the wrong side of the law, a couple of critters who nearly succumb to the sea in response to the siren song of the Sea Rat and his wayfaring ways. And also, lovingly wrapped in the pages--a pausing meditation on dawn.

And boy, do the little fellows love to eat! They rarely ever stop--if not eating, they're talking about eating, or talking about food while eating! I was enamored of the fat, wicker luncheon basket that the Water Rat and Mole share, its contents including, "cold tongue cold ham cold beef pickled gherkins salad french rolls cress sandwidges potted meat ginger beer lemonade soda water..."

We had a few friends over and I served such things as these one entirely civilized afternoon. Perhaps I skipped the tongue and potted meat and watercress but the package of DAK boiled ham, Pillsbury crescent rolls, thinly sliced cucumbers on buttered white bread, bread and butter pickle coins and figgy orange jam stepped in nimbly and rose most admirably! Pink fizzy lemonade, fruity seltzer water and an excellent chilled white Chardonnay-Viognier refreshed the gathering.

I also happened to find an absolutely charming copy of The Wind in the Willows Country Cookbook (pub. 1983) on ebay, with recipes by Arabella Boxer and fine illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard. Contents reveal FOOD FOR varying occasions such as, "...staying at home...excursions...the storage cupboard..." I found a recipe for Refrigerator Cookies from the latter section while perusing other things such as Snowfalls in Dark Woods, Leafy Summer Lettuce Snacks and Very Easy Flapjacks.

A guideline for Refrigerator Cookies may be found here thanks to However, the recipe in The Wind in the Willows Country Cookbook simply deals with 6 TB butter, 1/2 cup superfine sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups self-rising flower and a pinch of salt--dispensing with the cinnamon, walnuts, baking soda and cream of tartar called for on

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats..." And eating, apparently! Do enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Casual Acquaintances

Click here for a short story ineluctably entwined around food! Casual Acquaintances published by Writer's Bone. Do enjoy!

"There is a tide in the affairs of men."
-William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar