Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Selection of Sweets - Tea Jammies

I made these Honey-and-Tea Jammers in my pajamas, so let's start there.

Dorie Greenspan recently shared her Honey-and-Tea Jammers adapted from Dorie's Cookies in the Dec/Jan 2017 Saveur and I was immediately enraptured by her 'dream cookies' built on French shortbread with streusel in a delightful confluence of just what you'd expect--honey, loose tea and strawberry jam. In the actual recipe here, the cookies are served individually cut, like thinly rolled tarts made in a muffin tin, but lacking that particular device, I giddily fiddled about and created a single, thickly rolled large tart (seen above) with apricot jam in a spring-form pan. For another batch, armed with a two-inch cookie cutter, I neatly fitted nine cut-out cookies in a nonstick cake pan and eased them out readily once completely cooled.

The unexpected pockets of brown sugar in the genial shortbread! The luscious jam poking out of the crumbly streusel! Best of all, I had all of the ingredients on hand (friends had recently given us wild honey and homemade vanilla extract over the holidays and we actually had loose rose tea for the shortbread!) and didn't have to leave the apartment. Comfortable as I was in my jammies, I set out to make my honorary Tea Jammies.

The smell of a bakery right at home was so incredibly pleasing I couldn't help but think what a treat such aromas would be for guests upon arrival--even before taking a single, gorgeous bite. Since none of the ingredients are particularly perishable, stock up for the next pajama day! Just remember to change before any guests shows up. Or eat them by yourself. Or not. The important thing is that you do make them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Selection of Sweets - Eggnog Pound Cake

It began pretty much the same way this year as it always has since I was a wee one: I pour a small glass of eggnog, sip it, remember how cloggingly thick and goopy it is and instead of just throwing it out (or not buying it at all in the first place!) I wait until the whole carton expires, when it has slowly stiffened to a blue-ish green color in the back of the refrigerator.

This year however was different--I found a recipe for Eggnog Pound Cake and set to work! We didn't have rum extract, nor did I wish to search for it. Orange extract is an admirable substitute, as is orange zest for a different flavor.

My rooting around process was minimal and Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen readily stepped in with the recipe here.

Below is our loaf before the powdered sugar was sprinkled and before I delicately dripped the absolutely necessary glaze over the whole thing. Do enjoy and thanks to Melissa for this truly wonderful seasonal Eggnog Pound Cake!

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Selection of Sweets - Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops

I find that I've been baking a lot lately, which is not something I usually do. Perhaps I'm still in the honeymoon baking phase but everything has turned out really well. I used to think that baking was an exacting "other" when it comes to being in the kitchen; it's not the same as creating a cassoulet or making a meatloaf, where I think variations more readily adhere to personal taste (ie while it is perfectly fine for additional pepper in your pork chops, it is ill-advised to pour an undue amount of confectioners sugar into your glaze). But while I am making my way, carefully measuring out flour, cubing my butter for cakes and whatnot, stumbling here and there, I also remember that food just wants to be good. Certainly that's something we can all agree upon. So do give it a try, if you have a mind to - mix your dry ingredients and wet ingredients together with vigorous abandon and look for more baking adventures here!

Here is the link to Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops from the Dec/Jan 2017 issue of Saveur.  I think I would omit the ginger next time and just let the orange zest speak out. Also, plan ahead with these cookies--they should be refrigerated overnight and certainly tasted the best the following day.

Happy Holidays, Everybody!

Thanks for reading

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret - A Poisoner's Ring

Have you ever looked deeply into a blood stone?  Murky green with faint blemishes of crimson... This here is the real gem, elegantly positioned in a very old poisoner's ring, perfect to slip something dreadful into an unsuspecting victim's vichyssoise perhaps. How deliciously Borgian! The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Manor is available on amazon and Also, signed and personalized copies available on these links (hardcover or paperback) at your request from my personal collection on ebay (seller name phalseysherwood). Under notes please include any personal inscription you'd like. Do read on...

"Above the considerable burning fireplace, the portrait of Grandfather Wolfson Perigord presided, preserved in oils. It appeared that he just might crawl out of the frame and over the threatening flames on an evening. The defiant eyes were deep hollows, gouged into the painting, cut stern and gray, piercing the canvas under a shock of white, worrisome hair. His posture was slightly stooped, and the large knuckles of his clutching hands were white as well, the long fingers wrapped tightly around a glittering blood stone on the head of his black cane..." #murderydelicious

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret - It's Personal!

Perhaps while constructing The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret, I may have ventured past this simple entrance on an evening and with artistic licence paused to scribe, "Inside the great hall, an enormous, dazzling teardrop chandelier hung down loosely, fragilely comprised of several others in miniature, giving the effect of a tiered wedding cake, iced with faded grandeur, even though newly installed. Just beyond, a winding, carpeted staircase bordered with stiff rods angled up to the floors above..."

Discover what else hovers over the stairs in my thrilling new novel! Signed and personalized copies available on these links (hardcover or paperback) at your request from my personal collection on ebay. Or look up The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret with seller name phalseysherwood and under notes include any personal inscription you'd like. Thank you!

My Secret is also available on amazon, and wherever books are sold. Go to for more info. #murderydelicious

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Bloody Good Interview with Writer's Bone

I dropped by to talk about my new fiendishly funny foody novel, The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret! Click here to listen in to the podcast where we also discuss the perilous plunge into writing itself and my favorites list of novels I've read this year. Also go to and #murderydelicious for more info. Available on,, iTunes and Google Play. Thanks as always to the kindly folks at Writer's Bone!

Here's their fantastic review!

"Sherwood’s finale to the Murdery Delicious is much like the author himself: 'very witty and very smart.' We find Reynald and Willoughby Chalmers, 'a little older, perhaps wiser, and undoubtedly more terrified,' and trying to survive the perils of the Blood Stone Manor with their wives and children. The Murdery Delicious Blood Stone Secret is chock-full of Sherwood’s theatric dialogue and whimsical prose.

I always feel better about literature and writing whenever I finish a Sherwood yarn (not to mention hungrier!), and this novel was no exception. It’s been a real joy tracking Sherwood’s progress as a writer, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. While I hope that this isn’t the last time we see with the Chalmers brothers, if it is, then it is more than a fitting (and ghostly!) conclusion to their adventures. Standing up applauding at the end...chilling."

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? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Betty, Please ... Chicken Tetrazzini!

I first heard of Chicken Tetrazzini in the late 70's while I was in fits watching the hilarious Laverne & Shirley episode where they attempted to open a diner called 'Dead Lazlo's Place.' The clip is below but even before youtube I always remembered Laverne stuffing a whole chicken in a pot of boiling water in an attempt to make the dish. Now, shield your eyes from the SPOILER ALERT: Hopes for the diner didn't pan out and by the end Shirley (responding to Laverne's sweaty calls of 'Betty, please' and 'Pick Up, Betty' as you may remember) suffered a total collapse and ran out shrieking at the grabbing hands and demands of the unruly customers and a burned mess of 'hash blacks.'

Somehow over the years however,  the dish lingered in memory ... then I happened to be poring through a grand, gilded-in-bronze edition of A Treasury of Great Recipes by Vincent Price (yes, that one--the celluloid ghoul of legend who also provided the cackle at the end of 'Thriller'). I discovered in its glorious pages a recipe for Emince of Chicken Tetrazzini au Gratin that he and his wife enjoyed at Sardi's. It may surprise you to learn that the Prices were international epicures and the cookbook reflects their culinary journeys, laboriously detailed with menus from some of the world's most historied chefs. But oh boy, was this glogging Tetrazzini loaded with fat on top of fat (ie. adding heavy cream to an already rich veloute sauce and then sour cream). No, no--although it may have been created for the opera star Luisa Tetrazzini ("when calories didn't count"), I have no plans of padding my bellows to thunder through a tempestuous Wagnerian epic. I enlisted the help of another, less frantic Betty instead, that old gal Betty Crocker came through. Armed with a cooked rotisserie chicken and low-fat cream soups (subbing for the veloute sauce), I easily prepared her much trimmed-down version of Chicken Tetrazzini, great for any night of the week and quick to go as well. So ... pick up, Betty!

The link is here. So, my suggestions? Just shred that aforementioned rotisserie chicken, and for the suggested soups, use one can each of low sodium/fat Campbell's cream of chicken and cream of mushroom with a can of 2% milk and 1/3 reduced fat sour cream. Pre-sliced baby bellas fit the bill for the mushrooms.

And in case you'd like to watch the entire Laverne & Shirley clip, in its hilarity, click here!