River Bones - Mary Deal, Author

1:14 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



TROUT al'ORANGE
(With Prawns)
(One of Sara's favorite)


1 10-12 oz. Trout, per person
3-4 Orange slices, thin
2 Lemon slices, thin
1 Large shrimp or Jumbo Prawn, shelled
1 Sprig of Parsley
Orange juice
Lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Butter

Clean & wash trout with head and bones remaining intact.

On a square of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap fish completely and loosely, place several spots of butter. Lay the trout on the butter slightly off center - so thickest part of fish (near spine) is in the center.  Sprinkle inside of fish with salt and pepper. Squeeze orange juice on inside of fish and close on its side. Dot top of fish with more butter.  Place prawn ON center of fish. Place orange and lemon slices over fish and prawn entire length. Place sprig of parsley on top of shrimp and slices. Squeeze more orange and lemon juice all over.  Close foil securely but loosely. Packet will balloon up when cooking.  Place under broiler 10 - 20 minutes depending on how many packets go in at the same time. Serve by gently sliding total contents from foil wrap onto plate.
         
Part of the fun of this meal is BONING of the fish before eating. Use a small sharp knife. Make a cut along the backbone on the top side. Either push the loose top fillet to the plate or flip it over onto the plate. Once exposed, you should be able to lift the tail and watch the backbone work loose all the way to the head, which will also lift apart from the remaining fillet.  If you have not handled the fish too harshly, when the backbone pulls free, all the other bones will still be connected and will come right out as well.


River Bones - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

“The graves of two unidentified skeletons did not contain ID and personal belongings, as was the case with previous burial sites found. Cat bones buried in the graves were the tie-in with previous victims, all found with bones of a small animal. Cold case detectives identified one set of remains as that of Paula Rowe, a convenience store night clerk from Sacramento. She had been missing twelve years.

“Previous reports indicated the victims had been put into the ground with whatever they had on their person at the time. The killer dug the graves in remote areas near rivers and streams where the ground was soft and damp, promoting decay. A police profiler indicated the perpetrator probably lived within the crescent shaped area where graves were found across the Sacramento Valley.”

After great tragedy in her life, Sara Mason has returned to her homeland of the Sacramento River Delta after purchasing Talbot House, a decrepit old Victorian once owned by Esmerelda and Orson Talbot. This grand home was sold after Orson went panning for gold and never returned. After the sale of the old home Esmerelda opened River Hospice, which had been the dream of both she and Orson. It is at River Hospice that Sara meets Huxley Keane who frequently treks to Vietnam, searching not only for his MIA brother but Esmerelda’s daughter as well.

Sara loved the old house but with it came a few unexpected happenings. Someone had been trying to get into the house either before or after she moved in, or both. Someone tried to kill her and an old school friend. Then she is hit with word that the house is haunted, but this won't stop her from continuing with her dreams of making this mansion an even more beautiful place to behold. Since money is no problem, she can afford not only to complete this project but to also help her friends along the way. That is as long as she can stay alive, as a stalker leaves horrific evidence of what is planned for her.

In setting herself up as a decoy to help the Sherriff’s Department identify the psychopathic madman, Sara’s own involvement stirs her interest in helping Huxley search for his brother in Vietnam. As she and Huxley draw close, their relationship offers another chance to heal her life and to find love, but he is suddenly considered a suspect.


I had the hardest time putting this book down. Author Mary Deal throws you a clue here and there but the clues could lead you to several of the book's characters. Before I made it to the end, finding out who the psycho was, I had already convicted at least 4 others. I was surprised and yet not when she revealed who it really was. I can't wait to read another book in this series, which I understand is titled The Howling Cliffs

Fairy Tale Fusion - A. F. Stewart, Author

1:22 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Fairy Tale Biscotti

6 Tbsp unsalted, room temperature butter
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped nuts or dried fruit, or a fruit/nut mixture

Notes:
You can use salted butter instead of unsalted, but this makes the recipe’s saltiness hard to control. If you do use salted butter, you may wish to reduce the amount of additional salt slightly.
As the nut/fruit additive, I like to use either almonds, macadamia nuts, or dried cranberries. Chop the nuts very fine; it helps with the final cookie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
Beat in eggs, honey, vanilla and lemon rind.
Add flour, baking powder and salt (best sifted together first). Blend to combine and stir in nuts/fruit.  Halve dough, and with slightly oiled hands, roll halves into two logs, roughly 2 inches by 12 inches. Place logs on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.  When cool, transfer to a cutting board and slice, at a 45 degree angle with a serrated knife, into ¾ inch segments. Use firm strokes to reduce crumbling. Put cookie slices back in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, turning once. Cool and store in an airtight container.



Fairy Tale Fusion - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Have you ever wondered about what happened to all of our nursery rhyme characters?  All of the stories ended with "They lived happily ever after" but is that true.  Well, according to A. F. Stewart and the story land reporters, along with the story land police, that wasn't really the case.

Do you remember Alice who went to Wonderland?  Well, there was a grand wedding of the Mad Hatter and Alice last Sunday.  It was a stunning affair, utilizing a red and white wedding theme with a playing card motif.  The bride looked dazzling in a crystal encrusted white dress with cap sleeves, offset with a red embroidered sash.  Bridesmaids included the bride's sister, the Duchess, and the Cheshire Cat.  The best man was the White Rabbit.

Have you ever wondered what ever happened to The Three Little Pigs?  Well, according to reporters Spider Bramble and Aurora Gossamer with the Fairyland news, there appears to be a manhunt for the First Little Pig, in connection with a tragic domestic incident that left the other two Pig brothers butchered.  A late night dispute, over what seemed to have been long simmering family grievances, went terribly wrong, resulting in the stabbing death of two of the brother Pig.

And what ever happened to the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe?  She went missing fourteen days ago, after apparently suffering a nervous breakdown.  This is the latest in a string of mishaps, including her arrest on drug charges and the removal of her children into foster care by Child Services.  The Fairyland Police tracked her down and evidently found her trying to make a size 12 Oxford loafer her new home.  She is now undergoing psychiatric observation and rehab.

To my surprise, and I'm sure yours too, there apparently wasn't a Happily Ever After for these beloved childhood characters.  Fairy Tale Fusion will take you back in memories as you find out what really happened to Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Tom Piper, Sleeping Beauty  and even Beauty and the Beast. 

I've read other books written by A. F. Stewart and enjoyed them and this book was just as enjoyable.  Her version of these bedtime stories are not exactly great for children but they sure did give me a chuckle and I think it will you too.



The Memory Keeper - Larry K. & Lorna Collins, Authors

1:51 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Candied Walnuts

1 cup walnuts
2 Tbsp. butter
1 - 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

1.  Heat a heavy bottom pan to medium high heat.  (Lucy and Fiona would probably have used an iron skillet.)
2.  Place nuts and butter in the hot skillet.  When butter is melted and nuts are coated, sprinkle sugar (and cinnamon if desired) over nuts, stirring until caramelized.
3.  Pour out on cool surface (parchment paper today).  Separate nuts and cool.

Lucy and Fiona fill small fabric bags to sell, but they will keep longer in an airtight jar.

The Memory Keeper - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"What is he doing here?"  I heard as I worked in the padre's quarters shortly after Maria and I were married.  "Tomas helps me."  The padre's voice was firm.  "I can no longer walk the grounds and warehouses, and he is good at ciphering.  Among other tasks he totals the mission products for my reports to the governor."  "Well, I'm here now, and I will take care of the mission property.  Too many Indians are employed."  He took off his jacket and laid it over a chair.  Then he turned to me.  "You may be able to help me in other ways.  Show me to the guest quarters.  My family of twenty-two will arrive in a few days.  They will require adequate accommodations."

Tomas has just met the new majordomo that would be taking over the mission.  And take over is exactly what he did as well as just about run it into the ground.  All work that the Padre and the Indians done over the years storing up grains, wine and cattle will no longer be controlled by the Padre but by Santiago Arguello with the work being done by the Indians as he makes his own family comfortable.

In the 1800s Indians were not allowed to be taught reading and writing but Fray Barona saw something in Tomas that prompted him to teach the young boy in secret, allowing him to help with the record keeping at the mission.  Unknown to Tomas, this would later lead to a future unexpected by most Indians of that time. 

I'm from the South and the southern history tells of the slaves and eventually their freedom but we're taught very little about the Indians and the slavery they actually lived through.  Even more so, we hear very little about the Southwestern Indians that were in a fact, slaved by the Spaniards/Mexicans.  This book has become an eye opener for me.  I've found it quite interesting to read their trials as they go from the uneducated to educated.  As they go from what were called property owners but the slavery that went along with that ownership in the form of all proceeds going to the government.  And as they evolve in their freedom as they become citizens of the United States when California becomes a state. 


This has been a very enjoyable reading in history but it has also been a heart touching reading as I followed the family of Tomas' mother as she lives in her old native ways and his father as he tries to bring her into the newer ways of the mission.

Broken Promises - A Matt Davis Mystery - Joe Perrone, Jr., Author

3:56 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Portuguese Kale Soup

One of my favorites is a version of Portuguese kale soup.  This is a hearty concoction that has as its base a standard 15-bean recipe found in a bag on your local grocer's shelf.  My wife and I first tasted Portuguese kale soup when we were visiting Provincetown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts about 25 years ago, and we've been in love with it ever since.  Here's what you'll need.

1 bag (16 oz.) of generic 15-bean soup mix (it contains a pound of beans and a flavor packet)
1 lb. fresh kale
1 large Vidalia onion
6 cloves garlic
1 lb. Chorizo sausage links or other spicy sausage
salt & pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp. each)
1 can (30 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 bay leaves
8 oz. cooked tubetti macaroni
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

Directions:

Using a large soup pot, follow the directions on the package for making the 15 bean soup, using the olive oil to brown the Chorizo, onions, celery, and garlic (the recipe will call for a ham hock or other smoked meat, but substitute the Chorizo instead).  Add the potato, bay leaves, salt, pepper, wine and crushed tomatoes to the soup, bring to a boil.  Lower the flame and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.  Wash the kale thoroughly at least 2 times.  Then, break apart into 1 or 2" pieces and add half to the soup *(retain the other half to serve with leftovers), letting it continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Do not overcook, or the kale will lose its crispness.  Divide the macaroni evenly into 4 soup bowls, fill with the soup and add grated parmesan cheese to taste.  Serve with grill muenster cheese sandwiches or sourdough bread with a glass of hearty red wine, like sharaz or merlot. 

*Be sure to include all the cooked kale when you serve the soup (leftover soup can be frozen for use later with the remainder of the uncooked kale.  Simply bring the leftover soup to a boil, add the kale and cook for 10 minutes at a simmer).  Apetite!


Broken Promises:  A Matt Davis Mystery - Joe Perrone, Jr., Author

Broken Promises - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

The man turns and starts toward her, but Maggie doesn't recognize him.  As he moves forward, he trips, and suddenly there is a flash of light and a loud crack like a tree being struck by lightning.  Maggie feels a dull thud, then a burning pain in the center of her chest; and in just seconds, nothing.  She never hears the words the man screams, his voice filled with anguish, "Oh, my God!  What have I done?"  The man shoves the still smoking pistol into his coat pocket and rushes toward her, stumbling over the pile of rubble, but it is too late.

Maggie McFarland was 86 years old.  She was dressed in a textured lavender cotton dress with pearl buttons down the front and a high collar trimmed in white lace.  The dress falls just above her satin-finish shoes with stacked heels and laces, all dyed in matching lavender.  The dress was tailored to her perfect figure seventy years ago for a very special occasion.  It's now 9:45 p.m. and she is expected at 11:00 p.m.  Her destination - The Artemis Hotel. 

Matt Davis is the chief of police of Roscoe, NY.  When a call comes in from Nellie, Maggie's granddaughter, saying that she is missing, it doesn't take Matt and his team long to find Maggie's 86 year old body at the Artemis, which was nothing but ruins and had been since its burning in 1944.  Who would murder a sweet elderly lady like Maggie?  The only thing Matt has to go on is a shell casing found in the rubble.

The name Broken Promises fits this book perfectly.  The promises, made years earlier, were broken by both Maggie and her Beloved.  Matt Davis' problem is that he will never solve the murder until he knows exactly what the promises were and who they were made to.  This was a book I read late into the night.  Author Joe Perrone took you into two stories, one of the past and one of the present, as he led you to the ending.  I will say that I was just a little surprised when I found out who actually killed Maggie.  I will also say that to me the ending was beautiful in a sad way.

I love this character - Matt Davis - and I want to read more about him as well as his wife.  Here is hoping that the stories will keep coming.


The Alexander Steele Trilogy - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

7:39 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Shrimp Salad
(An original by Larry Johnson - The Budget Gourmet)



2 1/2 cups Elbow macaroni (low carb)
2 Tbsp. Dijonniase mustard
2 large boiled eggs
2 stalks celery, diced
2 lb. shrimp, cleaned and boiled
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (low fat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder



Cook macaroni according to package, drain and cool.  Peel, clean and cook shrimp (boil until pink).  Cut into halves or thirds depending on size (need to be bite size).  In a large bowl combine macaroni, oil, shrimp, celery and eggs.  Stir in Mayonnaise and Dijonnaise.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  This dish may be served warm or chilled.  This is the converted recipe I use in my cooking classes.  It's a little healthier with less fat and less carbs.



The Alexander Steele Trilogy - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds;  A Book and A Dish


The Case of the Deadly Ring - "Listen to this boss, a stranger from a distant land will enter your life.  He will seek out your counsel on matters of health or religion,"  Steele snickered as he shook his head.   "Sugar Bear, would you please give it up?  Those things are never right."  Sugar Bear's mood was deflated. 


Oh, was Steele wrong.  It wasn't long before he was paid a visit from Julius DiBona from the Vatican City, Rome, with a mystery to solve and a very short time in which it had to be done.


The Case of the Death Dealer - "There's a guy, a big time drug dealer named Fat Daddy.  Him and some chemist got into a thing in Florida about 6 months ago about manufacturing a large quantity of pills, probably Esctasy.  anyway it ended badly and Fat Daddy had his sister offed.  Now the doctor is after Fat Daddy's next coke shipment.  If it's true, and it works, folks for Philly to Maryland are gonna start dropping dead within 48 hours after using the drug.


Steele had grown up with Trench and learned to despise him.  He was bad news but how could Steele not help prevent hundreds of deaths.  But again, time was running out since the shipment could come in at any time and even already be in and just waiting for distribution.


Alexander Steele and the Legacy of Death - It had been nearly 20 years since the double murder that spawned dozens of rumors and never ending gossip.  Some say the murders of the Mt. Airy barber shop owner and his South Philly girlfriend were the results of a love triangle gone bad; while others whispered strange tales of mysticism and witchcraft.  No matter what story you believe they all say there is a treasure hidden within the dilapidated old building.


Steele has decided to expand his club by renovating the old barber shop which was right next door.  But all work stops when Julia walks into the club.  Julia was the daughter of the murdered woman and she is in need of Steele's help to help save the restaurant she inherited from her mother and the only way to do this is by finding the missing money.



Alexander Steele tells everyone he is retired from the detective agency work and is now just an upscale club owner but his reputation for success seems to prevent his retirement.  His fast actions and quick thinking keep him telling himself, just this one last case.  As I read these 3 stories I wanted more.  I wanted to know more about his best friends Sugar Bear, Roger the Philosopher and Stan his computer man.  I wanted to see him in action in a full book story.  Author Lawrence Johnson has started that story and I'm really looking forward to him finishing.  I can see a possible Alex Cross set of books in the future.

Final Respects - F. M. Meredith, Author

11:09 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Marilyn's Meat Loaf
(I really don't measure anything but you can
tailor this meatloaf to suite yourself)

Ground Beef (I usually get a lot because I feed a lot of
  people and I like leftovers.)
2 eggs (or one if you only use 1 - 1 1/2 pounds of meat)
1 onion, chopped
1 big dollop of Worchestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste
Sometimes I add a bit of torn up sour dough bread (leftovers)
  (I'm not a fan of much filler)
Ketchup for a topping

Beat the egg then add everything together.  It's best to mix with your hands.  Form into a loaf - I usually make it about a 2 or 3 inch thick loaf and flattened on the top - and put it in a sprayed baking dish.  I cover the top with ketchup.  (at this point you could add halved potatoes of any kind around the edge.)  Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour - depending upon how much ground beef you used.  And check to make sure the potatoes are done.


Final Respects - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; Stir, Laugh, Repeat & A Book and A Dish

Doug Milligan spent part of Friday tinkering with his classic MG.  His wife, Kerrie, had been in a foul mood most of the day, no doubt because he had come home so late from work.  Rather than find out exactly what her gripe was, he elected to stay out of her way.  But when he came inside and took his shower in preparation for work, she dogged his steps.... Doug is a policeman with a wife who isn't too happy about her husband's choice of work.

Al Bertalone's wife, Barbara, flung open the front door and met him on the porch.  She gave him a big kiss... As he stepped inside, Al sniffed in an exaggerated fashion.  "Is that my favorite dinner I smell?"  Barbara giggled.  "If you mean spaghetti, it most certainly is." ... Barbara patted the place where his uniform stretched tautly over his belly.  "You're the sexiest police officer in the whole department."  Al too is a policeman and best friend of Doug.  He too is married but has a wife who not only supports his choice in occupations but is proud of him.

For these two brave men, life is getting ready to take a dramatic turn as one of them finds the body of a teenager that has been bitten in the neck and left dead.  But this is only the beginning of the problems they'll encounter as they go through their task of protecting and serving.  One won't make it, the other will, or will he?

Following Doug and Al through their daily routines... some cases simple, some actually funny and some downright scary... I couldn't help but feel for the officers themselves as well as the wives.  The constant fear of losing a husband has to be one that nags not only your heart but also your mind.  But when given an ultimatum of the job or wife, what do you choose?


This is the 1st in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series by Author F. M. Meredith.  This Author has a style of her own.  She actually takes you into the lives of each character allowing you to know them personally and their connections with each other.  After you get to know them personally you're brought into the true action of the book which allows you to continue to feel what they feel as they step into the job they're hired to do.  I can't say that I've ever read a book that makes me a part of the story as much as this book has.  I loved it and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series Bad Tidings.

Murder on the Eros Star - Lawrence Johnson, Sr., Author

12:50 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Blueberry Muffins
(a Jada favorite)

1 Egg
1/2 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup Canola oil or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine and stir wet ingredients.  Combine and stir dry ingredients except blueberries and brown sugar.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl before adding blueberries.  Fill muffin pan 3/4 to the top.  Sprinkle brown sugar on top.  Bake 20-25 minutes.


Murder on the Eros Star - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

The Eros Star is an entertainment and pleasure ship that travels throughout the galaxy.  Jada was working a case on the Eros Star.  When she got close to solving it someone pumped poisonous gas into her quarters.  She was alive but sedated.  The doctor feels that she will be ok but he is not 100% certain and the assailant is still on the loose.

Intergalactic detective Da'Quan was on his way to the yearly Festival of Life on the Planet of Lazon when he received word that his assistant Jada had undergone an attempt on her life.  With his plans now changed, Da'Quan   speeds to the Eros Star to not only find the perpetrator before he tried again and succeeded. 

Jada had been working on a case involving a time machine.  Apparently someone had the main components that were up for sale to the highest bidder.  In the wrong hands, this could change the complete outcome of the world as they knew it and from what Da'Quan would soon find out, the wrong hands were attached to an old enemy of his.  Now he just had to make sure he stopped him before it was too late.


This short story is, I hope, the lead-in for Author Lawrence Johnson's next book and I can't wait!