The Edge of the Cemetery - Margaret Millmore, Author

10:45 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



The best salmon:

Serves 4 (large salmon steak or 4 - 6 ounce steaks)
450 temp for 15 minutes, allow 5 minutes to rest after removal from oven
2 tblsp. olive oil
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp lemon juice

The Edge of the Cemetery - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"The true prophecy states 'that the cambion, shall merge forever with his father and become one, upon which my ever faithful servant shall live once again'.  There is only one way to interpret this part of the prophecy... The demon will converge with the body and discard the body's mind and soul for the devil to deal with at his leisure."

On a typical day of ghost and demon eradication, George Sinclair worked with Billy Wilkinson.  The two made a perfect team due to the strength of their powers, which were virtually equal and stronger than most Ghost Killers.  This combined strength is going to come in handy as they deal with a demon from the past and his human as they work together to fulfill the prophecy of him converging into the boy's body and opening the sealed vault that contains demons that were imprisoned within its walls releasing them to do the work of the devil.

The Edge of the Cemetery is Book 2 of the Ghost Killer series.  Author Margaret Millmore has a way of writing that not only keeps the pages turning but also feeds me surprises around every corner.  About half way through the book I KNEW what was going to happen near the end.  Wrong.  The events that took place had never entered my mind!  This is the art of a truly good writer.

If you want a good ghostly mystery, don't miss this book, but I'll give you a little advice before reading.  Go back and read Book 1 What Haunts Me.  Both books stand alone but they also connect and will allow you to personally know the characters a bit better.  I've now read both and I highly recommend them.

Diamonds in the Dumpster - Morgan St. James & Phyllice Bradner, Authors

11:26 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Baked Alaska
(
exercise your culinary skills)

Total Time: 6 hr 29 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive: 5 hr 40 min
Cook: 4 min
Yield:12 servings

Ingredients
For the Ice Cream Cake:
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 pint raspberry, passion fruit or other sorbet, softened
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 17 crushed wafers)
1 loaf pound cake
For the Meringue:
1 cup egg whites (about 6 large), at room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup sugar


Directions
Make the ice cream cake: Brush a 3-quart metal bowl with vegetable oil; line with plastic wrap.
Fill the bowl with scoops of the sorbet, vanilla ice cream and half of the chocolate ice cream, alternating small and large scoops to create a mosaic of colors and shapes.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream; press down to close the gaps between scoops and even out the surface.
Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the ice cream with the wafer crumbs and re-cover with the plastic wrap, pressing gently. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
Remove the wrap and spread the remaining chocolate ice cream in an even layer on top of the crumbs.
Cut the pound cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices; completely cover the ice cream with the slices, trimming as needed (you'll use about two-thirds of the cake). Cover with fresh plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Make the meringue: Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar on high speed until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, then invert the cake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If necessary, let the cake stand overturned until it slips out.) Remove the rest of the plastic wrap and cover the ice cream completely with the meringue, making the dome-shaped top slightly thicker than the sides.
Form swirly peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Freeze for at least 3 more hours.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Bake the cake until the meringue peaks are golden, about 4 minutes, or brown the meringue with a blowtorch.
Let the cake soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
Freeze any leftovers.



Diamonds in the Dumpster - Review by Martha A Cheves: Stir Laugh Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

Like two undercover agents, the duo began to inch around the corner keeping Waldo behind them.  Just before the full turn, Flossie signaled Sterling to stop.  He looked at her with a quizzical expression and raised his eyebrows as if to say "What's going on?"  She pushed him back so they were both out of sight, then whispered.  "It was him - the angry man.  He was backing out of Jade's cabin like a thief, looking to both sides to see if anyone was watching.  He's up to no good, Sterling.  I can feel it in my bones."

The 'oldsters' Flossie and Sterling Silver have been treated with a cruise by Flossie's son-in-law who just happens to be the ship's captain.  The cruise will, in part, be made up of old and new magicians which fits them perfectly since they too are magicians - on the old side.  Sterling has his eye on a turban that is being worn by one of the performers, and believe it or not, ends up with it, in a shady way.  What follows is far from what he nor Flossie ever expected.

Goldie and Godiva are twins.  Goldie is married to Red Pepper, the cruise captain.  She owns Silver Spoon Antique Shoppe in Juneau.  Godiva married a VERY wealthy man who was a real obnoxious person.  Fortunately for her he passed away leaving her VERY wealthy.  She has an advice column called Godiva's Ask G.O.D.  Both women are like night and day.  One homey and one who enjoys her money and the men that can come with it.  But put these two together, add Flossie and Sterling and you have pure excitement with humor added in, especially when a little murder is thrown into the pot, and money, and jewels, and magic, and humor, must I go on.

I've read all of this series and can't get enough.  This is a series that I hope lives and continues as long as I'm able to read.  The authors are creative and the names they give their characters are the best!

Finding Billy Battles - Ronald E. Yates, Author

11:33 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Kaw River Kitchen Mystery
(Make sure you read the story behind this dish which will be at the end of book review)

(A premium chili recipe created along the banks of the Kansas River by a Jayhawker. You may use ground beef, cubes of beef or pork, or ground meatless soy/vegetable crumbles. In each case, the amounts listed for each ingredient in the list below remains the same. I usually double or triple the ingredients so I have enough to enjoy for several days.)


INGREDIENTS

Main Ingredients

2 lbs. coarsely ground beef  (or soy/vegetable crumbles)
2 lbs. (or a 40 oz. can) of kidney or pinto beans
2 medium onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2, 14 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes (note: some are “chili ready”)
1 garlic clove, minced (in lieu of garlic glove, use 1 tsp. garlic powder)
3 Tblsp. Canola or Olive oil (or other vegetable oil)

Herbs & Spices

2 Tsp. salt
3-1/2 Tsp. chili powder
½ Tsp. black pepper
½ Tsp. crushed red pepper
½ Tsp. paprika
½ Tsp. oregano
2 Tsp. cumin seed, ground
1 Tblsp. brown sugar
½ Tblsp. dry mustard
1 Tsp. celery salt
1 bay leaf
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 Tblsp. white vinegar

1 cup water

Optional: I cup of red wine (or you may substitute another cup of water, if a thinner chili is desired). Add the wine about ½ hour before serving.

Directions

It is best to use a large professional-quality heavy steel or aluminum pot, though a Teflon-coated pot is fine. It should be at least 6 quarts and preferably 8 quarts or more in size.

Prepare all ingredients BEFORE beginning to cook!

Add onions and oil to pot and sauté for a few minutes. Add meat (or veggie-crumbles) and stir. Add beans. Add remaining ingredients to meat, beans and onions. Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Cook longer for better flavor—6-8 hours. (For even better flavor, after cooking, put chili in refrigerator overnight and when ready to eat, heat up for about 1 hour). Add wine about ½ hour before serving. Serves 10.


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

"I made it a point during my life to keep a record of my comings and goings, events that I experienced, people I met - both good and bad - and places I traveled to," he continued.  "I have written something like twelve journals.  About a dozen years back, I began writing my memoirs based on those journals.  Never finished it.  I don't expect you to understand what I am about to tell you right now.  You are still a boy.  But later, when you are grown and you have finished your education, you will better understand things.  It is just as well, because I prefer that a lot of what I am writing not be available to others until after your grandmother and I are gone."  "Ted, I want you to take my journals, my memoirs, all my belongings, and someday, perhaps twenty years from now, you can help me set the record straight about some things I did, people I met, and some events I witnessed."

These were the instructions Ted Sayles' great-grandfather Billy Battles gave him at the young age of 12.  Forty years later, Ted received some old chests filled with a historian's treasure - firsthand accounts of some of the most significant events and people in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century history.  The journals within brought to life places such as Tombstone, the Crystal Palace Saloon, and the OK Corral, as well as people such as Wyatt and Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday and even Bat Masterson.

As you read Finding Billy Battles, you'll travel with him as he works as a scribbler for several newspapers that had sprung up in the west.  You'll also feel his fears as he faces some truly dangerous men of the time.

I don't normally enjoy books of this time but following Billy became a truly exciting journey for me.  It became a book I didn't want to stop reading.  It's educational as well as enjoyable and one I would recommend for everyone.  I do believe you will enjoy it as I did.  Now I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series titles The Improbable Journals of Billy Battles.  I expect it will be just as good.


THE STORY OF KAW RIVER KITCHEN MYSTERY
(This goes with the recipe above)

  The Kaw River, also known as the Kansas River, cuts through the heart of the rolling Kansas plains, fed by the Big Blue and Black Vermillion rivers that flow from the north. It is neither an especially impressive nor noteworthy stream. For example, it doesn't compare with more majestic tributaries like the Mississippi or the Missouri Rivers, which are known for their breadths and lengths and histories as rivers of commerce.

  Instead, the Kaw was known by the Cheyenne, Comanche, Oglala Sioux, Kiowa and Kickapoo Indians who lived for centuries along its banks as the "water of the tall grass." The Kaw was a good place to water horses and livestock and to hunt the millions of buffalo and antelope which once ruled the Kansas plains.

  Both the Oregon and Santa Fe trails followed the Kaw's banks before the two famous routes leading west from Westport, Mo. (now Kansas City) separated with one leading off into the vast northwestern prairies and the other into the arid badlands of the southwest. The wagon ruts left by thousands of covered wagons and buckboards can still be seen along the Kaw's banks. 

  Not far from its western source, is Ft. Riley, home of the 7th Cavalry. And this is where the story of the chili you are about to consume begins.

  Most people will remember the 7th Cavalry for its disastrous encounter with the Sioux and Cheyenne Nations at The Little Big Horn River in what is now Montana. Among those with Gen. George Armstrong Custer on that fateful day on June 25, 1876 was Capt. George W. Yates, an officer attached to the 7th Cavalry since 1874 and a veteran of countless battles and skirmishes with the plains Indians.

  Prior to his posting at Ft. Riley and his untimely demise at the crest of a hill overlooking the Little Big Horn, Capt. Yates had served in the Southwest Territories. There he met and married Estella del Carmen Huerta, a woman whose ancestors were Spanish landowners in New Mexico. It was the Huerta family cook who first introduced Capt. Yates to Southwestern chili--a piquant and biting concoction made with suet, pork and beef shoulder and spiced with coriander and ancho, pastilla and casbel peppers.

  When he and Estella moved to Kansas, Capt. Yates had to adapt his chili recipe accordingly. There was no coriander or ancho, nor did pastilla and casbel peppers grow along the Kaw River. 

  The result is what has come to be known in the Yates clan as Kaw River Kitchen Mystery. 

  Why mystery? 

  Because when asked what he put into his chili, Capt. Yates would only say: 

  "I go out along the Kaw and whatever I find growing wild that hasn't been buried under buffalo chips or defiled by cattle and horses I put into my saddle bag. Then I just add meat and beans. And I'll be damned if it isn't a mystery to me why the outcome is edible."

  Capt. Yates's creation has undergone a few subtle "adjustments" in the intervening years. For example, you won't find many of the exotic flora (or fauna) indigenous to the Kaw River in the current version. 

  But by and large the Kaw River Kitchen Mystery of today is pretty close to the original version--except for the occasional buffalo chip flake or two that old-timers swore gave Capt. Yates's concoction just the right touch of "mystery."  

Enjoy!


Ron Yates,