Holidays Can Be Murder - Connie Shelton, Author

8:50 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

Connie Shelton's Green Chile Stew

1 to 1-1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut in 1/2” cubes
2 cans stewed tomatoes, crushed
1 small can mild whole green chiles (4 to 5 chile pods), cut into stew-sized chunks
Hot green chile to your taste (1-2 T. diced is usually good)
1 medium onion, cut into stew-sized chunks
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 c. beef bouillon
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Place all ingredients except the potatoes into a large stew pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours. About 30-45 minutes before you plan to serve, peel and cut the potatoes and add them to the stew. Serve with corn bread, warm flour tortillas or other favorite bread. 
    For a somewhat different taste, I’ve made this with either pinto beans or hominy in place of the potatoes. The meat can, alternately, be beef or wild game.

Holidays Can Be Murder - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

"Hold it right there, ma'am," a sharp voice commanded.  A rough hand gripped my shoulder and spun me around.  "Charlie?"

"Kent?  What's going on here?"

He dropped his hand and stood firmly blocking y way.  "This is a crime scene.  Neighbors of yours, I gather?"

Uh, yeah.  I live right here,"  I said, indicating our house with a vague wave.  "What kind of crime?"  I knew it was a stupid question the minute it slipped out.  Kent Taylor only worked one kind of case - homicide.

Charlie Parker lives in a quiet neighborhood in Albuquerque.  She has lived there since childhood and now enjoys the home that was once her parents' with her husband Drake and their dog Rusty.  When Drake informed her that his mother would be coming for the Christmas holidays her red flags went up.  She had only briefly met Catherine and had no idea as to how they would get along.  Entertaining her would be just one more thing to add to her holiday activities.  Then came the call from her newest neighbor Judy, asking for help with the list of decoration required by the community every year.  Coming from Chicago she wasn't even sure what luminarias were.  Yet another addition to the do-do-list.  And on top of this, she still had to keep up with the private investigation agency she and her brother Ron owned.

Christmas came and went but the day after brought the celebrations to a stop when a neighbor was found murdered.  The police have their suspect but Charlie knows deep down that they are wrong and it's her job to prove it.  And prove it she does.

This book is a quick, easy read that takes you on a few curvy roads along the way.  It kept me turning pages while giving me very little clues as to who the murderer would turn out to be.  It also has me wanting read more of this author's work.

Mobsters in Mount Dora - De Miller

11:48 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves

Slow Cooker Chili
(One of Trent's Favorite Dishes)

2lbs ground beef
1 can black beans
1 can dark red pinto beans
1 can cannellini beans
1/2 onion
1 green bell pepper
1 to 2 tb honey
black pepper
white pepper
paprika (or smoked paprika for more flavor)
cayenne pepper
garlic powder (or minced garlic)
chili powder
optional - kielbasa, smoked sausage or bratwurst

Start by browning the beef. While it's in the skillet, dice the onion and bell pepper. Get them in the bottom of the crock pot. Drain your beans and put them in the pot on top of the onion and bell pepper. Once the beef is done, drain it and add the spices to taste. There is no right or wrong amount, only how hot you can stand it. Add the seasoned meat to the slow cooker, then finally drizzle the honey over all of it. That little bit of sweetness will help balance out the heat. If you decide on a little extra variety, put your sausage in last. Often, these are fully cooked, so there is no need to brown, unless you like that extra snap from the casing. Leave the slow cooker on low for at least four hours, but don't stir until an hour has passed. The longer you go with the lid on, the moisture will make it "soupy". Four hours is plenty of time to get everything nice and warm and allow all those juices to mingle and get to know each other. Shredded cheese and sour cream are great to add to your finished bowl.

Mobsters in Mount Dora - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"So, let me get this straight.  All you want me to do," Trent said, ticking off the items on his fingers, "is prove there was an attempt on the life of the ex-President when he was here in Mount Dora; prove that your grandfather who died long ago aided in the thwarting of this hushed-up attempt; prove that President Coolidge promised the deceased a congressional medal of honor and get congress to act on all this.  That's about it, right?"

How is Trent, and his 'partner' Horatio, supposed to prove that any of this happened when there are no records of an attempt on the ex-President's life.  Everyone who would have lived at the time is dead.  Or so he thought.  Turns out that there is one person still living from that time.  He's 98 years old but it turns out his mind is still very active and clear.  But this too brings up another problem.  The man in question worked for Scarface Al Capone.  According to him, the attempt was to murder Coolidge and frame Capone for the killing.  Hearsay!  No proof.  In fact, there isn't even any evidence that Capone ever visited Mount Dora.  So, with no proof, Trent and Horatio have to prove something that Trent believes never took place.  And this has to be done while someone is determined to keep him off the case and away from the area where it was to supposed to have taken place.

This author has done it again!  History, history, history.  He has filled yet another book with history pertaining to Al Capone, his brother 'Two-gun-Hart', Coolidge and the area surrounding Mount Dora, Florida.  As I've said before, I've never indulged in this time era.  It's never interested me.  But, after reading De Miller's books I've found it very interesting.  I've even looked up some of the names and found that his 'quote of history' is correct.  So again, as I've said before, this author has either done an intense search of history or 'he has connections.'  You can't help but enjoy this book and learn a little history along the way.