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Little Comfort: A Hester Thursby Mystery by Edwin Hill

Download the Little Comfort Book Club Kit!

 

In a brilliantly twisted debut set among Boston’s elite, Edwin Hill introduces unforgettable sleuth Hester Thursby—and a missing persons case that uncovers a trail of vicious murder . . .

Harvard librarian Hester Thursby knows that even in the digital age, people still need help finding things. Using her research skills, Hester runs a side business tracking down the lost. Usually, she’s hired to find long-ago prom dates or to reunite adopted children and birth parents. Her new case is finding the handsome and charismatic Sam Blaine.

Sam has no desire to be found. As a teenager, he fled his small New Hampshire town with his friend, Gabe, after a haunting incident. For a dozen years, Sam and Gabe have traveled the country, reinventing themselves as they move from one mark to another. Sam has learned how trusting wealthy people can be—especially the lonely ones—as he expertly manipulates his way into their lives and homes. In Wendy Richards, the beautiful, fabulously rich daughter of one of Boston’s most influential families, he’s found the perfect way to infiltrate the milieu in which he knows he belongs—a world of Brooks Brothers suits, Nantucket summers, and effortless glamour.

As Hester’s investigation closes in on their brutal truth, the bond between Sam and Gabe is tested and Hester unknowingly jeopardizes her own safety. While Gabe has pinned all his desperate hopes of a normal life on Hester, Sam wants her out of the way for good. And Gabe has always done what Sam asks . . .

Advance Praise For Edwin Hill And Little Comfort

“Fast-paced and riveting . . . takes off from the opening pages and never lets up. Don’t miss this can’t-put-down debut.” –Carla Neggers, New York Times bestselling author

“In his compelling debut, Edwin Hill spins layer upon layer of intrigue as Hester Thursby, in the business of finding people who don’t want to be found, takes on a job that turns out to be far more surprising and dangerous than she bargained for. This smart, complex, and suspenseful New England thriller will keep you turning pages far into the night.” –Jessica Treadway, author of Lacy Eye and How Will I Know You?

“Compellingly plotted and compulsively readable, Little Comfort will leave you a little uncomfortable in the best of ways. Hester Thursby, its powerhouse protagonist, is tough, intriguingly flawed and complex. Edwin Hill’s first effort is certain to be among the year’s best debuts.” –John Keyse-Walker, author of Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed

“A chilling mix of envy, deceit, and murder. Everyone is lying about something in this tense, stylish debut novel. . . . [It] will have you frantically turning pages until the final, breathless climax.” –Joanna Schaffhausen, author of The Vanishing Season

Little Comfort isn’t just the arrival of a fantastic new book, but also marks the emergence of a spectacular writer to watch. This story had me hooked from the first chapter, and my nails bitten to the nub before I was halfway through. Watch out! Little Comfort delivers just what the title promises.” –Bracken MacLeod, author of Stranded and 13 Views of the Suicide Woods

“Spectacular . . . this book is deftly crafted and its terrifying conclusion stayed with me long after I finished reading. Don’t miss this one!” –Maggie Barbieri, author of Once Upon a Lie

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Something Old, Something New: Mushroom, Chard, and Swiss Cheese Galette with Buckwheat Crust Peggy Ehrhart

Long ago, a friend came to visit bearing a galette. (She was always a culinary trend-setter.) The galette was a yummy thing, flat like a pizza but with a crust like a pie crust—no yeast required. Now galettes seem to be everywhere and I’ve been longing to jump on the trend. Recently I saw a recipe for a rhubarb galette in Bon Appetit magazine, a galette that incorporated an ingredient traditional with some galettes: the dough was a combination of regular flour and buckwheat flour.

Also long ago, my husband and I visited a restored village in New Brunswick and came away with a bag of buckwheat flour from an old mill that had been put back into operation. We learned that buckwheat actually isn’t a type of wheat at all but is the seed of a plant in the rhubarb family. It’s been cultivated by humans all around the globe for millennia and was a very common crop in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries—thus the mill in the restored village.

After that trip, buckwheat pancakes became a Sunday-morning tradition, especially when our son and daughter-in-law visit, and the original bag of buckwheat flour has been refilled many times. Buckwheat flour is easy to find online, if not locally.

Because we always have a stock of buckwheat flour, I’m always on the lookout for other things to do with it. I decided I’d make a buckwheat galette of my own, but a savory galette, and for the filling I’d use a variation on the filling for a vegetarian quiche I often make with chard, mushrooms, and sharp white cheddar. I knew the buckwheat would give a slightly nutty flavor to the crust, so to complement that I replaced the cheddar with Swiss cheese. For the mushrooms I used Baby Bellas, but any mushroom will do.

 

Because the filling would go on a flat piece of pastry rather than into a quiche pan, I reduced the number of eggs and the amount of cream.

Ingredients—Mushroom, Chard, and Swiss Cheese Galette with Buckwheat Crust

For the crust:

1 cup flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (4 oz.) butter

1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

3 tbs. butter, divided

Salt and pepper

1 lb. mushrooms

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 good-sized bunch Swiss chard

1 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese

1 large egg or two small

1/4 cup heavy cream

To make the dough for your crust:

Mix the flour, buckwheat flour, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into little pieces and add it to the flour mixture. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until only pea-sized pieces of flour-covered butter remain.

Sprinkle the ice water over the flour and butter mixture and, still using your hands, work the contents of the bowl into a stiff dough.  Transfer it to a work surface and continue kneading until there are no dry bits and the texture is fairly uniform.

 

Divide the dough into four portions, flatten each until it’s about 3/4 inch thick, and stack them on top of each other. Press down on the stack to make a disk about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for at least an hour. (You can make it way ahead and refrigerate it for a few days.) Continue reading “Something Old, Something New: Mushroom, Chard, and Swiss Cheese Galette with Buckwheat Crust Peggy Ehrhart”

Yummy Yum Trifle by Linda Reilly

After a seemingly endless winter where I live in southern New Hampshire, the first signs of summer are beginning to emerge. It makes me think of cool, palate-tempting recipes–in particular, desserts. Last year I had to bring a pot luck dish to the annual barbecue at our apartment community. I wanted something simple, eye-pleasing, but also refreshing for a hot summer day. After poring over online recipes, I found the perfect contribution: a strawberry/banana trifle. The ingredients are basic (as are my skills in the kitchen), but the fun part is layering them in a trifle bowl.

The trifle I made for the barbecue was, I’m pleased to say, a huge hit. Before I had even finished my burger, the residents had pillaged the trifle–it was nearly gone!

One thing about a standard trifle is that it typically serves at least a dozen. Could I make a smaller version for my husband and me to enjoy at home? I decided to trim the recipe to fit into a smaller dish. I purchased a clear bowl from the dollar store for…yup, one dollar. Here’s my pared down version of this light, yummy dessert:

  • One 3.4-ounce package of vanilla pudding mix, prepared with milk according to directions
  • Angel food cake, cut into cubes (I used about half of a 10-ounce cake)
  • 1 large banana or two small bananas, sliced thin
  • 10-ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed and cut into pieces
  • 8-ounce container of Cool Whip, thawed

Layer half the angel cake pieces, half the pudding, half the banana slices, half the strawberries, and half the Cool Whip. Repeat. Garnish with a few strawberry bits. Chill for at least four hours before enjoying. On a broiling hot day, this easy dessert will be a sure winner! Continue reading “Yummy Yum Trifle by Linda Reilly”

Sarah Osborne’s Tips for first-time bread bakers

Family is whatever you make it—genetic, borrowed, or adopted—and nothing keeps a family strong like breaking bread together.

Add to that the joy of preparing the bread, and you have the perfect recipe for family togetherness.

While I love experimenting with new recipes, when I have the time it’s bread baking that warms my heart.

The three secret ingredients for making a delicious loaf of bread are time, perseverance, and love. Aren’t those the ingredients for any good and lasting relationship?

I am no James Beard when it comes to making bread, but as Julia Child said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

Let’s get started. No bread machines allowed. The real zen of bread making is the time and hands-on work involved. I’ve solved a lot of mystery conundrums as my floured hands kneaded dough. It really is the process that matters, even when the product comes out as flat as a pancake.

One way to avoid the inedible loaf is always, always, always to proof the yeast. Here’s what I do.

  • I make sure my kitchen is cozy—no drafts.
  • I warm up a small bowl with hot water and then pour it out.
  • I turn on my oven just to get it started heating up and then turn it off.
  • I put one or two packages of yeast in my bowl (according to the recipe) with a quarter cup of hot water (from the recipe) and a little sugar (from the recipe), stir and plop the whole thing in the warm oven (turned off but still cozy) for ten minutes.

This is how your bowl should look (granted it doesn’t have to rise to the top of the bowl, but it does have to expand).

If it doesn’t expand, start over or you’ll spend a day of frustration waiting for dough to rise, and it isn’t going to happen. Believe me I’ve been there, done that.

The next most important aspect of bread baking is learning to knead. It isn’t complicated. See any of the many good videos on youtube to get the hang of it. Then take your time.

I often use a recipe I’ve had for years called Farm Style Whole Wheat Molasses Bread. Choose any recipe you like but start with white bread or whole wheat mixed with white flour—nothing too heavy or your first-time bread won’t do well.

If you want to use my recipe go to my website at doctorosborne.com and look at Weekly Recipes.

Choose a day when you don’t have much else to do and can relish the experience. Do it with a friend, a relative, a child, and it will be a wonderful adventure. Maybe you’ll even end up with a tasty loaf of bread.

Continue reading “Sarah Osborne’s Tips for first-time bread bakers”

Molly Jebber’s Favorite Recipe and Other Musings

Frozen Fruit Salad
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
6 tablespoons of milk
1 regular tub of cool whip
1 small can of pineapple tidbits
1 can (desired size) of mandarin oranges

 

Doing something out of my comfort zone

Empty vanilla instant pudding dry powder in a large mixing bowl.  Add milk and beat with mixer until a paste is formed. Add cool whip and beat with mixer until blended. Add fruit and stir with spoon. Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 glass dish, cover, and freeze. Take out 30 – 40 minutes before serving. Should be cut in squares for fruit salad with meal or for dessert. Refreshing!

My daughter, Misty, talked me into parasailing. My knees grew weak at the anticipation. I envisioned being jerked into the air, rocking from one side to the other, and landing onto the boat covered in a parasail flat on my back! I couldn’t have imagined considering this in my lifetime. But I was feeling brave, and others came back and highly recommended it.

Shocked, I loved it!

We were in the Bahama’s on the beach, and a shore excursion offered parasailing. We were taken to a big boat and harnessed to the parasail together. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. The boat took off and my feet lifted. We were gently lifted gradually by the wind high above the water. The view was spectacular. Colorful fish, the sun shining on the water, and the boats were beautiful. All the fear left, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Continue reading “Molly Jebber’s Favorite Recipe and Other Musings”

Chocolate and Creativity by Kate Moore

A lot goes into a novel—inspiration, daydreaming, research, problem-solving, and chocolate. Unlike the old hard-boiled male writers of the American novel, known for their drinking habits, as if the scotch or whiskey were necessary to the creative process, when I encounter a stuck place in a book, my go-to substance is chocolate. Hero and heroine not cooperating? Plot crumbling? It’s time for cookie dough! Not your garden-variety cookie dough, and no raw eggs, but a special blend of sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, instant coffee, flour, and dark, dark chocolate chips. In a bowl on my desk, the special dough gets the writing process back on track. Maybe, it’s the anti-oxidants in the chocolate! Sadly, I can’t share the recipe with you, as it was my mother’s, and my sisters and I are sworn to secrecy. However, English desserts are another source of inspiration for my British Isles set stories, and my favorite is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Here’s a link: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sticky-toffee-pudding-380598

Here’s my version:

CAKE:

¼ C unsalted butter, softened
6 ounces  (1 C lightly packed) pitted dates, coarsely chopped (Medjools)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ C plus 2 tbsps fine golden sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 large eggs
1 and ¼ C self-rising flour sifted

SAUCE:

½ C packed light brown sugar
¼ C honey
½ C unsalted butter
¼ C heavy cream

To make CAKE: Heat oven to 350. Butter an 11×7-inch nonstick pan at least 1 inch deep. Line with buttered parchment and butter sides.

Put dates in a small saucepan with 1 C water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until softened about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and set aside. (You get quite a chemical reaction; it’s normal.) Continue reading “Chocolate and Creativity by Kate Moore”

Breakfast Pie by Lena Gregory

One of the dishes All-Day Breakfast Café owner, Gia Morelli, loves most is Breakfast Pie. In her case, it makes life easier, since they are made ahead of time and are easy enough to just slice and serve. They are also delicious re-heated, so they make for a great time saver when you’re in a hurry and want to grab something quick. Simply make them up on the weekends, slice them, and all you have to do is heat one slice up whenever you’re hungry.

Gia makes several different kinds; western (ham, peppers, onions, and cheese), meat lovers (bacon, sausage, ham, and cheese), veggie (spinach, squash, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, and tomatoes), and my personal favorite, my dad’s original Breakfast Pie, which he makes every Christmas morning!

Original Breakfast Pie Recipe

You will need:

1 lb. Bacon
1 Package Breakfast Sausage
½ lb. ham
1 large green pepper
2 medium onions
5 medium potatoes or 1 bag shredded potatoes
1 dozen eggs
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Prepare:

Cut up and shred 5 medium potatoes (or use 1 bag of pre-shredded potatoes)

Chop onions (keep separate)

Chop ham

Chop sausage

Chop green pepper

Crust:

Fry bacon in a large skillet (an electric frying pan works perfectly), then keep the fat in the pan, and chop the bacon. Keep 1/3 for the crust and set 2/3 aside.

Fry potatoes and one chopped onion in the bacon fat (add salt and pepper to taste). When cooked add 1/3 of the chopped bacon and stir.

Press into a pie dish to form the crust.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Continue reading “Breakfast Pie by Lena Gregory”

Ginger and Spice Tenderloin with Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney by Devon Delaney

6 Servings

Ginger and Spice Tenderloin Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 1-pound pieces of pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon each: sea salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup crushed ginger snap cookies
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney Ingredients:

2 shallots, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled, minced
1/2 teaspoon each: sea salt & black pepper
1/2 cup seeds from 1 fresh pomegranate
Garnish: 1 cup fresh arugula leaves

Tenderloin Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tenderloin in a large roasting pan. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Coat tenderloins with mayonnaise blend. Season with salt and pepper. Combine crushed cookies, garlic, rosemary, thyme and paprika. Sprinkle meat with cookie blend. Roast meat to medium-rare, approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a platter and let rest 7 minutes before slicing.

Chutney Preparation:

Cook shallots in 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over moderate heat until softened. Add the cranberries, juice, sugar, vinegar, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon each: salt and pepper to the pan and simmer until the berries pop and thickening begins. Add the pomegranate seeds and simmer until thickening resumes. Remove from heat to a serving bowl.

To Serve: Give each person 2-3 slices of tenderloin with a side of chutney on a bed of arugula.

Recipe Created by Devon Delaney

Continue reading “Ginger and Spice Tenderloin with Cranberry-Pomegranate Chutney by Devon Delaney”

Baking With Your Children – A Fun And Wonderful Way to Create Special Memories by Diana Cosby

In addition to growing up with my mom who is a wonderful cook, I spent a lot of time baking with my grandmother in the mountains of Vermont.  I cherish the memories of creating recipes, of the stories I’d listen to as we’d mix the ingredients, and the scents of warm cookies, cake, bread, and more.  A tradition that I shared with my children as they grew up.

 

Through baking I taught my kids how to measure, to count, and to be artistic in thinking beyond the recipe and create something new, and to have fun as I’d place a small dollop of frosting on the tip of their noses.  For birthday’s they’d pick themes for their cakes, and on holidays they’d help place special effects, usually created with chocolate, candy, or toys.  In addition, they learned about sharing what they baked with friends and neighbors, and how to help the community by donating their creations to bake sales.

 

 

I’m a huge believer in giving back and helping others, a trait I wanted my kids to embrace in their lives.  For several years I made cakes for Make-A-Wish.  As I’d decorate the cake, with my children giving me suggestions on what colors to use or details to ad, we’d talk about the challenges of life, and how important it was to thank God for each day.

 

As I look back, I’m grateful for those special moments of baking with my children, it was more than teaching them life lessons, but a way to create special memories that will forever touch their, as my heart.

 

“Diana Cosby is superbly talented.” —Cathy Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author

In battle-torn Scotland, a castle’s mistress awaits her groom, a warrior she has never met . . .

Lady Gwendolyn Murphy’s fiancé has finally arrived at Latharn Castle, but she expects no joy in their introduction. Gwendolyn is well aware of Bróccín MacRaith’s cold reputation. Yet from first glance, she is drawn to the intimidating stranger. Impossible! How could she be dazzled by such a callous man?

Little does she know, Bróccín is dead. The man Gwendolyn believes to be her intended is actually Sir Aiden MacConnell, a member of the Knights Templar and her enemy, masquerading as the earl to gain access to the castle. His soul is dedicated to God and war; he has no time for luxuries of the flesh. But Gwendolyn’s intoxicating beauty, intellect, and fortitude lures him to want the forbidden.

With the wedding date quickly approaching and the future of Scotland at stake, Aiden gathers critical intelligence and steels himself for his departure, vowing to avoid an illicit liaison. But a twist of fate forces him to choose—move forward with a life built on a lie, or risk everything for the heart of one woman?

Praise for the novels of Diana Cosby

“Cosby gives you it all—passion, danger, lush history and a touch of magic. Excellent reading.” —Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author

“A sexy new voice in historical romance. Scottish historicals have a bright new star.” —Sandra Hill, USA Today bestselling author

“Diana Cosby writes wonderful historical romance!” —Susan King

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