by Tracy Condie & Devon Delaney
This week we have a review of the latest Cook-Off Mystery by Devon Delaney, along with a fun Valentine’s Day post from Devon with a recipe. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase the book from Amazon.
Serving Up Spite: A Cook-Off Mystery by Devon Delaney
Review by Tracy Condie
In book 8 of the Cook-Off Mystery series, it seems that strife and cold weather have come to the town of Augustin, Connecticut in the way of an age-old argument about progress versus tradition. As with all Sally Oliveri books, there is a new cooking contest for Sally to participate in when she isn’t solving the mystery, and wonderful recipes are shared at the conclusion of the mystery.
We are introduced to the cast of characters early on when Sally shows up for a Podcast interview with her friend Patti. The topic of the podcast is favorite kitchen implements; Sally’s is the wooden spoon. What is your favorite kitchen tool? Some might say the whisk or the spatula, and those who don’t cook would say that it is their phone or favorite meal delivery app. I would probably pick the spatula because there isn’t much I can’t do with one in a pinch. While Sally is in her interview session the other folks waiting to be interviewed get into quite the heated discussion about the importance of the wooden spoon.
The next day, Patti calls Sally in a tizzy because Sigmund “Sig” is missing, and his brother says matter-of-factly that he must have fallen through the ice and drowned. How strange that a man from Iceland who grew up knowing when the ice was thick or thin, would fall through it and supposedly drown? Patty pleads with Sally to use her sleuthing skills to discover what happened to Sig.
Sleuthing isn’t the only thing that Sally does. This time around she is giving a daily garden lesson at a local middle school, working part-time at the family ruggery, prepping for her boyfriend Don‘s birthday which is on Valentine’s day, and last but not least there is an international cooking contest that Sally needs to prep for that is also on Valentine’s day. Then you top it off with looking into the disappearance and/or murder of Patti’s boyfriend Sig.
Sally’s first place to start is determining possible suspects. Unfortunately, Patti is one of the suspects as the missing man was seen arguing with Patti because it turned out that he wasn’t single. Sig’s wife, Nora, shows up in a warm and cozy-looking hat when Sig’s body is located, but when exactly did she get to town? She isn’t the only one with that stylish hat. Sienna, one of the three contest judges, is sporting the same Icelandic hat, and she is not from Iceland. Sig also wasn’t very successful in business. Seems like Icelandic foods are an acquired taste and no one local is buying. Sig’s own brother Thomas starts accusing Patti of helping Sig to leave it all behind: his wife, his business failures, and his old life. The quick change of attitude in Thomas had me wondering if he could have done a Cain and Abel. Was Sig stepping out on his wife and Patti? Was more than one lady being scorned?
If you aren’t feeling pulled in yet, then maybe the great gardening tips shared during Sally’s sessions with the kids will entice you to take a look at this multifaceted cozy that has a little something for everyone. The story is woven so artfully that before you realize it, you have turned to the last pages of the mystery and the only thing left to do as you think back to red herrings and subtle clues is to try your hand at making the Snappy African Groundnut Stew or Icelandic Savory Ponnukukur Pancakes.
A Recipe For Love
By Devon Delaney
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a romantic celebration between two lovers. It can be a celebration of a loving friend, a parent, or, going in the other direction, a day to toast a breakup. Why not keep it light and toast your dog if he’s the only company you’re enjoying? In my latest book, Serving Up Spite, a cooking competition murder mystery, the plot takes place before, during, and after Valentine’s Day. As a competitive cook by hobby, I have tons of recipes I’ve created for various occasions, cook-offs, and just for fun. I wanted to share one of my favorite Valentine’s Day recipes that won a magazine’s recipe contest years ago.
I entered my first recipe contest when my three children were all under the age of six. One winter when ice conditions prevented school from opening for days for my eldest and my youngest was a napping infant, I passed housebound time catching up on my magazine reading. An ad in one mentioned a recipe contest whose theme was “come up with a recipe that showcases bread.” I concocted “Orange Dusted French Toast Fingers with Maple Dipping Sauce”. I typed up the recipe and mailed it to the sponsor. I was thrilled and surprised to receive two thousand dollars in the mail shortly after that as the Grand Prize winner! I was hooked. My creative juices began to surge. When the family was very young my recipes, while always borderline adventurous and potentially contest worthy, were primarily formulated to fill growing tummies and the gurgling empty stomach of my hardworking husband. Now, time and circumstances permit me to create for more discerning, adult palates. The recipe I’ve included is one of those recipes and I think it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Have you and your valentine had a date night in a while? Staying home qualifies if you combine a memorable meal, a rental movie, an after-dinner stroll, and whatever may then transpire. Cook up a recipe that tantalizes the senses. Think colorful, aromatic, visually tasty. If you can prepare the recipe together, all the better. And if you’re tired after a long day of romance relax with a good cooking competition murder mystery novel. Wink, wink!
Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Roasted Red Pepper Mayo
1-1/2 pounds fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillet
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 of a seven-ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers (about 1/2 cup) drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tablespoon mango chutney finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish into six equal portions.
2. In a shallow dish combine pecans, breadcrumbs, black pepper, and salt. In another dish beat together egg and water; place flour in a third dish. Coat each fish portion with flour, dip in egg mixture, and finally in pecan mixture. Place portions on a large plate; cover and chill for up to 30 minutes while preparing mayonnaise mixture.
3. For mayonnaise mixture, pat the drained, roasted peppers dry on paper towels; coarsely chop. In a small serving bowl stir together chopped peppers, mayonnaise or salad dressing, chutney, lemon juice, garlic salt, and ground red pepper. Set aside.
4. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fish; cook for three minutes. Turn fish; cook for three to four minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (Reduce heat as necessary during cooking to prevent overbrowning.) Serve with mayo blend. Makes six servings.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Serving Up Spite, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “spite” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 17, 2024. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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You can click here to purchase this book on Amazon.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.