--> HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: So--there are recipes and recipes. For instance, there is the gorgeous voluptuous Julia Child French Onion soup that honestly takes hours and HOURS but it's fabulous, but did I say it takes hours?
And then there are tomato Santas.
And tomato porcupines. I think that's a potato at the base.
(I saw these on Funny Food Recipes on Facebook--and it is totally addictive.)
Look at these sailboats! HOW did they think of these?
Anyway. They count as cooking, right? Just ask the amazing and talented Debra Goldstein. Deb is incredible, a real friend of Jungle Red and a truly stalwart member of the writing community. She was president of the Guppies! Fabulous. AND she was a judge. so she knows everything, and now she's got another wonderful new book.
But she--her main character at least--knows her limitations. And thats in the realm of...cooking.
Finding Recipes to Avoid Freaking Out in the Kitchen
by Debra H. Goldstein
Some people are afraid of spiders, some fear dead bodies. Cooking from scratch petrifies me.
The irony - I love to entertain.
Early on I realized there were two easy solutions to my dilemma: host dinners at restaurants or have caterers, long gone before the guests arrive, make their dishes in my serving pieces. This still left me with a problem when I was asked to bring a dish to an event where everyone was expected to contribute to the table. It didn’t take too many instances to educate my friends to automatically assign me bread, soda, paper products, or anything else that needed to be purchased from the grocery store.
Sarah Blair, the protagonist of my Kensington cozy mystery series, shares my fear of the kitchen. For her, cooking from scratch is more frightening than murder. Luckily, she has a twin sister, Emily, who is a gourmet chef. Emily usually comes to the rescue when Sarah needs to serve something, but when she doesn’t, watch out.
For example, in One Taste Too Many, the first book in the series, Sarah knew starting over after her ten-year marriage, from which she only emerged with RahRah, her Siamese cat, would be messy. Things fell apart completely when her ex dropped dead, seemingly poisoned by a taste of Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp.
With RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah had to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time ran out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it potentially meant facing a fate worse than death – being in the kitchen.
In Two Bites Too Many, the newly released second Sarah Blair mystery, things are looking up for Sarah following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with RahRah, she’s managed to hold on to her law firm receptionist job and – if befriending strays at the local animal shelter counts – lead a thriving social life. In fact, Sarah has it more together than her enterprising twin whose plans to open a gourmet restaurant hit a real dead end.
When the president of the town bank is murdered after icing her twin’s business, all eyes are on the one person at the scene with blood on her hands – Sarah’s sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook and help Emily’s business endeavors, Sarah must gather the ingredients of the crime together quickly to bring the true culprit to justice and once again avoid doing time in the kitchen.
To prep both books, I had to overcome my fear of the kitchen long enough to find recipes using pre-made ingredients that were also funny.
My favorite one, Jell-O in a Can, which I’ll share with you today, was popular in the 1950’s.
1 20 oz. can of sliced pineapple (the recipe recommended Dole pineapple as it was an ad for Dole and Jell-O) 1 3 oz. pkg. of Jell-O gelatin, any flavor choice 1 cup boiling water Optional: 1 banana or other type of fruit
Open the can and pour off the pineapple juice but leave the pineapple in the can. Dissolve the Jell-O in boiling water and permit it to cool slightly before pouring the Jell-O and water mixture into the can, over the pineapple. If desired, place the banana or other fruit in the center of the rings of pineapple.
Chill until set.
To serve, run a knife around the inside of the can and tip it out. (Before rimmed flip-top cans, one pushed the jelled mixture through and out using the bottom of the can.) Slice between the pineapple rings and serve.
After all these years, I doubt I’ll ever be comfortable in the kitchen, but I know, especially now that Kensington and I have inked a new deal to continue the series through at least book 5, I’m going to have a ball finding comical, but doable, recipes using pre-made ingredients to share.
HANK: Oh, I have to say. I adore you, Debra, but that sounds AWFUL. :-) But the book deal? DEE-licious. Hurray!
(I do like these:)
How about you, Reds and readers? What are some easy fun recipes? Let's say: four ingredients. And they don't have to be as cute as this!
Judge Debra H.Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (One Taste Too Many, Two Bites Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Pokerand IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of the Southeast Chapter of MWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter. Find out more about Debra at www.DebraHGoldstein.com .
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Taste-Many-Sarah-Blair-Mystery/dp/1496719476 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bites-Many-Sarah-Blair-Mystery/dp/1496719484 Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-taste-too-many-debra-h-goldstein/1128297322 Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/two-bites-too-many-debra-h-goldstein/1130055243 #Kensington #DebraGoldstein #Cooking #FunnyFood #CozyMysteries