Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Please help me welcome Daryl Wood Gerber back to Escape With Dollycas!
I’m often asked if I do research for my books.
Yes!!! Sometimes I do it by reading books. Sometimes I go online to travel the world for ideas. Sometimes I review photographs on Pinterest and similar sites for visual ideas. And sometimes I go in person to a store, a town, or an event.
For Pressing the Issue, I attended the Renaissance Fair in Los Angeles. I’ve been to many over the years, but I decided to attend a current one to see if they’d changed much. They hadn’t. The vendors were all delightful. I particularly loved the candle display and the knives display. The costumes were fabulous. I dressed up, but I wished I’d purchased a wench costume for next time. They were so colorful and there was such an array. I took in the birds of prey show and watched the merry dancers.
And then I ventured to the food court. Yum. The aromas from all the delicious goodies were heavenly. Turkey legs, meat on a stick, pasties, mead!
One of the foods I’d never seen at a fair before was Hawker’s Mush. Hawker, of course, means vendor or seller. As for the word mush? Don’t let the name fool you. This is NOT porridge. It’s like a very large potato pancake but made with spinach and onions and wild rice, and then drizzled with hollandaise sauce. Divine.
4 tablespoons or more, butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
4 cups raw spinach, shredded (becomes about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups cooked brown rice and wild rice mix
3 eggs, beaten
Hollandaise sauce *recipe below
In a medium frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until soft and beginning to turn golden brown, about 8 -10 minutes. If the onions seem dry, add another tablespoon of butter. Then add raw spinach.
Sauté until all the moisture from the spinach is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Turn heat down and add the thyme, crushed garlic, and sherry. Add salt and pepper. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 2-4 minutes more. Cool 5 minutes.
In a large bowl mix the wild rice, the onion-spinach mixture, and the beaten eggs.
This step you’ll have to do in batches: in a medium frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add rice-onion-spinach in 1/2 cup portions. Flatten each down so you have rounds about ½ ” in thickness. Cook over medium heat until set. Flip over and cook until golden.
Slide onto a plate and put in a warm oven. Repeat until all are cooked.
When ready, serve with hollandaise sauce.
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
In the blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and white pepper. Blend for about 5-10 seconds.
Put the butter into a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup and melt completely about 30-45 seconds.
Set the blender on high speed and add the melted butter to the egg mixture in a thin stream. It will thicken up, fast.
NEAT TRICK: You can keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender itself in a pan of hot water.
Pressing the Issue (A Cookbook Nook Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – California
Beyond the Page (February 20, 2018)
Paperback: 242 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07955HXRS
As the annual Renaissance Fair comes to Crystal Cove, Jenna Hart’s Cookbook Nook is packed with tasty treats and all things medieval, while her pal Bailey is ready to swoon over her upcoming nuptials at a local vineyard. But when the two friends discover the body of the vineyard’s owner bludgeoned by a winepress, all their merriment fades, along with their hopes for a vintage year.
Which churlish varlet did the deed? Was it the victim’s errant brother, who stood to inherit the vineyards? Or the owner’s crestfallen ex-girlfriend? Mayhap it was the newly arrived comely wench or her jealous husband. Fie on them all! Verily, Jenna can’t rest until justice is served, and she vows to track down the killer. But can she sniff out the truth before the villainous culprit strikes again?
Includes tantalizing recipes!
We arrive in Crystal Cove just in time for the Renaissance Fair and Bailey’s wedding. Everyone was having a great time until the Nick, the king of the faire and owner of the venue for Bailey’s wedding is found dead. With a booth at the fair, the Cookbook Nook, and all the wedding plans the last thing Jenna Hart needs in a murder to solve. Nick was a very popular resident of Crystal Cove, who would want him dead? Jenna starts talking to everyone she can, maybe she can find the killer before all the people in town for the faire clear out and maybe Bailey’s dream wedding can take place as planned. Let the sleuthing begin.
The last book in this series had me struggling with many emotions. I was so glad to pick up this book and reconnect with all the characters and their lives at a happy time with the wedding and Ren Faire. The author does an excellent job of getting us up to date and back into the groove with Jenna and her friends and family. We also meet some new characters in town for the faire. Daryl Wood Gerber creates such delightful characters that have grown in each new installment of this series.
I was very taken with the vineyard setting Bailey and Tito had chosen for their nuptials. It was described so nicely and sounded like a beautiful place. I have never been to a Ren Faire but I had in my mind a set-up similar to the setting in Joyce and Jim Lavene’s Renaissance Faire Mysteries, but this being only a pop-up type event it wasn’t as elaborate as the faire in those stories, but it sure appeared to be a lot of fun.
The mystery is so well-written, plenty of suspects and plenty of twists. I do have a problem when I read books by this author. I tend to get all wrapped up in happening to the regular characters and the great books Jenna has a the CookBook Nook that I usually miss some very important clue. This time I made myself pay attention, even highlighting lines from the book on my Kindle. This time when we reached the reveal of the killer I was so happy to see my diligence paid off and I was right.
Another great story from Daryl Wood Gerber.
This series is best read in order for maximum enjoyment.
About the Author
DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.
Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.
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