Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to have Tina Kashian visit today!
Thank you for featuring me as a guest on the Escape with Dollycas Blog to celebrate the release of “On the Lamb”!
I love to cook all types of cuisine. I grew up in a family-owned restaurant in New Jersey, and my Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series is set in a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey shore.
In On the Lamb, Lucy Berberian is a recovering lawyer who returns to Ocean Crest, NJ and her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. When Lucy is invited to a beach bonfire with friends, she’s excited for a night out. But when a disliked, local landlord shows up on the beach and gets in a screaming match with one of Lucy’s friends, Melanie Haven, owner of Haven Candies on the boardwalk, a fun evening turns stressful. And when the same landlord is found dead on the beach after choking on a piece of saltwater taffy, Melanie is in a sticky mess of trouble. It’s up to Lucy to solve the case before her friend gets skewered for a crime she didn’t commit.
Winter is the perfect time to experiment with soups. One of my favorite soup recipes is lentil soup with swiss chard. As a parent, it can be difficult to get my kids to eat certain vegetables, like swiss chard. Surprisingly, if it’s incorporated into soup, they eat it and even like it. I’m sharing a recipe we served at my family’s restaurant.
Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup by Tina Kashian
This Mediterranean soup is super healthy and full of fiber. The swiss chard adds flavor without overpowering the dish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
½ lb dry Lentils
2 tbsp olive Oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 carrot chopped
1stalk celery chopped
3 cups swiss chard, washed, stemmed and chopped.
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp lemon or to taste
Put dry lentils in a bowl and check for small stones that can naturally occur.
In a soup pot, heat oil, and butter. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 15 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add chicken broth, water, and lentils. Simmer for ½ hour. Add swiss chard, salt, and lemon. Simmer for another fifteen minutes or until lentils and swiss chard are tender. Add hot water if you prefer a thinner soup.
Thank you again and enjoy the soup!
Thank you, Tina, for dropping by.
Keep reading for my thoughts on Tina’s new book, On The Lamb.
About On The Lamb
On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
4th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07R8WVPMX
Lucy Berberian is busy preparing her family’s Mediterranean restaurant for Easter on the Jersey Shore—but a batch of sweets is to die for . . .
Bikers are thundering into the seaside town of Ocean Crest for the annual Bikers on the Beach gathering that raises funds for injured veterans. It’s a big boost for the Kebab Kitchen, as well as for local businesses like Melanie Haven’s candy shop. But Melanie is about to find herself in a sticky situation.
When Melanie and Lucy attend a beach bonfire, a local landlord is found dead after apparently choking on a piece of salt water taffy. Melanie, who was known to have a contentious relationship with the victim, is quickly skewered as the prime suspect. But Lucy is determined to prove her friend’s innocence before the real killer coasts free . . .
It’s almost Easter in Ocean Crest and Lucy is excited about getting her family together. She is also busy with the family restaurant and business has picked up for most of the businesses in town with the annual Bikers on the Beach event that raising money for injured vets. Part of the event is a huge bonfire on the beach. Lucy was invited by her friend Michael who is the manager of the bike shop next to her family’s restaurant. She takes along her BFF Katie and their friend Melanie. Gilbert Lubinski, local landlord of many apartments and businesses tries to ruin the party when he barges in to remind Melanie that her rent is due and to remember it has been increased.
A short time later someone screams. People rush to the sound and find Melanie standing over Gilbert’s dead body. With the earlier public altercation, a piece of taffy found in the victim’s throat, and the one finding the body, Melanie finds herself at the top of the suspect list. Lucy knows her friend is innocent and she is going to prove it.
This is such an entertaining series!
Lucy’s parents have decided to take a step back from the family business, The Kebab Kitchen, and leave the day to day management in her hands. Her mom still pops in to keep up with Lucy’s cooking lessons and to approve the head chef Azad Zakarian menus. Her dad likes to keep his hand in with the inventory and other office tasks. Lucy knows change is hard for them but she has had a few minor victories so she is fine with them taking their time. She also takes a big step within these pages that coincides nicely with the murder investigation she and Katie have got themselves wrapped up in. Ms. Kashian has created such genuine characters. I am always excited to see what they are all up to.
Kashian has also introduced some great new characters this time which include Eloisa Lubinski and her Shih Tzu, Cupid. Eloisa stole my heart immediately. I wish I had half her spunk and energy. Her nephew Gilbert is our victim and with his death, all his secrets were revealed leading to many more suspects. including a couple of bikers, his business partner, and his almost ex-wife. A few more come out of the woodwork when Lucy uncovers his little side business. All these characters evolve as the story continues some in very meaningful ways.
Talk about red herrings, this story is full of them. I loved it even though I fell for most of them and was caught totally by surprise at the reveal. I really enjoy the way Lucy and Katie sleuth together. When one drops the ball the other can pick it up and weave a tale like a pro. They also don’t give up. The author sets a brisk pace and gives us plenty of drama and action. There are also some truly funny moments too.
So much of the story takes place on the boardwalk. Lucy’s daily runs helped her sort through the clues and she also gets a little advice when she stops to visit psychic Madame Vega and learns something when she finds herself at the tattoo parlor. All this goes on with a loudspeaker blaring ” Watch the tramcar please!” as the tramcar goes up and down the boardwalk. Ms. Kashian really sets the scene wonderfully, not only on the boardwalk but at the Kebab Kitchen, the beach, Melanie’s candy shop, and all around Ocean Crest.
On The Lamb has everything I look for in a cozy mystery, engaging and entertaining characters, a mystery I can sink my teeth into, and just a little romance and humor to balance everything out.
Speaking of sinking my teeth into, there are several recipes in the back of the book. I have never eaten Armenian, Lebanese, or Greek food with the exception of a gyro back in my college days. The descriptions of the food in this series do make my mouth water. This small-town girl may have to step out of her comfort zone and give these recipes a try.
I am already looking forward to my next visit to the Jersey Shore because they are always some really great things happening there along with a little bit of murder.
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About Tina Kashian
Tina Kashian is a bestselling author, an attorney, and a mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and the first book in her Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean mystery series, Hummus and Homicide, spent six weeks on the B&N bestseller list. Please visit her website at www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!
Praise for On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian
An intricate mystery, an abundance of motives, a large dollop of intriguing characters, and a pinch of romance blended with a hint of salt from the Jersey Shore blend together to make ON THE LAMB a fun heartwarming story.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
Ms. Kashin did a fantastic job of stumping me that I just had to give this book five stars. I loved every minute of reading this book.
~Baroness’ Book Trove
On the Lamb is a charming cozy mystery that will have you wanting to visit the Jersey shore.
~The Avid Reader
A family-centric crime series with lots of delicious food and plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings.
Another great cozy with likable relatable to me characters but what I enjoyed most was the closeness of family and also that the “who did it” wasn’t so easily recognized because almost everybody was a suspect!
~Gimme the Scoop Reviews
Well plotted with many twists and turns, this strong, superbly written mystery gave me the run around as I tried in vain to help protagonist, Lucy Berberian, solve the case and clear her friend.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews
The author combined the perfect amount of mystery, humor, and romance to create a great addition to the series. As always, I love the author’s personal touches, such as her family recipes and the fact that she took some of her favorite memories and included them in the book.
~Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews
On the Lamb (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”