Please join me in welcoming Ellen Byron to the blog today to share a recipe from her new cozy mystery, Cajun Kiss of Death!
CAJUN KISS OF DEATH
SERIES: A Cajun Country Mystery #7
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane Books
RELEASE DATE: August 10, 2021
The next shot from Cupid’s bow may be fatal in USA Today bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s hearty and delightful seventh Cajun Country mystery.
In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine’s Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe–in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant–perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat’s dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.
Did JJ, proprietor of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie’s mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage?
Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer–or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe’s murder?
Blood may be thicker than water, but this case is thicker than gumbo. And solving it will determine whether Maggie gets hearts and roses–or hearse and lilies–this Valentine’s Day.
Other Books in This Series
Calas (rice balls or fritters)
by Ellen Byron, author of Cajun Kiss of Death
Calas, usually a breakfast dish, are like beignets made with rice. They have an interesting history. In the 19th century, Creole street vendors known as “Calas women” sold them hot from baskets or bowls they carried on their heads. Calas fell out of favor in the twentieth century, almost disappearing entirely until chefs and food preservationists rediscovered the treat and restored it to menus.
Ninette’s secret ingredient? Substituting brown sugar for white. It is her opinion – and mine – that brown sugar adds a special extra something to a recipe.
Vegetable oil for frying
2 cups white rice, medium or long grain, cooked and cooled
6 T. flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 large eggs
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
In a fryer or deep pot (I used a deep round Dutch Oven), pour oil to at least three inches in depth. Heat to 360 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the rice, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir well, breaking up any brown sugar clumps to make sure it’s well incorporated.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the vanilla.
Pour the liquid egg mixture into the rice mixture and mix together well. (It’s best to keep the mixture cool so that it doesn’t separate when dropped into the oil. I cool my rice in the refrigerator before making the recipe.)
Drop into the hot oil in heaping tablespoonfuls or serving spoonfuls. When the calas have reached a nice, rich brown on one side, use a metal slotted spoon to flip them over, if they haven’t flipped over on their own. When a calas is completely brown (approximately five minutes), remove it from oil and drain on paper towel.
Sprinkle the calas with powdered sugar and serve hot. You can also serve with a side of cane syrup for dunking.
Servings: about 12.
Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. She writes the Catering Hall Mystery series, which are inspired by her real-life, under the name Maria DiRico. Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart.
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