We’re excited to welcome Jane Cleland, author of the IMBA best selling and multi-award nominated Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series, which has been called an Antiques Roadshow for mystery fans. Jane chairs the Wolfe Pack’s literary awards and is on the board of the Mystery Writers of America/NY Chapter. Her latest book is called Killer Keepsakes.
My protagonist, antiques appraiser Josie Prescott, loves to cook. Often she uses the cookbook her mother made for her in the days before she died. Josie was only 13 then, but she’s come to understand that the cookbook was an important part of her mother’s legacy.
In the days before she died, Josie’s mom wrote out her favorite recipes, complete with little illustrations and cooking tips like serving something sweet with something savory.
Isn’t hand-writing a cookbook a lovely idea? What a thoughtful and enduring legacy. Now, decades later, the mere act of touching the leather-bound cookbook sooths Josie’s soul, enabling her to feel connected to her long-deceased, much loved, and much missed mother.
Not all mothers are like that. My mother, for instance, took a different approach to sharing recipes. My mother kept her recipes on index cards filled with lies. She didn’t want anyone to be able to cook her specialties so she changed ingredients, quantities, and/or instructions.
Isn’t that amazing? She lied even to me, her only daughter! My mother was a crackerjack cook, but darn, I wish she hadn’t had that odd kick in her gallop when it came to sharing recipes. I can laugh about it, but I also think it’s sort of sad.
Some of my favorite dishes are gone forever because my mother didn’t write them down. My mother died without passing on her secrets, so I no longer have her luscious cinnamon roll-ups or her red wine pot roast or her quirky Hawaiian chicken.
I include many mentions of food in my Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries, and I’ve posted many of the recipes on my website, www.janecleland.net. Here are two that are among my favorite dishes, Josie’s Mom’s Scrambled Eggs and Orange Chicken. Preparing and sharing delicious food is one of the ways we humans show our love for one another. I hope you try them, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
And if anyone has a good recipe for cinnamon roll-ups, I’d love it if you’d e-mail it to me at email@example.com.
Josie’s Mom’s Scrambled Eggs [from Consigned to Death]
In advance, prepare the egg mixture:
Figure on 2 eggs per person.
1. Crack the eggs one at a time in a small bowl to ensure no shell pieces fall in.
2. Transfer the eggs to a bowl large enough so when you whisk the eggs briskly, there will be no spillage.
3. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
4. Add 1/8 tsp. vanilla per 2 eggs.
5. Add a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.
6. Whisk the egg mixture briskly. Set aside.
In advance, prepare the vegetables:
One medium-sized tomato per 2 eggs, chopped coarsely. Salt the tomato generously, and stir gently.
½ medium-sized white or yellow onion, chopped finely. Add salt and pepper to the onion to taste.
To prepare the eggs:
1. In a frying pan (choose the size of the pan based on the quantity of eggs you’re cooking), melt
butter over low heat. Plan on using 1 tab of butter per 2 eggs.
2. Add onions and sauté gently until golden brown.
3. Add tomatoes and sauté gently for a minute or two, until the tomatoes are soft, but not mushy.
4. While the tomatoes are cooking, whisk the egg mixture again until it’s frothy.
5. As soon as the tomatoes are ready, add the egg mixture.
6 .Stir occasionally, not allowing any area to be still for more than several seconds.
7. When almost cooked, remove pan from heat and immediately scrape eggs onto plates.
Josie’s mom recommends serving the eggs with a fruit salad, toast (buttered and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar), bacon, and broiled tomatoes.
[from Deadly Appraisal]
To prepare the marinade, mix together:
1 c. fresh-squeezed orange juice, with pulp
3 oz. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1. Remove skin from 2 chicken breasts, split.
2. Marinate, breast down, in orange juice mixture for at least four hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Place chicken pieces breast up in a small baking pan. Make sure the marinade almost covers the chicken.
5. Spread peach jam liberally over the exposed parts of the chicken.
6. Bake for fourty minutes to an hour, basting as needed, until the jam is golden, and the chicken is cooked through, but not dry.
Serve with Wild Rice