A TASTE OF SUMMER — FROM THE FOOD LOVERS’ VILLAGE

By Leslie Budewitz

hucklberry mousseIf Montana had an official fruit, it would be the huckleberry, a wild mountain relative of the blueberry. Yes, other states claim them, too. But ours are the Real Thing. I know, because the last time I went picking, in the mountains above town known as the Jewel Basin, I was happily filling my little bucket with the deep purple jewels when the sounds of leaves and fruit being torn from branches told me a bear had the same idea. And if a bear wants something, you know it’s good—and you let her have it!

So what’s the taste of the perfect evening in Montana? Well, to Erin Murphy, the protagonist of my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, it’s Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse served at Chez Max.

The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in a small town in NW Montana where good food reigns supreme. Erin Murphy runs a specialty regional foods market, known as the Merc, and right next door are Le Panier, the bakery, and Chez Max, a bistro, run by Max and Wendy Fontaine. Wendy’s a local girl, but Max hails from Provence. His bistro serves traditional French country food, with a Montana accent. So naturally, he’s given the classic chocolate mousse a bit of local flavor!

CHEZ MAX’S HUCKLEBERRY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons huckleberry syrup
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
pinch of sat
1-/12 teaspoons sugar

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, in the microwave, or in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the huckleberry syrup. Transfer to a bowl large enough for all the ingredients.

Whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate, one at a time.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until they start to form peaks. (A stand mixer is perfect, if you have one.) Continue to beat and gradually add the sugar. Beat until the whites are shiny and hold medium-firm peaks.

Using a rubber spatula, spoon about a quarter of the whites into the chocolate and fold until almost smooth. (This lightens the chocolate and makes it easier to blend in the rest.) Spoon the rest of the whites into the chocolate and fold in carefully. Don’t overwork the mixture—you want to leave the bubbles in the mousse for lightness, and streaks are fine.

Spoon mousse into individual serving dishes and chill, covered. Garnish with whipped cream, mint, and huckleberries, if you’d like—and if you’re lucky enough to snare a few from the bear. Or if you’re feeling particularly French, leave it in the bowl and serve your guests tableside.

(The Wild Huckleberry syrups and preserves from Eva Gates, in Bigfork, Montana—the model for Jewel Bay, are particularly tasty. Www.evagates.com )

This recipe comes from Crime Rib, the second in the five-book series. (Read excerpts and find “where to buy” links on my website.)

(Originally published July 20, 2014)

July Book News

Summer    Readingjuly 2020 bk newsjuly 2020 bk news 3 july 2020 bk news 2

and

    Social Distancing

 

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Could you use some humor during these trying times? Or a fun summer read?

plans book cover 2  If so, Plans Interrupted is for you.

Meet Madge Wood, a sixty-something widow as she tells her story of interrupted plans throughout her life that have stolen the self-confidence she’d once known. But feeling unusually brave she sets out to experience her last plan. A trip to Monaco, a ride up the “To Catch a Thief” cliffside road, wearing a long, pink, Grace Kelly-like scarf that catches the sunlight as it flies in the wind, and a visit to Princess Grace’s Palace. What could possibly interrupt that?

An antique ring, thugs accosting her, enigmatic men offering assistance, and an opportunity to change ancient history. As Madge says, “You’re not going to believe it. I wouldn’t either—except I lived it.”

my kingdom

Janice McCaffrey   Author

 

Amazon Kindle ebook       .99    July 16th thru 22nd

 

 

fireworks border july 2020

Thoughts for Success

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By Betty Kuffel

Believe in yourself when that voice in your head tells you your writing stinks, or you’ve spelled “the” wrong, or you just don’t have it in you to finish the novel that has been living in your brain for years. Don’t listen. Believe in yourself.

Find a positive motto that fits you. Put it over your computer in full view, read it when you have second thoughts about your skills or ability to complete a writing project. Let it stimulate positive thoughts. Mine is from Dr. Seuss:

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

Einstein counting My writing area is a positive corner with a desk facing East. I accomplish the most in early morning, love sunrise, and am usually there to greet the lightening sky. The singing early birds brighten my days, too. Over my desk I have a couple important photos, one is of my granddaughter who makes me smile. I also have a photo of Albert Einstein counting on his fingers to remind me my lacking math skills shouldn’t stop me from accomplishing my goals. I also have a quote from him: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk a sign?”

When my desk looks like his, piled high with books and cluttered with papers, I don’t worry, I press on and put cleaning off until tomorrow … or later.

There are so many things to do instead of writing we have to avoid the distractions, ignore them. At the end of your writing day, take an hour to clean and straighten things out, but get ready for your next day of writing and get a good night’s sleep.

Feather women

Each morning I arise in early morning darkness. I dress, put on a little lipstick as if I’m heading to work and sit down at my computer with a cup of coffee. I look up and admire a woman flying over my desk with feathers in her hands and read my Dr. Seuss motto. It works for me. 

I don’t believe in writers’ block. When a story stalls, go on to another writing project as the stalled one churns in your thoughts. Or take a break and write a blog for deposit in the Montana Women Writers’ blog bank.

Remember: Life.Piano 

Happy writing.

 

 

 

 

Why Solstices and Equinoxes?

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By M.F. Erler

I can remember as a child in elementary school learning about the Equinoxes and Solstices.  Maybe I was more interested in earth science and astronomy than my peers, but the image of the globe tilted on its axis, turning each pole in turn toward the sun in its yearly circle, has stuck with me all these years.

About eight years ago, I asked my geographer son to build me a miniature Stonehenge in our backyard.  He was glad to oblige, and used his dad’s GPS to accomplish a very accurate placing of each of the sight-stones in relation to the central one.  I can now tell exactly where the sun will be on our horizon at each solstice and equinox.

Why was this important to me?  I think partly because I need to remind myself that even when things in my world are growing dark, I can look forward to the eventual return of light.  That life is not just a linear journey from birth to death.  That it’s also cyclical.

As many of my Facebook friends know, I annually count down to the Winter Solstice.  This is the one I look toward the most, for it represents the coming back of light.  It was important to ancient cultures too, as we can see from the many ancient monuments like Stonehenge, which are oriented to show exactly when the solstices will come.  I actually find it surprising that so many of my friends now comment that they look forward to my countdown.  Maybe there’s an ancient “memory” in our DNA that points to these same times of the year that were so important to our ancestors.

Ironically though, as our world grows darker in most ways, we try to push back that dark with our artificial lights.  Whether they are street lights or Christmas lights, they actually block out the stars that our ancestors looked to for guidance.  Some places on earth, including Glacier National Park, are promoting their dark night skies, ideal for stargazing.  People even talk about “light pollution” now in all our urban areas.  Astronauts in space can tell exactly where the cities are as they orbit the night side of earth.  Each metropolitan area and even small towns are seen by their artificial lights, clumps and strings of them scattered across the face of the globe.  I wonder if it sometimes looks to these spacemen like a disease on the surface of the earth.

While we keep trying to find ways to push back the dark, maybe we need to be looking more for the lights within ourselves.  Yes, our world is a mess and seems to be getting worse almost daily.  But perhaps if each of us tries to let our lights shine out to others around us, we can do a better job of pushing back the dark.

The Write Day

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By Anne B. Howard-

It’s so easy to pour a hot cup of coffee and retreat to the writing cave for hours, during our long grey Montana winters, but when spring finally arrives, the procrastination and excuses begin. I’ve fought the same battle with myself for years. Give me an inch, and I’ll take The Wild Mile above Bigfork every time. The good news is that this year I’ve called a truce, which doesn’t involve crawling out of bed at four in the morning, as several of my writer-friends happily do, or closing my eyes, ears and soul to the reasons I moved to Montana in the first place.

It’s my way of touching base with the natural world, getting some exercise, and carving out the time to actually plan and commit myself to new goals. Instead of “time I could have spent writing,”FullSizeRender (23) I consider this meditative daily four-mile-walk as the first and most critical stage in my writing day. It’s where I brainstorm for ideas, hit upon solutions, and gain insight, confidence and enthusiasm for tackling the tasks on my to-do list, renewed and inspired by the never ending miracle of new life around me.

Some days, the ideas come so hard and fast I have to sit down and make notes, which is why I never leave home without my big screen iPhone 6-Plus, or the iPad with keyboard.  “Idea traps,” I call them. And, fortunately, if I look closely, great places—no, actually, perfect places—to sit, sip a little coffee from my thermos, and record these ideas abound along that trail, inviting and enticing me to take my time. It’s all good. No second wasted.

Once home, I water the flowers, tidy the house, and prep a quick lunch for the hubs before heading upstairs to the cave, without guilt or resentment, filled to the brim with new plans for committing to paper the stories I feel inspired to tell.

How do you balance the need to write with making sure all of life’s bases are covered?

(Originally published May 9, 2016)