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)

June Book News

 

KAREN WILLS: Five Star Publishing / Cengage set June 21, 2017 as the release date for my historical novel, RIVER WITH NO BRIDGE. I’m so pleased that something I’ve worked on for so long, set in the area I love so much, and with characters I’ve grown to cherish is ready to be shared. I hope you all-important readers will find it to your liking. Booklist calls it, “A gripping, sometimes heartbreaking story of immigrant survival in the West.”

In 1882, Nora Flanagan leaves Boston for Butte, America, as the Irish called the Montana mining community. She realizes her dreams of marriage and motherhood for a time, but tragedy changes the course of her life. After scandal in Butte, followed by despair in Helena, she agrees to go north to settle near the North Fork of the Flathead River, the region that will one day be just west of Glacier National Park. She doesn’t go alone, but with mysterious, half-Chinese Jim Li. Their life becomes a challenging, romantic wilderness adventure. They meet mountain men like Beartracks Benton, colorful settlers, and Blackfeet natives. In time, Nora and Jim acquire a family.

But a man from the past, obsessed with revenge and addicted to laudanum, will jeopardize all they’ve achieved. An immigrant familiar with gains and losses, Nora will seek strength and resolve from her wilderness home.    river with no bridge

 

 

Karen Wills Website

Karen Wills Facebook

Karen’s Blog

MARIE MARTIN: I uploaded my first novel, Maternal Harbor, on Amazon kindle in September 2012. Each year I added another and today they hit a mile stone that I am too excited about not to share. On May 30, 2017, readers have now downloaded my novels over a half a million times. If I was young and agile, I’d do a cartwheel.

Thank you, Readers,

Marie  F Martin

leslieLESLIE BUDEWITZ:  Seeing that box of new books is always such a thrill! TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the 4th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, officially releases June 10, 2017, from Midnight Ink, but it’s already available in bookstores around the country, and across the Flathead Valley. The series took a year off, but it’s back stronger than ever — more details and an excerpt here, on my website.  When the body of an internationally renowned guitarist is found on the river banks outside town during the annual Jewel Bay Jazz Festival, Erin Murphy, manager of the Merc, must investigate to protect the community and keep the music playing.

And if you’re in the Flathead, please join me for a book launch party, with a short booktalk/reading, at 5:30, Sat, June 10, at the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center, in the village. I’ll also be at Fact & Fiction in Missoula at 7 pm, Tues, June 13th, when Christine Carbo and I interview each other about our new books, and at Montana Book & Toy in Helena at 2 pm on Sat, July 1. I’ll also be in Denver and Seattle, so if that’s home to you, please check out the events schedule on my website.

I’m also thrilled that the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are now available in audio, with DEATH AL DENTE and CRIME RIB already out, and BUTTER OFF DEAD and TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST in the works.

I hope your summer brings you good food, good friends, good books, and much joy.

 

The Ghost and the Candelabra

By Leslie Budewitz

Assault and Pepperin my new mystery series, the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries — debuting in March 2015 from Berkley Prime Crime, with ASSAULT & PEPPER — questions of ghosts flit around the plot and characters like a mist off Puget Sound. In writing ASSAULT & PEPPER and its sequel, tentatively titled GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I’ve been recalling real life ghost stories I’ve heard over the years.

My favorite is this: My friend Cath suffered from several health conditions that at times put her on crutches or in a wheel chair. During a time when she had good mobility, she bought an older home on Seattle’s Capitol Hill and set about remodeling it. Flanking the fireplace in the living room were sconces with detachable electric “candles.” Cath noticed that one or both were regularly turned upside down. During an extended health challenge, she was on crutches. Several times, she dragged herself over to the fireplace and righted the sconces, only to find them turned upside down again. After a few weeks of this, she finally decided she had a ghost, and it was time for a talk. “Look,” she said, “I’m on crutches.The lights don’t work when you mess with them, and fixing them is a real pain. A real pain. You don’t have to leave — just stop messing with the sconces.”

ghosts2She never did figure out who her ghost was — but the lights never went out again.

***

LESLIE BUDEWITZ is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries (Death al Dente, winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and Crime Rib, July 2014) and the forthcoming Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, starting with Assault & Pepper in March 2015, both published by Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Random House. Visit her online at http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook as Leslie Budewitz Author, or on Twitter, @LeslieBudewitz.

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!

CrimeRib_CV.inddSo 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 second in the series, Crime Rib, came out earlier this month from Berkley Prime Crime, part of Penguin Books. (Read an excerpt and find bookseller links on my website.)

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 )

Summer’s coming — and so is Crime Rib

CrimeRib_CV.indd LESLIE here. Delighted to share the cover and copy of CRIME RIB, my second Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, to be published by Berkley Prime Crime on July 1, 2014. (And already available for pre-order!

From the cover:

“Gourmet food market owner Erin Murphy is determined to get Jewel Bay, Montana’s scrumptious local fare some national attention. But her scheme for culinary celebrity goes up in flames when the town’s big break is interrupted by murder…

Food Preneurs, one of the hottest cooking shows on TV, has decided to feature Jewel Bay in an upcoming episode, and everyone in town is preparing for their close-ups, including the crew at the Glacier Mercantile, aka the Merc. Not only is Erin busy remodeling her courtyard into a relaxing dining area, she’s organizing a steak-cooking competition between three of Jewel Bay’s hottest chefs to be featured on the program.

But Erin’s plans get scorched when one of the contending cooks is found dead. With all the drama going on behind the scenes, it’s hard to figure out who didn’t have a motive to off the saucy contestant. Now, to keep the town’s rep from crashing and burning on national television, Erin will have to grill some suspects to smoke out the killer…”

I hope you find it a tasty treat!

Leslie Budewitz