UPDATE: Sorry, but the contest is over but the recipe blow and book review are still terrific... Read on
Couldn't mess with the name of the recipe (reason will become evident in a moment), but if I could, I would be serving you up Mole and Waffles this morning. Sounds (and looks) like a nasty roadkill dish. But in reality, it's a little Mexican dish I have been wanting to try for a long time. Fun to pronounce (think Spanish bullfighters shouting Ole' and just add an M at the beginning). But, sadly difficult to make look good, as it in fact looks like a nasty rodent (mole) dish.
But, I will get to the dish in a second... First up, HUGE Congratulations to a food blogging buddy, Cleo Coyle, author of the Coffeehouse Mystery Series! I met Cleo as 1/6th of the Merry Murderesses at the Mystery Lovers Kitchen Blog. Hands down, MLK is and always will be on my top 5 list of blogs. I admit to having a fondness for reading murder mysteries. In fact, a bit more than 25 years ago, I owned a bookshop specializing in mysteries. With Borders and Barnes & Nobles popping up, I took the better part of valor and sold out just before the independent bookstore market crashed. Combining my fondness for mysteries, my enjoyment of cooking and my love for food bloggers, the MLK has everything I enjoy for hobbies! The Mystery Lovers Kitchen Blog features 6 published authors. Each author has written at least one book (all are series, so more are coming all the time) featuring a culinary theme... and a murder. A cheese shop, a Memphis BBQ shack, a Texas Ice Cream Parlor, an Apple Orchard, Domestic Divas, professional organizers and a weekly guest author makes for a fast paced, always interesting and fun to read blog. With a different author writing a new recipe each day of the week, something wonderful is always popping up!
The set up of the characters is just fun... The shop is owned by Madame, who inherited this century old family business from her husband. Madame has turned the business management over to her son Matt (international coffee buyer) and her EX-daughter-in-law, Clare. Yeap, you read that right, our heroine Clare, works for her former Mother-in-law and with her ex-husband. Add in a daughter, the shops best customer (and love of Clare's life), Detective Mike Quinn and a gaggle of college age barista (Cleo, what's the plural of that word???... Everyone else, a barista is a fancy name for the coffee house guy that prepares your espresso based coffee drinks (an art form); and you have the group you love to meet and to meet again! The series has proven very popular, starting in paperback form and then making the rare jump to hardcover. This current novel has debuted at NUMBER 7 on the best seller list!
And for very good reason. While I am sure many people will file this as a cozy, in fact, Cleo writes in a fast paced manor, plenty of action, plenty of suspense and drama and just enough whimsy to lighten the mood. Think early Lawrence Block has coffee with Donald Westlake and the best of both pops out.
Murder by Mocha (Coffee House Mystery) finds Madame making a "deal" for the Village Blend to be associated with a sexy new dot com company introducing a sexy new aphrodisiac coffee powder. The deal was made without Clare nor Matt's input and fears of the company being associated with something scandalous. The sexy dot com is run with "sisters" as editors of different divisions. When one of the sisters is found dead, and more are attacked, the formula that could ruin or make millions for the coffee shop becomes the motive (well, maybe). Add in a mostly naked woman to keep my attention, a trip to a specialty foods convention and a dot com business plan... I had a great time reading this book! I've been lucky enough to find 4 of the 10 books in the series (I know, they are all available, but I am a sucker for the hunt and used book stores). This is the best in the series for me.
I especially liked a twist in the writing... Cleo uses the voice of the murderer to introduce selected chapters. Along the way, bits and pieces of clues, motives and plans are introduced in these monologues. Made for a very interesting technique that added a lot of tension to the hunting of the murderer.
Mystery Lovers Kitchen Blog, Cleo really goes the extra mile with her recipes. VERY detailed instructions make up for the lack of photographs of the dishes. BUT, if you hunt down her website, Coffehousemystery.com (click HERE), you will find many as printable pages complete with photos (like the image to the right).
Coffee lovers... Chocolate lovers... Book lovers...
We all just love visiting Cleo's creation, The Village Blend in the form of... Murder by Mocha (Coffee House Mystery)!
And now the giveaway... I have a bit of a "Gift of the Magi" thing going on. Cleo was kind enough to offer me a copy of the book as a thank you for being active on the Mystery Lovers Kitchen Blog. She even added my name on the acknowledgment page! I received my autographed book and I will treasure it always! But, my lovely and gracious wife (who also reads, and reads the series) ordered a copy of the book for me without knowing I was getting a freebie. So, I have an embarrassment of riches... 2 copies in my hand of Murder by Mocha (Coffee House Mystery).
So, my brand new blog, less than a month old is going to offer a giveaway!!!
No tricks, no Tweeting, no Facebook (although I sure would appreciate it if you did), only one rule...
Make a comment on this blog, commit to reading the first 26 pages and mention that in your comment and i will do the random number thing and someone will have a freebie! Why the first 26 pages you may ask... It's the first 3 chapters, you meet most of the main characters and the first dead body is found (told you it moves fast). If you are not hooked by then, well, just add it to your shelf and be done (I am guessing you will be hooked).
That's it, just say you will give the book a fair shot and it could be yours. Let's end the contest on Thursday at midnight... 3 days from now, August 25th.
Remember, I am only going to count you as entered if you say in your comment that you will read the first 26 pages. I want the book to go to someone that reads!
Oh, hey... I almost forgot... Chicken and waffles...
Mole and Waffles...
OK, this is one of the 18 recipes in the book. It does indeed feature chocolate as an ingredient (as all the recipes in this book does). It is also the very first time I made a Mole' sauce. I was a little intimidated by the ingredient list. But, no need. This was very easy. Took a LOT of chopping. But once you get in that zen state, chopping is fun.
Now, in fairness to Cleo, she provides the recipe for the Mole' and a suggestion that I serve this with plenty of tortillas. It was my idea to use the waffles. And, if you will excuse the pat on my back... IT WAS GENIUS! I used the waffle recipe I posted yesterday, Bacon Filled Waffles ala Tigers & Strawberries! I did toast them just a bit in a hot oven. the outsides were toasty and crunchy. The insides were soft and creamy. They held up great to the wet mole' and then when you wanted them to, they soaked up the liquid gravy from the mole'. Think the old shoot on a shingle, milk gravy served over toast. Savory gravy dishes have been served over toasted bread for generations. the Waffles are just an extension of this.
I made one other change to the recipe Cleo puts in the book. The recipe calls for some pretty strong flavors. Onions specifically. Her recipe calls for only 1 ounce of chocolate... Please, I had an 8 ounce bar and I ended up adding nearly all (6 oz, probably would have added more, but I nibbled). I taste tested along the way, and only at that amount did the hint of chocolate come through like I was wanting. Now, I am sure that an authentic Mole'... Mole' purists think that this is too much. But, cooks prerogative. I made as directed and decided I wanted a little sweeter version.
OK... here's what I did...
2 1/2 cups Guinness Stout
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 TBS Canola Oil
1/2 pound Bacon (chopped)
2 large Red Onions, chopped
2 large Yellow Onions, chopped
1 Spanish Onion, chopped
6 cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
2 Bell peppers, Chopped
1 HOT pepper (Cleo advises Jalapeno, I used a hotter Sport Pepper)
2 TBS Chili Powder
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Coriander
1/2 tsp ground Almonds
1 ounce (I used 6 ounces) semisweet Chocolate, chopped
2 tsp Sesame Seeds as a garnish (optional)
Step 1 - Poach the Chicken.
Place the chicken bone side down in a dutch oven, single layer if possible. Add 1 1/2 cup of Guinness, Salt and Pepper and the oil to the pot. Fill the rest with water to completely cover the chicken by 1 full inch.Half cover the pot and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Cover, turn off the heat and allow to continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid, allow to cool and discard the water. When cool, remove the skin, debone and shred the chicken.
Step 2 - Cook the Bacon and Prep the Veggies.
Take a separate LARGE heavy skillet, slowly cook the fat out of the bacon. Plan on 15 minutes, cook slow, fat should be rendered, but bacon NOT crispy. Chop the veggies.
Step 3 - Cook the Veggies.
When the bacon is rendered, DO NOT discard the fat, instead, add the vegetables and cook them along with the bacon in the fat... YUM! Add the peppers and garlic and cook until th onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.
Step 4 - Create a Spice Mix.
Pour the remaining Guinness into a mixing bowl. Add the spices and almonds and mix well.
Pour this into the veggies and stir well to blend. Take a hand blender and begin making a smooth sauce. I blended to a thick bisque type stage about 3/4 of the sauce. i left the other 1/4 chunky. made a nice mix of textures.
Step 5 - Add the chicken and finish.
Just what it says, add the chicken and cook down for about 30 more minutes. As this finishes, the sauce will get more and more liquid (a good thing, soaks into the waffles). Serve warm over said waffles (or over tortillas if you want to be authentic).
Oh, and BTW... When I plated this for a party, I had no chicken left, but I had about a cup of Mole' left over.
SO, I am adding this recipe to my list of 52 uses for a Rotisserie Chicken (of which this is third, more to come).
And my verdict (and everyone at the party)... WONDERFUL! Sweet, spicy, layers and layers of flavors (and loved the waffles, crispy enough to hold up to the gravy and soft and chewy to soak up the bits left over. EVERY plate was sopped clean with the aid of the waffles!
Most of the recipes in the book are for dessert and sweets. this was one of the few savory dishes and I am in love! Certainly will be making again, was not difficult at all, but makes a wonderful dish! now i know what all the fuss was about. Thanks Cleo!
You get the idea. From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking). More than enough ideas for that store nought bird to shine with just a little extra work
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