Monday, August 22, 2011

GIVEAWAY and Chicken Mole with Guinness Stout ala Cleo Coyle and Murder by Mocha

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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!

Today we are going to return to The Village Blend, an independent neighborhood coffee shop, in the heart of Greenwich Village.  This is the tenth book in the series.  However Cleo writes the first few chapters in such a way that you can hit the series cold and not lose a beat.  Personally, the 9th book in the series was the first I read.  I am in the midst of hunting down the earlier volumes, reading them out of order.  No need to pick up the first 9 before diving in (although, like great coffee, the series is very addictive).

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.

And for foodies... The main ingredient in Cleo's recipes is CHOCOLATE!  LOTS AND LOTS of chocolate recipes!  In the back of the book are 18 recipes.  Now, as much as I love the other murdering honeys from the 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, (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...

or, as Cleo boringly calls it... Chicken Mole' with Guiness Stout

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...

Chicken mole' with Guinness Stout ala Murder by Mocha (Coffee House Mystery)

4 Chicken Breasts, skin on and bone in, cooked and shredded (about 3 cups)
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!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)...I am so confused... $5.49 for a fully cooked, fully seasoned Oven Roasted, Rotisserie Chicken. Yet shop in the raw meat department and most raw chickens are at best $8 each and usually far closer to $10. Anyone have an answer??? Me either. So, I can either rail against the machine, or learn to embrace the beauty that is the $5 chicken! In this pin are recipes I have made, and recommend. MORE than 52 (I just can't stop)..
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


Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest


  1. I LOVE food-related murder mysteries! Have you read any of the books by Joanne Fluke? Start with Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and work your way to Deviled Food Cake Murder. So well written, and so many good recipes!

    Oh, and yes, I'll read the first 26 pages of the book ;)

  2. You've found food to nourish body and soul for us. I love a good mystery. I've found suspense improves the appetite :-). Your word verification is very slow to appear. I suspect you are receiving comments that are lost because folks back out before it comes up. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. Oh my gosh Mary thank you for pointing that out. Personally, I HATE word verification. Didn't know I even had it on... It is now removed. Anything else slow (besides me), please let me know


  4. I will read the first 26 pages, I love to read, sounds like a great book! Any book having to do with food is right up my alley :)

  5. WOW! This sounds so interesting and I definitely love to read the first 26 pages of the book.

  6. Thank you for the chance to win a cozy book. Of course I will read the first 26 pages of this book. I am a cozy fan and if they are food related that is even better. I will also post a link to your blog on my blog under the giveaways tab. Thanks again.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  7. I would love a chance to win a copy of this book. I will definitely read the first 26th pages and the entire book. I have read the first nine (in order)- I've been reading these since the first in the series and totally adore her books!

  8. My husband and I both LOVE Clare and Cleo! Food related mysteries are my favorite to read. I enjoy Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke, Joanna Carl, J.B. Stanley and G.A. McKevett.

    I will read the first 26 pages of the book!

    your1chef at aol dot com

  9. i will definitely read 26 pages. I have already read the Amazon preview pages which left me in chapter two. Very enticing! Now I have to read the rest of the book. I have been a huge fan since the beginning of the series, although I missed a couple. Now I am eager to catch up. Thank you for holding the contest!

  10. I always wanted to try some meat with Mole and this might be the oportunity.This will be a mystery till I solve it;))

  11. Ooh how exciting! I'll definitely be reading the first 26 pages..and more!

    The mole looks absolutely divine and is calling out to me...

  12. I pledge to read the first 26 pages, the last 26 pages and all the pages inbetween.

  13. I would like to read this book, I'm currently on her third book, trying to read them in order. enjoyed your website. thanks, Jean

  14. I love to read and would be hooked by 26 pages I am sure. Great giveaway. Going right now to check out her blog.

    Everyday Mom's Meals

  15. I love all of Cleo's books. The coffee shop mysteries are among my favorite. I love coffee and the recipes. I have read the first 26 pages of all the books, and look forward to reading the first 26 of this one!

  16. I will read the first 26 pages! And then the rest of it! I love reading. Thanks for your recipe!

  17. I love the coffeehouse mystery series! I definitely commit to reading the first 26 pages and MORE! Thanks for the opportunity to win this awesome book by a gear author.

  18. I'm happy to follow another food blogger :), you've got a great site here! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  19. Cleo's books are wonderful reading for foodies and mystery lovers, both! Great review, Dave! Can't wait to try this recipe...because everything is better with Guinness!

  20. I love cozies and I love coffee. My doctor has taken me off coffee temporaily. So I would really love to drink coffee vicariously. Fingers crossed! Hope to win this cozy.


  21. Heck, i promise to read the first 52 pages. I love food mysteries. I sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and a cozy every morning (until the snow flies - then I use the living room).
    Good luck on the launch!

  22. I'm a day late and a dollar short, but wanted to say what a great post, Dave. I love Cleo's books and her recipes and it was fun to see your take on this one (I am also after the rotisserie chicken tips!). Thanks for indulging our taste for mysteries and tasty treats.

  23. This recipe looks like a winner, and your post was so interesting! I am an avid bookworm, and we have a house stuffed full of books, all genres! So,the first 26 pages will be child's play, but I promise to read them!

  24. I have wanted to dive into this series for awhile so there is no doubt that I will read the first three chapters and beyond!

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

  25. Great recipe! I am about to start growing Pasilla Bajio Peppers to use in a Mole sauce - and I was in need of a recipe to use them! This is the first I have seen using Guinness, so of course this Irish girl will have to try it. :) I would love to read Murder by Mocha. Reading was my first love and cooking was my second. I will read the whole book, I promise!

  26. I'm a big fan of Cleo's, and the rest of the gang at MLK, so I really enjoyed your review & recipe. Love your waffle idea, Dave!

    I do solemnly promise to read the first 26 pages. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck with the blog. I'm also looking forward to your 52 Uses for Rotisserie Chicken!

  27. Dave you always have great recipes and this one I am going to have to try. Loved your post.

  28. Dave, I will read 26 pages. I will read the whole book. I love Cleo's books. Thank you so much for posting such a great post, review, recipe. The pictures are amazing. We love when you visit MLK and we love each other, as writers and pals. Aren't we lucky!

    Best and say cheese!


  29. Great review and recipe, Dave! A chicken and waffle place just opened near here and we keep saying we are going to try I think I'll just make it!

    I read the entire book and loved it!!! Started from #1 and just kept going...they just keep getting better!!


  30. I promise to read the first 26 pages, but since I know I already love this series, I know I will read to the end. Recipe looks interesting, but my family llikes more plain Jane recipes. Thanks.

  31. Culinary mysteries are my favorite. I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew, and while I loved the mystery I particularly enjoyed reading about those chicken salad lunches and glasses of iced tea that she seemed to have more often than necessary. Yes, I'll read the first 26 pages, and then I'll read the rest. A food blogger myself, I like to bring mysteries into as many of my food posts as I can, so love to dig into a good culinary mystery. And if there's chocolate...I'm there!

  32. one of my favorite books is a food-related novel, Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray..delicious throughout, to the last pages, where recipes for cakes were included~ and i know i'll love this one you're giving away as much as i love Eat Cake~ oh, and i certainly WILL read the first 26 pages, no fear..i'm a bookworm, or didn't i mention that in my blog already? i even hoard cookbooks, that's how wormy i am, heh~ btw, mouth-watering mole! i've never tried mole before in my life, and i'm gonna try this out! =D

  33. Just to be fair, Dave, the Krista above isn't Krista Davis! Pass over me for the contest, please, since I already know that Cleo writes a great series!

    Thanks for being such a great pal to us at MLK. I love seeing your comments each day.

    ~ Krista

  34. I'd love to read the first 26 pages. Then, I'll read the rest of the book. And, I'll probably try the recipes, too!

    Congrats on your blog. :)

  35. Dave, I don't need to be entered in the contest, but wanted to thank you for the wonderful post! What fun!

  36. Nations! I just noted that you would happily ship it to international foodies. Me! Me! Pick me! :)
    As a voracious reader, I would probably read the book twice in one day, lol, let alone the frst 26 pages. Good luck choosing, seems like looooaaaads of people are interested.

  37. I promise to read the first 26 pages and then read the next 26, all the way to the end.

    Love to read, cook and eat.
    bgrempler at yahoo dot com

  38. I cross my heart; I will read the first 26 pages and the next 26, and the next 26......I absolutely LOVE the series & I would love to be able to read the latest book!
    Thanks a Latte,
    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

  39. And we have a winner!!!

    Number 16... Andra of the Brighter Side of Gluten Free Blog!!!

  40. all i can taste is onions in this recipe. I even only used one and a half bc i thought it sounded like too much. i don't know how anyway could eat this.

    1. Hmmm, I am wondering if you cooked the onions for the full 15 minutes in the bacon fat? They will render down and become sweet and soft. But of course in all recipes, feel free to adjust to taste.