September 20, 2011

The Reading Corner....Suspenseful Little Cozies!

Try to imagine with me......Twenty-five acres of blueberry fields in Downeast Maine. A vegetable garden, fifteen chickens, one Halloween-born sleuth and her retired professor dad, a slew of quirky townspeople, and a collection of mouthwatering blueberry recipes. Add it all up, and you have Town in a Blueberry Jam, the first book in a new cozy mystery series, which takes place in the coastal village of Cape Willington, Maine.

The Maine House is hosting Book Club tonight.
 We have selected a new series of little cozy mysteries which take place in a fictional village in the state of Maine! I simply love new finds!
 Mother would have loved these!

Welcome to the wonderful coast of Maine and to Cape Willington. Candy Holliday has left the rat race of the big city of Boston to come to Maine to work with her Dad on his Blueberry Farm. But even in the small town of Cape Willington, bad things happen. Bad things like murder and not just one murder but two murders back-to back.

An aging local hero takes a plunge off a cliff and the just crowned Blueberry Queen/Gossip Columnist is killed right in her own home.

When a local handyman, Candy's friend, and local town resident who treats his tools better than some people treat their children is accused of the murders, Candy can't help herself from getting involved and starts to investigate to clear her friend's name. The more clues she uncovers, the more secrets that come out, the more people she talks to, the stickier things become. Can Candy get this town out of it's "blueberry jam"?

"Writing this book was a family project for us. It was written under the pseudonym B. B. Haywood by Robert and Beth Feeman, while living just a mile or so from the rugged Maine coast. Our two children contributed to portions of the book, and as a family we talked about the story often during its early development."

"The series took shape over a number of months, and even years, as we explored the small towns in Maine and throughout New England, from the rocky coast in the east to placid Lake Champlain and green Vermont in the west. Many of the places we visited gave us inspiration and ideas. In creating the story, we combined the real with the fictitious, and came up with a cast of characters and a town we have grown to love."

Estelle's chose the most divine sweet treat to serve along with this book review!

8 ounces mascarpone cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier liqueur
Pinch salt
12 crepes, recipe follows

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
6 teaspoons melted unsalted butter

Whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and 4 1/2 teaspoons of the butter to form a smooth, thin batter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding. Heat a heavy 6-inch skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. When hot, brush with a light coating of the remaining butter. Ladle about 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the pan, tilting the skillet to evenly coat the pan with batter. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and the top begins to look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn the crepe and cook on the second side just until the bottom colors slightly, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a large glass baking dish.
In a medium bowl, beat together the mascarpone, cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks, zest, juice, Grand Marnier, and salt until smooth.

Place the crepes flat on a work surface. One at a time, spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling down the center, and top with a few fresh blueberries. Roll the sides of the crepe up and over the filling and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Bake until the filling is warmed through and slightly puffed, 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the crepes and return to the oven and hot, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove and arrange 3 crepes on each of 4 dessert plates. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

Estelle's Blueberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 3/4 cups fresh blueberries,  rinsed well
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a small saucepan combine the sugar, water, orange juice, cornstarch, Grand Marnier, and orange zest, and stir well. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst and the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and remaining 1/4 cup of blueberries and stir until the butter is melted and the berries are warmed through, 1 minute. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until ready to use.

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