Please wish a Happy Release Day to Hunter Frost with
Cemeteries By Moonlight
A big thank you to My Fiction Nook for hosting me today! I’m absolutely thrilled to talk about my new release – Cemeteries by Moonlight – dropping today, on January 18th. This book is part of the States of Love series from Dreamspinner Press. I was lucky enough to claim Louisiana as my state, crafting my story around a cast of eccentric characters and the romance between a crime fiction writer and a cemetery tour guide. I’ve dubbed it a noir-tastic mystery with hints of paranormal hijinks, and I hope you enjoy it!
With Cemeteries by Moonlight taking place in New Orleans, it was inevitable that I’d throw in some of the fabulous cuisine Louisiana has to offer. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans roughly six times so far, and I’ve never had a bad meal while there. The cultural diversity lends itself to food that is somehow exotic and exciting, at yet at the same time comforting and warm. I made sure my book included some of the foods I fell in love with, from bread pudding to po’ boys and I thought it would be fun to include a few of the recipes of foods I mention in the book. I’ll try not to salivate as I’m writing this!
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce from Commander’s Palace
For the Bread Pudding:
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Freshly grated Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Cups French Bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (be sure it’s a light bread, meaning not too dense)
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
For Whiskey Sauce:
1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Water
a few drop of Vanilla extract
1/3 Cup Bourbon
1/3 Cup Sugar
Mix together the water and cornstarch. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. While boiling slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry, when the sauce is thickened remove from the heat and add the vanilla, bourbon and sugar. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Butter a square cake pan with the butter. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. In a large Mixing bowl whisk the eggs, add the sugar mixture, then whisk in the cream and vanilla extract. Fold in the bread cubes being sure to not break them up too much. The trick to this recipe is to make sure all of the bread soaks up the custard, and that you don’t overcook it. Place the prepared mixture into the cake pan, cover with foil and place the cake pan into a larger pan, sufficient enough to allow for a water bath which will cover the smaller pan by half way.
Place the pans into the oven and bake for 2 hours. Remove the foil and raise the temperature to 300 degrees for 1 hour more or until the top of the pudding is golden brown. The finished pudding should be slightly firm, while moist, but not runny.
Serve warm with whiskey sauce. Makes 4 servings.
Authentic New Orleans Gumbo from gumbocooking.com
1 pound medium shrimp peeled
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut bite size
1 pound andouille or lean smoked sausage sliced bite size
1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn or canola is best)
3/4 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh red pepper (less if you don't like any heat)
6 cups chicken stock
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups sliced okra (if frozen thaw before use)
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Tabasco
In a large heavy pot coated with 1 tablespoon oil, saute' chicken and sausage on medium high heat until brown on all sides. Some of the meat will stick to the bottom of the pot then release. The crust that forms is called "gratin". This is one of the secrets of Cajun cooking that adds a rich flavor and is an important step in making an authentic New Orleans gumbo recipe. Remove and set aside.
Cut up onions, celery, and green pepper and set aside covered.
Place oil and flour in pot, stir well and brown to make a roux. When flour is browned to the color of milk chocolate or an old copper penny, add chopped vegetables and saute on low heat for 8-10 minutes. Gradually add chicken stock stirring constantly until blended. Add chicken and sausage and all other ingredients except the shrimp, okra and parsley which will be saved for the end.
Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook 30 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add shrimp, okra and parsley and continue to cook on low heat uncovered for 15 minutes.
Serve in a bowl with rice. A serving of 1/3 cup rice to 1 1/4 cup gumbo is the way it's done in New Orleans. Recipe will serve 8.
Cajun Red Beans & Rice from Grandbaby-cakes.com
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped chopped bell peppers
3 chicken andouille sausage links, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons creole seasoning
1 pound bag of dried red beans (already soaked overnight and drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice to serve with beans
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, celery and bell peppers and cook until they begin to caramelize and tenderize. Next add in sausage and brown. Add in minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes making sure not to burn. Turn heat up to medium high and add chicken stock, water, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and creole seasoning then stir in red beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring liquid to a boil then turn heat down to low, cover with lid and cook for 2 - 2½ hours until beans are tender and liquid as thickened. Check flavor of beans and season with salt and pepper to taste, stir and turn off heat. Let cool for 15 minutes and allow beans to continue thickening. Serve with rice.
And how about a local cocktail?
Sazerac from gastronomista.com
2 oz Rye Whiskey
3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 demerara sugar cube
Muddle the sugar and bitters, then add whiskey and ice.
Stir and Strain into a chilled, Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe-rinsed rocks glass.
Twist a lemon peel over the surface and discard.
(credited to William Boothby, World Drinks and How to Mix them 1908)
Do you have a favorite food or cocktail from New Orleans, or anywhere in Louisiana? I’d love to hear about it.
About the book:
When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.
A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
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Meet the author:
Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.
Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.
Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.