Friday, April 1, 2016

Cozy Food Friday 

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring a recipe from
Book 3 in the Pickled & Preserved Mysteries
Mary Ellen Hughes

The national bestselling author of License to Dill returns with a dilly of a pickle.
Piper Lamb has to take a break from jarring her delicious pickles and preserves to blow the lid off a poisoner....
Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit.
Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…

To find out more about Mary Ellen and her books, visit her web site at

On to the recipe!

Strawberries will be coming in soon, and what better way to use those extra quarts than to turn them into jam? Piper Lamb is an expert on canning. But if you’ve never done it, here’s an easy recipe for strawberry jam that can be made in 35 minutes, requires no pectin or processing, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or the freezer for up to a year!


•2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
•4 cups sugar, more or less to taste
•1/4 cup fresh lemon juice


1. In a large bowl, crush strawberries in batches, transferring each batch to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the sugar and lemon.

2. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring strawberry mixture to a full rolling boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue to boil until mixture reaches 220 degrees (105 degrees C), stirring frequently.

3. Transfer jam to plastic containers or canning jars. Wait until cool. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or frozen for up to one year.

Yield: About 6 cups strawberry jam

All photos are courtesy of Mary Ellen Hughes

This is a soft-set jam that will drip from a spoon, so don't think you've done something wrong if it isn’t stiff. You can adjust the sweetness or the tartness of this jam by increasing or decreasing the amount of sugar or lemon juice you use.
You’ll love it, as I do, on bread, toast, bagels, English muffins, scones -- but also on ice cream, sponge and pound cakes, pancakes, waffles and French toast!

Find more delicious recipes included in 



SCENE OF THE BRINE is the best thing since sliced bread and butter pickles!

Author Mary Ellen Hughes is such an amazing writer, and SCENE OF THE BRINE is proof to back up that statement. She knows exactly what cozy fans are looking for, and she delivers it time and time again. I wouldn’t have thought possible, but this installment is even better than the first two!

Stellar writing combined with a killer plot made this book impossible for me to put down. Once I started reading I was propelled into the storyline right alongside Piper Lamb, and the other fantastic characters that make up the wonderful town of Cloverdale, NY. It was an amazing ride straight through the exciting reveal!

When I read the first book in the Pickled and Preserved mysteries, THE PICKLED PIPER, I declared it one of my three most favorite mysteries of that year. Here I am a few years later, having just finished book three, and I have to say this series is still on my top favorites list!

Thank you, Ms. Hughes. SCENE OF THE BRINE left me pickled pink. ;-)

Make sure to check out the back of the book for some tasting canning recipes!

Please keep reading and check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56


My Book Beginnings and Friday 56
 for this week are also from 

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

My Book Beginnings

Piper jumped at the noise. The she smiled and shrugged. A little, well, a lot of noise in her pickling shop was more than fine with her. In fact, it was downright delightful. It meant she was on her way to getting a new front door to replace her old and cracked one. And not just any door. What Piper was having installed was a custom-made, absolutely beautiful, hand-carved door. 

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Friday 56

"I just learned what happened last night and thought you'd want to know," he said, stepping inside as Piper opened the door. 
"What is it?" Piper asked. Gil's look was grim, and she braced herself. 

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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  1. Ooh, a new cozy series for me! I'm addicted to them. LOL I love jams and hellies but never attempted to make my own.

    My Friday 56

    1. I'm addicted to them too, Laura. Thanks for stopping by. Heading over to check out yours now!

  2. This sounds like an intriguing cozy series. I read a fair number with recipes but have never tried a recipe from those books. Someday...

    I am featuring Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle this week. Happy reading!

  3. Hope you'll enjoy both, Laura - the jam and the book!

  4. A cozy mystery with pickles? Gotta read it. LOL! Thanks for the heads-up!

  5. Thanks, Lisa...yum! Hope you've had a good Friday.

  6. Thank you, Lisa :) Another great title to add to my to-read list. Enjoy your weekend!

  7. The jam recipe sounds good and easy! I like the beginning - I keep waiting for my washing machine to die so that I can get a new's my Friday meme

  8. "He's a tough nut," my mother said, watching him go. "I hope he'll make you happy." Killer Takeout by Lucy Burdette.

  9. Delicious looking book...and treats! Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

  10. This is definitely on my list to read. I loved the first one.

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog. fab pick this week!! I haven't heard of this title before.

    Shubba @ Wee Shubba's World.

  12. Just having this series in your favorites pushes me to want to read it! Happy weekend!

  13. sounds like a fun series, plus these covers are just awesome!

  14. I've never tried making my own jam before - that could be interesting! :)