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Killer Pancake [Audio Cassette]

Diane Mott Davidson , Barbara Rosenblat
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

For Colorado's Goldy B. Schulz (last seen in The Last Suppers), the catering proves far less rewarding than the sleuthing when she's called on to prepare a banquet for the Mignon cosmetics company. Forced to forsake mayonnaise and butter in this low-fat luncheon, Goldy is in "caterers' hell." But that's a better place than where Mignon super-saleswoman Claire Satterfield ends up?which is dead. According to Julian Teller, Goldy's catering assistant, Claire had recently suspected she was being followed. Adding to the mystery is a local reporter who has taken to using Mignon's ultra-expensive potions while trying, none too subtly, to extract information Goldy might have gathered from her husband, homicide detective Tom Schulz. When Goldy's initial inquiries earn her an anonymous warning to clear off, she becomes more determined. As always, Davidson includes recipes as she brings events to a proper boil in this latest lively and satisfying outing for Goldy, who not only solves the mystery but also finds, much to her delight, that coffee can save your life. Mystery Guild selection; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Caterer Goldy Schulz returns with another food-related adventure and more delectable recipes. Careful planning for a cosmetics firm's lowfat luncheon fails to prepare Goldy for the sudden death of a gorgeous sales associate who was caught in the midst of an animal-rights demonstration. A good read.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"A cross between Mary Higgins Clark and Betty Crocker."
--The Baltimore Sun

Featuring original recipes for such luscious (and lowfat) dishes as Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus, decadent Fudge Souffle, and irresistible What-to-Do-with-All-the-Egg-Yolks Bread! --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"A cross between Mary Higgins Clark and Betty Crocker."
--The Baltimore Sun

Featuring original recipes for such luscious (and lowfat) dishes as Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus, decadent Fudge Souffle, and irresistible What-to-Do-with-All-the-Egg-Yolks Bread! --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Diane Mott Davidson lives in Evergreen, Colorado, with her husband and three sons and is at work on her next novel. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I was in caterers' hell.
a
I groaned and surveyed the spread of crudits on my kitchen counter. If looks could kill, I asked myself, would this tray of cauliflower do the trick? Actually, the crisp cauliflowerets, delicate buds of broccoli, slender asparagus spears, and bias-cut squash, celery, and carrots looked appealing enough. So did rows of crunchy brussels sprouts, bright-red cherry tomatoes, and small, musky-tasting mushrooms. But there wasn't a drop of rich, homemade mayonnaise, not a puff of whipped cream, not a slice of tangy cheese in sight. And forget dimpled pats of sweet, unsalted butter or luscious dollops of sour cream. Behind the vegetables stood imposing jars of low-calorie dips with horrid colors like pink (raspberry) and orange (carrot). I dipped a spoon into the raspberry, tasted it, and shuddered. Made according to the client's recipe, it was too thin and had the metallic taste of saccharine. A similar foray into the carrot spread revealed a chunky concoction that kindergartners might make for a project on vitamin A.

In other words: hell.

I steeled myself as I washed the last flecks of broccoli off my fingers. Sometimes the proprietor of a catering business has to give herself a pep talk. As the owner of Goldilocks' Catering, Where Everything Is Just Right! I was no exception. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I observed as I wiped my hands on my apron. I'd seen enough clients drool over six-layer fudge cake to know that folks eat with their eyes before the food ever reaches their tongues. But eating with the eyes was a concept I associated with chocolatey, creamy, and calories. Or perhaps flaky, fudgy, and fattening. Disheartened, I stepped away from the sink and cast another look at the entire first course to be served at that afternoon's banquet.

"It looks great," I reassured myself aloud, ". . . if you're a rabbit."

So much for the pep talk. Why on earth had I agreed to cater the July banquet introducing the fall line of Mignon Cosmetics? My irritation blossomed to frustration, a frequent occurrence when the rationale for taking a job melted away. The weather--cool in the beginning of June when I'd agreed to cater the banquet--was now, at the beginning of July, unbearably hot. In the flat stretch of land that abutted the foothills west of Denver, the thermometer had topped 105 for the past three days. Although the mercury in our mountain town of Aspen Meadow, forty miles west of Denver, had fluctuated only in the upper nineties, that was still unseasonably warm. Definitely too hot, I had discovered, to be mucking around in the kitchen taste-testing food made with buttermilk and nonfat sour cream.

Not only that, but I had my doubts about the Mignon Cosmetics people, the same people who had provided the dip recipes. I mean, did they really think the cowboy-worshipping folk of Furman County, Colorado, longed for a lipstick named Fudge Royale? A blush named Lust? Could people truly be enticed to spend a hundred dollars an ounce for anti-aging cream fortified with kelp and placenta? Whose placenta, I wanted to ask rod-thin, pale-haired Harriet Wells, the senior sales associate who'd hired me to do the banquet. I agreed with Harriet that the more sophisticated, well-heeled customers would enjoy making their purchases in the magnificently refurbished department store of a remodeled mall, where the effects of aging, at least on a building, had been painstakingly eradicated. But structures, I pointed out to Harriet, could be restored. People are another matter.

On the other hand, maybe I was wrong. Women, Harriet Wells told me, crave the idea of fudge on their lips. And, she went on, the word lust makes them at least think of blushing. What was worse, my thirteen-year-old son Arch had recently watched a television special on advertising. To my dismay, he had dutifully reported back an ad maven's statement: Make a woman insecure enough, and you can sell her anything.

Well. I must have made Harriet Wells and the Mignon Cosmetics Company feel pretty insecure, because I was catering their banquet at an enormous premium over my cost. The high compensation I would receive had been a compromise over their strict lowfat requirement, and the fact that, over my objections, they'd supplied half the recipes for what they wanted, including the two horrid dips. For their requests for an unusual appetizer, an array of breads, and a chocolate dessert, I'd developed new recipes. At that, however, I'd put my foot down: No mashed lentils, no margarine, no egg substitute. To my delight, the appetizer and the muffin recipes I'd come up with were quite delicious, especially if no one mentioned they were lowfat. But the dessert effort had demanded a serious undermining of my cooking standards. I'd gone through seven dozen egg whites trying to develop a recipe for chocolate torte with no butter.

Perhaps hell was not strong enough.

"Goldy, it does look great," said Julian Teller, my assistant. Wallowing in fat-free self-pity, I had been oblivious of his entrance. Julian marched briskly toward the counter, dipped a spatula into the shocking-pink dip, leaned his broad shoulders and blond, sides-shaven head downward, and sniffed. The "mmm-mmm" noise he made deep in his throat was unconvincingly ecstatic. Compact and muscled from a stint on his school swimming team, nineteen-year-old Julian did not look like someone with his heart set on becoming a vegetarian caterer. Yet he was. Luckily for Goldilocks' Catering, he wasn't one of those fanatics who give you a dirty look if you don't put grated carrots and soy flour in everything. Julian loved cheese, butter, and eggs as much as any traditional chef.

I let out an agonized sigh.

"It's going to be fabulous," Julian reassured me with mischievous eyes and an enthusiastic lift of the dark eyebrows that he had not bleached to match the hair on his scalp. He'd recently had his bright hair trimmed in a bowl shape to replace his old mohawk-style haircut. Now, instead of resembling a Native American albino, he looked like an ad for Dutch Boy paints. Ready to fulfill his function as server today, Julian wore a neat white collarless shirt and baggy black pants. The shirt had been a gift from me. The bagginess of the pants might have been thought stylish by those who did not know Julian had haggled for them, as usual, at Aspen Meadow's secondhand store.

"Goldy," he declared, "the Mignon salespeople are going to love you." He grinned. "And better yet, they're going to love me. Correction: One of them is going to love me."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's saute the turkey."



HOISIN TURKEY WITH ROASTED PINE NUTS IN LETTUCE CUPS
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 pound ground turkey
I teaspoon cornstarch
7 ounces hoisin sauce
21/2 cups cooked wild rice
8 iceberg lettuce leaves

Preheat the oven to 400deg.. On a rimmed cookie sheet, toast the pine nuts for S to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute the ground turkey over medium-high heat, stirring, until it changes color and is cooked through. Drain well and return to the pan. Stir in the cornstarch and hoisin sauce. Heat and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Add the pine nuts and the rice and stir until heated through.

Spoon 1/3 cup of the hot turkey mixture onto each lettuce leaf.

Serves as an appetizer



As mounds of ground turkey began to sizzle in wide frying pans, the scent of Thanksgiving filled my summery kitchen. I opened the first jar of hoisin sauce and took a greedy whiff. Like most people, I'd first encountered the dark, pungent stuff in a Chinese restaurant and fallen in love with it. Hoisin served a double purpose in the recipe I'd developed for the banquet appetizer: Its spicy taste and velvety texture would add richness without fat. I handed the jar to Julian, who energetically ladled it along with the contents of the other sauce jars and a mountain of cooked wild rice into a mixing bowl. I opened the oven and shook the large pan of roasting, golden pine nuts that was inside. At least this was food, I thought grimly.

"Hey, boss?" Julian's blue eyes sparkled. "If lowfat is what these folks want"--he gestured at the dips--"then give it to them! Claire says the diet stuff will be a huge hit. And it looks fabulous. Be happy. You're going to make money! Go buy a vat of bittersweet chocolate! Buy ten pounds of macadamia nuts! Buy six kilos of--"

"Lie, lie, lie," I replied. "You said these saleswomen subsist on a steady diet of caffeine, nicotine, and chocolate." Which didn't sound too bad, actually, if you took out the nicotine.

Julian shrugged dramatically and drained the turkey, then deftly stirred it into the hoisin and wild rice. Although he had been living with Arch and me for just over a year, I never tired of watching Julian cook. He was attentive without being fussy, and his ardor in food preparation was unmatched.

"Okay, okay," he admitted as he stirred. Now the sharp smell of hoisin mingled appetizingly with the scent of sauteed turkey and buttery roasted pine nuts. "So say, today, the saleswomen slug down coffee with their chocolate torte, then step outside for a smoke. You still get paid, don't you? Aren't you always saying to me, what's the bottom line here?"

"Chocolate torte? Chocolate torte?" I cried, gesturing in the direction of the desserts. "Who are you kidding? Ninety-nine percent fat-free chocolate-flavored air is more like it. I mean, what's the point? I'm going to pack up the grilled vegetables. Want to start on the muffins?"



GRAND MARNIER CRANBERRY MUFFINS

1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
2 cups chopped cranberries
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 egg whites... --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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