, Muskogee, OK

March 12, 2013

Hart has way with murder

By Melony Carey
Food by the Book

— Oklahoma native Carolyn Hart has a way with murder. Her cozy mysteries include the Death on Demand series, the Henrie O Mysteries and a supernatural series set in Oklahoma featuring the character Bailey Ruth Raeburn. This former University of Oklahoma professor of journalism releases her 50th novel this May when “Dead, White, and Blue” hits bookstores.

“Death on Demand” was the initial novel in Hart’s series of the same name. The novel’s heroine is Annie Laurance Darling, who owns a mystery bookstore named Death on Demand in fictional Broward’s Rock, S.C. Annie goes about solving some of the most confounding crimes taking place around Broward’s Rock with the aid of her gorgeous husband, Max Darling, whose last name makes a fitting epithet. Particularly charming is the bookstore setting, which leads characters easily into discussions about popular mystery writers. In many of the novels Annie runs a contest at Death on Demand in which customers are challenged to guess the title of a book based on a painting hanging in the store. Very darling.

Hear more about Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand mysteries when I present Murder by the Book at St. Paul’s annual fundraiser from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. A book and bake sale will be held in the atrium. Visitors can purchase a ticket to the book review and recipe tasting held in the second floor fellowship hall. Several autographed copies of Hart’s books will be given as door prizes. Funds go to support local missions. Come out and cozy up to a little mystery for a good cause.

Southern Spiced Pecans

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup evaporated milk

2 cups pecan halves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cinnamon and milk in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook to the soft ball stage, about 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add pecans and vanilla. Stir well. Remove pecans with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet lined with wax paper and cool completely.


Huguenot Torte

A large contingency of Huguenots escaped persecution in France and settled in South Carolina. This traditional Charleston torte bakes up French-style to a crisp meringue with a gooey apple base.

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped (1 cup)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped cream

Beat eggs at high speed with an electric mixer five minutes or until doubled in volume and lemon colored. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until tripled in volume. Stir in flour and next five ingredients just until blended.

Spoon into a greased or aluminum foil-lined 13 x 9-inch pan. (A light-colored metal pan works best.)

Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until golden. (Torte will puff up and then fall.) Run a knife around edge of pan while still warm. Cut into 3-inch squares. Serve with whipped cream. Source: Southern Living 2005.

Red Velvet Pound Cake Redux

Matt and Ted Lee have a fresh take on Southern classics in their new culinary tribute to Charleston, “The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen” (Clarkson Potter, 2013). This recipe is a combination of their scrumptious Red Velvet Cake and Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Pound Cake.

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 cups granulated sugar

7 eggs

One 1 ounce bottle red food coloring

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

1/8 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons orange zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. Combine butter, shortening and sugar and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in food coloring and vanilla. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add to creamed mixture alternating between flour and milk, beating well. Stir in orange zest. Pour batter into pan and bake approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Make frosting.


2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 – 2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Combine cream cheese and butter, mixing until smooth. Stir in vanilla, combining well. Gradually add sugar, beating until creamy. If necessary add a little milk and mix well to reach desired consistency. Adapted from recipes in “The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen” and “Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics.”

If you go

WHAT: Book review and tasting.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2130 W. Okmulgee Ave.

COST: $7, which includes book review, recipe tasting, punch, book sales and bake sale. Tickets available at the door.

INFO: (918) 687-7571.