Cooking the Books: Boiled Over by Barbara Ross

With the loss of the Snowden Family Clambake Company no longer imminent, our heroine Julia Snowden can focus on helping to make something else a success too: the inaugural Busman’s Harbor Founder's Weekend that she's still not sure how she got herself roped into. Spearheaded by the energetic head of the Tourism Board, Bunnie Getts, the weekend promises to be a huge boon for the many local businesses that rely on tourist dollars, Julia's included. Everything seems to be going swimmingly till a charred human foot falls out of the log pile the Snowden Family Clambake Company set up on the town's bustling main pier.

When suspicion falls on a young employee who bolts at the discovery, Julia becomes determined to prove his innocence, which puts her on a quest that will take her to the heart of blueberry country in northern Maine. She'll discover, though, that the seeds of this murder were sown in New York City decades earlier, where greed destroyed the lives of many and continues to cast a long shadow many states and years away.

New York City also poses another problem when Julia's new boyfriend tells her he loves her and Julia doesn't know what to say. She's always believed that she'd return to the city and her job as a venture capitalist at the end of the summer, and she knows from his own admission that her boyfriend will never leave Busman's Harbor. It's a dilemma that I thought Barbara Ross handled excellently, not going for a pat ending but really exploring issues of trust and desire.

I did think Julia was a bit too headstrong when dealing with the police in this installment. I mean, come on, Julia, obviously they're going to use you for information. That's their job! But, overall, it was a satisfying sequel to the excellent Clammed Up.

Like its predecessor, Boiled Over also features a largesse of recipes: ten, to be precise! I chose these two to try out:
 

Jacqueline’s Lobster Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

8 eggs

3 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 ounces cooked lobster meat, chopped

Smoked paprika

Snipped chives
 

Instructions

Place eggs in saucepan covered with water. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Rest in water for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Add ice and allow them to cool. Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop yolks into bowl. Add mayonnaise, horseradish, vinegar, and mustard and mash together. Gently fold in lobster meat. Spoon back into the egg white halves. Garnish with paprika and chives. Chill before serving. Serves 4-6.

Note: These are also excellent without the lobster meat.

I love deviled eggs but had never made them before, so this was quite the adventure! My lovely assistant Karin and I were concerned that we hadn't boiled the eggs for long enough, as the yolks came out a bright orange instead of yellow, but they were the perfect texture for mashing with the rest of the ingredients. The horseradish flavor is pretty intense straight out of the gate but mellows the longer the eggs are chilled. If you, like us, are impatient for deliciousness, cut back some on the horseradish to really let the lobster shine through.

Long-term readers will notice a change of venue for this recipe, as my washing machine had broken and I needed​ to decamp to Karin's that day. I did, however, prep the following at home and allowed it to marinate while getting everything together and driving over:
 

Richelle’s Tuna and White Bean Salad

Ingredients

2 6-ounce cans light tuna packed in olive oil

½ medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste
 

Instructions

Drain oil from tuna and put in bowl. Flake tuna with a fork. Add onion and garlic and stir with fork. Add beans and gently fold together. Dress with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Allow flavors to marinate at room temperature for thirty minutes to an hour. If refrigerated, best to allow to come to room temperature before serving.

This was an easy and delicious salad! I did use more garlic (as is my wont) and less onion, and I am wondering if there is a more tender white bean than cannellini that I might use next time. Suggestions welcome! The presentation is a little pale, so if you're into aesthetics as I am, a sprinkle of chopped parsley or chives would not go amiss. Otherwise, it's a delightfully simple salad for when you haven't much time or energy to cook, and it's perfectly portable, making it a great idea for picnics.

Next week: more Busman's Harbor shenanigans as I make a hot dish and a dessert! Do join me!

See also: Cooking the Books: Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

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Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.

Read all posts by Doreen Sheridan for Criminal Element.

Comments

  1. Barbara Ross

    Hi Doreen.

    I am loving this series of posts. I have a quick question about using a couple of the photos. Can you shoot me an email at barbara ross at maineclambakemysteries dot com?

  2. Karin Anderson

    The Lobster Deviled Eggs look fantastic! I will have to try them.

  3. Doreen Sheridan

    Do let me know how they turn out for you, Karin-who-is-not-my-lovely-assistant! 😀

    Barb, thanks, and I hope I’ve done your wonderful series justice!

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