Cooking the Books: Two Bites Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein
Sarah Blair is in a good place, literally and figuratively. Happily settled in a cozy carriage house with her Siamese cat, RahRah, she’s gotten into the groove of working as a law firm receptionist/secretary for Harlan Endicott and volunteering for the local animal shelter. She even has the time and funds to consider going back to college. But first, she’ll need to finish planning YipYeow Day, a fundraiser that she’s been put in charge of for the animal shelter.
With so much already on her plate, the last thing she needs is for her sassy mother, Maybelle, to drag her to a bank meeting that doesn’t even involve her. Maybelle is furious that a loan she guaranteed for the restaurant of Sarah’s twin, Emily, has been denied, and she wants Sarah by her side as she dresses down bank president Lance Knowlton. With Sarah having recently come into an inheritance herself, Maybelle believes that her presence will underscore the importance of their combined family money in the Birmingham satellite town of Wheaton, Alabama.
Lance promises to look at the loan paperwork again after a meeting of the town council, which he also heads. Dissatisfied with this answer, Maybelle sends Sarah off to the meeting while she lingers at the bank—a decision that will make her prime suspect when Lance is killed shortly after. Unhappy with the way Acting Police Chief Dwayne Gerard is focusing on her innocent mother, Sarah is determined to find the real killer herself, even though her investigations may put her in mortal danger.
This was a novel filled to the brim with activity, particularly from Sarah’s very busy life! Apart from work and volunteering and sleuthing, she also played a big part in Emily’s professional ventures, giving (often unheeded despite being solicited—how maddening!) advice and providing assistance whenever asked. Her relationship with her twin made for a fun read, as did the wealth of restaurant and catering detail. It was also interesting to track her burgeoning romantic relationships as she finally put her unpleasant divorce and all the unsavory events that accompanied it behind her. I think I’m #TeamHarlan so far, but who knows what the future has in store for Sarah and her beaus?!
Two Bites Too Many included one food and two drinks recipes, so of course, I tried out the side dish.
Sarah’s Sweet Potato Puffs
The Convenient Way
1 20-ounce bag sweet potato puffs
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon sale
Dash or two of cayenne depending on your love of spice
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Mix the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne together.
After spraying a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, empty the bag of frozen sweet potato puffs on it. Lightly spray the puffs with the nonstick cooking spray and then sprinkle them with the spice mixture. Toss the puffs until well-coated with the spices and bake 20-22 minutes. Voilà!
Makes 4 small servings.
This was a really easy and delicious dish to make! I eschewed the cayenne in the original batch but was concerned that the chili powder alone might prove too much for my lovely-though-spice-averse assistant Karin. Fortunately, our fears were unfounded: the ratio of chili powder to everything else added warmth without overstimulating the taste buds. The sugar and spice blend made for a really terrific complement to the sweet potato, and Debra H. Goldstein isn’t kidding when she says just a dash or two of cayenne, as a little goes a long way! This made for a very craveable snack that I’m already thinking of making for the next big get-together on my horizon.
Next week, we head north and get back into the Halloween spirit with a yummy dessert and a spooky murder. Do join me!