Monday, March 3, 2014

Inherit the Word by Daryl Wood Gerber: Guest Author/Review/Giveaway

By Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Agatha Award-winning author of the national bestselling
Cheese Shop Mystery and Cookbook Nook Mystery series

“Life is good; cheese makes it better.” ~ Avery Aames

Do you love grilled cheese sandwiches? I do. They bring back memories of simpler times. When I was a kid, I used to go to Lake Tahoe in the summer with my family, and my mother would make a really cheese-y grilled cheese. She would also fix tomato soup. Comfort food extraordinaire. We would take a midday break—if we didn’t, we’d be sunburned prunes; my sisters and I loved swimming in the ice cold lake. We would sit on the porch eating our grilled cheese and look out at the water and count seagulls. Fun. Easy.

While writing the next book in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, I did a lot of research for grilled cheese sandwiches. Why? Because the story revolves around a grilled cheese competition. I wanted to know my stuff. [Don’t I have it rough? LOL]  I’ve always been a good grilled cheese maker, but I wanted to be great. As a result, I’ve changed three aspects of my grilled cheese cooking techniques.

One: My cheese maven [a real person] wrote a blog post a couple of years ago that said, and I’m paraphrasing: “It’s called a cheese sandwich, not a bread sandwich, so make sure you use lots of cheese.” Ever since, I’ve doubled up on the cheese I put in a sandwich.

Two: Thanks to a suggestion in another article, in addition to buttering the outside of the bread, I now add a swath of cream cheese to the inside of the bread. As it turns out, cream cheese heats up fast and encourages the other cheese to melt. Brilliant tip.

Three: Lastly, I invested in a Panini grill. Have you ever handled one? They’re quite big and clumsy. They’re sort of like a waffle iron, but the back side is a little more flexible so that a cook can put in a grilled sandwich that is extra-wide, and it will still fit. Using a Panini grill has made all the difference in my grilled cheese results. Here’s why. I now have to eat gluten-free [I didn’t as a girl…long story…]. Gluten-free bread isn’t the easiest to grill. It’s, um, not very flexible unless you’ve just pulled it fresh out of the oven (which is great!). In fact, it’s stiff and hard. But if you put a gluten-free sandwich in a Panini grill, something about the weight of the two sides of the grill help the gluten-free bread get soft again. It also helps the cheese melt evenly throughout. Perfection.

By the way, while writing INHERIT THE WORD [The Word is a diner in town, short for Mum’s the Word Diner], I did a lot of taste-testing. I made one sandwich based on an appetizer my mother used to make for her bridge club. I’ve included the recipe in the book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

What’s your favorite grilled cheese combination? Have you ever participated in or watched a grilling competition? Tell us by noon EST on March 7, and you will be entered to win a copy of Inherit the Word. U.S. entries only.

Inherit the Word

Blurb: Jenna Hart moved back to Crystal Cove, California, to recapture her joie de vivre and to help her aunt Vera run the local culinary bookshop and café. But it’s hard to follow a simple recipe for relaxation when murder gets thrown in the mix….

The Cookbook Nook is set to host the town’s upcoming Grill Fest, a tasty tradition which pits local amateur chefs against one another to concoct the most delicious dishes. This year’s challenge: grilled cheese. But with competing chefs bearing grudges from past years, more mouths are running off than savoring the fare.

The expression “too many cooks” proves all too true when the eight-time champ is found murdered in the alley behind the café. Soon a local diner owner (and Jenna’s “second mother”) is suspected of bumping off the competition, and Jenna has to douse the flames before the wrong person gets burned.

Mochas, Mysteries and Meows Review: …Daryl Wood Gerber's second Cookbook Nook Mystery, Inherit the Word, is a feast for the senses as it takes place during Grill Fest with a focus on grilled cheese (just about my all-time favorite comfort food). The competition turns deadly when 8-time champion Natalie Mumford is found dead during a break, whacked upside the head with a discarded panini grill. Diner owner Lola, Jenna's second mother and mother of her BFF Bailey, is blamed as she had recently fought with the victim over a chef that left Lola to work for Natalie.

Jenna is also faced with a second mystery to solve when her kitten Tigger smashes a Lucky Cat statue which is filled with gold coins left behind by her late husband. What she uncovers about him and his mysterious death rocks her to the core, yet also assists in her hunt for a killer.

This is a fantastic story with a delightful cast of characters, a charming locale and a mystery that will keep you guessing. A preview of the next book in the series, Stirring the Plot (October 2014), is included at the end and is set at Halloween. I can't wait!!!


Basil and The B Team ~ BionicBasil ® said...

Thanks for sharing this novel, the P.A. really likes the sound of it!!

Have a fancatstic day

XOX Purrs Basil XOX

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm, grilled cheese! And tomato soup.....the purrfect combination! And that book sounds such fun! I've never even heard of a grilled cheese competition.

Karen B said...

I love a grilled cheese made with velveta and thin sliced refrigerator pickles. This has been a family favorite since the 70s.

Unknown said...

Homemade bread, thinly sliced red or sweet onion, thinly sliced Granny smith apple, sharp cheddar with a dash of good mustard. Bliss!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

All of these grilled cheese combos sound wonderful! Thanks to all for sharing! Savor the mystery!!

~ Daryl

Pat Plummer said...

I love putting in tomato--a couple of very thin slices and bacon. Full meal!! Dairy, meat, veggies and starch. With tomato soup, it is almost Nirvana!!

Barbara said...

Grilled cheese and tomato soup, yum. I always use two cheeses, one yellow and one white, and if I have it available add bacon slices. Decadent!

L.C.D. said...

I prefer a grilled cheese with a large thick slice of cheddar cheese and texas toast and a big glass of milk or oj.

i am ADDICTED to those grilling competition shows on tv. i have to say it could be b/c my family grills at least once a week.

now i'm hungry. lol. ooohhh, a grilled cheese - on the grill! oooohhhhhh!

Sharon E said...

I love the one with 3 different cheeses and Texas Toast.

Katreader said...

My easy go to grilled cheese sandwich is peppe rjack cheese (or whatever I have on hand) and bacon!!! I also love a fancy cheese (whatever I have) on sourdough!

I've never watched (in person) or competed in a cooking competition-but I do watch them on TV and you should hear me shout at the contestants! lol

Sharon Braswell said...

My favorite Grilled Cheese is Sharp Cheddar with dill pickles! The twang and tartness combo is yummy! No I have never participated or watched a grilling competition, except on television.

kayt18 said...

I only know and relish one grilled cheese. Mom's made with cheap velveta or american slice(store brand when I was little) and served with tomato soup. Will have to try your recipe and some of the newer varieties one of these days. Thanks for always writing something we can sink our teeth into.

Unknown said...

Velveeta, deli ham and brown mustard ! Loved the first book in this series, can't wait to read this one !

holdenj said...

I haven't ever been to a grilled cheese competition! I like the classic--American cheese with white bread, it always toasts so well with butter spread on the outside. Thanks!

Anita Yancey said...

I like my grilled cheese with cheddar cheese and ham. I have never watched a grilling competion. The book sounds wonderful and I'd love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Unknown said...

I don't understand. I posted a comment yesterday, but I don't see it. Well, I will try again.
My favorite grilled cheese is sharp cheddar, thinly sliced granny smith apple, thinly sliced red or sweet onion, with a bit of yummy Aunty Lilikoi mustard ( passionfruit products from Hawaii). A perfect balance of flavors.

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

It's still there...the 4th comment down :)

Sue said...

I like a very sharp cheddar and a cool slice of tomato slipped in the grilled sandwich at the last minute.

Unknown said...

I love bacon and grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum. michelle_willms at yahoo dot com

cyn209 said...

one of my favorites is grilled pastrami & swiss on rye..........yummers........unfortunately, I can't too much of it......probably like twice a year!!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

kiki w said...

I like bacon on my grilled cheese.

Brooke Showalter said...

I love American cheese on wheat. I also enjoy caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Michelle F. said...

I don't eat grilled cheese but I love paninis. I eat the Stouffers or Lean Cuisine ones. I like the southwest chicken, turkey, or Philly steak. I'm sure they all have cheese on them! I had a Panini last night.