The Chicks are happy to welcome Rosie Genova with her delicious debut Chicks post. Get a load of that cookie platter – yum!
Early one dark December morning I opened my eyes and squinted at the clock on my nightstand—4:50. I blinked, shook my head, and had one sort-of-coherent thought: Why is that oven up so high? Yes, I even think about food in my sleep. I had started my Christmas baking the previous day, and my subconscious was apparently still back in the kitchen, mixing up a bowl of my grandmother’s anise-flavored ricotta cookies.
Except for reading and writing, there is little in life I like better than cooking and eating. Food figures prominently in my stories: characters fall in love over simmering pasta pots and steaming plates of risotto, and lots of revelations happen across kitchen tables. To me, there are few things more satisfying than a lovingly prepared meal, eaten slowly while sitting across the table from family and friends. Much as I admire the Bard, Shakespeare was wrong when he said that music is the food of love. Food is the food of love.
So it goes without saying that writing culinary cozies set at an Italian restaurant is a natural fit for me. As I was working on the draft of Murder and Marinara, the first book in my Italian Kitchen Mysteries, my editor frequently urged me to keep the theme of Italian food prominent in the story—which was a bit like telling me to remember to breathe. I need reminding about a number of things, but the importance of food isn’t one of them. It wasn’t hard to keep food front and center of the story since food happens to be front and center of my life. I never understand those people who rush through a meal, or those alien beings who say things like, “I only eat because I have to,” or “Food isn’t that important to me”—words that cause me to gasp and clutch my Sicilian heart. (And let it be known that the protagonist of my series, Victoria Rienzi, happily eats carbs, as does her creator!)
My holiday release, A Taste of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is a get-acquainted offering, providing both a literal and figurative “taste” of the series. It includes sample chapters, a short story, and a dozen family recipes, including one for the aforementioned ricotta cookies, a staple of my Christmas cookie platter; in the photo, they’re the small round ones with white icing. You’ll also find my recipe for pasta with pancetta, shown above.
And what about you, friends? Which of your favorite dishes will be gracing your holiday tables?
SYNOPSIS for A Taste of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries: If you’re new to Rosie Genova’s cozy series, The Italian Kitchen Mysteries, here’s a little tasting menu—sample some excerpts from the books in the series and try out some holiday recipes from the Italian Kitchen!
Meet Victoria Rienzi, mystery-author-turned-sleuth, as she returns to the Casa Lido restaurant to research her family history and learn her formidable nonna’s secret recipes. Get to know her quirky family—besides Nonna, there’s her sweet mom and dad, her brother Danny, a cop with a serious demeanor but a heart of gold, and her sassy sister-in-law, Sofia, who serves as her partner in crime solving. (And just for fun, there’s her hunky ex, Tim, sous chef at the restaurant, and the enigmatic Cal, a charming woodworker who may be more than he appears.) Make yourself at home in the beach setting of Oceanside Park—take a turn on the boardwalk, dip your toes in the ocean, and stop at the Casa Lido for a great Italian meal.
The sampler includes:
–Excerpts from Murder and Marinara, The Wedding Soup Murder, and Book 3 in the series, the upcoming A Dish Best Served Cold.
—A dozenholiday recipes from the Casa Lido, the seaside restaurant featured in the books, including antipasto, salads, sauces and pasta dishes, and of course, dolci—desserts!
BIO: Bestselling and award-winning author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. The inspiration for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, comes from her deep appreciation for Italian food, her affinity for the New Jersey seaside, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. A former journalist and teacher, Rosie also writes women’s fiction and suspense. The proud mama of three grown sons, she still lives in her favorite state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy. Check out Rosie’s website or say hi to her on Facebook!