Guest Chick: Rosie Genova

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.

Rosie’s famous holiday cookie platter

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!)

A close-up of from a plate of Rosie’s Pasta with Pancetta

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!

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24 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Rosie Genova

  1. That cookie platter looks amazing! I’m not much of a cook, so for Christmas I’ll probably be making Trader Joe’s vegan turkey. They only sell them in November, but I always buy a couple extra. Lucky for me, it comes with stuffing and gravy so all I have to do is put it in the oven.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rosie, SO glad you could join us. What a great idea your recipe book is. I want to make one with recipes from all my series, but I’m too lazy. I’m looking forward to your Italian recipes. They remind me of my own family. xo

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    1. Happy to be here, Ellen, and yes, have a conversation about food! (Funnily enough, I was biting into a lovely Pink Lady apple just before posting this reply.)
      Have a lovely holiday season, and thanks again for having me.
      xo, Rosie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s not even eight am here, and my stomach is already rumbling and ready for some of that pasta and those amazing cookies! What a terrific idea to put all those things together in a “sampler platter” type of book! Congrats, and thanks so much for visiting the Chicks, Rosie!

    Our family traditionally had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for Christmas, but this year I’m doing a confit of turkey legs and going to roast the breast.

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    1. Leslie,
      Those little ricotta cookies are my favorite breakfast “dessert” with a second cup of coffee, so no judgment here. Your holiday menu sounds wonderful. Despite my mom’s Neapolitan roots, she made a mean Yorkshire pudding!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your series sampler is genius, Rosie! And those cookies look almost good enough to eat, ha! I fear, though, that I am one of those who only eats to live. Don’t get me wrong, I love delicious food and I especially love delicious food someone else prepares for me. But I get so irritated that I have to eat and sleep EVERY DAY! It really cuts into my goof-off time!

    Christmas Eve will be our traditional bouillabaise and cheese bread.

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    1. Thanks, Becky! It’s a brave woman who admits she eats to live, and your rationale does make a kind of sense. (Just not to me. Which is why you had me at “cheese bread.” Mmmmm.) Thanks to you and the Chicks for hosting me today! Happy Holidays!
      Rosie

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      1. The cheese in the cheese bread is parmesan so the house smells marvelous while it bakes. And hubs makes it, so that’s marvelous too!

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  5. Holy cannoli, Rosie! Those cookies! That pasta! All GORGEOUS.

    I live to eat, and Christmas is no exception. I don’t have a signature dish, but do love the yams I bring. This year, I’ve also made caramels, with advance apologies to all who sample for the resulting dental work. (They’re a weeeeee bit firm.)

    Thanks for visiting us, and congrats on the series and all your success!

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  6. Your famous holiday cookie platter is a thing of beauty! Wow.

    (For comparison purposes: in the middle of the night, I woke up and thought I was looking for backgrounds/designing Canva graphics, ha. I like your thing better.)

    Congratulations on your new release!!

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  7. Congratulations on your book release. I didn’t know you had a book out.

    We always have baked macaroni and cheese and collard greens at our holiday meals. Other dishes will be present, but always those two.

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