featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Mystery author Liz Lipperman is filling in for Cloris today. Liz started writing many years ago, but pesky villains kept popping up in her romances. She finally gave up on romance and decided, since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? Two years ago, she signed her first contract for the Clueless Cook Mystery Series. Liver Let Die debuted in October, 2011. Her latest release is Beef Stolen-Off. In addition to two more books in that series, Liz will have a paranormal mystery series debuting with Midnight Ink in May 2013. Learn more about Liz and her books at her website

Berkley is sending a copy of Beef Stolen-Off to one lucky commenter today. This is open to US residents only (their requirement.). The winner will be announced on Sunday, so don’t forget to stop back to see who wins. -- AP

First off, thanks to Anastasia for inviting me here to share one of the recipes from Beef Stolen-Off, the second book in my Clueless Cook series that released this month from Berkley Prime Crime. Here’s a short summary.

 In Liver Let Die, the first book of the series, you met Jordan McAllister, a wannabe sports reporter who followed her boyfriend to Dallas, got dumped, and ended up in a small Texas town where she landed a job writing personals. When an opportunity came up to fill in for the culinary reporter who was rehabbing a broken hip, she jumped on it, thinking it was one step closer to writing that sports column she wanted so badly. The problem was she was raised in West Texas, the only girl with three brothers who needed her outside every day to even up the sides for football games, and although she could throw a razor-sharp touchdown pass from 50 yards, she can’t cook her way out of a box of macaroni and cheese.
As the food columnist for The Ranchero Globe, Jordan McAllister catches the eye of cattle baron Lucas Santana, who invites her to the Cattleman’s Ball, hoping a positive review for the ball might boost the county’s sagging beef sales.

To ensure Jordan enjoys herself, Santana sets her up with a prime cowboy companion for the event—Rusty Morales. Jordan’s delighted to go with him and two-step the night away. But instead, she winds up in the emergency room where her date is DOA.

When Rusty’s mother begs her for help, Jordan knows she needs to grab the bull by the horns and get to the bottom of this mystery before she corrals herself into trouble…

I love cowboys and had so much fun writing this book. Like Jordan, I am not much of a beef eater, preferring chicken and casseroles over beef. However, I do like ground beef and cheap cuts of steak. The recipe I’ve included below is one of my favorites and came right out of my mother’s cookbook. If it were up to my kids, we’d eat this every Sunday for family get-togethers. When I was younger my dad was sick a lot, and my mother worked three jobs to keep us off Welfare (I am one of 9 siblings.) One of those jobs was cooking at a motel that catered to truck drivers. I guarantee those truckers came from miles away on the nights they knew her Baked Steak and Gravy was on the menu. I know you’ll enjoy it, too. Here it is:

Bella’s Steak and Gravy
(Boeuf cuis au jus de Viande)

Yields 3-4 servings

1 pound (3-4 pieces) top round steak
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 beef bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°F

Cut the meat into 3-4 single serving size pieces if it has not already been done. Trim all the fat. Sprinkle a little flour (approximately 1 tablespoon) on one side of the steak and pound it in with a tenderizing hammer, flattening the steak. Turn and repeat for the other side. (If you use a butcher, you can ask him to tenderize the steak for you. Then, you can simply rub a little flour on each side of the meat.)

In a Dutch oven or skillet that has a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the steak pieces on both sides (2-3 minutes per side), working in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan. When all the pieces are browned, place them back in the Dutch oven, layering them. In a bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of flour and 2½ cups of water, blending well. Pour the mixture into the Dutch oven. The liquid should cover the steak and will become the gravy. Whisk out any clumps of flour, then add the bouillon cubes and pepper. Continue cooking on the top of the stove until bubbling.

Cover and transfer the Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook for 1½ hours. After about 45 minutes, check the gravy for thickness: if it is too thick, add more water: if it is too thin, add a tablespoon of flour to 4 ounces of water and whisk until smooth before adding to the gravy. If the flour clumps, simply remove it with a louvered spoon. Taste it and see if it needs more pepper or bouillon cubes. If you are doubling the recipe, add one bouillon cube at a time after the initial four cubes and taste after each one. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Sounds yummy, Liz! Don’t you think so, readers? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Beef Stolen-Off. -- AP


Theresa said...

Hi Liz, loved "Liver Let Die and looking forward to reading "Beef Stolen Off." I laughed to myself when I read your recipe. I used to make this myself when my children were young..haven't made it in years, but it sure brought back happy memories.

Marguerite Lafayette said...

I always love finding a new author! I've been pondering writing a mystery instead of romance, did you encounter any difficulty in making the jump? What do you like best about mysteries and who inspires you?

Can't wait to start on your series! Great post too!


Liz Lipperman said...

Theresa, I can't believe you haven't made this in a while, knowing how yummy it is. And thanks for the nice words about my books.

Liz Lipperman said...

Marguerite, I thought I was a romance writer for many years. always getting dinged in contests and from submissions because I never followed the rules. The fact that my story had 2 male heroes and lots of dead bodies should have been a clue. So, for me, the transition was easy. I just went easy on the romance part, although my books all still have a lot of it in them.

I like tricking people into believing it is one person and then zinging them with the real killer. I love Karen Rose, Karen Robards, and several others. And I thought The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was an amazing mystery.

Good luck iwth your writing. Don't give up.

Anonymous said...

I have not been lucky enough to have read Liver Let Die but would love to win Beef Stolen Off.


Liz Lipperman said...

Nancy, check out the libraries. IF you happen to be in the Salt Lake area, LIVER LET DIE was just nominated for the Readers' Choice award there. For the next 4 months, you can check it out and then leave a score card.

If you don't live in that area, check out your local library. Although LLD is the back story of all the characters, it's not necessary to read it first.

Liz Lipperman said...

Nancy, I meant to say that it;s the Salt Lake City Libraries which has 18 different libraries. They're going to showcase it, so you definitely can get it.

Donnell said...

Thanks, Liz.I'll try this real soon, along with Beef Stolen Off!!!

Teralee ElBasri said...

Sounds like a simple and delicious recipe (which is great with 4 kids - I can't imagine 9 though!) ;) Book sounds like a fabulous read too!

Anonymous said...

Recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing with us and congratulations on continuing a GREAT series!


Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Donnell, you really should try this. It's awesome--as are you.

Liz Lipperman said...

Terelee, thanks for commenting. Actually, I was next to the youngest of the 9, so I have older brothers and sisters. I was even spoiled as was my younger sister. When my mom used to make this, she'd have both peas and corn since I would only eat corn and my sister would only eat peas. I was a brat even back then.

Liz Lipperman said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I hope to continue this series as long as Berkley lets me.

Kathy said...

I love mystery series that contain recipies. I have authors who do candy and baked good. I'll add your books for the main course.

Mary Marvella said...

Hey, Liz! Another great recipe to put pounds on me! I am so excited about your success! I'm glad you and Christine found your real place in writing, for now.

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Kathy, there's more to me than main courses. There's lots of desserts and even drinks. And in MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT, there's alcoholic confections along with some really great recipes straight out of my own cookbook. And of course, there's a killer halibut one.

Liz Lipperman said...

Mary, how nice of you to find me here. Thanks for your nice words. And of course, you're kicking butt, too. Congrats right back atcha.

Anonymous said...

Hi Liz,
I also made the switch from writing romance to writing mystery. Same reason--those contest comments. I love the clever titles and was wondering if you come up with them first. It seems like it would be harder to come up with a title to fit your story. Would appreciate your thoughts as I'm working on a proposed humorous mystery series.

Your recipe sounds great. I love cooking with a Dutch oven.

Best regards,
Chelle Martin

Liz Lipperman said...

Chelle, first of all--best of luck on your mystery series. I titled the first book in the series- Ducks in a Row, but Berkley changed it to Liver Let Die. when I saw that they were going for the humorous titles, I started thinking about funny ones relating to food. I came up with BEEF STOLEN-OFF after I read an article about the increase in cattle rustling in Texas. For the other two-MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT and CHICKEN CACCHIA-KILLER, the titles also came first. Since mine is a foodie, it was easy.

If you want, send me what you got as a working title and a short blurb about what the series and the book is about, and I;ll try to help with titles. (Berkley wants to hire me to do their titles!!)