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.

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Monday, September 23, 2019


Today we’re joined by Lilly Bates from the Penny Weaver Mystery Series by Judy Hogan.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings? Difficult, sad–I’d lost my husband–and boring.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself? 
I may not seem tough, but I am.

What do you like least about yourself? 
That other people think I’m a pushover. I’m not.

What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
She set it up so I’d have my baby during a hurricane.

Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about? 
I argued that my babies always came on the due date, but she fixed it so it came early, and I couldn’t get to the hospital.

What is your greatest fear? 
Being asked to take care of houseplants.

What makes you happy? 
A quiet day, when everything goes along normally.

If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why? 
She decided I was going to marry the sheriff, just because he was in love with me. Unfair, I thought. I could have had a nice, quiet life with my two boys.

Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why? My boss at the Sheriff’s Dept., Derek Hargrave. He promoted me to lead detective, and then he won’t let me lead. He takes over my cases like anything.

Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?  
I’d rather be Sammie Hargrave. She can cope with anything. Nothing fazes her, seems like. Me, I get upset, even if I don’t show it.

What’s your favorite food? 
Oh, Angelika’s Baklava. Those honey treats go down well.

Baklava from Angelina’s Kitchen 

2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water 
1 cup good quality honey
2 cinnamon sticks
2 T lemon juice
10 whole cloves
Rind from one lemon – stud with the whole cloves.

Nut Mixture
5 cups nuts (e.g., pecans and walnuts) roughly chopped
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 T good ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 2 oranges and or lemons

The Rest
1 package #4 filo dough, defrosted overnight in fridge 
1-1/2 lbs. clarified butter, warmed to liquid
Rose water (optional)
An 11 x 18 pan – or any size, then cut the filo to fit the pan

Combine all syrup ingredients except honey. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until sugar melts. Add honey and cook a few minutes until honey dissolves into syrup.

Refrigerate syrup. Syrup must be cold when you pour it over the hot baklava. 

Coarsely grind nuts. Mix with cloves, cinnamon, orange zest, sugar.

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Open filo and cut to fit 11” x 18” pan.  

Once you open filo, work until it’s done. Brush bottom of pan liberally with butter. Lay first sheet of filo in pan. Brush with a little butter. Repeat till you have 7 – 8 sheets of filo layered.

Cover filo with 1 cup of the nut mixture. Sprinkle nuts with a dash of rose water (optional.) Place another sheet of filo over the nut mixture. Brush with butter. Add another layer of nuts and rose water. Repeat for 4 – 5 layers until nuts are used up. 

Keep layering remainder of filo / butter till all filo. Place last layer of filo on top and gently pat to “settle” the nuts.

Cut the baklava before you bake it. Use a sharp serrated knife to make squares, diamonds or triangles. Do not cut all the way through – only through the top filo and into the nuts, then brush the rest of the butter on top of baklava.  Cover the baklava well – melt more butter if needed.

Bake at 350 degrees 40-50 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and pour the the cold syrup over baklava. Allow syrup to absorb. 

Fatality at Angelika’s Eatery 
A Penny Weaver Mystery, Book 11

Angelika’s Eatery is a favorite lunch place for activists and small farmers. Fred Ainsworth, who owns 500 acres, started a commune which ten farmers joined, paying cash. When Fred is found dead in the restaurant, Penny and her friends Sammie, and Lilly, lead detective in the Sheriff’s Department, work on solving the death. They learn from Fred’s banker that he was broke. In the legislature their representative Rick Clegg leads the fight against fracking while the banker tries to legalize it. The farmers learn Fred had sold his fracking rights to a fracking company. Penny and her husband Kenneth now live in the black community in the village of New Springs in a green home designed and built for them by their neighbor Arnold, who lost the most money when Fred died penniless and is top murder suspect. The three women, calling themselves the Cahoots, work to find the killer.

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Judy Hogan said...

Great work on the blog, Lois. Thanks so much. I think this is one of my best mysteries. Judy Hogan.


Good luck with the book, Judy!