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Monday, December 9, 2019


Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Nancy’s books have won numerous awards, including her instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her latest title is A Bad Hair Day Cookbook: Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys cooking, fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog.

Fun and Fumbles in the Kitchen
I like to cook and experiment with recipes in the kitchen. Wanting to share my favorite dishes, I created A Bad Hair Day Cookbook: Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series. This is written from the viewpoint of my hairstylist sleuth, Marla Vail. Marla shares her comments and tips on each page. Her experiences in the kitchen mirror my own.

Trial and Error
Like any trial and error experiment, not everything I tried turned out successfully. Let’s examine my mint recipes, for example. I wanted to use up a bottle of Vandermint in our liqueur cabinet, so I found recipes using this ingredient and put my own twist on them.

After cooking the lamb in the oven for the allotted time, the roast was still raw inside. I’d forgotten the advice to remove the lamb roast from the refrigerator an hour before cooking to let it warm to room temperature. Oops! I put it in our slow cooker for another two hours and it came out just right. 

For dessert, I thought the chocolate mint cake sounded tempting. I baked the cake as directed in a rectangular pan and turned it out onto a powdered-sugar dusted surface. Then I attempted to roll it up as instructed. The cake broke apart. Uh-oh. Maybe I should have let it cool more first? Not to worry. I decided to make it into a torte instead. And so I did, adding filling in between three layers of cake.

NOTE: Leave a comment below for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook.

Minted Roast Lamb
Serves 8

5 lb. boneless leg of lamb
1/2 cup water
1 cup Vandermint liqueur
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. lime juice
3/4 oz. package fresh basil, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine

Remove lamb from refrigerator one hour before cooking to bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan. Pour water into bottom of pan. Roast uncovered for 1 hour. 

In a bowl, combine Vandermint liqueur, melted butter, lime juice, and chopped basil. Baste lamb with mixture. Roast for 1-1/2 hours more, basting occasionally. Meat thermometer should register 135 to 155 degrees F, depending on how well done you like the meat.

Transfer lamb to cutting board. Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, skim fat from pan juices. Add remaining basting liquid and 1/2 cup white wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into gravy boat. Serve on the side with lamb. 

Chocolate Mint Torte (pictured above)
Serves 8-10

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Vandermint liqueur
Powdered sugar

8 oz. whipped topping
2 Tbsp. Vandermint liqueur
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10”x15” baking pan with wax paper. Coat with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs in a large bowl until well blended. Gradually add 1 cup sugar. Mix in Vandermint liqueur. Stir in dry ingredients in batches until smooth.

Pour into baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto towel sprinkled with powdered sugar and remove wax paper. Allow cake to rest. Meanwhile, blend whipped topping with 2 Tbsp. Vandermint liqueur and 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar. 

Cut cake into thirds cross-wise. Spread filling on top of first third. Place second cake piece on top. Cover with another layer of filling. Top with remaining third piece of cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice and serve cold. 

A Bad Hair Day Cookbook: 
Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series 

Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.

Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen's popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you're a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes! Bonuses Include:

*Meet the Sleuth
*Introduction by Marla Vail
*Cooking Tips
*Excerpts from Series Titles
*Themed Menu Suggestions
*"A Sabbath Dinner" by Nancy's Mother

Recommended for Home Cooks, Food Lovers, Mystery Fans and Cookbook Collectors

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Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you for hosting me here!


Always a pleasure, Nancy!

Amber Blackwell said...

Lol cooking mishaps are so funny

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Yes, Sasha, I agree. It's good to have a sense of humor about them and to consider them part of the learning process.

Not really said...

Looking back on some of my mishaps. They are funny. But when younger? Tragic. Like the first time I attempted to roll a cake. Didn't have a jelly roll pan so used a cookie sheet. Barely held the cake. I not only greased and floured the pan. But the wax paper I lined it with. I remember Grandma would turn hers out immediately onto a flour sack dusted with powdered sugar. For one thing. I forgot that part. For another. When grandma rolled out the cake in the sack. THEN she let it cool completely on a wire rack. I didn't do that part either. The cake fell apart. I was so devastated. I was 11. It was my Mom's birthday. Mom loved spicy cakes and cookies. So I was going to do the spice cake with cream cheese filling. And it was all falling apart. We weren't supposed to touch the phone when the folks were gone. But, in tears, I called Grandma. She suggested I get out Mom's parfait glasses and layer the cake pieces with a pudding she liked. And since we did have some vanilla pudding, to layer the cake and pudding along with the raspberries Mom had bought a day before. Boy. Did she save my bacon! It was a hit. Thankfully. Though Mom did say later that she was planning on a raspberry cake for the weekend. But instead. She'd buy us some ice cream. Yep. We live and learn

Nancy J. Cohen said...

To Not Really: I like your save! You made a parfait/trifle out of your failed jelly roll cake. That's a good idea that I'll have to remember. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Sasha Black has won my ebook. Please contact me with your email address.