You see, I just don’t like mysteries.
I am too impatient as a reader.
I want immediate gratification.
I want it solved now!
Needless to say, I often skip to the last part so I can figure out who did it.
But not with DbD. Not to sound like a cliche, but after I read the first chapter, I was really hooked. It was so easy to picture all the Southern charms of the tea shop with all the eccentric characters found in the Charleston setting. Who would not want to work in this tea shop and reside in this quirky city and be Theodosia’s best friend?
As I read Death by Darjeeling for this CTB round, I made a list of all the sweet treats made by Haley for the tea shop:
- butter cookies
- cranberry scones
- blackberry scones
- caramel-nut shortbread
- lemon bars
- chocolate covered strawberries
There were a few savory dishes mentioned as well in the book like Stilton cheese tea sandwiches, tea-smoked chicken, Haley’s hot crab dip with Irish soda bread, Theodosia’s carbonara and of course her tea-marbled eggs.
I was really tempted to make carbonara because I have a really great recipe attributed to Ruth Reichl, but with it being 105 outside, I just didn’t feel like pasta. (Too hot to bake anything as well!)
Since I am now on a pepper kick, I decided to do a Mango-Jalapeno Jelly with Cream Cheese on Crackers as my inspiration from Death by Darjeeling. Surely this is worthy of being served in Theodosia’s tea shop.
So, to honor Ms. Childs and all the Tea Shop Mysteries that I will be buying soon, here is my recipe.
1/2 c. fresh jalapenos, chopped (Seed and core some if you want less heat.)
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 c. apple cider vinegar
8 oz. dried mangoes, chopped
6 c. sugar
1 3-oz. pkg. liquid pectin
Place peppers and vinegar in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Do not puree the peppers but leave some small chunks.
Combine mangoes, sugar and pepper-vinegar mixture in a large saucepan and bring to a boil stirring often. Carefully watch because it will easily boil over. When it has reached a full boil, set timer for 5 minutes and stir constantly. Remove from heat. (You can skim off any foam at this time.) Let cool for two minutes.Mix in pectin. Pour into sterilized half-pint jars and seal. Process for 10 minutes in a water bath. Makes about seven half-pint jars.
Get out your favorite crackers (I used olive oil and black pepper triscuits), place a dollop of cream cheese on each cracker and top with the the mango-jalapeno jelly. Serve as an appetizer or with high tea. I am confident that Drayton could discover the perfect pairing for this. Because of the murder mystery theme, I decided to pair it with gunpowder tea. (Besides, the next book in this series is Gunpowder Green.)
Note: When I make this jelly again, I will chop my mango finer. The finished jars looked like there were bamboo shoots floating in them. 🙂 I based this batch on my Apricot-Jalapeno Jelly that I made a couple of years ago when I had another bumper crop of peppers.
A huge thank you to the CTB hosts:
Rachel at The Crispy Cook
Deb at Kahakai Kitchen
CTB is a wonderful creative group of bloggers. If you want to participate Deb has picked the next book:
At Kahakai Kitchen, I (Deb), have become enamored of a little book of food essays, “Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen“ by Laurie Colwin. Colwin was the author of five books, as well as a food writer and a contributor to Gourmet and other magazines, who died unexpectedly and tragically young, in 1992 of a heart attack at age 48. “Home Cooking” is a small and wonderful collection of stories and memories about food, interspersed with recipes. Colwin wrote in a casual, warm style and with such a sparkling sense of humor–laughing about herself and her experiences–both good and bad in the kitchen. If you haven’t experienced her before, I think you will fall a little bit in love with her writing. It’s a short book so if you are feeling extra ambitious, feel free to read her follow-up More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen, as well.
The deadline for Home Cooking is Monday, September 24th.
For my other Cook the Book posts, click here.