Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Here Comes the Body - A Recipe, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Maria DiRico to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Maria writes the Catering Hall Mystery series. HERE COMES THE BODY is the first book in the series and was released last week. Maria also writes the Cajun Country Mystery series under the name Ellen Byron. 

“Etouffee” literally means “smothered” in French. In Cajun cooking, that translates to a delicious dish of shrimp or crawfish smothered in a veggie-laden sauce.

Ninette’s version is more Cajun than Creole because she doesn’t include tomatoes, a staple of many Creole dishes. Her recipe really lets the flavors of the “Holy Trinity” of Cajun cooking – onions, green pepper, and celery – stand out.

½ lb. butter or light butter
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup chopped celery
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. dried parsley flakes
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. Cajun Seasoning, like Tony Chachere’s
1 T. flour (or 2 T. if you want to thicken the sauce more)
1 cup either shrimp stock, crawfish stock, chicken stock, or water
1 lb. peeled shrimp or peeled crawfish tails
6 cups cooked white rice

Using medium to high heat, melt the butter in a heavy, large skillet. Add the onion, pepper, celery, garlic, parsley, salt, and Cajun seasoning. Stir well to combine all the ingredients, then reduce the heat a bit and cook until the onion softens. Add the flour, stirring well. As soon as the flour begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet, add the stock slowly until you’ve added it all to the mixture, stirring well to combine. Simmer the mixture until it bubbles, add the shrimp or crawfish, and stir well. Bring the mixture to a bubble again,  then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and simmer the etouffe for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over 1 cup of white rice per serving. Or…

This recipe is pretty low-calorie. If you want to make it even more so, served it over riced cauliflower instead of rice.

Serves 6.



The First Catering Hall Mystery

When her cheating husband goes missing, Mia Carina becomes a person of interest, partly because she's the aggrieved wife and even more so because of her mob connections. Once out from under suspicion this Queens girl leaves Florida and returns home to Astoria and her Family. While Belle View Catering Hall is under the auspices of the Boldano Family, her father is running it as a legitimate business and Mia aims to help him keep it that way. But when a dead body turns up during a bachelor party, police immediately suspect Ravello. Mia will have to use her street smarts and Family connections to keep the business afloat and prove her dad's innocence.

I'm not sure what it is about the mob that's so fascinating, but its appeal can't be denied. I absolutely love this book! Mia is a fantastic protagonist, she's tough and no nonsense, but also shows a vulnerability. One of my favorite things about the book is the Astoria neighborhood. Mia's nonna and her army of aging residents are a delight from their holiday decor one-upmanship, "traditional" furnishings (plastic slipcovers, anyone?), and food, plenty of home cooked food, be it Italian or Greek. Mia's brother is also a hoot, trying to be a viral hot con, while doing another prison stint. Add her father's soft side and his intimidating boss, and you have a Family to die for.

From wacky characters with heart, villains you love to hate, and comedic touches to keep you laughing HERE COMES THE BODY is the crème de la crème of cozy mysteries.

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico

About Here Comes the Body

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)  
Mass Market Paperback: 304 page
After her philandering husband’s boat went down, newly single Mia Carina went back to Astoria, the bustling Queens neighborhood of her youth. Living with her Nonna and her oversized cat, Doorstop, she’s got a whole new life—including some amateur sleuthing . . .
Mia is starting work at Belle View, her father’s catering hall, a popular spot for weddings, office parties, and more—despite the planes that occasionally roar overhead on their way to LaGuardia and rattle the crystal chandelier. Soon she’s planning a bachelor party for a less-than-gentlemanly groom. But it goes awry when the gigantic cake is wheeled in and a deadly surprise is revealed . . . Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . . Italian recipes included!

About Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Queens and Westchester County. She is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, her grandfather was a low-level Jewish mobster who disappeared in 1933 under mysterious circumstances. She also writes the award-winning, bestselling Cajun Country Mystery series under the name Ellen Byron.

Website - https://www.ellenbyron.com/catering-hall-mysteries  
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CateringHallMysteries/  
Twitter - https://twitter.com/ellenbyronla  

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play - IndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like such a fun series! I can't wait to read it.

  2. Sounds interesting & fun! What is it about stories with the mob involved? Do they really operate nowadays???

  3. This sounds like a fun book and I like the cover.

  4. I am really looking forward to reading this book! It sounds like a lot of fun.

  5. This is one that I am so glad that it is in print and would love to read and post several reviews. peggy clayton ptclayton2 @ aol.com

  6. Hi all! Apologies for the delayed response! I've been jamming on a manuscript and totally spaced on blogs! Kathy, thank you so much for sharing the recipe and updates on my new series!!! Good luck, everyone!