Critical praise for Christy!

For "Murder Hooks a Mermaid:"
"Author Christy Fifield creates the kind of characters that stay with you for a long time. Fifield’s new Haunted Souvenir Shop mystery, Murder Hooks a Mermaid has it all: a sunny, relaxed setting, captivating locals, delicious food, and—of course—murder! Delightful amateur sleuth Glory Martine is back with her wisecracking parrot and charming group of friends in this thoroughly entertaining adventure. Don’t miss it."—Julie Hyzy, National Bestselling author of the Manor House Mysteries and the White House Chef Mystery series
"A whodunit with a dose of the supernatural, "Murder Hooks a Mermaid" is a worthy successor to the series opener and showcases Fifield's talents for plotting, characterization and humor." - Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Quirky and unique, a heroine for whom you can't help but root. The story sucks you in." - The Maine Suspect
"With a lovable cast of characters, good conversations and a great setting, this well-written book is a terrific read." -- Dru's Book Musings

For "Murder Buys a T-Shirt:"
A refreshing new sleuth! - Lynne Maxwell, Mystery Scene Magazine
"A fun book that will make the dreariest of days a little brighter! Socrates' great Book Alert" - Socrates' Cozy Cafe
"An entertaining and clever Florida whodunit" - Harriet Klausner
"Hilarious! A great murder mystery with well-written characters" - Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews
For the Georgiana Neverall Series:
"Christy Evans will find legions of fans with this new series" - Sheldon McArthur, Lincoln City News Guard
"Funny and entertaining -- a solid mystery filled with likable characters." - RT Book Reviews"
Cute cozy mystery debute -- wry humor -- adorable dogs" -Publisher's Weekly
"Will have you giggling out loud! Four Stars." - Kathy Fisher, The Romance Readers Connection"The Book is good! Keep them coming, Ms. Evans!" - Mystery Scene
"Evans delivers a fast-paced mystery with admirable finesse!" - Sharon Galligar Chance,
"Christy Evans has a hit on her hands" - Harriet Klausner,
"Christy Evans is aces. I'll be very suprised if Sink Trap isn't an instant hit with cozy readers!" -

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Best Tapioca Pudding. Ever!!

Recently I had the best tapioca pudding of my life.  No exaggeration, this was amazing stuff!  I work at a resort hotel on the Oregon coast, and we shared dessert after lunch.  Both my husband and I were bowled over.  Fortunately for me, the chef is a friend, and he agreed to share his recipe with me.

Tapioca pudding is basically cooked pearls of tapioca starch combined with a sweet vanilla custard.  The pearls give it a bubbly consistency and cut the richness of the milk and the sweet of the sugar.  It’s dense without being overwhelming, but a small serving will satisfy your dessert craving.

I tried the recipe at home, and got the same stellar results, confirmed by several friends and co-workers who sampled the pudding.  Fortunately for you, the chef gave me permission to share it with you, so brace yourself for a real treat!

So here it is, compliments of Executive Chef Ken Martin of Fathoms Restaurant at the Inn at Spanish Head.

The process takes time, so don’t try to rush.  You have to start the night before, so if you want pudding for tonight’s dessert and it’s already 4:30 p.m., make another plan.

Tapioca pearls and water for soaking
Start by soaking ½ cup tapioca pearls overnight in 1 ½ cup water.  Don’t use “instant” tapioca, it isn’t the same thing. 

Soaked pearls with the rest
of the ingredients
Sugar and milk before cooking

A couple hours before you want to eat, start the custard base. 

Boiled milk, ready to add pearls

In a large saucepan mix 1 qt whole milk with ¾ cup sugar and bring to a boil.  Watch this carefully, as once it reaches the boiling point, it will quickly boil over if left unattended.  When the milk foams around the edge of the pan, it’s at the correct temperature.

And the magic begins.  You can see where the milk foamed around
the edge of the pan
Drain the tapioca pearls and add them to the boiling milk.  Stir to mix well.  Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  

As you can see from the
stove timer the 25 minutes
is just beginning

20 minutes

The pearls should become clear.  
15 minutes
As you can see from this series of photos taken at five minute intervals, change is gradual, but you can clearly see the difference from the first shot to the last.  (I didn’t realize I needed a better background for these shots until partway through.  Maybe I should make another batch so I can get better pictures.  Yeah, that’s the reason I need to do this again.  For the pictures.  Sure.)
10 minutes

5 minutes

Simmering complete!  The pearl is still slightly opaque,
but much clearer than before.

Adding sugar to the eggs
Egg mixture ready to combine with milk mixture

While the milk mixture is simmering, combine 3 beaten eggs with ¾ cup sugar and blend well. 

Slowly mix eggs into milk mixture.  While Ken’s recipe did not specify, I did temper the eggs before adding them to the hot milk.  Tempering guards against curdling or scrambling the eggs.  To temper the eggs, slowly add about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the eggs and stir to incorporate.  Repeat two more times.  This will gradually raise the temperature of the egg mixture and make the two mixtures blend easily.

Here you can see a few tapioca pearls in the egg mixture
as it is poured into the saucepan
Bring the completed pudding back to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

Everything is in the pot.  Now we give it a final simmer.

Remove from heat, add ¾ tsp vanilla.

Cover and chill.  

Into a bowl to cool before going in the refrigerator.
To prevent a “skin” forming on top of your pudding, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.  Pudding can be eaten while still slightly warm, or completely chilled, as you prefer.

This is the finished pudding,
topped with a swirl of whipped cream .

Serving suggestions include layering with whipped cream in a parfait glass, adding fresh seasonal fruit, or spooning still-warm pudding over slices of pound cake.  However you serve it, keep your portions fairly small.  As I said before, this is dense and your guests may fill up quickly.  Or they may demand seconds!!

Cover and refrigerate leftovers (if you have any – this is a perfect “company” dessert).

Tapioca Pudding
½ cup large tapioca pearls
1 ½ cup water
1 qt. whole milk
1 ½ cup sugar, divided
3 eggs, beaten
¾ tsp vanilla
Soak pearls in water overnight.  The next day, mix milk and ¾ cup sugar, bring to a boil.  Drain pearls, add to milk, and simmer 25 minutes.  Combine eggs and the other ¾ cup sugar, add to milk mixture, return to boil, and cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla.  Cover and chill.