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Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico
A Catering Hall Mystery Book 1
Kensington • February 25, 2020
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!
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1 large eggplant
½ cup liquid egg whites
1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup, plus 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp. flour
1 jar, your favorite tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano, divided
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
10 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, then slice it into ½-inch round slabs.
Beat the egg and egg whites together in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese (minus the tablespoon), and flour. Spray a large cookie sheet with the olive oil spray. Dredge the eggplant slices in the egg mix, and then in the bread crumb mixture, and arrange them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. (Depending on the size of your eggplant, you may need more than one cookie sheet.) Spritz the top of the eggplant slices with the olive oil spray and bake at 400 degrees until they’re tender and golden brown—around twenty to thirty minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, empty the jar of sauce into a saucepan. Add the Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon of oregano, and fresh basil. Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring and scraping the sides, until the sauce is heated through.
Spoon enough of the sauce into a 9” x 16” baking pan to coat the bottom of it. (I like glass pans for this recipe.) Arrange the cooked eggplant slices in the pan, overlapping them wherever necessary. Cover the eggplant with the remaining sauce, top with the mozzarella, and then sprinkle with the tablespoon of grated Parmesan and the other ½ teaspoon of oregano.
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted—about five minutes. Serve with Italian bread and a salad. You can even add a side dish of pasta.
About the Author
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
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