It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans!  Time for balls and king cake and parades.

“Hey Mister, throw me something!”

The author celebrates with Mardi Gras beads and a French 75.  How do you celebrate!

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First layer:

3 egg whites
1/4 pinch salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 Tb vanilla
36 saltine crackers, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Beat egg whites until airy and frothy. While still beating, add salt. Continue to beat and add sugar slowly and cream of tartar. Continue beating until meringue forms stiff and glossy peaks.

Mix meringue, crackers nuts and vanilla completely together. Make sure that each crumb is touched by the meringue.

Spread carefully into a buttered 9-inch pie pan, smooth out to a depth of one inch. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Meringue will be slightly brown around the edges and have a very light crust to touch. Let cool slightly.

Second layer:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 pound butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

In double boiler, melt chocolate and butter slowly. Add eggs, half the flour and sugar and mix less than 30 seconds. Then add remaining flour and sugar, continue to stir. Don’t over mix or it will be brittle. It should be slightly granular.

Pour chocolate mixture in a circle from the rim into the center. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

When done, pie will be slightly crusty on top. A toothpick inserted into edge will not come out clean; the center, however, will be moist and will continue cooking after it’s removed from the oven.

Third Layer:

Cool Whip.

Spread topping on pie, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Double Musky Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 packages Nabisco Honey Graham crackers
2 heaping Tb 60-40 butter blend, softened

Grind crumbled crackers and butter blend in food processor. Press into bottom and sides of 9 x 4 inch springform pan.

**The recipe for Double Musky Pie comes from the Double Musky Inn Cookbook.


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As a teenager, Trent Marshall often tagged along when his dad went to Alaska on business.  On one of their trips, they were delighted to discover a great Cajun restaurant in the small, ski resort community of Girdwood, a few miles south of the main city of Anchorage.  A restaurant of national acclaim, the Double Musky became their go-to place to dine when they were in Anchorage.  Will Trent rediscover his fascination with Alaska in a future adventure?  Will he take Darcey Anderson to the Musky for steaks and jambalaya and gumbo?  Will danger follow them there?

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When the holidays come around, Darcey Anderson asks Trent Marshall to create a festive cocktail.  For Thanksgiving this year, Trent came up with his version of a raspberry martini.  He called it a Raspberry Ardor.  The combination of fresh raspberries with Chambord, the delightful raspberry liqueur, fulfills the festive requirement.  Simple, fruity, and not too sweet.  Here is Trent’s recipe.

Raspberry Ardor

Fresh raspberries

1/2 cup crushed ice

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces Chambord

In a separate, wide-bottomed glass or bowl, muddle a handful of raspberries.

Put the crushed ice into martini shaker.  Pour the muddled raspberries over the ice.  Add the vodka and Chambord.  Shake well

Pour into chilled martini glasses.  Note:  The muddled raspberries will sometimes clog the small openings of the martini shaker.  Just give it another shake or two to loosen the berries and continue pouring.

Garnish with three whole raspberries.

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2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 rib celery, cut into ¼ inch slices

1 roasted red pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

¼ cup tomato paste

1 cup parsley, chopped

1 cup red wine

2 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes

8 ounces clam juice

1 bay leaf

2 king crab legs, meat removed from the shells

1pound shrimp, shelled & deveined

1pound cod, or other fish, cut into roughly two-inch squares

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large, heavy pan, saute’ the onion, celery, and roasted red peppers over moderate heat until they begin to soften, about three to five minutes.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, and parsley.  Let the mixture cook for another two minutes or so.

Deglaze the pan with the wine and then bring it to a boil.  Add the tomatoes, clam juice, and bay leaf.  Reduce the heat to moderately low and let the broth simmer for about forty-five minutes.  Check it occasionally to make sure the liquid doesn’t evaporate.  The end result should be a thin broth.

Add the fish and cook for five to six minutes until it begins to flake.

Toss in the shrimp.  Let it simmer until it begins to turn red, three to five minutes.

Finally, add the crab just long enough to heat it through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Toledo Bend Lake on the Louisiana-Texas border. Much of the action in The Empty Mint Mystery takes place here in Sabine Parish. Darcey Anderson is startled when Trent Marshall pushes her out of the boat. When she surfaces, he pushes her head below water again, forcing her to swim for her life. She didn’t know the danger she was in.

In more peaceful scenes, Toledo Bend offers great fishing. Has anyone else fished there? What was the largest fish you landed?

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French 75

(Trent Marshall’s signature cocktail)

(makes two cocktails)

2 oz good quality gin, (Trent Marshall prefers Hendrick’s, which he keeps in the freezer)

Sparkling wine (Trent prefers Mumm’s Napa Brut Prestige)

1 heaping teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar

Juice of half a lemon

Lemon peel

Cocktail shaker

Crushed ice

2 chilled glasses (Trent keeps martini glasses in the freezer. Most any chilled cocktail glass would be fine.)

With a paring knife cut two thin strips of lemon peel and set aside.

Fill the cocktail shaker about 1/3 full of crushed ice. Add the gin, sugar and lemon juice. Shake thoroughly to mix well.

Pour an ounce of the liquor in each of the two chilled glasses. Fill the glasses with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon peel.

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Royal Street. The street of shops in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Darcey Anderson found a pair of antique earrings for her mother. Trent Marshall watched the man across the street who was reflected in the shop window. Trent had the feeling the same man was waiting outside when they left the Acme Oyster House. Were they being stalked? The Empty Mint Mystery.

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The magnificent Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street in New Orleans’ Vieux Carre’. Darcey Anderson stayed at this hotel when she arrived in New Orleans seeking to convince Trent Marshall to assist her in solving a 150 year old mystery. The Empty Mint Mystery.

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