STOWED AWAY, the sixth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross will have you dreaming of warm summer weather while visiting the islands off the coast of Maine! Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of enjoying this particular geographic location. However, Barbara paints such an inviting vivid picture of each scene, especially of Morrow Island, the Snowden’s family-owned island, that I feel I need to start planning a vacation to this area. While this book can definitely be enjoyed as a stand-alone, I have to opine that reading the series in order gives the reader the full effect of the author’s impressive character development, especially with her protagonist, Julia Snowden. I love how Julia has grown, discovering new things about herself and those around her through self-introspection and life experiences. The author carefully avoids the “information” dump but instead, reveals who Julia is in a natural way, over the course of the stories told over the years. I think strong, interesting characters, such as Julia, makes us readers long for new releases and keeps us coming back again and again. However, if you do jump in and start the series with this new book, you won’t be disappointed at all!
Of course with a strong character there must be a riveting story to hold our attention. Barbara delivers on that premise as well. A reclusive murdered billionaire, a detested school roommate from long ago, and the fate of Julia’s ancestors’ half-destroyed family mansion are woven together to keep the reader turning pages long into the night. And just when I thought I had a handle on who the suspects were and narrowed down the culprit, the author threw in a doozey of a twist that completely changed the game! The satisfying, suspenseful conclusion wrapped up the murder mystery while a heartwarming scene sets the tone for future books.
Julia and her boyfriend, Chris, attend dinner on the billionaire’s yacht, shortly before he is murdered. Much to Julia’s surprise, her friend, Genevieve, is the chef on board. Genevieve prepares a delightful Tarragon Ricotta Gnocchi with Lobster Velouté for the second course. Fortunately for us readers, Barbara has thoughtfully included this recipe, along with others, at the back of the book. Traditional gnocchi is made with potatoes and can be quite time consuming to make. Substituting ricotta for the potatoes is brilliant! Super-fast to mix up, you can either roll the dough into a long rope and cut into a traditional gnocchi shape, or scoop the dough into the boiling water, such as you would for dumplings. Either way, when paired with the lobster sauce, this gnocchi is amazing! I thought a small serving made a delectable appetizer or larger servings would easily satisfy the heartiest of appetites if served as an entrée. Bon appétit!
It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .
When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .
A special thanks to Barbara Ross for providing one winner with an arc signed copy of STOWED AWAY! Contest ends Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents only. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
The yacht Garbo is in Busman's Harbor, Maine, so naturally lobster is on the menu. The velouté was one of the signature dishes at Genevieve's Portland restaurant, which is why it tastes so familiar to Julia.
- 1 16-ounce container ricotta
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup Romano cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour*
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups lobster stock
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4-6 ounces cooked lobster, chopped
- Fresh tarragon or parsley for garnish
Heat oven to 350 degrees (F). Boil and salt 4 - 6 quarts of water in a pot. Grease a small baking dish with butter.
In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, grated cheeses, salt, pepper, tarragon, and eggs.
*Stir in the flour in 1/4-cup helpings until it reaches the consistency of a sticky dough. You may need to add more depending on how wet your ricotta is. Add an extra tablespoon of flour at a time until dough is sticky but workable.
**Using a tablespoon, drop rounded spoonfuls into the boiling water. When the gnocchi rise back to the top of the water, cook for about a minute more, then remove to the baking dish using a slotted spoon.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir together to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes being careful to not allow the roux to brown.
Whisk in the stock and cook until the velouté coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the cream and the lobster meat and cook for one minute more. Keep warm.
Pour 1/2 cup of the velouté over the gnocchi, reserving the remainder in the pan.
Put the gnocchi in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is barely bubbling.
To serve, put a puddle of the reserved velouté on a plate. Add 3 to 4 gnocchi and garnish with tarragon or parsley. Serve immediately.
If you can't find lobster stock, boil 4 cups of water with lobster shells, along with 1/2 chopped carrot, 1/2 stalk celery, and a small slice of onion until reduced to 1-1/2 cups. Strain and discard solids. Allow stock to cool before using for velouté.
When cooking the gnocchi, cook in batches and don't crowd the pot.
**To form traditionally-shaped gnocchi, roll the dough into long, thin ropes on a well-floured surface. Cut into 1-inch to 1-1/2-inch pieces, then cook as directed above.
True story: I didn’t realize when I purchased my lobster tails that they were still in the shell with the digestive track still intact. Thank goodness for YouTube because I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it! My apologies to Barbara and lobster fishermen… I know I mutilated it. Next time I’ll know to check with the butcher to make sure it’s already done for me!
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I was provided an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’ve not been to Maine, but I dream of spending a month at a beach house someday. Thank you for the chance to win.
I have visited Maine, but not recently.
I am fortunate enough to have lived in Maine for the past 13 years. We have not yet visited any of the islands. We tend to avoid the popular tourist places in the summer. But we may try to visit an island this spring or fall.
We LOVE Maine!
Friends have a family house on Chebbeague Island, just off the coast from Portland. It is heaven.
We have a house in Ellsworth, between Bangor and Bar Harbor.
We live in south Florida, but our hearts are in Maine.
We have lobster for New Years each year. This year I’m doing a version of this recipe. Thanks.
Note to self–Don’t be shy about using enough flour so the dough holds together and use a smaller scoop.
Otherwise, this is divine!
I visited Maine when I was a child, but would love to go back now
I have never visited New England, and I definitely need to remedy that situation.
I have never been to Maine, but it definitely looks like a beautiful place to be ?
I have never been as far North as Maine. It looks beautiful.
It has been years since we visited Maine. Never did visit any of the islands. It’s been awhile since I did anything with lobster. Think that;s going to change. The recipe looks delish
I have never been to Maine but it is on my travel bucket list.
Going to Maine and the New England states in the fall was on our bucket list. We were able to scratch that one off 2 years ago with a 32 day trip up the entire coast of Maine then exploring the interior part of the state before going to the other New England states and then home by way of Niagara Falls and Amish country in IN. Weather cooperated and we stayed ahead of the rains and snow. We LOVE it!
Thank you for the chance to win a signed copy of STOWED AWAY! Can’t wait to read it.
I went to Maine briefly when I was in New England. I rented a car so I could drive to as many states as I could. So I didn’t get to see much of Maine, but would love to go back someday!
I love Maine. My mom grew up in Saco Maine and we got to live there my 8th grade year. My dad was in the army so one time when he was in Vietnam we had to live on our own as the base we were at before he left wouldn’t let us stay without him. My grandparents had a vegetable farm and people would come to buy right at the farm. We lived close to Old Orchard beach where there was a boardwalk and lots of fun things to do. That year is one of my best memories and would love to go back there!
Not yet, but it is on my Bucket List!
I’ve not had the chance to visit Maine—but maybe someday.
I have never been to Maine.
Never been to Maine but on my bucket list.
Maine is in my Bucket List to visit.
I got really close to being able to visit Maine but didn’t get there. I wish I could say yes but the answer is no.
I’m originally an east coast girl. I’ve been to Maine many times when I was growing up. Lobster! Yum
No, I’ve never visited Maine or the islands, maybe I will one day.
I have never visited Maine but have many cozies about it and loved them!
I have never visited Maine or the islands off the coast.
I haven’t been to Maine. And this recipe is the most tempting one that you have ever had one your blog. I’m swooning over it.
I haven’t visited Maine and any of the islands off the coast? Thank you for the chance to win a signed copy of Stowed Away.
I almost made it to Maine but the year I was going the Airlines wouldn’t honor my flying miles there and I ended up in Canada. I still plan on coming. I have wanted to go ever since I first saw Murder She Wrote…and now your series. Thank you.
I visited Maine back in the 50s with my folks. Beautiful in the fall, when we were there.
Never been to Maine, but I sure do love lobster! Thanks!
Yes, and it was so beautiful! Both my husband and I love Maine!
I’ve never been to that area of the country, but I’d love to visit.
I have never been to Maine or any of the Eastern Islands by Maine. I definitely want to visit Maine one of these days.
I’ve never been to Maine but would love to!
never been to Maine but it looks beautiful…have a friend who lives there
I have not been to Maine, but would love to visit there.
I accidentally entered my email wrong, I have never been to Maine but would love to visit
Hi! No I have never had the opportunity to go to Maine or the Islands, but I have eaten many Maine inspired dishes.
No, I have only been to Maine via books, but it sounds beautiful.
I have never been to Maine but would love to.
No I have never visited Maine but I would love to one day
Love the review, would really like to read this book. The recipe is a bonus. Thanks for sharing.
I. have nevee visited there but have heard how beautiful it is. A friend has a son who lives there.
Yes i have been ti Maine it is absolutely beautiful up there. Thank you for the chance.
No, I’ve never been to Maine, but I would love to visit one day.
Have never been but would love too!! And I def want to attend a clam bake!
I’ve never been to Maine. Well, not yet.
In the 1970’s I visited Maine.
I think hubs would be impressed with the lobster dish. Especially since I don’t eat it myself.
I have never visited Maine, but not that I’m retired I plan to visit.
This lobster dish sounds wonderful.
I have not visited yet but I’m hoping to get there this summer.
“Have you visited Maine and any of the islands off the coast?” I have not! It must be wonderful!
No I haven’t but would love to.
I went to Maine many years ago. Love it. Such a culean and pretty state.
I would like to visit Maine one day.