Teresa Michael

Florida mysteries with a touch of romance.

Recipes from Redemption in Mariposa Beach

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread


8 ounces unsalted butter

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 fresh lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons

¼ cup cornstarch or rice flour 

½ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper, set aside.

In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon juice to the butter/sugar mixture and mix well. 

In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds, flour, and cornstarch.

In the mixer, blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture just until combined, be careful not to overmix. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few minutes. 

Once ready, lightly flour a work surface and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Place the dough on the work surface. Flour the top of the dough and begin rolling it out to about ¼ inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut in the desired shape and place on the prepared pan. Place the cookies in the fridge for 5 minutes to firm up the dough before baking. 

While the cookies are chilling in the fridge, combine the remaining ½ cup of sugar and 1 ½ teaspoon of lemon zest together. Remove the cookies from the fridge and sprinkle the tops with sugar/lemon zest mixture.

Bake the cookies for about 15- 20 minutes or until they are golden in color, not brown. Make sure to rotate the cookies while they are baking. After removing the tray from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack. 

Sweet Emotion Desserts – Bradenton, FL

French Macarons -Lemon

1-3/4 cup confectioner

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

All-purpose flour for dipping

1-1/2 cups finely ground almond flour

3 large egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 fresh lemon, zested and juiced

1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Sift confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Whisk in ground almond flour, add lemon zest to the mixture, set aside.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats (such as Silpats), and mark circles using a 1-1/2-inch cookie cutter dipped in flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy; add salt and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Gradually add granulated sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until the whites reach medium-soft peaks. Transfer to a large bowl.

Sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg-white mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold until just incorporated. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and remaining sugar-almond mixture, folding until just incorporated. Firmly tap the bottom of the bowl on a counter or work surface to eliminate any air pockets.

Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as an Ateco #806). Pipe mixture into marked circles on prepared baking sheet. Let Macarons sit for 15-20 minutes to dry. 

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until macarons feel slightly firm to the touch and can be gently lifted off the parchment (the bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer parchment and macaroons to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a small offset spatula, carefully remove macarons from parchment.

Spread 2 teaspoons of your choice of filling on the flat sides of the half of macarons; sandwich with the other halves, keeping flat sides down. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, before serving. Filled cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

For the filling, you can use lemon curd or any fruit filling of your choice. 

Sweet Emotion Desserts – Bradenton, FL

Mimi’s Famous Meatloaf

2 Tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped (optional)

1 rib of celery, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped in ½ inch pieces

½ green bell pepper, chopped in ½ inch pieces

1 carrot, diced in ¼ inch pieces

3 Tablespoons minced garlic (2 for meat and 1 for sauce)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves*

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary*

2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley*

2 eggs

1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 slices bacon, cut in half

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ cup petite diced or crushed tomatoes

            *Dried thyme, rosemary, and parsley can be substituted for the fresh herbs


In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and all but 2 tablespoons of bell peppers. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to caramelize around the edges – approximately 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons garlic, thyme, rosemary, and parsley.  Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the vegetable mixture has cooled, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add the eggs, mustard, ¼ cup ketchup, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and heavy cream. Mix thoroughly. Add the breadcrumbs, ground beef, salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Transfer the meat mixture to a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan. Using your hands, form the mixture into a loaf shape. Arrange the bacon slices on top of the meatloaf. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce,  ketchup, ¼ cup½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, vinegar, bell peppers, and canned tomatoes. Cook until thickened. About 5 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the uncooked meatloaf. Back for 45=60 minutes or until bacon and sauce are slightly caramelized on top of the meatloaf. Remove from oven. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

*Originally published as Larry’s Most Yummy Meatloaf – Michael Family Cookbook 2017

Recipes from Deception in Mariposa Beach

Mimi’s Grand-mere’s Braised Chicken Thighs Pappardelle



6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup chicken stock
1 rosemary sprig or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup cremini mushrooms, stemmed
½ cup peas
1 8-10 ounce package fresh pappardelle pasta or 1 cup homemade pappardelle

In a plastic bag, toss the chicken thighs with the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium Dutch oven or another pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces in batches until a golden crust forms on all sides.  Transfer the browned chicken to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter and, when it melts, add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and the rosemary, increase the heat back to medium-high, and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Once the liquid is gently bubbling, return the chicken to the pot. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a plate.  Bring the liquid left in the pot to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer rapidly until the liquid has thickened to a pasta-coating sauce, about 10 minutes.  Set aside, covered, to keep warm.

While the braising liquid is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the mushrooms and peas. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the braising liquid is reduced, add the chicken back to the pot, along with the mushrooms and peas. Keep warm over low heat.

Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 3-5 minutes. Drain well. 

Add to the pot with the chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Stir gently to coat everything in the sauce.

*You may substitute the packaged pasta for homemade pasta

Modified from a braised rabbit recipe published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune March 2020


Homemade Pasta

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
Water as needed

Make a mound of flour on your floured work surface.

Make a hole in the mound large enough for an egg.  Break the egg into the hole.

Mix and knead the flour and egg into a stiff dough.  Add 1 water, 1 teaspoon at a time to make the dough workable.

Roll the dough out quite thin. Cut into whatever pasta shapes you wish or use a pasta maker.*

Cook in boiling water to desired consistency.

*For the Braised chicken recipe, wide noodles work best.

This recipe reprinted from the Michael Family Cookbook 2017

Recipes from Mistletoe and Missing Persons

Grandma Grace’s Chocolate Meringue Pie

A holiday staple especially on Christmas Eve


¾ cup sugar
3-4 tablespoons Hershey’s (or your favorite) cocoa*
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Dash of salt
2 cups of milk
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Combine the ¾ cup sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in the top of a double boiler** Mix well. Add about 2 inches of water in the bottom of the double boiler.

Combine the milk and egg yolks in a separate bowl. Beat with a wire whisk until frothy, about 1 to 2 minutes. 

Gradually stir the milk and eggs into the sugar mixture, mixing well.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened to a pudding consistency.  The water in the bottom of the double boiler will be bubbly.

Remove from heat. Add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted and the pie filling is smooth.

Spoon into the baked pie crust shell.


Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites (at room temperature) and cream of tartar at the highest mixer speed.  Gradually add the ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form and the sugar is fully dissolved.

Spread meringue over the hot filling, sealing to the edge of the pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

*If you use unsweetened chocolate, increase the sugar by ¼ cup.

** If you don’t have a double boiler, you can improvise by using two saucepans or one saucepan and a metal mixing bowl as long as the bowl doesn’t touch the water in the bottom pan. The top pan should seal off the lower pan to hold in the steam in order to cook the food in the top pan/bowl.

A Costello Family Recipe - Photo by Teresa Michael

Recipes from Murder in Mariposa Beach

Mimi’s Cranberry-Orange Scones*


               2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
               ½ cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
               2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
               2 teaspoons baking powder
               ½ teaspoon kosher salt
               ½ teaspoon table salt
               1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold 
               Orange zest from 1 medium-sized orange
               ½ tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
               Heavy cream up to 1 cup
               1 egg (for egg wash)
               1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
               Handful of dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salts.  Whisk for about 10 seconds.

Set aside.

Cut the butter into small pieces, then cut the pieces into the flour mixture using your fingers, a fork, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed. Add orange zest. Once the flour and butter clump together when pinched slowly, add the ½ tablespoon of the orange juice and then begin to slowly add the cream a little at a time while turning the dough. Stop when the dough easily forms a ball - you may not need to use all of the cream.

The dough should feel light and barely moist. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and add a small handful of dried cranberries to the dough as you are kneading the dough and shape into a square that’s about ¾ inch thick.

Cut the square from corner to corner twice to make triangles.

Mix the egg and vanilla together in a small bowl. Brush each scone with the wash. 

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle the top with granulated sugar.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides and golden across the top.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

*Sweet Emotions Desserts


Mariposa Café Chicken Andouille Gumbo

Make a dark brown roux with ½ cup flour and ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut in ¼ inch slices
  • 2 stems celery, cut in ¼ inch slices
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

Cook over medium heat until vegetables soften. Stir often.


  • 1 pound frozen cut okra
  • 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 pound mixed white and dark chicken cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 60 minutes

Serve over ½ white and ½ wild rice.

Michael Family Cookbook 2017