I love food. I enjoy all types of cuisine—especially ethnic. You can say it’s in my blood. My Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years and my mother was a talented cook. I grew up rolling silverware as a child, then working as a waitress and hostess as a teenager. My tips helped pay for my prom gown. Our kitchen at home was filled with the delicious aromas of simmering grape leaves, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and shish kebab. As I grew older, I discovered and enjoyed other cuisine—Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and, of course, a great burger!
When I thought of where to set Hummus and Homicide, the first book in my Kebab Kitchen Mystery series, I knew it had to be at a family restaurant. The dynamics of the workers—temperamental chefs, busy busboys, and gossipy waitstaff can be quite entertaining. One of our head cooks married the head waitress. Food and romance—what could be better?
My Kebab Kitchen Mystery series also takes place at the Jersey shore. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents vacationed at there. We now have two young girls, and we still take them to the Jersey shore every summer. As I wrote the books, I pictured my fictitious small town of Ocean Crest at the Jersey shore. The name is a combination of Ocean City and Wildwood Crest—two of my favorite New Jersey shore towns. As I wrote the scenes, I heard the seagulls squawking and pictured them circling above the beach. I felt the lapping of the ocean waves and the sand between my toes, and imagined the brilliant Ferris wheel on the boardwalk pier. I pictured myself in Ocean Crest—minus the murders, of course!
I also had great fun coming up with titles for the series with my editor: Hummus and Homicide (February 2018), Stabbed in the Baklava (August 2018), and One Feta in the Grave (February 2019). All the titles reflect the light and funny feel of the cozy mysteries.
Here’s the cover of Hummus and Homicide. I just love it and it shows the grapevine, the hummus and shish kebab on the table, the skull and crossbones on the check, and even the family calico cat.
I also enjoy cooking, and I want to share my own award-winning recipe for hummus. I make it weekly at home for the kids and the husband. It can be served as a dip with wedges of pita bread or vegetables, and goes well with broiled or grilled meat. It can also be used as a healthy alternative to mayonnaise on sandwiches.
Tina’s Hummus Recipe:
1 can (15 ounces) chick peas
3½ teaspoons tahini (sesame seed puree)
3 cloves minced garlic (1½ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Drain can of chick peas and reserve ¼ cup fluid. Mix tahini thoroughly before using to incorporate oil that separates during storage. Using a food processor or blender, combine and blend all ingredients until smooth. If hummus is too thick, add a few tablespoons of reserved fluid from chick peas and blend again. Pour into serving platter. Enjoy!
Thank you for reading my post about my upcoming Kebab Kitchen cozy mystery series. I value my readers!
“A delectable read.” —Bestselling author Shelley Freydont
When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu . . .
Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now.
She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it’s homicide, and Lucy’s the number one suspect . . .