Dying For Chocolate: 1 Perfect Staycation


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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to Dying for Chocolate: A Cooking Staycation. Like many travel bloggers, when the pandemic hit, I struggled to figure out what I was going to do with all this time while I was trapped in my apartment.

Fortunately, all the eating I do reviewing restaurants and culinary tours for you has taught me a ton about food. That’s why I decided one of my staycation posts could be about cooking my way though my favorite culinary mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson.

dying for chocolate

Diane Mott Davidson’s books are about an unabashedly food-loving caterer named Goldy Bear. Over the course of the series, you will fall in love with her, her oddball son Arch, her true love Tom Schulz, and her assorted friends and family members. And of course, you’ll fall in deep hate with her abusive ex-husband, John Richard Korman, aka The Jerk.

But most of all, you’ll adore the delicious and unique recipes that are included in each book. That’s why I am going to walk you through an amazing cooking Staycation and show you how to cook each recipe in Dying for Chocolate, the second book in the series.

I’m not going to post the recipes here because you need to buy the book for that. You can do so very easily here. But I will be happy to share with you exactly what tools you need to cook each recipe and how easy or difficult it was.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Chile Relleno Torta

One of Diane Mott Davidson’s specialties are these kinds of crustless yummy cheese-egg dishes. Who doesn’t love cheese and eggs? Together, they are truly a winning combination. And this chile relleno torta is kicked up an extra notch by the addition of canned green chiles and picante sauce.

You can adjust the spice level of the torta just by choosing a milder or spicier sauce. It’s also a totally vegetarian dish, though obviously not vegan. Goldy’s assistant Julian is a vegetarian, so a lot of the recipes in the books are veggie-friendly.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Scout’s Brownies

Even though I like the savory dishes in these books, Diane Mott Davidson’s real forte is her insanely delicious baked goods. In Dying for Chocolate, Goldy has to cater an aphrodisiac dinner, and what makes a better aphrodisiac than chocolate? These decadent brownies could certainly put anyone in a romantic mood. (Although the brownies are named after a cat called Scout, which I don’t think is terribly romantic.)

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Lethal Layers

The lethal layers sound ominous, but they’re actually the other chocolate dessert that Goldy serves at the aphrodisiac dinner. These scrumptious nut-chocolate goodies almost literally melt in the mouth, and they do pair perfectly with Scout’s Brownies if you’re going for a fancy cookie display for a dinner party.

The only equipment I recommend for the baked goods are these wonderful canisters for storing things like flour and sugar that you need for baked goods. If you keep those kinds of things loose in your house, you can attract creepy-crawlies.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

New Potato Salad

In the book, Goldy makes this new potato salad for a cookout, and it is both simple and delicious. Just look at those snippets of fresh dill! Dill and potatoes are just a classic combination.

Just one small tip for solo diners like me: you cannot freeze potato salad. It will be disgusting.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Montessori Muffins

Goldy created this recipe for Arch’s preschool back when he was little. (Maria Montessori was a famous educator.) They sound healthy–and they are! But they’re also a fantastic and healthy-ish breakfast. These you can freeze and then just heat them up and go in the morning. Nothing could be easier!

Obviously you will need a muffin tin for this. This tin is great because it’s non-stick. You can tell from all the five star reviews it gets.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Goldilocks’ Gourmet Spinach Soup

This is a decadent soup that Goldi makes for a ladies’ luncheon. I know spinach soup sounds like it might be healthy, but I promise this isn’t. It’s full of cream cheese and Swiss cheese–basically a dairy palooza.

With a soup like this, you need a quality pot to saute the mushrooms and things. This one is the perfect size, and it works for a wide variety of recipes.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Strawberry Super Pie

This pie has been my specialty dessert since I was a teenager. I used to have friends beg me to cook it when I was in college. I think it’s the homemade strawberry jam on top that makes it so delicious. Once you go strawberry super pie, you’ll never go back!

You don’t need a ton of special equipment, just this cake pan, which you can see in my photo above.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Schulz’s Guacamole Salad

The guacamole salad is a little unusual for the Goldy books because it’s actually Tom, her teddy bear of a suitor’s, recipe, instead of hers. And Tom is a cop, not a professional chef, so this salad is crazy easy to make! Just jumble together the ingredients, eat, and go!

Spoiler alert: you also should not freeze this salad.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Crustless Jarlsberg Quiche

Diane Mott Davidson’s cheese and egg dishes strike again! But they strike again in a great way because this is even more delicious than the chile torta. My friends in college would all call this a heart attack on a plate and then gobble it all down anyway. You should too!

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Anniversary Burgers

Most of the recipes in Diane Mott Davidson’s books are special occasion dishes or side dishes and desserts, but this is an exception. Even though they are called Anniversary burgers, they’re easy enough so that you can make them every day. They’re just a bit more decadent than your average burger because of the whipped cream, eggs, and bread in the mix.

dying for chocolate

Dying For Chocolate

Dijon Pasta Salad

This dijon pasta salad has a great kick to it and goes perfectly with burgers. These two dishes together would make a fantastic fun family dinner any time, and only the pickiest of eaters wouldn’t enjoy the flavors.

Or if you’re a singleton like me, it would make a fun solo diner any time. Just don’t freeze the pasta salad!

Of course, with any pasta dish, you’ll need a colander. This one is my favorite because it’s super cheap but still works great!

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