Double Double Cross & Sasha’s Linguini

Sasha was back. She was born in North Louisiana but for the past several years had been an expatriate living in Malta. She returned to visit from time to time. Now she and Darcey were busy in the kitchen.

After a cold, miserable winter with snow almost every day, it was finally warming. The snow was melting. Trent decided to go for a walk to enjoy the bare sidewalks.As he reached a corner, he spotted a face he had seen before. Adrian Rutherford. A killer of the worst sort. He knew the Anchorage cops were constantly on the lookout for the man. He was sitting in his car, a woman standing at the door talking to him. Trent hugged the wall, listening. “I don’t want to kill him,” the woman whined. “I can’t do it.””You don’t have to,” Rutherford said. “I’ll take care of him You just hold him until I get there.” He pressed a semi-automatic into her hand. It had the distinctive shape and gold color of an FN Herstal Tactical 509 nine millimeter. Holding it with two fingers as though it was something dirty, she dropped it into the bag hanging from her shoulder.

Rutherford roared off in his car before Trent could go after him. Instead he called homicide detective Lee Mortimer at APD.”An old friend of ours, Adrian Rutherford, is back in town,” Trent said when Mortimer answered the phone.

“Where can I find him?” Mortimer said.

“I’m not sure,” Trent replied. “I can only tell you he’s working with a woman. No doubt they have a target in mind. Also no doubt someone is going to wind up dead if we don’t get to them first.”

Trent went quickly upstairs to their penthouse on the top floor of the building, calling out to Darcey as he entered. Leaving Sasha in the kitchen, Darcey responded to the urgency she heard in his voice. She found him in the room in which they kept their weapons. He had selected an FN Herstal Tactical 509, a nine millimeter.

“Arm yourself and keep Sasha busy,” Trent said.

“Are we expecting trouble?” Darcey asked as she selected another version of the FN Herstal Tactical, this one unusual in that it used .45 caliber cartridges rather than the usual nine millimeter common to semi automatics. She slid it into a drawer while Sasha was busy at the stove.

“Just spotted a guy who always means trouble,” Trent said “I already called Lee Mortimer. Not sure what’s going to happen. I just know we better be ready.”

Trent brought the black Escalade from the garage with little hope of catching Rutherford. He drove in circles for a while before giving up and returning to their building. And then he got lucky. As he entered the building he ran into his friend and neighbor Guy Stern, a man Trent knew to be wealthy. Today Guy was as pale as a ghost. Guy barely spoke. He held a small box in thus hands

“Good afternoon, Guy,” Trent greeted hi

Guy only nodded.

Trent ran to the Escalade, anxious to follow the women. He was behind them all the way to the edge of town. Eventually they stopped in a small secluded house. He heard the shots as he got out of the Escalade. He was enraged when he thought his friend had been killed.

He dialed Mortimer, speaking as quietly as he could, telling him he was sure someone had been murdered. His FN Herstal in hand, Trent stepped inside the house. To his surprise, his friend Gus was bound but alive. Rutherford was holding a box of obviously expensive jewelry in his hands. The body of Rutherford’s companion lay dead. Trent had no doubt Gus would be next.

“On your knees, sleasebag,” Trent said, or you’ll get the same treatment your friend got!”

Rutherford swung around to the sound of Trent’s voice, measuring his chances. For a moment Trent thought he would try it with his Smith and Wesson Governor, that unusual revolver that will accommodate both .45 caliber cartridges and .410 shotgun shells. That explained the two shots Trent heard. Rutherford had given his partner one of each. He hoped Rutherford would try him. But he waited too long. APD Homicide Detective Lee Mortimer stepped into the room. He saw the body of Gayle Cobb, Rutherford’s unfortunate partner,”You’re lucky this state doesn’t have a death penalty, Rutherford. “As it is, you’ll be on a walker if you ever get out of jail.”Meanwhile in the kitchen, Sasha was regaling Darcey with the adventures of an expatriate, her weariness of Malta, and her plans to move to Germany. As they talked, Sasha guided Darcey through the dish she had made up one lonely night on Malta.

Sasha’s Linguini

1/2 pound linguini, cooked according to the diections

Far more spinach than seems called for, washed and torn into pieces

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

7 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

5 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Sasha was busy rinsing and tearing spinach leaves. She was working feverishly with far more energy than one would have thought necessary. But she knew when they were tossed in the pot they would shrink to nothing. And so they did.

Under Shasha’s direction, Darcey put half a pound of linguini on to prepare as directed.

Sasha chopped seven sun-dried tomatoes and minced five cloves of garlic. Satisfied that the spinach was rinsed and ready, she tossed it into a bowl, along with the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the minced garlic. .

Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes to a pan along with a quarter cup of white wine, and the lemon juice. Stir the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. The spinach will quickly shrivel. Add the garlic toward the end being careful not to overcook it.

When the linguini is done, use tongs to drop it into the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

As they ate, the ever observant Sasha asked if, next time, she could have a gun, too.

The Mystery of the Scrambled Eggs

Trent Marshall volunteered to make lunch. He and Darcey were visiting Darcey’s mother, Betty Anderson, at the Pines, her ancestral home in Northwest Louisiana’s Sabine Parish.

He made scrambled egg sandwiches for everyone, which, of course, included five year old Kelli and Ivy Ford, the woman who became Trent’s surrogate mother when his own parent died unexpectedly young.

Betty took a bite of her sandwich.

“This is interesting,” she said. “What spice did you use, Trent?”

Trent laughed.

“You’ve been hanging out with detectives long enough, Betty,” he replied. “You figure it out.”

Listening to the conversation, Ivy left her sandwich lying on the plate.

Betty took another bite.

“This is delicious, Ivy,” she said.

“I don’t care,” Ivy said. “I don’t eat nothing if I don’t know what it is.”

Betty thought for a moment, letting the flavors linger on her tongue.

“Cinnamon,” she said, victoriously. “You put cinnamon in the eggs.”

Trent laughed.

“Now you’re a real food detective,” he declared.

“Well, all right then,” Ivy said, taking a bite of her sandwich.

Betty Anderson’s Jalapeno-Horseradish Butter

Darcey Anderson’s mother, Betty, still lives on her family’s ancestral home, the Pines, in North Louisiana’s Sabine Parish. Bordering on Texas, it’s a part of the country with a fascinating history, a region controlled by Spain longer than by France.

Later it was the northern section of the Neutral Strip, a lawless land governed by neither Spain nor the United States. You had to be tough to survive and prosper in the Neutral Strip. Betty’s family, the Belmonts, were tough. Darcey’s father, William Anderson, was equally strong. Darcey comes from good stock.

William was fond of spicy food. The hotter the better was his philosophy. Betty came to share her husband’s taste and was happy to prepare meals to suit. It was the food Darcey ate as she was growing up.

Like many country women, Betty keeps a garden. She raises the usual produce. Collards. Onions. Carrots. Jalapenos. Horseradish root. Yes. Horseradish root. A few gardeners in the parish raise jalapenos or other peppers. Betty is probably the only one growing horseradish root. And it is one of her favorite ingredients.

After she lost her husband, Betty assuaged her grief and occupied her time by joining several clubs in the small town near the Pines.

“You’ll join any club that will let you be president, Mom,” Darcey teased.

Betty laughed and said her daughter was right.

Betty especially liked the Red Hat organization when it came along. Under their rules, if you form a chapter you get to be queen for life. Betty immediately formed a club.

Like many who live alone and lead busy lives, Betty likes to prepare dishes that will give her multiple meals. She often uses a slow cooker when she will be gone for several hours. With the slow cooker, dinner will be ready when she gets home.

Knowing she would be in town most of the day, Betty put a beef chuck roast in the slow cooker. When she got home, it would be fork tender and delicious.

She wanted a sauce to accompany it. Something spicy. She had some horseradish root harvested the previous fall and, thanks to a warm winter, a few jalapenos recently picked. She decided on a jalapeno-horseradish butter.

Roast beef with Betty Anerson’s Jalapeno-Horseradish Butter

With the roast in the slow cooker beginning its day long adventure, she put a head of garlic and a jalapeno in the oven to roast while she got dressed. She would make up the sauce when she got home.

Betty Anderson’s Jalapeno-Horseradish Butter

1 head garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 jalapeno

1 tablespoon grated horseradish

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

salt to taste

To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 400. Cut the tip of the head just enough to expose the ends of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place it on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Lay a jalapeno alongside the garlic. Roast for about forty minutes.

To prepare the spicy butter, squeeze five garlic cloves out of their skins. Save the remainder of the garlic for use another day. Add the roasted cloves to the softened butter.

Mince the roasted jalapeno and add it, along with the grated horseradish root, to the butter. Toss in the lemon zest and salt to taste.

e garlic, minced jalapeno, grated horseradish, lemon zest, and butter well. You can put the mixture in a food processor or blender, if you wish, for a smoother sauce.

To serve, place a dollop of the seasoned butter on a slice of hot roast beef. Allow the butter to melt, letting the seasonings seep into the meat.

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