Take a Trip to the Jersey Shore with Tina Kashian in Hummus and Homicide

Monthly Edition: 
Ready to solve a mystery while grabbing a bite to eat? Head on down to Kebab Kitchen, right on the Jersey Shore! Hummus and Homicide is the first in Tina Kashian’s Kebab Kitchen Mystery series, and it follows Lucy Berberian as she returns home to her family’s restaurant. Lucy used to work in a Philadelphian law firm, and those skills will come in handy when a murder takes place in the restaurant.
 
Have your magnifying glasses ready? Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at Hummus and Homicide from Tina!
 
Ever since I was a little girl, my parents vacationed at the Jersey shore. When I thought of where to set Hummus and Homicide, the first book in my Kebab Kitchen Mystery series, 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!
 
Hummus and Homicide also takes place at a Mediterranean restaurant. I grew up in the restaurant business where my Armenian-American parents owned a restaurant for thirty years in a small South Jersey town. I worked almost every job — rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager. The tips helped pay for my prom gown. My mother was a talented cook and the grapevine in our backyard was more valued than any rosebush. I’d often come home from school to the delicious aromas of simmering grape leaves, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and shish kebab. Lunch at school would be hummus and pita instead of peanut butter and jelly, at a time when hummus wasn’t as popular as it is now. It wasn’t always fun as a teenager to have an eccentric, ethnic family, but I’ve grown to value my diverse roots and my own colorful cast of family members. In contrast, my husband can almost trace his roots back to the Mayflower. We have two young daughters who have the best of both worlds, and yes, they both know how to make hummus and like it. 
 
Lucy Berberian is the heroine in my Kebab Kitchen series. She leaves her at a Philadelphia law firm, packs her bags, and unwillingly returns home to her family and their restaurant, Kebab Kitchen, at the Jersey shore. A hummus bar is the newest addition and a customer favorite — all types of flavors are offered from roasted red pepper, to apricot, to traditional hummus. Lucy’s avoided home for a while, mostly due to a matchmaking mama and an ex that broke her heart. Her mother is still after her to produce her next grandchild and the ex…well, he’s better looking than before and working as a chef at Kebab Kitchen. Plus, her family’s expectations and smothering can be as thick as the sugar syrup on her mother’s baklava — sticky, sweet, and as effective as super glue. A bonus is staying with her long-time friend, Katie Watson, and returning to the Jersey shore.
 
Things are looking up, until Lucy’s former high school rival turns out to be the new town health inspector.  After listing phony violations at the restaurant, they have a monumental spat. But when she shows up to eat at Kebab Kitchen, Lucy is the unlucky lady who has to wait on her. A crazy day turns deadly when her rival eats at the hummus bar, then drops dead in the parking lot. Suddenly, as suspect number one, Lucy’s in big trouble.
 
I also had great fun coming up with titles. Hummus and Homicide (March 2018), Stabbed in the Baklava (September 2018), and One Feta in the Grave (February 2019). All the titles are puns on food and reflect the light and funny feel of the cozy mysteries. 
 
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!
 
—  Tina Kashian
 
We’re running to our kitchens to try out that recipe! Pre-order your copy of this title from one of these retailers: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Indiebound
 
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