Tag Archives: YA

Splintered Trout ala Wonderland


Guys, I really don’t know where to start with this one. It’s SO GOOD, and I don’t want to give anything away. I guess I could start with the basics- Splintered, by A.G. Howard, is a dark, twisted homage to Lewis Carroll.

The book opens with Alyssa, Alice Liddell’s great-great-great granddaughter, explaining why her art is made of dead bugs. Because when she kills them, they stop speaking to her. All the women in her family have gone mad, and it always starts like this. Poor Alyssa just wants to make art, and skateboard, and hang out with her totes adorbs neighbor Jeb.

Naturally, the fates conspire to dump her into Wonderland. Although in this story, it’s more like Horrorland. I can’t say enough about this creepy, icky translation of the classic novel- it’s phenomenal. And the Caterpillar… GAH. Read this book, guys!!!

There are a couple marvelous food scenes in the book, but I took my inspiration from the Feast of Beasts. The first course is a live goldfish that Alyssa accidentally spills her apple-cinnamon wine on in her disgust. In the interest of less flippiness on your plate, I went with a cooked trout. If you’re after more authenticity, I bet the sauce would be super tasty on salmon sashimi.

Splintered Trout ala Wonderland

2 large fillets of rainbow trout
3/4 c apple juice or cider (100%)
1 Tb butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Lightly salt the fish fillets. Heat the apple juice in a shallow pan until simmering. Add the fish, and poach for 2-3 minutes, or barely cooked through. Remove the fish and turn the heat up to high.

Seriously, watch it the whole time, reductions can go awry in no time at all! Reduce the juice to about 3 Tb, turn off the heat, add the butter and cinnamon.

Spoon over the fish. Serves you and one romantic netherling- neighbor! I meant neighbor! (No I didn’t. Team Morpheus!)

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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Ever Angel Wings


Ever has been in love with her best friend Frankie since she can remember. They spend every day together, hang out on the weekends, and her parents love him, so that’s great. The part where he’s a ghost because Frankie died 2 years ago, that part’s less great.

Ever is the first of Jessa Russo’s paranormal trilogy. Because just dealing with her unrequited love for a dead guy isn’t enough, Ever also has to contend with her feelings for the mysterious hot guy who moves into Frankie’s old house. And by mysterious, I mean PLOT TWISTS! But no spoilers here.

Did I mention Hot Neighbor Toby has a giant angel wing tattoo? Between that and the Frankie situation, I was inspired to make Angel Wings for this one. If your grocer is out of angels, you can use chicken though. It’s cheaper.

Ever Angel Wings


6 chicken wings
1 big slice angel food cake
1 egg
1 Tb heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt

Angel Sauce

2 Tb butter
1 minced clove garlic
1/4 c grated Parmesan
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb heavy cream

Set your oven to broil, and slice up the angel food cake into a few pieces. Oh so carefully toast them in the oven until they are golden brown. Toss them in a food processor and turn them into angel crumbs. Put them in a bowl. Turn the oven down to 400.

In another bowl, mix your egg, cream, and salt. Dip the wings first in the egg mix, then in the angel crumbs, and transfer to a foil-lined and oil-sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once.

While they cook, combine all your sauce ingredients in a little saucepan and gently heat. I just left mine on the “melt” setting for the entire 25 minutes. Top your angel wings with angel sauce and enjoy, you little devil, you.

Serves 2-3 lovesick teenagers.

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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Salad of the Gods


So when a book takes place in Greece, you just know the food will be good, don’t you? Children of the Gods, by the (gorgeous and talented) Tristina Wright does not disappoint. There’s cheese and olives and fruit and grape rolls… Oh! There’s also a plot. I get carried away sometimes.

In a semi-steampunk alternate universe where the descendants of Titans and Olympians obey strict racial segregation, a young couple from opposite sides fall in love. Lucas and Pandora will do anything for each other- and according to the prophecy of the Gorgons, that will be tested.

Lucas’s mother works to abolish segregation, his best friend and Pandora’s father are both avowed racial purists. Drama! Kissing! Fighting! But then- olive salad, and wine-soaked fruit. I used strawberries (frozen, obvi) because Lucas thinks Pandora smells of them.

Salad of the Gods

1 orange
1 lemon
1/3 c nice olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tb crumbled feta
1 lb assorted olives, capers, pepperoncinis

2 Tb honey
2 Tb white wine
1 lb fruit of your choice

Peel strips of rind off the lemon and orange and place in a bowl with the olive oil, oregano, and pepper. Let it infuse for 2 hours.

Prepare thy fruit bath- mix the honey and wine with the juice of the orange, and the juice of HALF the lemon. Squeeze the other half into your olive marinade. Toss the fruit on in and let it macerate overnight in the fridge.

Pull the strips of peel out of the oil and discard. Add the olives and feta, stir, and let marinate overnight at room temperature.

Serve with crusty bread, to dip in the leftover oil, and wine.

Tristina’s lovely book has not been published yet, so don’t head to the bookstore looking for it right away!

On that note, I can also tell you that “Heat Rising” by Elizabeth Otto, which we made pizza for last year, has been renamed “The Blood of Isis” and will be released in June! Hooray!


Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Diviners Killer Cocktail


Evie O’Neill is way too big-time for small-town Zenith Ohio. She likes gin, and despite the Prohibition, has no trouble finding it. She likes flapper fashion and boys and dancing. Only, her parents, along with most of the town, are not impressed. When her punishment for a drunken accusation is to go stay with an uncle in New York City, well, Evie thinks this is the beginning of a swell new adventure.

Libba Bray’s The Diviners is chock full of adventure. From her very first mugging to her friendship with a real live Ziegfeld girl to getting her name in the newspaper, Evie is really living! It’s not all giggle water and the Charleston, though. Turns out Uncle Will owns a decaying museum of the occult and supernatural. He is called in to help solve a murder, and Evie tags along.

When she sees the dead girl, Evie realizes her secret gift of psychically “reading” objects could help solve the crime. Except Evie isn’t the only one in New York with special powers. And not everyone uses their powers for good.

The Killer’s Cocktail is swilled at fashionable parties as a way of thumbing one’s nose at the policy’s warnings about a murderer at large. I used a Canadian whiskey, as many New Yorkers would have during prohibition. You are welcome to use any sparkling wine as a topper, from Champagne to Prosecco. I used canned tart pie cherries in water as to not over sweeten the drink. If you prefer maraschinos, have at it.

Diviners Killer Cocktail

1 shot whiskey
1/2 shot triple sec
Splash orange juice
6 canned cherries
Sparkling wine

In a shaker, combine the first four ingredients and shake it like crazy. Alternatively, you could muddle them in your glass, but it will be cloudy. Strain into the stemware of your choice, and top with sparkling wine.

I didn’t think of it in time, but this would be a perfect drink to add a sugar rim to your glass.

Serves one, if you can stop with one!

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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


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I have always been a reader, so naturally I grew up with Anne of Green Gables. About a year ago I re-read the first book. You know? Anne Shirley was kind of annoying. Actually, really annoying. It was kind of crushing, to lose that bit of childhood joy.

Then my beloved Aunt Kathie came to my rescue- the entire Betsy-Tacy series. There are ten of them, not nearly enough! You guys, Betsy Ray is the most delightful heroine… I can’t really say “since” anyone, she predates most of them. Why, oh why didn’t I own these as a kid? (Really, mom. Why?)

I won’t attempt to summarize all ten books, since they span a good twenty years. The series follows Betsy, her best friend Tacy, and their third musketeer Tib from age five through marriage. “Lots of things will happen,” says Betsy when they meet. And they do.

One of the more charming Ray Family Traditions is called Sunday Night Lunch. Basically, Mrs. Ray gets the evening off from cooking and Mr. Ray makes sandwiches. What a glorious idea, I thought, and read on (these books are as long on descriptive food scenes as any Little House book) through cold roast chicken, pot roast… Onions. Onion sandwiches. The most popular offering of all, apparently.

I was as disgusted as you are. I couldn’t stop thinking about how gross that was. All that thinking inevitably led to curiosity, and here we are! I made onion sandwiches. I still think I would prefer the beef, but I have to say, they aren’t bad at all! Munch on one of these while enjoying Betsy-Tacy, and I guarantee you’ll forget all about that little twit Anne.


4 Challah, or brioche rolls
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 c white vinegar
Salt and pepper

Slice the onion into 1/4″ rings, and marinate in the vinegar at least a few hours, or overnight. Butter the rolls, and add the onion. Season every inch carefully- Betsy swears that is her father’s secret to the perfect sandwich.

I had seconds the next day with the addition of a tomato slice, and liked it even better. I suspect trading out the butter for mayonnaise could be even more delicious, but the Ray’s would not approve.

Serve with pickles, olives, coffee, and fudge.


Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Cakeshaker


Ok, so I write YA. But I get so frustrated with tons of YA! Why is it predictable? Kids are just as perceptive as adults, maybe more so. That’s the thing that got me so excited about The Boneshaker by Kate Milford. Even when you see what’s coming, the writing, and the manner that things occur is just- delightful.

So first, it happens in Missouri, which is kind of close to my little ex-pat heart. Also, it happens in 1913, and I loves me some historical fiction. And suddenly, there was steampunk! And medicine show carnivals! And possibly sentient machines! Also- bicycles. You guys. You can look up the book-jacket synopsis, but really, what else do you need to know?

I was so charmed by the plucky MC, Natalie, and the offbeat town of Arcane. The supporting characters were even more compelling. And then… Cake. And it was chocolate. And it was topped with hazelnuts. Cake is my weakness. Well, one of them. And chocolate-hazelnut is another (dear Nutella I love you forever but we had to break up because you are no good for me love KT).

So. I give you a cake Natalie would adore- dense, chocolatey, intrinsically moist, and topped with a thin layer of ganache. Note: I realize I am calling for a lot of coconut products here. It’s cause I love them- coconut oil is super healthy and coconut sugar tastes just like powdered caramel. Plus, low GI! That practically means its good for you, right? (be quiet, realists.) You can absolutely sub in olive oil and brown sugar. So without further ado:

The Cakeshaker

1/2 c AP flour
1/2 c almond meal
1/2 c cocoa
2 Tb baking powder (I know. Just do it.)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c plain full-fat yogurt
1 c coconut sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c coconut oil (melted)

1 bar chocolate (your favorite strength, I used 72%
2 Tb cream

1/3 c chopped hazelnuts

Stir the first nine ingredients together as your oven preheats to 350. Spray a 9″ cake pan (or springform) with cooking spray while you wait. Pour the batter in and bake for 30-40 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.

Let the cake cool! All the way! And then, heat your cream in a small saucepan. (you can do this in the microwave if you are nervous about burning it.) Turn off the heat once it begins bubbling, and stir in the chocolate. Once it’s smooth, spread it over the cake. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the cake. Be sure to do some bicycling post-cake.


Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Starter SuperTruffles

Our inaugural book is called “Starters”, by Lissa Price. This is a badass YA dystopian (as opposed to the less cool ones, of which there are plenty) about a girl named Callie. She is 16, tough, and one of a dying breed: young people? A future world war resulted in a viral attack that killed the population between 20-60. Modern science has increased the lifespan of “Enders” to 150,+or-. The only option for an unclaimed minor (starter) to make money is to rent their body to an Ender… But what will they do with it?
The only real food mentioned in the novel are Supertruffles: vitamin infused chocolate. To the joy of PMS-ers everywhere, here’s an actually healthy Supertruffle recipe! They taste like chocolate-covered raisins had a baby with a brownie. Did I mention good for ya? You will note in the picture that mine aren’t totally smooth. That’s because I was too impatient to let my cashews soak. If you do, the texture will be much smoother.

1 cup raw cashews, soaked 1 hour, for selenium, zinc, and phosphorous!
1/2 cup nut butter: I used almond, for protein and “good fats”!
1/2 cup cacao ( or baking cocoa), for the antioxidant power!
1/2 cup raw honey (or regular), for digestive health!
1/4 cup maple syrup, full of magnesium!
2 tb coconut flour, fiber-ful!
1tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt

Food processor: this dough is crazy thick. Ball ’em up. Try not to get busted by a Marshal.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


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