Peach Green Tea Ice Cream

October 30th, 2014 12:57 pm by Kelly Garbato

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One of my all-time favorite flavors of green tea (second only to *maybe* jasmine) is peach. Recently it occurred to me that I’ve yet to make peach green tea ice cream, an oversight I took to rectifying immediately. Luckily, it was pretty simple: just process some canned peaches and syrup into a slurry and use it in place of the soy milk. Peach Green Tea Ice Cream in a jiff!

If this was the beginning of summer, I might have used fresh roasted peaches in place of the canned stuff. Sadly, it is not. (Sob. Snow is just around the corner, y’all! Get me some sun lamps stat!) But feel free to use ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

Also, 1 1/4 cups (or 1 cup post-processing) is about six slices shy of a full 15 ounce can. I was tempted to use the whole shebang, but worried that it’d be too much batter for my one-quart machine to handle. It can be hard to tell, since some batter expands more than others when frozen. As it turns out, it fit with very little room to spare. If your bowl is larger than mine, go ahead and use the full can. Or don’t! The leftover slices taste amazing when served alongside the finished product.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2014-10-29

October 30th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: And They Lived: A Short Story Anthology Sabrina Zbasnik (2014)

October 29th, 2014 12:20 pm by Kelly Garbato

Love the Feminist Fairy Tale Retellings!

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review though Library Thing’s Member Giveaways program. Also, minor spoiler alert for the story summaries below. I tried not to include any major reveals, but if you’d rather approach this anthology with fresh eyes, skip the play-by-plays.)

The description for And They Lived – a collection of nine short stories by Sabrina Zbasnik – sucked me in immediately: “And They Lived isn’t just a dark turn and modernization of the fairy tales. It gives power back to the powerless in the classic stories. Women are no longer the victims and their story doesn’t end with true love’s kiss.” Feminist retellings of fairy tale classics? Sign me up!

While the book’s synopsis says that there are eight stories included here, the review copy I received from the author actually contains nine tales:

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2014-10-28

October 29th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiana Topping

October 28th, 2014 11:27 am by Kelly Garbato

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You guys, this might be my favorite Vegan Eats World soup yet! It’s super-hearty, with farro wheat berries (my first ever time trying them! and they are AWESOME!), tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and cannelini beans (or great white northern, in my case; forgot to go shopping, OOPS!). Spinach or escarole is optional; I shredded mine into little itty bitty pieces so it wouldn’t get all wilty and slimy. (HATE cooked leafy greens.) It gave the soup a nice, festive Christmasy feel and kind of overruled the need for parsley. Way tasty, all around.

The topping is an Ethiopian/Mediterranean mashup involving cooked chickpea flour and lemon juice to make a tangy, parmesan-like garnish. It pairs most excellently with the soup and adds an unexpected kick. So good!

I’ve already claimed dibs on the leftovers.

tweets for 2014-10-27

October 28th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: My Year of Meats, Ruth Ozeki (1998)

October 27th, 2014 12:56 pm by Kelly Garbato

“Meat is the Message”

four out of five stars

(Trigger warning for violence against women and animals, including sexual assault and rape.)

When Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job–producing a Japanese television show sponsored by BEEF-EX, an organization promoting the export of U.S. meats–she takes her crew on the road in search of all-American wives cooking all-American meat. Over the course of filming, though, Jane makes a few troubling discoveries about both. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, in Japan, Akiko Ueno watches My American Wife! and diligently prepares Coca-Cola Roast and Panfried Prairie Oysters for her husband, John, (the ad-agency rep for the show’s sponsor). As Akiko fills out his questionnaires, rating each show on Authenticity, Wholesomeness, and Deliciousness of Meat, certain ominous questions about her own life–and the fact that after each meal she has to go to the bathroom and throw up–begin to surface. A tale of love, global media, and the extraordinary events in the lives of two ordinary women, counterpointed by Sei Shonagon’s vibrant commentary, this first novel by filmmaker Ruth L. Ozeki–as insightful and moving as the novels of Amy Tan, as original as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. or John Irving–is a sparkling and original debut from a major new talent.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats. On impulse, I picked up a copy of the original hardcover edition at the dollar store. That was nearly a decade ago; in the intervening years I hemmed and hawed and wondered whether I really wanted to read a fictionalized account of a documentarian hired to promote meat – feed lots, kill floors, and all – after all. (I’m a vegan, and have devoured my fair share of nonfiction books about the animal agriculture industry already. Enough is enough.)

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2014-10-26

October 27th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: “If at First…,” Peter F. Hamilton (2011)

October 26th, 2014 1:07 pm by Kelly Garbato

A Crime Story with a Twist

four out of five stars

When tech genius Marcus Orthew’s Richmond research center is broken into by longtime stalker Toby Jensen, the case lands on the desk of Metropolitan Police Chief Detective David Lanson. Long since disillusioned by his job – which seems to be little more than filling out paperwork and verifying insurance claims – the Jensen case promises to be a career-changer. Literally.

In the interrogation room, Jensen makes some rather outlandish claims. Chief among them: that his boyhood friend Orthew is building a time machine. Instead of sending himself back in time, soon-to-be 50-year-old Orthew transmitted information – his consciousness – allowing his past self access to technologies and information that don’t yet exist. While the man is indeed a genius, his exorbitant wealth and success wouldn’t have been possible without the unfair advantages afforded him through time travel. And with continual use of the machine, he’s just a few buttons away from becoming a god among men.

While lieutenants Paul Mathews and Carmen Galloway dismiss Jensen as crazy, Lanson is unsettled by the circumstantial – yet creepy – evidence he brings to the table. Against his better judgment, Lanson gets a warrant for Orthew’s second lab…and that’s when his world goes sideways.

“If at First” is an enjoyable story with a couple of unexpected twists. What starts out as a tale from the hardboiled detective book quickly morphs into a science fiction/time travel story, and Hamilton continues to throw wrenches into Lanson’s narrative right up until the end. “If at First” would make a hella fun movie.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2014-10-25

October 26th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: “Last Woman On Earth,” C.V. Hunt (2013)

October 25th, 2014 12:57 pm by Kelly Garbato

Perfectly Grim & Melancholic

four out of five stars

(Trigger warning for suicide and allusions to rape.)

“Last Woman On Earth” opens in a most unusual way: that is, with a brief primer on hanging techniques. The narrator is, as far as she can tell, the last woman on earth, and it’s a burden she’s long since tired of shouldering. She aims to kill herself, but not after enjoying one last sunrise and sunset from high atop the Seattle Space Needle.

In this distant future, the apocalypse arrives on the back of science: after generations of “pump[ing] their bodies full of contraceptives,” women’s reproductive systems have evolved into a state of persistent infertility. The declining birth rate affords men yet another excuse to exploit women – women’s bodies being the means of production, the very stuff of life – and women once again become the hunted. Kidnapping, rape, and human trafficking are at best overlooked in the name of saving the latest endangered species – us. So it’s no surprise when, during her final suicide trek to the West Coast, the narrator turns away from the only human she spots on the road – a man. It’s perilous to be a dwindling natural resource, after all.

For such a short story, “Last Woman On Earth” packs quite a punch. My only complaint? The author’s use of “rape” to denote something that is not rape (environmental degradation) – an especially egregious affront considering the theme of the story.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2014-10-24

October 25th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Ice Massacre, Tiana Warner (2014)

October 24th, 2014 12:41 pm by Kelly Garbato

Killer Mermaids and Warrior Women of Color!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program. Also, there are clearly marked spoilers towards the end of this review.)

Meela can’t remember a time when her people – the inhabitants of Eriana Kwai, a small island situated off the coast of Alaska – weren’t at war. For all of her eighteen years, The Massacre has been a yearly ritual: every May, twenty young men set sail for the Aleutian Islands, where their adversaries’ nest is believed to be located. Their objective? To slaughter as many “sea rats” as possible, in hopes of decimating their population and returning peace and prosperity to Eriana Kwai.

For the past several decades, an influx of mermaids has dominated the Pacific Ocean, consuming its sea life, attacking ships bound to and from Eriana Kwai, and occasionally even invading the island’s beaches. As a result, this formerly prosperous island has become increasingly dependent on handouts from the mainland. Its four thousand inhabitants are poor, starving, and desperate. With each year’s Massacre less successful than the last, Anyo the training master makes a bold suggestion: send young women to battle the mermaids. Unlike men, they aren’t susceptible to their supernatural charms.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2014-10-23

October 24th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew and Oven Pommes Frites

October 23rd, 2014 12:42 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Continuing with our “enough onions to cry a small army to sleep” theme is this Beer-Bathed Seitan Stew from Vegan Eats World. This one’s got 3 yellow onions – a full pound and a half! My eyes were aching for hours after dinner, no lie. Even though I cheated and just used two onions. I KNOW I AM THE WORST.

Also present: carrots, homemade seitan, dark beer (vegan, of course!), mushrooms, and various spices and seasonings including but not limited to thyme (a ten on the savory spectrum), brown sugar, and tomato paste.

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The broth is quite gravy-like, making this stew the perfect topping (or dip!) for oven-baked fries. I don’t know why I don’t make my own fries more often, y’all; do it right, and they are tastier than the frozen stuff by far.

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Shane was nice enough to make the Seitan Coriander Cutlets ahead of time, along with a batch of 5-Spice Seitan for his own snacking needs. (He likes to put them in burritos, along with some rice and beans.) The former are oven-baked while the latter recipe uses a steamer. He was happy with the results, but wasn’t so crazy about the amount of aluminum foil he burned through. Experiments with boiling the cutlets are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

tweets for 2014-10-22

October 23rd, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Camp Utopia and The Forgiveness Diet, Jenny Ruden (2014)

October 22nd, 2014 12:41 pm by Kelly Garbato

“Beauty settles in the flaws.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through the Goodreads First Reads program.)

Fifteen-year-old Bethany Stern’s life is a mess. She’s not-so-secretly in love with her next-door neighbor and best friend, Toby Jacobson (TJ for short), who doesn’t feel the same. An aspiring magician two years her senior, TJ is on the cusp of graduation – after which time he’ll gladly blow town (which is Baltimore, Maryland) to audition for the talent show American Envy. Her older sister Jackie is stuck in unhappy relationship with a pothead named Doug, and their mom Ellen was forced to relocate the family to a poorer area of town after her husband Richard (or “Dick,” as they derisively refer to him) walked out on them twelve years ago. Now he’s got a new wife and twin boys, and he only contacts his daughters on birthdays and holidays…if that. Bethany’s even convinced that Richard Goodman spotted her at Chuck E. Cheese – at her half-brothers’ birthday party, to which she was not invited – and purposefully ignored her because he was ashamed of her weight.

Which brings us to the titular “Camp Utopia” and “The Forgiveness Diet.” Bethany’s tried all manner of diets, with varying success; while sucking on food (but not eating it!) helped her to lose a few lbs, her new look didn’t change TJ’s feelings towards her – so she gained it all back, and then some. When her mother books her a slot (to the tune of $5000) at a “fat camp” hosted on the campus of California University of the Pacific, she makes one last-ditch effort to slim down with the newest fad diet, The Forgiveness Diet. Just write down who you forgive and what for, slip it into the forgiveness jar (or, in Bethany’s case, a discarded fast food bucket), and watch the pounds melt away. Of course, this isn’t what happens; instead, Jackie and Doug accidentally find the notes, thus creating a meltdown of epic proportions on the road trip there.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2014-10-21

October 22nd, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“Like an Egyptian” Lentil Soup

October 21st, 2014 12:29 pm by Kelly Garbato

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The Season of Soups continues with the “Like an Egyptian” Lentil Soup from Vegan Eats World. Super-yummy and easy to make, with lentils (green, brown, black – take your pick!), carrots, fennel (love!), cumin, coriander, and onions.

Lots and lots of onions: one yellow onion, added directly to the soup, and three red onions, caramelized first. My eyes are still recovering from all the onion-induced crying, y’all.

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Looks like BRAAAAAAAINS!
——————————

I kind of cheated, though; my skillet could only easily fit two onions at a time, so I got a little lazy and just went with two red onions. I think it was just about perfect; any more and it might have skewed the onion-to-lentil ratio in favor of the former. Then I’d have to rename this “Like an Egyptian” Onion Soup. So much paperwork.

An interesting side note re: the onions – you cut them in half and then slice them into half-moon shapes. These totes look like noodles once they’re added to the soup. It’s a little disconcerting. But also not a little tasty.

tweets for 2014-10-20

October 21st, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato