Mini-Review: The Killer in Me, Margot Harrison (2016)

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Meh.

three out of five stars

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

(Synopsis via Goodreads.)

DNF at 64%.

Honestly, I just found this book underwhelming. Perhaps my boredom was mainly due to the curse of misplaced expectations: I pictured an antihero in the vein of Alex Craft, but what we get is an indecisive, somewhat timid, and blandly average teenage girl. You know, except for the serial killer whose mind she shares when dreaming.

Making matters worse is the introduction of Nina’s childhood friend/teenage drug dealer, Warren. The story is told from their alternating perspectives, even though Warren really doesn’t add much to the narrative. He has even less of a personality than Nina, and there’s absolutely zero chemistry between the two (though I assume they hook up by the end of the book).

He’s also the one who tries to rationalize Nina’s visions, leading to scene after tedious scene of self-doubt. This also gives rise to some weird plot stuff; for example, even though there’s never been any question in Nina’s mind that her connection to Dylan only goes one way, she sets up a series of tests to see if she can trick him into acknowledging her existence. Like, why though? They…don’t prove anything?

Anyway, the book isn’t terrible; I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough about anyone to finish it. I think if you shaved 100 pages off you’d have a much more tense and compelling psychological thriller.

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

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Book Review: The Walls Around Us, Nova Ren Suma (2015)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Dark, Haunting, Beautiful – One of My Favorites of 2015

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received an ARC for review from book blogger Miss Print. Also, trigger warning for sexual harassment and allusions to rape.)

Home is where the heart is, and where the hell is, and where the hate is, and where the hopelessness is. Which made Aurora Hills pretty much like home.

Amber Smith is a little more than three years into four-year sentence at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center for manslaughter. After she ages out, she’ll be transferred to an adult prison for killing her abusive stepfather, a crime she may or may not have committed at the tender age of thirteen.

Then one hot, humid August night, the cell doors come open – and for a few glorious hours (no one quite knows how long the power was out and the COs caught unawares; it’s as though time has stopped, or lost all meaning), the forty-one girls housed at Aurora Hills get a taste of the freedom long denied them. Some, like Amber’s cellmate D’amour, make a run for it – only to be carved open by the barbed wire atop the first fence, and then burned to a crisp by the middle, electrified fence. Others overtake the various wings – A, B, C, even D, which houses the suicides – ransacking the canteen and causing general mayhem.

But Amber? Despite her protestations that none of them are special (“…the exact opposite of special. We were bad. Broken. It was up to the state to rehabilitate us into something worthy, if it even could.”), that night Amber is afforded something very special indeed: a glimpse of their future.

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V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0008)

WOW. Like I’ve seriously been sitting here at my keyboard for five minutes, trying to think of something, anything, to say about this Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie from Betty Goes Vegan, and this is all I can come up with. Just, wow.

I mean, talk about yer vegan comfort foods. This is basically just a giant plate of junk food. And I mean that in the best way possible!

The “crust” is a blend of vegan ground beef (Lightlife, in my case), bread crumbs, A1 steak sauce (A rather common ingredient in Betty Goes Vegan! I bought a bottle just for this cookbook!), red onions, and some other goodies.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0001)

Press it into a pie plate, bake until golden brown (the directions say five minutes, but I easily tripled that), and then add the potato “filling.”

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

Baked potatoes, mashed into creamy goodness (skins and all!), and seasoned with garlic, nutritional yeast, and veggie broth, then mixed with bacon bits and cheddar cheese.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

Top with more cheddar, bake until gooey, and dinner is served!

Garnish with tomatoes, pickles, french friend onions, or legit onion rings. (That last is my idea. I tried it with the leftovers and it was hnnng!)

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0021)

Totally worth the twenty dishes it generated. Okay, I’m exaggerating. We’ll call it a baker’s dozen.

And now for the obligatory Dean Winchester gif. BECAUSE PIE!

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Updated to add: Vegan MoFo central is giving away a copy of Betty Goes Vegan to five lucky readers as we speak! Talk about serendipity. Go enter here.

 
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Mary & John & Ellen & Bobby

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

I initially published this on tumblr, in response to a question I got about misogyny in Supernatural. (I’d go back and find a link, but I forgot to tag the post, and tumblr doesn’t exactly make it easy to search a blog so NEVERMIND! tumblr, ugh.) Anyway, I’m crossposting here because I like to have my stuff all in one place and don’t exactly trust tumblr not to delete my blog willy-nilly and hope to do more pop culture blogging here anyway. So yeah reasons.

And if you’re into this sort of criticism, there’s this new blog I’m totally digging that you should check out called Feminist Supernatural. Submit an insightful comments, get a pie!

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A family “Team Free Will” portrait.
Left to right: Castiel, Sam, Ellen, Dean, Jo, and Bobby.
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(Ooops! When I was writing this for some reason I’d assumed that you were also a fan, so my answer is full of spoilers and specifics. To sum it up for non-fans: I wouldn’t say that Supernatural is super-misogynist – definitely not more so than most of the other stuff on tv – but it could definitely use some improvement, particularly when it comes to the representation of women (see #1). More roles, more screen time, more diversity of characters and fuller character development. Ditto for people of color and LGBTQ persons. SPN can be problematic – just based on my veganism alone, most all entertainment is problematic in some way – but I love it just the same.)

Hi! Yes! One could easily write an entire book about gender politics & SPN (someone write this book please!), so I’ll just stick to a few general examples.

1 – Representation. This is by and large a show about men and their relationships with each other. Women are mostly relegated to one of three roles (which aren’t always mutually exclusive): demons/witches/other baddies, damsels in distress, and love interests. (I actually think the show’s improved on this front in more recent seasons, Charlie and Chrissy being two notable exceptions.) If you’re a reasonably attractive damsel between the ages of 18 and 35, Dean will try to fuck you (and even if you’ve got more pressing things to deal with). If you’re unlucky enough to hook up with Sam, most likely you’ll die a brutal, gruesome death. (Hence the graphic to which I think you’re referring.) Granted, this is a show with a high body count, but on average I think the men tend to outlast the women, and get more screen time too. Many of the women significant to Sam and Dean mainly seem to function as vehicles to propel their stories forward (see e.g. Mary, Jess, Madison). I don’t think I’ve ever tried rating SPN using the Bechdel Test, but I bet that many episodes would fail.

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Chocolate Grape Soft Serve

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

2013-03-02 - Chocolate Grape Soft Serve - 0001

So this recipe came into being one afternoon when, upon rummaging through the fridge, I discovered that there were no fewer than five jars of jam taking up valuable real estate on the door. Of all the flavors – cherry, raspberry, strawberry, apricot, and grape – it was the combination of grape and chocolate that most appealed to me. I mean, they make chocolate covered grape truffles, right? And so Chocolate Grape Soft Serve was born!

One half of a cup of jelly results in a grape flavor that’s subtle yet distinguishable. Use more or less according to your own tastes. Since the jelly has sugar, it’s doubtful that you’ll need to add any extra sweeteners – but if you do, go with maple syrup or agave nectar. The liquid really helps to get things moving.

Photographed with my adorable Halloween plate since it really hasn’t gotten much play, seeing as I bough it during the 2012 post-autumn clearance sale – and with a ginormous Supernatural coffee table book in the background, because it matches in both colors and content. Witches and ghosts and familiars, oh my!

2013-03-02 - Chocolate Grape Soft Serve - 0001

Chocolate Grape Soft Serve

(Makes about a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup of grape jelly
more maple syrup or another vegan sweetener, if needed
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed

Directions

1. Place the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

2. Add the cocoa powder and jelly and pulse until blended. Sample the batter to taste an add extra cocoa powder or jelly to taste. If the ice cream isn’t sweet enough, add a little sweetener; maple syrup works well here!

3. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

Eat to the Beat: The Best of Vegan MoFo & Survivor

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

 

The song: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor – with an extra-special performance by Jensen Ackles (lyrics)

The foodstuff: My favorites!

The connection: These mofos took to the tubes and rocked the internets. Or something.

 

Vegan MoFo 2012 Favorites

Thirteen of my favorite foods from the month. (Just thirteen!?!)
Jump to the bottom of the post for links and stuff!
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In Vegan MoFos past, I sometimes did a link roundup, usually once a week as a sort of cheater-slash-filler post. (Which, weirdly, always required more time than making an actual meal. Go figure!) Since it didn’t quite fit in with this year’s theme, I decided to scrap the roundup – but not altogether. No way! This year’s Vegan MoFo feed saw some pretty amazing creations – and why not share the love?

So behold! My mega-supersized-gargantunormous Best of Vegan MoFo link roundup. Set to “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, because I WILL NOT BREAK THEME! And, hello, does a more kickass song exist?

As per my mini Supernatural sub-theme, at the end of this post you will find a video of Jensen Ackles, playing Dean Winchester, who is lip synching/leading a full choreographed rendition of “Eye of the Tiger,” to hilarious comedic effect. (P.S. Dean has dermatitis due to ghost sickness, hence the still.) Don’t say I never did anything for ya.

Also, stick around for the Vegan MoFo B-Sides, which I’ll be posting in the next few days. After which time I shall collapse into bed with the shades drawn and not cook or bake or so much as mash a potato for the next month. (Joking! I’m already planning my menu for Vegan MoFo III. YOU HAVE CREATED A MONSTER!)

 

Recipes (aka, Kelly’s To-Do List)

  • VerRAWnica’s “Unfried” Green Tomatoes wins for being the very first recipe I bookmarked. (Spoiler alert! I already tried it! The post is in the queue.)
  • Two words: Macaroni Pie. Jenny, will you marry me?
  • Two more words: Speculoos Pudding. DYING.
  • Eyeball Salsa, Coffin Sandwiches, and Witch Fingers, oh my!
  • Kalamata Olive, Garlic and Celtic Sea Salt Focaccia Bread via mama et de bébé hawk. You had me at “Kalamata,” but the “Focaccia” sure doesn’t hurt any!
  • Also from mama et de bébé hawk: Butternut Squash Doughnuts with Apple Cider Glaze. They were featured in a Vegan MoFo roundup, so you know they’re quality.
  • Veganosaurus dined on Spaghetti and Neat Balls. Mmmm, balls.
  • Didya see Snarky Vegan’s sweet & savory ball roundup? There are enough recipes to keep a vegan in balls clear through Christmas!
  • This Sun Dried Tomato Macadamia Nut Ricotta from The Naked Kitchen sounds like it’d go great with sourdough bread. Which is good, ’cause all my home grown tomatoes are gone. (No more garden-fresh bruschetta, boo!)
  • Scare your kids with Dirt Cake! I don’t have kids, but this one’s still going on the to-do list.
  • Vegan Bailey’s! The husband is all over this one.
  • Veggie Fixation made a “Bloody Horror” Halloween Cake for zher boyfriend’s birthday. October birthday, want!
  • Rhea at the “V” Word had fun (delicious, delicious fun) imagining what celebrity chefs might make if they were vegan. My favorite concoction? Bobby Flay and The Eggplant Crunchburger. Ugh, I’m salivating on my keyboard just thinking about it.
  • The Sweetest Vegan made a Double Bacon Cheeseburger with a homemade Vegan Black Bean Burger Pattie Recipe. Sign me up!
  • Who put broccoli in my cheesy casserole? Just joshing, this Cheezy-Creamy Broccoli Casserole at Vegan4One makes my tummy rumble.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles. I can do this! CAN AND MUST.
  • Homemade Chai In [Amanda’s] Vegan Garden. Don’t mind if I do!
  • Also at In My Vegan Garden: Pizza Night! This one doesn’t have a recipe, but I love it just the same.
  • Nach-yo-average Nacho Dip. KZ Cakes, you slay me. Let’s get together and eat cupcakes and and make hilarious food puns all day?
  • Nanaimo Bars! I’d never even heard of these before today, but now I don’t think I can live another moment without them. HALP!
  • Peanut Butter Blondies with Homemade Almond Paste! Wing-It Vegan, you are an evil vegan junk food genius. (No, seriously. Check out her Halloweegan recipes!)
  • In a very special edition of Two for Tuesday, Just the Food shares recipes for Buffalo Mac Salad AND Beefy Cheesy Mac. This might be the carbs talking, but I’m swooning over here.
  • Yet another mac & cheese imma hafta try: Baked Bacon Mac & Cheese from The Unintentional Vegan. You people are killing me!
  • Vegan pumpkin spice caramel popcorn – Note to self: remind me to whip up a batch of this magic the next time we go to the drive-in.
  • Talk about yer savory brunch foods! I’m dying to try the Garlic Basil Waffles with Roasted Tomatoes dreamed up by Muffin Topped. (Also, awesome blog name is awesome.)
  • Vegan Spaghetti-Os! I never had these in my omni days, but I’m def gonna try them now.
  • Vegan Redskin Potato and Kale Gnocchi in a White Wine and Sesame Reduction. I can barely say it, let alone make it. That doesn’t mean I can’t try though!
  • Apple Sticky Buns! I’d say you had me at “buns,” except that’s the last word in the title.
  • Vegan Sparkles lives up to her name with a recipe for Melting Moment cookies. I’ve never heard of them before, but now I can’t hear enough.
  • Smoked Almond Dark Chocolate Turtles, courtesy of Baker Betty. All I can say is WOW.
  • leaves & flours made Caramel Stuffed Mocha Cookies. Caramel on the brain, I has it.
  • Allyson at Manifest Vegan claims to have discovered THE ULTIMATE Fudgy Brownie Recipe. Challenge accepted!
  • These Knishes sound delicious. (See what I did there?)
  • Sea Salt and Vinegar French Fries with Double Double Drive-Thru Burgers with Special Sauce, WHAT. Whaddya think, can I justify buying a whole cookbook just for two recipes?
  • Pasta with Lemon-Basil Cashew Cream Sauce, why you look so good?
  • Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns! In the crock pot! You will de-virginize my slow cooker, new favorite recipe.
  • Speaking of crock pots: Robin Robertson, author of The Vegan Slow Cooker, shared her recipe for Lasagna Primavera. YUM!
  • Applesauce in the slow cooker! Will wonders never cease?
  • It’s beginning to feel a lot like Corn Chowder weather!
  • Snowballs! The yummy kind!
  • For Ladies’ Night, Vegan Fling served up Soft Pretzel Bites. Hey I just met you and this is crazy, but let’s watch Mallrats while you feed me Pretzel Bites maybe?
  • No? How about some obscenely naughty looking milkshakes then?
  • KZ Cakes made some cozy looking tortellini. BY HAND! Where are all these awesome crafty vegans and why aren’t they in my kitchen?
  • More pasta, this time in salad form. I’d like to see Kramer make a Gemelli Giamatti, mkay. THEN I SHALL CONSUME HIM.
  • AGAIN with pasta! (But this recipe from Snarky Vegan? Too good to pass up!): Baked Ziti with TWO cheeses and kale! TWO cheeses! That’s, like double the cheese!
  • Vegan. Butterfinger. Candy. hell yeah it’s vegan!
  • Lisa at Vegan Culinary Crusade made the most adorable Peppermint Stars to put in her hot chocolate. Cue: cuteness coma.
  • Raw Apple Pie @ the Real Meal! This is perfect for me because apples!
  • The Veggie Girl has a healthy apple crisp that I’ve GOT to try.
  • Your Mom’s A Vegan (I wish!) comes bearing sugar apples. Simple and (I’m sure) delicious. Two more apples down, five boxes to go!
  • Bite me, I’m vegan Apple Fritters. THE END.
  • (More below the fold…)

    Eat to the Beat: Not-Pot Brownies & Willie Nelson

    Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

     

    The song: “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” by Willie Nelson (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Not-Pot (it’s Thyme, yo!) Chocolate Chip Brownies (recipe below)

    The connection: Weed. Pot. Dope. Grass. Ganja. THC. Cannabis. Skunk. Hash. Mary Jane. Chris Christie. Mexican Lung Confetti.

     

    Liberal activist. Long-haired hippie. Lovable stoner. Country rock legend. What can you say about Willie Nelson other than FUCK YEAH!? (Or, perhaps more to the point, I wish he’d adopt one of my parents so I could have the coolest grandfather of all time?) Nothing, that’s what. He’s Willie Fucking Nelson!

     

    Not-Pot Brownies (b-0021)

    With denim, cuz that’s how Willie rolls.
    ——————————

    When I think of Willie – in the context of food, that is – the first thing to come to mind is a big, fat pot brownie. Or a space cake. Or maybe a hash cookie. Basically all the foods with the drugs. (As it turns out, there’s quite a few of ’em!) So in Willie’s honor, I’d like to share with you a batch of Chocolate Chip Brownies. But they’ll have to be Not-Pot Brownies, seeing as my state doesn’t have a medical marijuana law (boo!).

    While oregano is the usual hilarious prop stand-in for pot, I chose thyme since it goes well with chocolate. That’s what a chef told me, anyway, when I accidentally put thyme on my chocolate coconut milk ice cream and posted the evidence for its comedic value.

     

    Chocolate Sprinkles vs. Thyme (0001)

    Exhibit A in my case against Edward & Sons.
    ——————————

    (Not my fault! I was going for the chocolate sprinkles and grabbed the thyme by accident, on accounta Edward & Sons puts their sprinkles in these ridiculous little cellophane packages and I needed a container to store them after they were opened because the bag isn’t resealable and so I used an old spice container that’s identical to the thyme and you do the math! Like I said not my fault! Okay, maybe 20%. But that’s all I’ll concede!)

    And she was totes right. These brownies are pretty damned tasty. I started with my old stand-by brownie recipe (anyone remember this from last MoFo’s Iron Chef? Bueller?) and added some ground thyme to taste – as well as dried thyme to garnish. That easy! I imagine that baking with pot is a little tougher, but probably you don’t care because POT. Everything is rainbows and unicorn farts.

    This brownie recipe is a little on the cakey side, so if you prefer your brownies chewy or fudgey or whatnot, just add a teaspoon of ground thyme to your own favorite version for the same effect.

    As far as the tunes go, any Willie Nelson song is a fine choice because WILLIE NELSON. In keeping with my unofficial, not-quite-a-theme, mini-Supernatural-theme-within-a-theme, I’m going with “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” tearfully dedicated to Cas and Dean.

     


     

    THEIR LOVE IS LEGENDARY!

    (More below the fold…)

    Eat to the Beat: South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce & Beck

    Tuesday, October 16th, 2012


     

    The song: “Satan Gave Me a Taco” by Beck (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food

    The connection: Feeling hot-hot-hot!

     

    South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0015)

     

    YOU GUYS. I know I say this about all the Vegan Junk Foods, but these tacos are AMAZABALLS.

    Stuffed with cheesy (Daiya AND nooch!), jalapeno-laced mashed potatoes and served with spicy avocado sauce (also with jalapenos!), these are the kind of tacos a vegan Mark Pellegrino might treat you to. (Sans aphids, of course, since bugs aren’t vegan!) When Gold says that these tacos are “South of the Border,” she means way south – think Purgatory or lower.

     

    South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0019)

     

    And did I mention that they’re fried? THEY’RE FRIED, Y’ALL. Fried tacos, what evil genius is this!

    I have a confession to make: because my taste buds are total wimps, I actually cheated a bit and swapped out the jalapenos for green bell peppers in the potato filling. I enjoyed my tacos plain while the mister got all the spicy avocado sauce to himself. And everyone was happy! The recipe is simple enough to adapt for households of mixed-spice tolerance.

     

    South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0012)

     

    I also used a little more nutritional yeast than recommended, and added some water to the potato filling for more of a mashed potatoes feel. I keep calling them “mashed” potatoes but I’m not sure how much they’re supposed to resemble the whipped, creamy goodness of true mashed potatoes. As it stands, you boil the potatoes in small chunks and then transfer them to a skillet, where you mash and cook them with the other goodies: jalapenos, onions, Daiya, nutritional yeast, and I forget what else. Then you stuff it in the tortillas, fold, and fry.

     

    South-of-the-Border Potato Tacos with Avocado Sauce from Vegan Junk Food (0008)

     

    The whole process isn’t nearly as time-intensive as it sounds. The potatoes take a little while to cook – but you can always make the potato filling ahead of time and then reheat it before serving. Or just make the potatoes – they’re one delicious side dish! The frying goes really quick, with less than a minute of cook time per taco. At first I started out doing two at a time, until I discovered that I had more luck with one per batch: it’s easier to concentrate, with more room to move, and it all goes pretty durn fast anyway.

    I meant to photograph my plate with my little devil dog (Peedee the rat terrier!) figurine looking on. But when the time came, I totally forgot – even though I set it right out on my desk (NEXT TO MY CAMERA EVEN!) and everything. So here he is; the devil will not be denied!

     

    Devil Dog (0010)

     

    Fallen Doggeh, tries to lead the mortal dogs into temptation. But with a pile of poo instead of an apple. (The poo represents inappropriate chewing. GO TEAM FREE WILL!)

    On that note: HAPPY TACO TUESDAY, Y’ALL!

     

    veganmofo 2012
    Eat to the Beat

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    Eat to the Beat: Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings & Kansas

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

     

    The song: “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas (lyrics)

    The foodstuff: Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings from Vegan Junk Food (and actual onion rings from the frozen foods section!)

    The connection: The Monster at the End of This Book

     

    ** Danger, danger! Minor spoilers ahead! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. **

    For the longest time (try seven years!) I resisted watching Supernatural, reports of its sheer epic awesomeness be damned. A show about two dudebros (literally! they’re dudes who just happen to be brothers!) doing dudely things while searching for their equally dudely absent father? Ugh, thanks but no thanks. The last thing I need on my TV are more men. More Buffys and Xenas and Nikitas, yes. John/Joan Watson 2.0? Fuck yeah! (I vote Lucy Liu for everything!) But white guys? We’ve got enough of those, don’t you think?

    Alas, I caught a few SPN reruns on TNT and fell in love with it in spite of myself. (The widely acknowledged homoerotic subtext being a ginormous bonus. Gay angels are MY FAVORITE!) Fast-forward four months and the husband and I have already blown through six seasons; Season 7 just became available through Netflix, and we’re eight episodes in. (So no spoilers, okay!) We’d better get a move on, seeing as Season 8 launches on the CW tonight. I predict an SPN marathon this weekend!

     

    Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings from Vegan Junk Food (0023)

    Saving animals, eating things. The family business!
    ——————————

    In honor of the occasion: a little Kansas and a Black Bean Veggie Burger!

    As per Dean – the obedient older son, the “good soldier” who embraces his father’s way of thinking, right down to his style (car: Impala; clothing: black leather jacket) – the SPN soundtrack is super-heavy on the ’70s and ’80s classic rock. Think: AC/DC. Zeppelin. Metallica. Bob Seeger. And Kansas, of course.

    For obvious reasons (see, e.g. THE PLOT), “Carry on My Wayward Son” made its appearance in Season 1, and was used with some frequency in the “previously on Supernatural” opening montages. In later seasons it was replaced by other classic rock standards, but it’s never failed to return for the season finales. If there’s one song I’ve come to associate with the show, this is it – and, judging from the fan vid above, I’m not alone!

    So there are the tunes. What about the food?

    While pie is the obvious – and tempting – choice (shipping Dean with pie is a cult fave in the fandom), I chose the road less traveled with a veggie burger.

    In Season 4, Episode 18, “The Monster at the End of This Book,” Chuck (author of The Book of Winchester – known topside as Supernatural) has a prophecy that Sam will enjoy some sexy time with demon Lilith. This is unequivocally NOT A GOOD THING, as she’s on a quest to break the 66 Seals to spring Lucifer from his cage in Hell. Plus Sam has demon blood pulsing through his veins, and Team Free Will lives in constant fear that he’ll go Dark Side.

    Anyway, in order to prevent Chuck’s vision from coming to fruition, Dean proposes an opposite day: whenever they’re presented with a choice, do exactly the opposite of what they’d normally do. A series of small, seemingly insignificant steps might lead them down a different path. And so, ordering lunch in a diner, Dean forgoes the bacon cheeseburger (world famous: “Oprah’s girlfriend said we have the best bacon cheeseburgers in the country”) in lieu of a “veggie tofu burger.”

    Oh great, I’m thinking. He’s going to get a round disc that resembles cardboard and Dean will take one bite before spitting it across the table and onto Sam because EW TOFU!

    Much to my surprise, Dead is pleasantly surprised by his lunch: “Oh, my god. This is delicious. Tofu is amazing!”

    Score for Team Vegan!

    Except, not so much: ten seconds later the waiter returns to the table. Turns out she gave him the bacon cheeseburger by mistake. You know, Gail’s bacon cheeseburger.

    Dickballs!

    I want to show Dean that a veggie burger need not be a slab of slimy, tasteless tofu. (In fact they never are! It’s an urban legend circulated by defensive omnivores!) Really, vegan burgers aren’t all that diff from non-vegan burgers: some are meh, others are just alright slathered in mustard and mayo and bbq sauce and relish – and others are like tiny little orgasms in your mouth. Ship that!

    So I went searching through all the vegan cookbooks at my disposal and came up with this: the Black Bean Burger with Onion Rings (served with a side of onion rings, natch!) from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. Black beans, bread crumbs, french fried onions, mayo (it’s vegan too!), BBQ sauce, ketchup, chili powder – this baby’s got it all! Unhealthy (though still better for your ticker than an animal meat burger!), decadent, and deliciously trashy, this is the kind of veggie burger non-vegan joints ought to have on their menus!

    (More below the fold…)