Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette

Over the last few weeks, I’ve paced myself. I’ve been running (watching) a very slow marathon, because I didn’t want to finish. It was very much like delayed sexual gratification, only, you know, solo (which I guess could be done, but WHY?), and without any sort of peculiar (to me) rope-tying incidents.  I found myself parceling out my viewings as I did with “Daredevil” and every TED talk that I may want to absorb. I spread the episodes out like legs on a prison bunk.

I think you know where I’m going here.

AHHHHHHH!!!!! THEY’RE BACK!!!

 

Thirteen episodes of “OMG” no, “really?” and “could that happen?” or “I know Ruby Rose must be the BEST way to discuss sexual identity and gender binaries at the moment, but really, I just want to know who does her brows and does she polish her skin with diamond dust, because, REALLY!”

Sure, watching 13 episodes over a couple of weeks may seem an otiose activity to many, (not people who read B2B, obvie. Because, we have, like, goals and shit. Most which involve combining books and Netflix reading/watching on the elliptical. You multi-tasking scamps, you!) but, to those who do….

I mostly wanted a reason to use that image. Also, my son, when at his teeny-tiny Buddhist class/Tai Chi class he heard the Dalai Lama speak, he thought it was Yoda. Unrelated, but adorable.

“Orange is the New Black” just keeps getting better every season. Part of me gets claustrophobic just watching it, but a part of me can’t help but wonder what I’d do in Piper’s position. (not THAT position, you dirty-minded scamps. I think we can all agree I’d be AWESOME at THAT position, regardless of my sexual orientation. ;))

I’m sure, if I found myself in prison, I’d be the worst inmate ever. I wouldn’t stop crying because, obvie, I WAS FRAMED!! I AM INNOCENT!! I’d hate not having my regular routine, and the lack of family–or dudes–would prove overwhelming.

One may think I’m arbitrarily hyper-sexualizing this show. I’m not. The physical connections in “Orange is the New Black” become essential to each of the characters. They are the corollary of the isolation and denial. The fascinating system of hierarchies, favors, and a-typical gender roles in the show are balanced with humor, humanity, and heart. The show is ever-interesting, and ever fresh.

What recipe could I possibly pair with it? I’m obviously NOT making prison food. But, I can play-on words like whoa.

Orange is the New Blackberry vinaigrette.

It’s tangy, it’s seasonal, it’s yum.

orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette

orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette

 

 

Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: appetizer condiment

Ingredients (one jar.)

  • 1/3 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (I use Hampton Creek Just Mayo)
  • 1/2 cup evoo
  • 1/4 cup loose basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions

combine all ingredients and puree in a food processor.

store in an airtight jar.

Powered by Recipage
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Auralgasms #6

Auralgasms.

 

This week’s auralgasm, I’m featuring a narrator who is so ridiculously prolific (almost 600 listings on Audible) I had a difficult time deciding how and when to feature him.

Quick anecdote about the narrator I’m featuring before I dive into my review of his reading, ok? Ok. He’s British–very proper BBC Britty, and so is one of my daughter’s favorite people in the entire world, her Guncle Will. Will is also very proper BBC Britty. (Not always, he’s from the midlands–and used to sound as such. Oxford, Cambridge, and Princeton snipped the country right the fuck out of his accent.)

Anyway–oddly enough, their actual speaking voices are eerily similar. So similar, in fact, that one evening, when I was cleaning the kitchen, and listening to Bleak House on my small speaker on the counter, my daughter popped-up out of bed at eleven at night expecting to see her Guncle Will bringing her a bubble tea and storytime–as is their custom. Now, she’s listening to the young reader’s version of Gulliver’s Travels on audio, and she insists it’s her Guncle Will and not…

Simon Vance

Simon Vance is one of those narrators (along with, perhaps, Dina Pearlman, Davina Porter, and John Lee) whose voice is heard so often, in so many instances, that one sort of accepts it as a piece of the collective consciousness of readers. However, Simon Vance is not simply mellifluous notes imposed on words to carry a tale–no–he is the sort of engaging chameleon who interferes with one’s daily life, because, the soul he gives his characters cleaves to one’s imagination like taffy on an apple.

Honestly, there isn’t a genre he hasn’t narrated. However, the books wherein I feel his artistry is most evident? The classics. I have converted more than one reader who has eschewed the great works of literati past in favor of the sole concentration of contemporary authors, by luring them with the promise of Simon Vance’s quietly explosive performances of Victorian or Edwardian literature.

Me:”You don’t like (insert name of any one of a gajillion books here)? That’s probably because you couldn’t scrape through the text. Here–listen to this.”

Them:”Ok, it turns out I do like (Dickens, Wilde, Wodehouse…).”

{insert a long conversation about whichever.}

Simon Vance brings the past to life in a way that breeds curiosity into whether or not the man is actually a time traveling actor, bridging worlds between the late 1800s in England, and my kitchen, at eleven at night, whilst I’m completing my day’s tidying up.

I think this is his car.

In fact, I’m so very confident in the universal appeal of Simon Vance’s narration, I’m introducing a new series on B2B which his narrating could be a huge factor in.

adoring assigned reading

 

The new series will feature books which may or may not have been assigned to us in High School or college, and which we inevitably cheated ourselves by utilizing Cliff’s notes or the like, and avoided reading them. I will pair each chosen book with a contemporary novel with similar themes or a contemporary author who is greatly inspired by the classical novel/author.

How does Simon Vance play (pun intended) into this? Many–and I mean many of the classics I’ll be exploring have been put to digital by Simon Vance, and even better, many are available in the extremely affordable whispersync pricing through Audible and Amazon.

The classic I’ll be writing about is The Picture of Dorian Gray  by Oscar Wilde, and the pair is Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman.

Now for the recipe.

Ok, I’ll admit, I haven’t a bloody clue what foods Simon Vance may favor. Yes, I have asked narrators in the past for their favorites, but for this Auralgasms post I decided to go with the theme of British literature as opposed to narrating favorite. Why? Ok, the honest answer is that I’m obsessed with this current recipe, and I’m just going to (very possibly wrongly) assume that like all British people (because I’m American and I generalize the fuck out of people from other countries) Simon Vance likes curry. (Honestly–who doesn’t? Ok, I can think of several people, but I’m purposefully ignoring them.)

Curry is superduperpopular in the UK. India, a former piece of the British Empire, salted the country with its culinary influence and left a lasting impression. It’s available pretty much everywhere, in pretty much every incarnation.

here it is…

Creamy Coconut-Curry Almond Butter

It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s so godsdamned good with fig and date jam it’ll make you want to sexytime with a British colonist–bikram style.

creamy coconut-curry almond butter creamy coconut-curry almond butter

creamy coconut-curry almond butter creamy coconut-curry almond butter

 

Creamy Coconut-Curry Almond Butter

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: blender appetizer breakfast condiment sandwich side snack paleo vegan vegetarian

Ingredients (1 jar)

  • 2 cups roasted unsalted almonds (or really, any nuts)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid form
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

devour with your face hole.

Powered by Recipage

Auralgasms #5

Auralgasms.

 

It is no secret that I have mostly reserved my audiobook enjoyment to works of fiction. There is just something about layered voices telling a gripping tale that fills me with a pregnancy of want. Simply put–tell me a story.

ready for my bedtime story. get to it.

However, in the last month, I’ve been absurdly busy with my personal scholarship, and desirous of the words held in the books I wanted to re-read, but my time was limited. My recent conversion to a fully plant-based diet made me want to read the books that held this conviction in my mind.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

In Defense of Food

Salt Sugar Fat

So I decided to throw caution to the wind, and listen to a non-fiction audiobook. I’ve done it before and enjoyed it, with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and The Devil in the White City, but those books are so…gah…not typical–different–almost fiction in the manner in which they’re told. I never really placed those in the same category as other non-fic books.

When I purchased the books I wanted to re-read on audible/scribd, I paid no attention to the narrator. For me, this is akin to Sarah Jessica Parker just “throwing something on” to go to a premiere. I’m fucking picky with my narrators. A bad narrator can RUIN a book for me. I’ll either stop the story and never pick it up again, or I’ll switch to the words on pages version so fast it’ll make your head spin.

The first book I queued up was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s an old favorite of mine. I’ve read and re-read it several times over. It’s one of those books that is the perfect sort of splint for your backbone. It is the gird for my plant-based loins. It answers a simple question: “If I can eat virtually anything, what should I eat?” That’s a BFD.

I downloaded the book and went about preparing dinner. (because, meta-life, yo.) I quietly chopped vegetables as I the words soothed me.

About fifteen minutes into my dinner preparation and reading/listening, I thought to myself homeboy sounds just like Leto Atreideswtf?! Sure enough, scrolling through my library, separated by narrator, I realize HOMEBOY IS LETO ATREIDES. That moment led me to scroll through, and realize he’s also Larson’s narrator, and Moss’s, and damn it all to hell, he’s the narrator of the book I’ve been putting off, (which was hugely and highly rec’d to me by a close friend) The Doll Maker

BTW, I’ve started The Doll Maker, and it’s scaring the fuck out of me–as expected. THANKS FOR THAT.

Who is the narrator?

Scott Brick.

He’s won a few audies, and racked up a fuckton of articles on sites like Audiofile, and the WSJ.

But the real reason to listen to him?

BECAUSE YOU WANT HIM TO READ TO YOU. This is the prevailing theme in my auralgasms posts. Do you want this narrator to read to you, and why?

Obviously, the answer (for me) is yes, or he’d not be featured, but it’s for very specific reasons. To me, Scott Brick’s style of narration harkens back to the golden age of radio. That of Orson Welles and “The War of the Worlds.”  It’s fantastical melodrama. It’s gripping and damn fun. When he narrates nonfic, it’s relaxed and easy to listen to. Even with challenging subject matter–it’s easy to listen to.

I am truly enjoying listening to a book about how we’ve been completely fucked sideways by the tenets of capitalism; and about how big agri-business does not give a single fuck that they put profit above everything–even sick children.  Sure, I’m getting fist-smashingly angry all over again, but not at the narrator or the author–at fucking Cargill and General Mills.

His voice is alarmingly disarming. You just kind of sit back and say, “well, huh. how about that?” Then you keep listening. You’re absolutely compelled to keep listening.

When I was doing research into his narrating life, so that I could design a recipe for this post, I found out something interesting: his partner is THE FUCKING BLENDER GIRL. I mean, I’m a food blogger, of COURSE I follow the blender girl. More than that, he’s FUCKING PLANT-BASED. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! KISMET! It was totally the universe telling me to write this post! 

The recipe was easy to think about after that. I give you the recipe inspired by this narrator:

Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Burgers

(ok, he’s not Cuban, but still…)

 

 

Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Veggie Burgers

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: bake entree sandwich gluten-free kosher vegan vegetarian

Ingredients (9 patties)

  • 1 very ripe plantain
  • 1, 15.5 oz can chickpeas-drained
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • juice of half of a lime
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4-1 cup binder of your choice–breadcrumbs, tortilla crumbs, coconut flour, dry puffed amaranth–ground, etc etc etc

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350

puree plantain with spices in a food processor

add remaining ingredients and pulse until just a bit smoother than very chunky slowly add in binder of your choice, until it looks like you could form it into balls

form into baseball sized balls

flatten into 3/4″ thick patties

place on cookie sheet lined with parchment

bake for 10-15 minutes

serve as you would a traditional burger or in a lettuce wrap

to freeze leftover patties, wrap first in plastic wrap, and then foil, and then place in a ziptop bag.

Powered by Recipage

Run By Fruiting

Over a month ago, I switched my diet to an entirely whole-foods, plant-based diet. I was not strict, had dairy at times, and just yesterday I had a piece of sashimi, I have not yet started truly scrutinizing labels, but there it is.

And–dear G-d do I feel better. I’m not anti-meat. But, BUT, I know the way most Westernized societies consume animal products, and the quality of products they consume, is not sustainable.  It’s also unkind. I don’t want to be unkind. Not to the animals, not to the planet.

I was a vegetarian for ten years, I did it all wrong. I ate a fast-food diet of fries and junk. I ate a fuckton of processed foods. Macaroni and Cheese, canned soups, bottled salad dressing. I gained weight, looked like crap, broke out all of the time. My hormones were INSANE. My PCOS went off the charts. My endometriosis was insanely painful. Again, hormones.

The last few months, I was eating a lot more meat. I was convincing myself that I needed more meat because I was preparing for the Boston Marathon, and damnit, I needed meat, right? Sure, I was feeling more sluggish, but HEY! Training for a marathon, here! Completely normal to feel tired! About three weeks before the marathon, ovary pain kept me up all night. It’s happened before, I know what’s going on when it does.

About a week before Boston, I had one of the worst lady months of my life. Severe pain, nausea, migraines, shaking instability, weakness. I started feeling really, really bad (passing-out, bad) about 3 days before Marathon Monday, so I went to get some blood work done.  My hemoglobin was so low I needed to get a blood transfusion. My hematocrit was pathetic.

Or in my lady basket. Whatevs.

I couldn’t run. I was depressed. My PCOS had robbed me of the chance by deciding that April was cyst-rupture month.

Enter Rebekah Borucki and Danielle Diamond. *at once, a meditative three-way. 😉 They were starting a vegetarian challenge the very day I was supposed to run the Boston Marathon. It felt like as good a time as any. As good an idea as any. So I joined the #XenBliss challenge, and I am so glad I did.

In the group, there was a lot of talk about going completely vegan. While I’m about 90% vegan, I don’t foresee myself being 100% vegan. Occasional sustainable sushi, vegetarian-rennet based cheese, and humanely raised eggs/milk will probably remain in very small ways in my diet. Mostly in baking, let’s be honest.

While I previously watched many documentaries and read a lot of literature on the benefits of a plant-based diet, I never took it seriously for me. I mean, I didn’t eat much meat to begin with. I wasn’t being so bad on the environment–on myself.

40 days meat-free has me re-thinking my thinking. And I’m back to Michael Pollan’s famous quote “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Also, plantain chips are from G-d, and serve as proof that he loves us.

How’s my health now?

I’m back at the gym. My doctor is superduper impressed, and I feel AMAZING.

So I re-watched some documentaries, watched some new ones, read some new literature, and I’m educating myself. I’m not a nutritionist, and this is entirely anecdotal, but the environmental impacts are real, and I really want my kids to have a great earth to grow up in.

Plus, my favorite vampire was a vegetarian.

Just to let you guys in on what I’ve been watching, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites that are available to stream on Netflix.

For the recipe to go with this overly-preachy post? A salad that you WGAF that it’s vegan, because it tastes like a miracle.

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad.

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: marinate/chill/6 hours

Keywords: vegan vegetarian

Ingredients (serves 8-12)

  • 1 can rinsed kidney beans
  • 1 can rinsed chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed peas
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 2 mangos, cubed
  • 5 scallions, chopped (the whole thing, save the root)
  • 5 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped

for the dressing

  • juice of one lime
  • 3 tbsp recaito
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or more evoo)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce of your choice

Instructions

whisk together dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl

add all remaining chopped veg and beans to the bowl

toss and marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight.

Powered by Recipage
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

The Lies Our Elders Tell Us…and Waffles.

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I’ve not been able to work out for a FREAKING MONTH, and it’s driving me batshit insane. I’ve become somewhat more of a fidgety mess. Most things in my life have suffered for my lack of movement. Being on the *insertsportsingacronymforhealthrelatedbenchinghere* list, has taken its toll. … Read more…