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Delicious Horror: Cassie Daley

Happy Monday! Despite the rain in Pennsylvania today, I’m bringing a rainbow to Delicious Horror with Cassie Daley! Check out what Cassie made and what book she is recommending below! Find out how to submit a Delicious Horror post of your own here.

Cassie Daley is an artist, writer, podcaster, and horror blogger. She’s a contributing member of the Ladies of Horror Fiction & Dead Head Reviews teams, as well as one of the hosts of The PikeCast, a podcast dedicated to reading & discussing the 90s teen horror fiction of Christopher Pike. Cassie’s first short story, “Ready or Not”, is a part of Fright Girl Summer, and she has stories in two anthologies being published later this year: We Are Wolves by Gemma Amor & Laurel Hightower, and The Infernal Clock: Inferno by Stephanie Ellis & Alyson Faye.

Outside of writing, Cassie’s spends a majority of her time creating new art. This year, she released THE BIG BOOK OF HORROR AUTHORS: A Coloring & Activity Book, as well as YOU’RE OUT OF THIS WORLD: A Magical 12-Month Planner & Activity Book for Boss Witches. She hopes to release a horror novella and children’s book both in 2021.

You can find Cassie on Twitter, Instagram, Patreon, and on her blog, Let’s Get Galactic. Her art can be purchased in her shop, Let’s Get Galactic Art.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

I’m obviously a big spooky horror art fan (and a big fan of art in general!), so I had to go with a creepy graphic novel for this one.

There are so many amazing comic books in the horror genre that it was hard for me to narrow it down – I’m a big fan of Emily Carroll’s THROUGH THE WOODS book, Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook’s HARROW COUNTY, and Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson’s NAILBITER, to name just a few! But I think one of the most iconic authors in the ‘horror comic’ genre has to be Japanese horror artist Junji Ito, who has been working within the genre since the mid-eighties.

Ito’s works are some of the most visually disturbing I’ve ever seen, and I love his ability to create such strong emotions in the people reading his books – most often, ones like horror, fear, and disgust. The stories he writes are pretty weird – a monstrous succubus-like girl that causes destruction around her, hordes of zombie fish – and I love that about them!

In UZUMAKI, we’re introduced to a small Japanese town that’s cursed by spirals. There’s an overarching theme about the passage of time and how it impacts us and the world around us. I love that there’s a sort of depth to it – it’s horrifying and gross at times, yes, but it’s also sad. It deals with the loss of loved ones, the fear of change, and the idea that sometimes, you just have to accept the circumstances you’re dealt – even if you don’t like them, and they aren’t good.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

Aside from the obvious visual aesthetic, I was really inspired by Junji Ito’s process behind writing UZUMAKI itself. In the afterword of the deluxe omnibus edition of the book, there’s a bonus little comic talking about Ito, and what sort of research went into the creation of the story.

One of the things Ito did a lot of was eat specific foods that had spirals in them – he notes soft-serve ice cream, sushi rolls, and fiddlehead ferns as being a few of the things he intentionally ate in an attempt to “understand spirals”.

While I’m unfortunately out of fresh ferns in the kitchen, I did have a recipe for some really delicious Spinach & Feta Spirals that I thought Ito and the residents of Kurouzu-cho would be impressed – or terrified? – by!

This recipe is also gluten-free and low-carb (keto friendly) for anyone with special dietary considerations! The “dough” is made from almond flour, cream cheese, & mozzarella, so if your belly is a little sensitive to wheat-y things (like mine!), you can still enjoy these little spiral babies!

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Ingredients for the ‘dough’:

2 cups shredded mozzarella

4 ounces cream cheese (softened)

⅔ cup almond flour

2 large eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp xanthan gum

Ingredients for the filling:

8 ounces frozen, chopped spinach (thaw & drain in advance, and pat dry!)

1 cup crumbled feta

¼ cup shredded mozzarella

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp salt

Instructions for the ‘dough’:

  • Whisk together your dry ingredients in a small bowl (seasonings/powders)
  • In another bowl, combine the mozzarella and cream cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds, and then stir. If the dough is fully incorporated / melted (not burned!), you’re done – but if not, keep going in increments of 15 seconds until it’s melt-y.
  • Remove from the microwave, and mix in your dry ingredients and eggs, one at a time. It helps if you use parchment paper on the counter at this stage, so you can work out & knead the dough until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. The resulting mixture will feel pretty close to normal dough!

Instructions for the filling:

  • Drain / squeeze out as much moisture as you can from your spinach, and then combine with the rest of the filling ingredients in a bowl. Don’t stir too much that the large crumbles of feta break down – those big chunks look pretty in the finished result, and adds a difference in texture!

Instructions for the spirals:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Once your dough is fully incorporated, you can roll it out about ¼ inch thick in a flat sheet. If it’s too sticky, sprinkle some almond flour down! Having wet hands also helps when working with the dough.
  • Spread the filling on top, leaving a 1 inch border around the edges.
  • Starting from one end, begin rolling the dough into a log from one side to the other. The length will depend on how you rolled your dough out, but it should be pretty large!
  • Once you have your spiral log, use a sharp, wet knife to slice out spirals that are about 1 inch thick.
  • Lay these on your nonstick baking surface in neat rows, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, checking frequently after 15. You’ll want the dough to be golden – it’ll crisp up, and smell great!

You can sprinkle a little parmesan on top of these once they’re out, dip them in marinara sauce, or even just grab a couple for lunch-on-the-go when you need it!

Delicious Horror: K.P. Kulski and Becca (astoldbybex)

Today I have two fabulous posts covering one of my own favorite books, A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. Who knew you could plan a whole meal around the horrors experienced by Merry and Marjorie? Let’s get to it! Also, K.P. Kulski actually has two more delicious horror posts coming soon, so stay tuned in the next week or so to see what else she created!

K.P. Kulski

K.P. Kulski’s short fiction has appeared in Unnerving Magazine, anthologies Not All Monsters and Typhon Vol. 2. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, an MA in History and is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and Air Force. She has a special interest in feminist horror, historical horror and stories that examine Korean-American experiences. Her debut novel, Fairest Flesh will be released by Strangehouse Books in December.

She can be found at www.garnetonwinter.com or via twitter @garnetonwinter.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

When deciding on which books I wanted to use for these blog articles, my husband suggested I should pair Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts with spaghetti sauce. If you’ve read the book, then you know why I promptly laugh-snorted. After I regained my composure, I realized this husband of mine was on to something. I happen to love this book and well… pasta features prominently in it, rendering it a perfect Delicious Horror candidate.

On the surface A Head Full of Ghosts is about a family facing the possible possession of one of their daughters, Marjorie, told from the perspective of the younger daughter, Merry. This is great example of a horror that makes the reader think on a deeper level and I adore it for this reason. There is so much to think about, gender and family dynamics, coming of age, reality television and social media. That’s just scratching the surface. It is just so well done and everyone should read it. (Seriously, get thee a copy now if you don’t already have one.)

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I opted to go for a pasta dish that didn’t include spaghetti sauce, for reasons you’ll have to read the book to find out. I settled on Carbonara because 1. I love bacon and 2. Yum. I’ve never made Carbonara before and I’m sure I committed many sins against the dish in my process. I used the recipe I found on bon appetit website, finding it rather straightforward. I felt ready and rolled up my sleeves to create deliciousness.

Then I realized.

I had forgotten to pick up spaghetti noodles.

Friends, I am not easily deterred from making (and therefore eating) dishes that include bacon. I searched my pantry for a solution and ended up using what I had on hand, ziti noodles. While I’m sure I violated some sort of cooking rule, the dish came out quite tasty.

There you have it. My sauce-less pasta creation. May it give you long life.

“Merry” Halloween!

Becca (astoldbybex)

Mother of cats, baker of treats and crafter of… crafts.

Becca lives in Michigan where she spends a majority of her time surrounded by her four-legged pals, devouring the horror genre in all of its beautiful mediums and playing video games. Since she was raised by a horror-obsessed father, Becca was introduced to the genre at a very young age. She remembers her tiny hands typing blood-soaked poetry on her family’s 98 Windows desktop and publishing them in various Yahoo! groups for the world to see.

Now, Becca just wants to spend her time screaming about her favorite genre while supporting the wonderful humans that continue to conjure up nightmares. You can catch Becca on her blog As Told By Bex and Dead Head Reviews sharing book reviews & all things horror! She’s also 1/3 of The PikeCast, a podcast that dives into the world of Christopher Pike.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

When someone asks for a horror book recommendation, I’m always quick to choose The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I’m sure to a lot of my pals, I sound like a broken record. And for that reason, I decided to step out for this project and recommend something a bit more modern, but similar.

A Head Full of Ghosts introduces us to the suburban New England family, The Barretts. Everything seems normal, until their fourteen-year old daughter, Marjorie, begins to show symptoms of schizophrenia. From there, things go off the rails; Catholic priests are called in, exorcisms are recommended and the Barretts find themselves the stars of a new reality television show, The Possession.

There’s two things that I love about A Head Full of Ghosts. One would be the format in which Tremblay tells this story. We not only get Merry’s (Marjorie’s younger sister) first-person narrative of the events unfolding, we also get to listen to an interview with an adult Merry, as she discusses what happened. And throughout the read, we get blog posts recapping episodes of The Possession. Having all three perspectives really helps the reader to get even deeper into what’s really happening in the Barrett family.

The second thing I love is something Tremblay often does in his books – leaving the book up to the reader’s interpretation. Was Marjorie possessed? Did she have schizophrenia? It depends on what reader you ask. A Head Full of Ghosts gets inside your head and leaves you feeling extremely uncomfortable, long after you close the book. If you’ve yet to read A Head Full of Ghosts, I strongly urge you to throw it in your cart the next time that you go book shopping.

And, horror fans, Stephen King even says this book scared him – so, if you’re not going to listen to me, at least listen to him.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

As mentioned above, I usually recommend The Exorcist and let’s be real – there’s one major food pairing I could have gone with if I was to stick with that. Yes, friends, pea soup. But, no one in this house is going to eat that and therefore, it would just be a waste.

Once I decided that I was going to recommend A Head Full Of Ghosts, I started to remember the ridiculous amounts of Halloween baking/decorating supplies that I’ve purchased in the past and realized that I had so many candy ghosts lying around. And, reader, what’s cuter than a cupcake full of ghosts?

So, no – there’s nothing especially deep about the pairing of cupcakes and A Head Full of Ghosts. I don’t remember a scene where Marjorie and Merry chow down on some baked goods, prior to (or after) spiraling into demonic possession and exorcisms. Cupcakes are simply good, just like this novel by Paul Tremblay.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

As much as I love baking from scratch, I also enjoy doctoring up a simple box of Betty Crocker Cake Mix. Replacing water with milk, oil with melted butter (but double the amount!) and an extra egg can really give your cake that straight-from-the-bakery-feel!

Thank you SO much to Becca and K.P.! I adore these posts and had so much fun reading their answers. Find out how to submit a Delicious Horror post of your own here!

Delicious Horror: Submissions

For October 2020 I invited various horror authors, artists, and creators to submit a food or drink inspired by a favorite horror book or short story. I enjoyed these posts so much that I decided to keep it running as a feature on my blog. If you’re interested in participating, please find the guidelines below! I also suggest taking a look at past posts to see what books have been covered (you can certainly do one that’s been featured already, but in case you’d like to do something different, take a look!). Anyone who has submitted before is welcome to submit again, too!

This is being done for fun and for the love of horror, but I will happily help promote anything you’d like to share. You do not need to be writer to submit something, fans of the genre are more than welcome to contribute!

To submit, simply answer the questions below and email your response to saratantlinger@gmail.com with “Delicious Horror Submission” in the subject field.

*Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

*What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

*Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

*Please send along a short bio, a headshot (if you’re okay with that!), and any links to promote your work! If you have anything specific you want to promote, highlight, or draw attention to, please let readers know where to find that or when anything forthcoming will be out! And don’t forget to send along a photo or photos of your tasty creation along with its book pairing if you have the book handy!

Delicious Horror: Gwendolyn Kiste

Today I have the wonderful and very talented Gwendolyn Kiste on Delicious Horror to talk about a Shirley Jackson favorite! Enjoy the post, and make sure to check out the preorders for Gwendolyn’s forthcoming novel, Boneset & Feathers, one of my most anticipated 2020 reads!

From Gwendolyn: My second novel, Boneset & Feathers, is due out on November 3rd! It’s all about witches, ghost birds, and bones that won’t stay buried. It’s a little bit fairy tale, a little bit folk horror, and a whole lot of bewitching magic! You can pre-order it now from Broken Eye Books.

Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens, from Trepidatio Publishing; And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, from JournalStone; the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books; and the occult horror novelette, The Invention of Ghosts, from Nightscape Press. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Vastarien, Tor’s Nightfire, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Unnerving, Interzone, and LampLight, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. Find her online at gwendolynkiste.com

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

GK: I had to go with We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s been my very favorite book for years now, and Halloween in particular is a wonderful time to revisit it.

There are so many reasons I love this book so much. The prose is achingly beautiful, the characters are richly drawn, the setting is so relatable yet so gothic too. But probably more than anything else, We Have Always Lived in the Castle makes me feel less alone in the world, and I can’t imagine a higher compliment for a work of literature than that.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

GK: Food is such an integral part of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, to the point that The Toast did a great article a few years back that listed all the food featured in the book.

That being said, when I think of the novel, what immediately comes to mind are the poisoned sugar bowl and the blackberries that the Blackwood family has for dessert—their last dessert.

So I made what I’m calling Merricat’s Sugar Bowl Surprise: giant sugar cookies paired with berry ice cream.

Ideally, this would have been blackberry ice cream, but since my husband and I are still sheltering at home (and will be for the foreseeable future), I decided to just go with the berries we had on hand, which were blueberries. I figured that as introverts themselves, Merricat and Constance would understand the desire to stay locked up safely at home.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

GK: I made some small adjustments to both, but overall, I was inspired by these two recipes:

Blueberry Ice Cream by Taste of Home

Giant Sugar Cookies by Martha Stewart

After all, at Halloween, you can never go wrong with Martha Stewart!

Delicious Horror: K.L. Lord

Welcome back! Today my lovely and talented friend K.L. Lord is chatting with us about Tananarive Due‘s The Good House — a book that has been sitting on my TBR for way too long, so I need to get on that ASAP. Enjoy the post!

K. L. Lord is a lover of all things ink. She grew up in a small suburban town in Southeastern Michigan. She’s lived all over the country, including a three-year stint in Hawaii, before settling (for now) in Northern Virginia. She teaches English by day and works on her stories at night. Her poem “Sliver” is in the spring 2018 issues of Infernal Ink Magazine; her short story “Till Death Do Us Part,” Ink Stains: A Dark Fantasy Anthology (April 2019); and her short story “Mona…Lisa” will be in Propertius Press’s Summer 2020 anthology Whispers From the Universe. She’s currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Catholic University of America. When she’s not writing books or teaching, you may find her haunting the local tattoo shops expanding her collection of tattoos.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

I chose The Good House by Tananarive Due, published in 2006, because it is a beautiful work of gothic fiction. This modern haunted house story is on par with Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. This book quickly became a favorite of mine. Due combines family, loss, and strong African-American themes with the supernatural and a long-standing family curse to terrify her readers. I was frequently unnerved and taken by surprise by this gorgeous modern ghost story.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I paired this work with this Strawberry Chocolate Mirror Cake because it’s dark and rich, just like the story Tananarive Due so intricately weaves. The book takes place in a house known by locals as “the good house.” It’s been a place of healing for many, but also an infinite source of pain. The cake holds hidden depths, just like the good house. From the outside, it is an innocent chocolate cake. Once inside, it’s a decadent confection filled with white chocolate mousse and strawberry jelly.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Here is where I found the recipe:

https://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/strawberry-chocolate-mirror-cake

Delicious Horror: EV Knight & Stephanie Wytovich

It’s a very spooky Sunday here on Delicious Horror with two wicked and wonderful guests. Check out what EV Knight and Stephanie Wytovich have in store!

E.V. Knight

EV Knight writes horror and dark fiction. Her debut novel, The Fourth Whore, was released in early 2020 by Raw Dog Screaming Press. A novella titled Dead Eyes is due to be published in November 2020 as part of Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series.

EV’s short stories can be found in Siren’s Call magazine and the anthologies: Monstrous Feminine from Scary Dairy Press, The Toilet Zone from Hellbound Books, and More Lore from the Mythos and its upcoming second volume due to be released in 2021 from Fractured Mind Publishing. She also had a poem in the HWA 2019 Poetry Showcase titled “Nothing”.  A graduate of Seton Hill University, she received her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction in January 2019. She enjoys all things macabre; whether they be film, TV, podcast, novel, or short story. She lives in the cold northern woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with her family and their three hairless cats.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

American Psycho, in its mundane realism, terrifies me. Patrick Bateman, a rich yuppie, has no feelings, no empathy or remorse. He is, in fact, a psychopathic serial killer. And yet, he blends in perfectly with his niche of rich WASPy young men and women. Everyone in this group is shallow. It’s not about who you are, it’s what you have and when you have a lot, you can get away with anything, which Bateman does time and again. There are many instances in the book when Patrick flat out tells his friends and acquaintances that he is a monster, he admits to his crimes, yet no one is really listening to each other and if they are, they don’t care enough to clarify.

Patrick Bateman from the film adaptation

Bateman’s ability to hack a friend to bits or relentlessly torture and sexually degrade women then follow his actions with a fourth-wall-breaking essay on Whitney Houston or Genesis, tells you everything you need to know about this empty shelled being that only appears human. He is a monster, one that couldn’t be reasoned with, couldn’t be loved enough to stop, and couldn’t be concerned with his frequent blood-stained drop-offs at the dry cleaners. The most frightening thing about American Psycho is how easily this might happen, how realistic Bret Easton Ellis’ portrait of an American killer in the late eighties still holds up today as potential reality.

In the current political climate, American Psycho works as a metaphor. The shallow, self-centeredness of the powerful and/or financially elite allows them to look away as those they deem “less” die. The refusal to see and hear what is being pushed in their faces, blatant and straight from the mouth of the antagonist mirrors our modern American situation perfectly.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I created a cocktail served in a champagne glass. I call it “Hardbody” after Patrick’s misogynistic slang for an attractive woman. In the picture I chose to show it layered or “stacked” but for quicker service, it can be mixed together or “stained.”

The drink consists of cherry syrup, topped with a mix of Goldschlager and dry prosecco for a cinnamon cherry flavor profile. I knew I wanted to use Goldschlager to symbolize Bateman’s status as well as his spiciness. The cherry syrup represents blood at the bottom of his glass. The prosecco adds some bubbly Italian wine as a nod to Bateman’s culinary adventures at all his favorite NYC clubs.

It is meant to be drank as a shot, because, let’s face it, the quicker you get drunk, the sooner Bateman can get to work on you.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Ingredients:

1 oz Collins Cherry Syrup

2 oz Lamarca Prosecco (any dry Prosecco will do) chilled

2 oz  Goldschlager Cinnamon Liqueur (kept in freezer)

Edible gold glitter or gold flake for rim if desired

Preparation:

To make the drink “Stacked” (as pictured):

Reduce the syrup to ¾ of its original volume by simmering on stove top, then chill to refrigerator temperature

If gold rimmed glass is desired, wet the rim of the glass and pour a very small amount (1/4 tsp) of gold glitter on a sheet of paper. Rub the wet rim over the gold until the rim is coated

Shake Goldschlager bottle to stir up gold flakes in the liqueur

Mix Prosecco and Goldschlager in a small glass or measuring cup with pour spout

Pour reduced syrup into bottom of flute

Pour mixed Prosecco and Goldschlager very slowly over the back of a spoon on top of syrup to maintain layers

Drink as a single shot

If you don’t want to get super fancy with the “Stacked” look, the drink can be served “Stained”.

To mix the cocktail this way, omit reducing the syrup and combine all ingredients in a gold-rimmed champagne flute. The flavor is the same, you just don’t get the “blood” in the bottom of the glass.

Stephanie M. Wytovich

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous venues such as Weird Tales, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Fantastic Tales of Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.

Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, and most recently, The Apocalyptic Mannequin. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich on her blog and on twitter @SWytovich​.

Check out her poetry collections, her novel The Eighth, her personal website, and her book reviews.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite holds a special place in my heart. When I was in undergrad, I knew I wanted to write horror but I had only ever been exposed to mainstream media (and truthfully, not even all of what’s considered mainstream media); honestly looking back, I was very sheltered without even knowing it.

Needless to say, when I picked this book up, it opened my eyes to what horror could be. It pushed boundaries, was beautiful and disgusting, romantic and villainous, and it married sex and horror in a way that I had never seen or even thought was possible. It was my gateway drug for body horror, and it wasn’t long after that I started reading Clive Barker, watching David Cronenberg films, and focusing on artists like Francis Bacon.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

So I paired this erotic horror story with a haunting glass of Blackberry Sangria to both match its cover and speak to the alluring yet dangerous nature of the book (because truth be told, both the book and the drink were a little more intense than I thought they would be, but delicious and memorable nevertheless!).

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Sure thing! The recipe is as follows and this typically makes about 5-6 glasses:

  • Add 2 cups of blackberries and a ½ cup of sugar to your pitcher and gentle mash them to a light pulp.
  • Then add 1 cup orange brandy and 3 cups of red wine and lightly stir.
    • Note: I chose a medium-body red wine for mine, nothing too sweet.

One you mix that into your pitcher, I served it in a chilled glass and cut it with Sprite (to my liking) and then added blackberries and mint leaves as a garnish.

Thank you so much Stephanie & EV! Be sure to check out their work, and stay tuned for another post on Tuesday!

Delicious Horror: Dan Sexton-Riley

Good morning and welcome back to my mini Delicious Horror series! Today I have the wonderful Dan Sexton-Riley to share with us a scrumptious treat that pairs perfectly with Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep. Thank you so much Dan! I want to try this recipe ASAP.

Dan Sexton-Riley lives on Cape Cod with their family and a menagerie of small monsters. Dan fills most days with writing, reading, and baking. Their work can be found at Dead Head Reviews and Bewildering Stories. Dan also runs a Patreon dedicated to baking tutorials, where you can find a tutorial for their blueberry scones.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to pick a book for this. I kept thinking, “you have to pick something someone else isn’t likely to do.” No matter how hard I scoured my shelves, I always came back to this one though, because it’s at the top of my list for just about everything.

Into the Drowning Deep (ItDD) by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire’s pseudonym) has just about everything I could want in a book. It’s often described as Jaws meets Jurassic Park, and that description is pretty effective. It’s a novel about an expedition to the Mariana Trench to find mermaids, which are to blame for the loss of a prior expedition. This book is about monstrous mermaids. Honestly, it’s hard to come up with a better selling point that that, if you ask me.

What it fails to point out is that this novel surpasses its predecessors. Where Jaws (the novel) comes across as wooden with its relationships, ItDD builds tangible, emotional frameworks between characters. In moments when Jurassic Park (also the novel) gets mired down in pages of explaining science, ItDD injects humour and humanity to give it context.

There’s refreshingly positive queer and neurodiverse representation in this that I won’t spoil, save to say I find it beyond satisfying as someone who belongs to both of those groups. It’s always nice to see yourself represented, and to see characters you identify with be written well.

Beyond that emotional core, it’s smart, but it isn’t condescending. If you imagine Michael Crichton’s delivery of science but without the somewhat mansplaining tone that inevitably shows up in his work, you’re not far off. There’s a lot of science in this, both real and fictional. If you’re not into having a dose of science in your horror, perhaps give this a miss…but it you’re a science nerd this might be your new favorite book too.

By now you might be wondering “but where does the horror come in?” Trust me. When the blood starts to flow, it’s a flood. It makes that elevator scene in “The Shining” look like a babbling brook. Plenty of body horror, and those mermaids? They ain’t pretty.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I struggled to come up with a good food pairing for this book. It’s ocean based…and I’m a vegetarian. So. I went ahead and paired my blueberry scone recipe with it. It looks a lot like bubbles rising from a dark ocean to me, and scones are a great snack that you can eat without putting your book down! They’re relatively quick to make, and don’t require a ton of prior experience to do well.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Blueberry scone recipe:

Equipment:

-Mixing bowl

-Spatula

-Pastry brush (or a clean paintbrush)

-baking sheet

-parchment paper

-food processor (optional)

Ingredients:

-2 cups flour

-1/3 cup white/cane sugar

-1 tbsp baking powder

-½ tsp baking powder

-pinch of salt

-1/2 cup cold butter

-1 cup milk (may require more, this can vary slightly)

-1 egg

-1 cup of blueberries (less if you want a firmer scone)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl

If you’re using a food processor, mix dry ingredients with the butter until you achieve a breadcrumb texture. You can do this by hand too, it’s just a tad more time consuming. If you’re doing it by hand, rub the butter into the flour, ensuring that no lumps of butter are left. This is a base that can be used for just about any scone recipe.

Mix the egg and milk together with a whisk or a fork

Add blueberries to the dry ingredients and stir them in, then add the egg/milk mix gradually, stirring to bind the mix together into a slightly sticky dough. Try to save a little of the egg/milk for later.

Dust the counter with flour, then press out your dough into a roughly 1 inch thick circle. With a large knife, cut it into triangles.

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, arrange the scones with at least an inch between one another to allow for rising. They won’t get that nice crisp edge so well if they begin to touch.

Brush the leftover egg/milk over the tops, then sprinkle a fine layer of sugar over each scone. This helps the top get a kind of frosted look, kind of like seafoam.

Place on middle rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the edge turns golden brown.

Leave to cool for a few minutes on a rack, then enjoy!

*In case you missed the earlier link, make sure to check out Dan’s Patreon link for their awesome tutorial!

Delicious Horror: Nicholas Diak and Corey Niles

It’s happy hour on Delicious Horror! I’ve been having so much fun with these posts, and I hope you have been, too! Today, I am delighted to welcome Nicholas Diak and Corey Niles. They have two delicious cocktails for us, along with some wonderful recommended horror readings!

Nicholas Diak

Nicholas Diak is an academic writer who focuses on the margins of pop culture: sword and sandal films, industrial and synthwave music, Italian Eurospy films, H. P. Lovecraft studies, and exploitation cinema. He loves crafting cocktails and especially diving into the realm of tiki culture. He is the editor of The New Peplum: Essays on Sword and Sandal Films and Television Programs Since the 1990s. Along with Michele Brittany, he is a co-host of the H. P. Lovecast Podcast, a co-creator and the co-chair of the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference, and co-editor of the Horror Writer Association’s first academic book, Horror Literature from Gothic to Post-Modern: Critical Essays. He can be found at www.nickdiak.com

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

Mikel Koven’s La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film is probably one of the most important texts I’ve ever read; it has had a huge impact on my writing and my scholarship. 

The book proper looks at the Italian giallo phenomenon, a niche genre (or, better yet, a filone) of low budget films made in Italy in the 60s and 70s. Oftentimes thought of as the precursor of the slasher genre, the gialli were films that combined detective fiction with horror, and featured iconic tropes such as assailants in featureless masks, clad in black, with gloves and wide-brimmed hats, dispatching nubile young women (and men!) by slashing or choking them. Many of the films were beautifully shot with gorgeous prismatic colours contrasted against stark dark shadows. Many famous Italian genre directors, such as Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Antonio Margheriti, and others, all contributed to the giallo canon.

Koven’s book dives deep into the world of the gialli, creating the most authoritative text on the subject. While I do appreciate the giallo genre, it is Koven’s second chapter in the book where he lays out his theory of vernacular cinema as a way to appreciate and understood these films at their level that is the most important to me. It provided a stark contrast to auteur theory and instead proffered an alternative and constructive way to talk about populist cinema. It was eye opening, and it had a profound impact on me: 1) it opened my eyes to appreciate a wider range of films and 2) my first forays into academic writing was taking Koven’s framework and applying it to the Italian Eurospy genre of films. The outcome of that become my first published essay in an academic book: “Permission to Kill: Exploring Italy’s 1960s Eurospy Phenomenon, Impact and Legacy” in James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy edited by Michele Brittany.

I cannot recommend the book enough, especially in regard to what it sets out to accomplish. For horrors fans, the book is a must have as it opens a whole new world of a different type of horror film that many folks may not be privy to. For film scholars or aficionados, it provides the tools to appreciate and talk about movies, especially genre films, in a different way. 

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

As a book that focuses on a distinct, yet niche, style of Italian films, it seemed fitting to pair it with an Italian cocktail, but one that is probably not as well known as a Negroni or an Americano. The Buona Vita is a perfect sibling to these cocktails, Italian in origin, but a little under the radar. The cocktail combines gin, Campari, and grapefruit. Depending on your grapefruit, the outcome of this drink after preparing it can be quite (blood) red!

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe? 

Buona Vita

1 oz gin

0.5 oz Campari

2 oz grapefruit juice

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a lowball glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange peel. 

The original recipe calls for Moletto Gin, which is a tomato-based gin and also uses .5 oz of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. However, a London dry gin will work perfectly and is much more accessible. 

Corey Niles

Corey Niles was born and raised in the Rust Belt, where he garnered his love of horror. His recent and forthcoming publications include “Demon Stump” in The Oddville Press, “The Crows Belonged to Me” in HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. VII, and “What Lurks in These Woods” in Pink Triangle Rhapsody: Volume 1. When he isn’t nursing his caffeine addiction or tending to his graveyard of houseplants, he enjoys jogging on creepy, isolated hiking trails.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley has been noted as the first true work of science fiction, the first novel to legitimize the horror genre, and a work that blends elements of the Romantic movement and the Gothic novel with anxieties concerning scientific advancements of the time. For me, it was a novel that I had to read over the course of one night during my junior year of high school because I had a test the following morning. A fever dream about a bizarre scientific experiment and the subsequent fallout, which had little to do with a green creature with bolts in its neck, was all I thought of the novel upon my first reading.

Years later, once I was writing about my own monsters and trying to find out why people like me are so fascinated with them, I revisited the work. I noted the way that Frankenstein’s monster, similar to many of my favorite creatures, is little more than a mirror that reflects the ugliest fears, anxieties, and realities of humanity. I wondered if the true antagonist of the story was this creature, who is seeking belonging, or if it was the man, Frankenstein, who is fueled by blind ambition and incapable of taking ownership of his actions. While very little of this book is definitive, the questions it raises about what it means to be human, how evil is created, and if we have control over anything in this world–much less what we create–are still relevant over 200 years later. I can scarcely watch a creature feature or write about a monster without thinking about what the beast is saying about humanity, and I have Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to thank for it.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

When the monster is first brought to life, I was struck by the description of its yellow eyes opening and its matching skin that barely covers Frankenstein’s work beneath it. Only then does Frankenstein realize that his blind ambition and obsession with creating life has resulted in something truly monstrous, foreshadowing the bitter end of this tale. Consequently, a stiff drink seemed like a perfect pairing, especially one that captures the monster’s visage and the sour taste that that dark tale can leave in a reader’s mouth. Thus, I present a new twist on an old favorite: The Lemon Eye Drop cocktail.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Ingredients:

3 oz. of vodka

1.8 oz. of lemon juice

0.5 oz. of triple sec

Directions:

  1. Freeze 0.8 oz. of lemon juice in an Eyes Silicone Candy Mold (for two frozen eyes)
  2. Combine 3 oz. of vodka, 1 oz. of lemon juice, and 0.5 oz. of triple sec in a shaker with ice
  3. Shake
  4.  Strain into chilled glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon slice or a sugar rim

Delicious Horror: Gaby Triana

For our second “Sleepy Hollow” feature on Delicious Horror, check out this gorgeous creation by the fiercely talented Gaby Triana! She recently launched a very fun YouTube channel, The Witch Haunt! Gaby is a great writer, friend, and baker, and I was so thrilled when she agreed to do a post for this! Enjoy!

GABY TRIANA is the author of the Haunted Florida series (Island of Bones, River of Ghosts, City of Spells), Wake the HollowCakespellSummer of Yesterday, and more novels, as well as a contributor in DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and co-author of PARADISE ISLAND: A Sam and Colby Story.  

Published with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Entangled, and Alienhead Press, Gaby writes about witchy powers, ghosts, haunted places, and abandoned locations for adults, teens, and kids alike. She has ghostwritten 50+ novels for bestselling authors, won an IRA Teen Choice Award, ALA Best Paperback, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads Award. Gaby also runs the boutique writing services agency BookwitcheryYouTube Channel The Witch Haunt, and lives in Miami with her family and gaggle of four-legged aliens. She is currently working on her next YA novel, Moon Child

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

Not necessarily a horror book, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving is a favorite Fall short story of mine. I chose it because, growing up a little Cuban-American girl in Miami, Florida, a place with only two seasons—dry and rainy—“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” showed me what an American autumn could be like. With its apple pies, pumpkin soups, bite of crisp, cool weather, a love triangle, a clash between the classes, and a legendary ghost riding over the hills and rivers (I didn’t even have hills and rivers), this short story is a colossal dose of atmospheric moodiness to make my gothic heart happy.

I love this story so much, I make my whole family sit down every September to watch Disney’s Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. My kids cringe now but they’ll appreciate it when they’re older (ha ha). I used to play the movie in my classroom years ago when I was an elementary school teacher after we read the story together, and it’s even the backdrop for my YA novel, WAKE THE HOLLOW, about a Latina 18-year-old who learns that her estranged mother has passed away in Sleepy Hollow under mysterious circumstances. What follows is a paranormal thriller set in Irving’s homeland of Tarrytown, NY with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” serving as the subplot to a fresh main plot at its core.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I am pairing the short story with “Heads Will Roll Apple Cider,” a lovely macabre drink for a brisk Fall day. Although “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is mostly the story about schoolteacher Ichabod Crane meeting the coquette merchant’s daughter Katrina VanTassel, and being cockblocked (can I say that?) by the town hero Brom Bones, we can’t think of this tale without the iconic Headless Horseman coming to mind. This ghost of a Hessian trooper rides over the Pocantico River in search of his head and has been known to lob off a few for his collection. So I’ve made an apple cider punch, infused with cinnamon sticks and anise pods, throwing in a few bobbing shrunken heads as well. Enjoy!

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

  • 1 gallon of your favorite brand apple cider
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 3 round apples, such as Braeburn or Gala variety
  •  Chunks of dry ice, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Peel 3 apples, then slice off 2 sides of each apple to create 6 “faces.”
  3. Using a melon baller, ¼ teaspoon, or a paring knife, core out eyes, nose, and mouth on each face. Try to make each face different. Get as creative as you want here. The more detail, the more lifelike and spooky the final result.
  4. Place cut side down on a baking dish and bake for about 2 hours, or when heads are dried, shriveled, and lightly brown on the outside. When done, cool on baking rack.
  5. Warm the apple cider in a large pot on medium-high. Throw in cinnamon sticks, anise pods, and whole cloves. Once the cider comes to a light boil, turn off the heat and remove the cider. Let cool. 
  6. Transfer the cider to a punch bowl (remove the cloves but leave the cinnamon sticks and star anise pods) and float the shrunken head apple faces on the surface.
  7. Add a chunk of dry ice to the punch, if you wish to create a spooky effect, and serve!

Check out this video of the drink bubbling with dry ice that Gaby sent! And you can also now catch the whole process on her YouTube channel here!

Delicious Horror: Sonora Taylor

Welcome back to Delicious Horror! Today and on Monday we will have a Sleepy Hollow double-feature! I am very excited about both of these posts, so if you’re a fan of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” be sure to check in on Monday to see who our second post is from. Today, Sonora Taylor is taking us down into the hollow on a delicious pumpkin journey.

Sonora Taylor

Sonora Taylor is the award-winning author of Little Paranoias: Stories, Without Condition, The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, Please Give, and Wither and Other Stories.  Her short stories have appeared in multiple publications, including Camden Park Press’s Quoth the Raven, Kandisha Press’s Women of Horror Vol. 2: Graveyard Smash, The Sirens Call, Frozen Wavelets, Mercurial Stories, Tales to Terrify, and the Ladies of Horror fiction podcast. Her latest book, Seeing Things, is now available on Amazon. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

I love a good scary story, but come autumn—especially October—I also like cozy autumnal reads. Ones that highlight the harvest, the changing seasons, and the goldenness of everything as the veil thins. I especially love it when ghosts and witches appear, but less as monsters and more like chills in the air, women (and men) in tune with nature, natural shifts, and the like.

I’ve loved Disney’s version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow since I was little, and in my twenties, I finally read the short story by Washington Irving. It’s more folklore than horror, which disappoints some readers (especially readers coming to the text from the Tim Burton adaptation), but it pleases me. I see myself walking by golden cornfields and through ominous woods when I sit down to read this story with a cup of tea in my hand and chimney smoke in the air.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is in the public domain, so you can download it for free for most e-readers. There are also wonderful illustrated versions in print.

In addition to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” I want to highlight as an addendum Brian Jay Jones’ Washington Irving a biography about the author himself. It’s really well-written, interesting, and a great autumn read if you’re looking for something cozy to settle in with for a week or two (the biography is around 500 pages). One of many highlights? Washington Irving and Mary Shelley were acquainted—and it’s possible that Shelley wanted to be more than friends!

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I cook seasonally and, as much as possible, locally. Pumpkins grow in Virginia, and they show up at the farmers market around mid to late September. I like to buy sugar pie pumpkins and make my own puree, though last year, I used a large, turquoise-skinned (but orange-fleshed) Cinderella pumpkin I’d used for decoration in early fall. I had so much puree that I still have some in the freezer!

I of course make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and also enjoy pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin apple bread. But I also like to use pumpkin for savory dishes. In the States, we associate pumpkin with sweet treats—“pumpkin” is usually synonymous with “pumpkin pie spice” when we describe the flavor profile—but as a squash, it’s a warm and cozy addition to curries, soup, and macaroni and cheese.

Yes, macaroni and cheese! I make a savory pumpkin mac-and-cheese every autumn. The pumpkin puree turns the sauce golden, as do the olive oil-soaked bread crumbs and toasted walnuts. A little sage makes it smell and taste like Thanksgiving. It comforts me the way folklore like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” does. Go ahead, bake a batch and read the story while it cooks—and maybe use pumpkin-shaped pasta to give it something extra!

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups dried elbow macaroni or small pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whipping cream (you can sub with more whole milk if you wish)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crushed
  • ½ cup soft bread crumbs (Panko is fine in a pinch)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is better!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sage leaves (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.

2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese, pumpkin, and sage until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

3. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts, and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with sage leaves.

I also have a recipe for a good vegan version if anyone wants it!

Thank you to Sonora for sharing her photos with us!