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 & Divination Hollow 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.
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!