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!