Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bookish Review: The Seduction of the Crimson Rose

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose is the 4th book in a series by Lauren Willig. The books follow hapless grad student Eloise Kelly as she tries to uncover the identity of the Pink Carnation and other similarly-named flowery spies (think the Scarlet Pimpernel). The books all have two levels: Eloise and her research and her ever-deepening romance with a decendant of one of the flowery spies, and a past romance Eloise uncovers in her research. The books are light and funny romances with a bit of intrigue and danger.

This particular one follows Mary Alworthy, a beautiful and wily girl who lost her best chance at a good suitor to her sister, as she teams up with the slimy and seductive Sebastian, Lord Vaughn. The more time Mary and Vaughn spend together trying to ensnare the Black Tulip (a.k.a. the bad guy), the more they are drawn together. But when Vaughn's dead wife shows back up, and the Black Tulip draws ever nearer, things get a little complicated.

Fun series. Start with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. They are better in order

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cookish: What's for dinner?

I guess we can call this an attempt at lo mein.
1/4 onion
8 oz mushrooms
2 carrots
olive oil
garlic clove
1 pkg frozen snow peas
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1 boullion cube
sesame oil
sesame seeds
1 tsp chili-garlic paste
2 pkg soy sauce (take-out size)
1 heaping tsp hoisin

Chop onions and sweat in oil w/ a little salt. Sice mushrooms, add to onions, and saute. Add 1 cup water and boullion cube; let simmer and begin to reduce. Cut carrots into matchsticks or circles, add to pan and allow to cook for a few minutes. Grate in garlic (using your handy microplane. You have one, right?); add chili-garlic paste. Mix cornstarch with soy and add to the veggies. Add snow peas and peas. Add cabbage (I used the plain green stuff, but you could use napa). Add hoisin sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil. Toss with 1/2 pkg of whole wheat thin spaghetti. Top with sesame seeds, and enjoy!