• Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
  • Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
  • Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
  • Mushroom Chicken Pie
  • Pistachio Wasabi Beets
  • Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches
  • Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint
  • The Fort Greene
  • East African Sweet Pea Soup
  • Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies
  • Malaysian Chicken Satay
  • The Wildman’s iPhone App
  • Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger
  • Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear)
  • Black Pepper Tofu with Pork
  • Peposo
  • Toasted Hazelnut Chai
  • Kentucky Coffee Spread
  • Banana Guacamole
  • Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice
  • Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones
  • Artichoke and Blood Orange Salad (with frisee, parsley, and cardamom)
  • Chevre Truffles
  • Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream
  • Jack is Closed (but you can vote for our pie on Sunday)
  • Our Wedding
  • Pecan Mole
  • Son-in-Law Eggs
  • Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme
  • My Triumphant Return, with a Book Giveaway!

« | Main | »

A Recipe From the Crease of my Right Eye

I am announcing a new food blogging event, A Recipe From the Crease of my Right Eye.

This event, like my Apples Doused in Cardamom Wine, is inspired by The Orphan’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente. It is the second book in a now-complete series (the first was The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden), and it was just published a few weeks ago.

As I explained in my last post, the stories in these books are told by a girl with ink-stained, story-stained eyes, to a young son of the Sultan who escapes the watch of his older sister to come out into the garden and hear them. The stories are nested each within each like dolls, like the tales from Arabian Nights, all twining together to make a larger epic. They are not fairy tales, exactly, because they have plots and characters with lives of their own, men and women and beasts who are real people stalking the pages of these books.

The food and spice imagery in these books is inspiring. Not only does the boy steal food from the Sultan’s palace to bring to the girl, but the imagery infuses the rest of the stories as well.

In one tale from the first book, a young female satyr takes the skin of a young male selkie and hides it so he can stay with her. The selkie tells the satyr that her lips taste of red berries, redder than he ever thought possible.

In the second book, the basilisk lives in a grove of persimmon and coconut, a girl dances in shoes made of cinnamon, and Ajanabh, the city of spice, is filled with a spice-smog, “the faintest sigh of cardamom and cumin and cinnamon breathing through the night.” It is filled with quail eggs and cinnamon candies, rose and leek sandwiches, sugar pies and lamb fat. And more, and more.

This event, A Recipe From the Crease of my Right Eye, is a celebration of Catherynne M. Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales. To participate, all you have to do is post a recipe inspired by the books. This includes any recipe involving things that are layered or things that are stuffed (which echo the structure of the stories), as well as things that are otherwise inspired by the books.

This event comes with a prize. I will give the author of the best recipe (as determined by me, perhaps with Cat’s help) a copy of both Orphan’s Tales books. If the winner already has them, I’ll give him or her a copy of two of Cat’s other books.

The deadline is December 17, 2007.

You do not have to be a food blogger to participate. You can post your recipe on a non-food blog, a non-blog website, or in the comments to this post.

When you post your recipe, include a link back to this post. Then email me at habeasbrulee@gmail.com with:

Your name
The name of your blog
The URL of your blog
The name your dish
The URL of your dish

A photo of your dish, if you have one, should be attached to the email.

Post a comment

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 Responses to “A Recipe From the Crease of my Right Eye”

  1. Josh Jasper says:

    Edible gems. I’ll never know how to make them like that, but oh, can imagine the taste.

  2. gretchen says:

    I love this idea. I will experiment and send in the results.

  3. Katie says:

    I’ve never heard of the books – the sound very intriguing – something to put on my Amazon wish list.
    Living in the backwaters of France I’m a bit out of the loop when it comes to reading material….
    I’ll think about the food….

  4. Mrs.W says:

    What a brilliant idea for a foodblogging event. Not only am I intrigued by your description of the books, but also how to translate that to a dish. Really quite inspiring!

  5. Sophie says:

    Hi, I haven’t read the books but your description made me think of something that my mother makes for the Christmas period. With, a small addition of spices it could match the “aroma” of the books. Of course, I am not excactly inspired by the books because I haven’t read them but I am inspired by your post. So, can I participate?

  6. Danielle says:

    Sophie – Absolutely, please do!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t read the books either, but I recently cooked a dish that perfectly evokes that Middle Eastern spice-infused ethos! Does it have to be my own recipe to include it? Sadly I could not have come up with something that tasty on my own…

  8. Danielle says:

    Elizabeth – It doesn’t have to be your own recipe. Please do submit your dish!

  9. Torrey says:

    Here’s my entry: http://tereshkova2001.livejournal.com/86047.html

    It’s a modification of a Christmas cookie standard in my family.

  10. Danielle says:

    Laura emailed me with her entry. The photo will be in the roundup. She wrote:

    Hi Danielle,

    Ok, I’m a day later than I promised, but we did it, so I’m
    sending it along.

    The quote, from “The Tale of the Lizard’s Lesson, continued”

    “Oh! Roses are very interesting, are they not? Did you know
    that if you feed one nothing but sugar water and a mash of
    honeybees, it becomes sweet and thick enough to be fried for
    sandwiches, like boar meat or fish? We have lunched on rose and leek sandwiches for most of this seaon!”

    The recipe:

    Rose and Leek Fried Sandwiches (makes 2 sandwiches)

    1 tsp butter
    2 small leeks, diced and rinsed
    1 large white rose, petals only (wash with a commercial
    vegetable wash if not from someone’s garden. Supermarkets don’t expect you to eat it, so it’s probably covered in pesticides.)
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 tsp rosewater
    1/2 tsp honey

    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/8 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    3/4 cup water
    one half of a lightly beaten egg

    For sandwiches
    4 thin slices of sturdy bread
    oil for frying

    In the butter, saute the leeks until they start to caramelize. Add the rose petals and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Add the rosewater, honey, salt and pepper.

    In a deep pan, heat enough oil to float one sandwich. (I used a very small but deep saucepan – doesn’t need to be big, only deep.)

    For the batter, sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add egg and water and whisk until smooth. Test the oil with a drop of batter. When the batter rises to the top of the oil and browns, oil is ready.

    Fill two slices of bread with the rose and leek filling and close the sandwiches with the other two slices. Secure the sandwiches with toothpicks. (I used five on a fairly small sandwich, and the filling still had a tendency to sneak out the sides.)

    Dip the sandwich into the batter so it is completely covered. Drop sandwich into hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels as you remove the toothpicks. Cut in half and serve.


    To be perfectly honest, I was expecting a more rose-y flavor, particularly as I’d added rosewater to combat the fact that my rose was a supermarket rose. (Hey, it’s the middle of winter.) The sandwiches weren’t bad but mostly tasted like fried. My tasting panel of four gave it one thumbs up, two shrugs and one thumbs down from the guy who doesn’t like roses or fried food (big surprise). Were I to do it again, I might double the amount of honey, use two roses, and double the rosewater. I’d also use much thinner slices of bread.

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November 2007
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