Friday, August 2, 2013

Dinner Train: The Raven Boy

The Raven Boys meets The Raven Boy
Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I lived in a castle atop a hill with several other beautiful princesses, a fire-breathing dragon, and our loyal manservant, Maurice.  That’s only sort of true: it was sixish years ago, we lived on a cliff in the top two floors of a run-down Victorian house, the fire-breathing dragon was an oven that shot fireballs out when you turned it on, and our manservant was neither loyal nor male, but rather a birthday cake stealing, pregnant racoon named Maurice.  

The one truth?  There were in fact beautiful princesses (and more as the years went on), and we had a magical fresh out of college experience, navigating the perils of the new adult world (running out of French Onion Dip, Brazilian DJs showing up to your housewarming parties, a bathroom without a door, and a landlord who once tried to fix a broken door using only a snow shovel) way more classily (sometimes), and well fed than the girls seem to do on Girls.  More importantly, a group love of YA/fun literature swept through the ranks in the house - we did group reads for things like Breaking Dawn, hazed new roommates with gifts of Outlander, made mixes for get the idea. This appropriately titled blog started right back about then!

Pretty pretty princesses.
It seemed only fitting that in a year when three members of the first generation of the house would be turning 30, and another is having her first baby, that said first generation (and moi, generation 1.5) should muster and eat way too much cheese, drink some wine, and reflect upon these momentous life events.  Naturally, we decided to have a faux book club in anticipation of this event, and even more naturally, choose a YA book about a group of magical friends: The Raven Boys.  JUST LIKE US.  I reviewed it last year, but was really glad to reread it and discuss with like-minded BFFs, especially in light of the sequel (one of...several? I’m unclear what “cycle” means, publishing world.), The Dream Thieves, dropping in just about a month.  Maybe I have a copy.  Maybe you should stay tuned for that review...

A pizza feast fit for Welsh kings,
Raven Boys, psychics?

We’re a little older and theoretically wiser now (which is just a polite way to say that we don’t bounce back like 22-year-olds anymore; our drinks better be worth it!).  We’ve certainly become way better and more confident chefs, even when faced with the daunting challenge of making pizza (in honor of Blue’s job as a pizza parlour waitress, and meeting the Monmouth boys for the first time at work) in a 1970s kitchen lacking any baking sheets.  Over several rounds of Marry Shag Cliff (Does anyone keep Noah?  Poor guy.) and group casting as characters in the book (apparently I’m Maura? Whattt? Disagree?), a feast fit for Glendower was prepared.  I whipped up a little something I’m calling the Raven Boy to toast both our reunion, and the Raven Boys with.  It’s got a little bit of everything from the book in there: mint for Gansey, Bourbon for the Southern Henrietta accents (also alcohol, for Ronan), black-blue for both Blue and the Raven boys, and is served ice cold.  Like Noah! 

Making magic happen in old kitchens since 2005.
This is our kind of tea reading.
Recipe below - but do note that you can use the syrup with more seltzer to make a non-alcoholic version of this, any teens who may stumble across this recipe.  

The Raven Boy
(Blackberry Lime Julep)

The Raven Boy, inspired by Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys

Simple Syrup
Blackberry Simple Syrup
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
Mint sprig

1. In a saucepan over low, combine all ingredients, until sugars are incorporated into the liquid, and the blackberries begin to break down and fall apart.  The liquid should turn the color of a blackberry, duh!
2.  Pour over a strainer, discard the solids, and let cool entirely in a jar with a sprig or two of mint.

The Raven Boy
(1 serving)

This is either how you make trouble, get kicked out of prep school, or mix a delicious and refreshing Raving Boy.

8-12 leaves of mint
1-2 wedges of lime
3 blackberries
2 shots blackberry simple syrup
2 shots Bourbon*
1 shots seltzer/club soda
(More of everything on hand to garnish and adjust to taste)

1) Muddle mint, lime, and blackberries in a cocktail shaker.
2) Add ice, syrup, Bourbon, and club soda to the shaker, cover, and vigorously shake to combine.
3) Strain to serve over ice with a wedge of lemon, blackberries, and mint sprigs to garnish.  4) Top glasses off with additional seltzer (adjust to taste preference).  
5) Enjoy with your magical buddies in a magical place, discussing the magical book experience that is Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys.

The Raven Boy(s)
*Leave out bourbon and substitute seltzer to make a nonalcoholic version of this refreshing drink!

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