Well folks the Holiday Season in the M/M Universe is off to a GREAT start for me! “How I Met Your Father” by LB Gregg was a perfect way to get me in the mood for the season. First of all, it had been a long while since we had anything new from Ms. Gregg. Her brand of humor is unique in this genre, and I for one am super glad to see her name back in my kindle. This story is part of the Home for the Holidays collection coming out from Riptide Publishing this and next month. The anthology will have stories from what I can only catalog as a heavy All-Star group of ladies, the likes of Ally Blue, Z.A. Maxfield and my beloved Amy Lane.
This story was so funny. I mean HILARIOUS. I could not stop laughing. I don’t even know what it was, it just hit my funny bone. Just from the title I was expecting comedy, something a little edgy, a little silly, a little gross, but hilarious nonetheless. The kind of story that is more about getting the laugh, than about taking itself too seriously…Campy, and it TOTALLY was that. I loved the humor, and in the process really got to like the characters.
The setting for this story is Nevis island in the Carribean (West Indies specifically). I’m an island girl myself, hailing from Dominican Republic. So for my recipe I wanted to make something that was festive, and also with ingredients common to this season. I made a staple island “celebration food”, empanadas. Empandas sre a kind of pastry that looks a lot like a turnover, and can be filled with pretty much anything. For today I made a roasted butternut squash and mushroom filling, with a bit of cilantro pesto on the side for dipping the empanadas. I can only say they came out AMAZING. For the wine pairing I chose a 2011 Chardonnay from Butterfield Station Winery in California which is the perfect match for the fresh tastes in the empanadas. This wine has a nice fruity taste, with some vanilla undertones, perfect with the squash’s buttery taste. Also it has no oakiness, which I particularly dislike in Chardonnays. For about $8.00, what’s not to love?! Now that we have food and drink on the table, on to the story!
Justin Hayes is on a plane to Miami, on his way to his friend’s wedding in the Caribbean. He is STRESSED OUT. Between the turbulence, and the nerves of missing his connection, and the impassiveness of the hot guy next to him (who seems to not notice that the plane is about to go DOWN!!!!), he is cursing himself for not taking that Ambien at the beginning of the flight. Here’s the thing…Justin is on his way to St. Kitt & Nevis to serve as best man at a wedding. Justin used to be part of an all boy band named Rhythm Method and Chuck one of his band mates, and best friend, is getting married. All the guys will be there, it’ll be kind of a reunion, for the four of them. The wedding seems to be planned pretty much on the fly, but Chuck sounds happy, and it’s always good to see the guys, they are the closest thing to family he’s ever had. Now, if he could only make it out of the flight with his life, that would be awesome. He’s wound up, and barely notices when the giant hot blond man next to him grabs, his hand and starts soothing him?…Ummm what the hell? The kicker is it actually helps! His strong presence is like a balm to his soul…Except the whole thing freaks Justin out, AND turns him on at the same time! Where is all this groping coming from?! I mean did this guy recognize him?! If he did why is he touching him?! Because the world at large has NO CLUE Justin is gay, he made DAMN SURE of that…His sexuality was always under wraps. He never let his preferences be a reason for the band’s reputation to suffer in any way.
So, the guys is rubbing away, and despite himself Justin is INTO IT, like “I just got a boner in a potential life-and death situation” kind of way and now he’s pissed. Who does this guy even think he is?! As soon as that damn plane landed he jumped out of his seat and got out of there as fast as his legs could take him…Except the hot blonde god comes after him, and right in the airport family friendly restroom, shows Justin just how good those hands could feel, ALL OVER his body. After the quick and dirty airport sexual encounter they each went their own way…Hopefully one would be the wiser…Yeaaaahhhh right….Fast forward to Justin’s arrival in Nevis, and his happy discovery that Mr. Golden God himself is none other than his best friend’s future father-in-law…So yeah things get a little tense…In every sense of the word. Jack (Blond God) is not making it easy for Justin, he’s not giving up on the obvious attraction they share, and Justin just cannot shed his crazy neurosis of being in the closet. Even though these days he isn’t really in the limelight. Jack is like the man of his dreams and obviously wants him, he makes it VERY clear. Justin must finally give up all that baggage, and stop using his old life as an excuse not to actually have a future with someone. All kinds of shenanigans ensue, and Chuck’s walk to the altar is filled with laughs and unseemly situations, and Jack and Justin, despite many interruptions, and a couple near death experiences, manage to make a go of things in the end.
I had a fabulous time reading this story. I loved every minute of it, and there was not a five minute period where I wasn’t laughing my ass off…It was like some sort of National Lampoon’s meets UK based Holiday Rom Com…The interactions between Justin and his band mates Chuck, Matt and TJ were for no better word irreverently politically incorrect and they were FABULOUS. These guys clearly loved each other like brothers, but that did not keep them from giving each other a hard time. The sexual jokes alone made me practically roll on the floor laughing.These boys did not pull punches with the puns. This was just a fun fun story, which to be honest was light on the romance, but in the end it did not make a difference for me…I was happy enough with how things worked out, since the story for me was a lot more about campy goodness than anything else. That being said, I got a pretty sweet and neat happy ending regardless, which in Christmas story is kind of what I want to see anyway. After all who doesn’t love a good boy band holyday rom com?!
How I Met Your Father is out today on Riptide Publishing and can be pruchased here.
Now for the food. Folks this is some delicious grub, a FOR SURE hit if you bring to any parties this holiday season.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Empanadas
2 Packets of Goya Turnover Dough (You can find these in pretty much any Latin Food section freezer) or 2 Pie Crusts
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of vegetable oil
For the filling:
3 cups of butternut squash peeled and cubed
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 1/2 cups of mushrooms chooped (I used Baby Bellas)
1 Tablespoon of fresh oregano
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional)
4 Tablespoons of extra vrigin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven at 400F. Take the butternut squash half of the garlic, 2 TB of olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste and toss with the squash. After the squash is tossed well, place on a lined cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes flipping it once. Separately in a skillet, put the rest of the oil and sautee onions stirring until the soften, add mushrooms and sautee until they soften, about five minutes at medium heat. If they get dry at a little bit of water. Add the roasted squash to the mix and stir until the squash is mashed a bit. After the filling is done time to make your empanadas. If you are using the pie crusts roll them out until they are about 1/8 of an inch thick and use a saucer to make cut out about 4 inch diameter discs. On one half of the disc put on about 1 1/3 tablespoon of filling. Dip your finger in the water, and run it over the edge of the pastry disc. Fold over the the disc and make indentations all along the edge until the pastry is sealed. Once your empanadas are done. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the empanadas. They should cook for about a minute on each side or until the look golden. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Cilantro Pesto Dipping Sauce
1 cup of fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon of raw almonds
juice of half a lime
1 clove of garlic minced
1/3 cup of extra olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Put all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until they have pesto consistency. Adjust salt and pepper if neeeded or add oil if necessary.
Pour a bit on a small dish and add to your empanadas…Enjoy with a glass of chilled Chardonnay while reading this delightful Christmas story in the tropics!
Alright ladies and gents that is all for me today. Stay tuned this week, because I will have a post with an AMAZING Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding and Ms. Heidi Cullinan will be visiting and making veggie pot pies with me this Thursday on her Let It Snow blog tour! Yay!!
Cheers and Happy Reading!