Perfect Imperfections by Cardeno C…Vegan Calzone and Vihno Verde

PerfectImperfectionsLGI read my first Cardeno C book recently when she joined forces with one of my all time faves the most lovely, Mary Calmes in the PNR novel Control (which I LURVED). I liked her style of writing and specially loved the character she wrote. So, when she had a novel with a rockstar (one of my favorite tropes!) coming up I snatched it up!

Perfect Imperfections is a very sweet and no angst story, and  there is a bit of a mystery which kept things interesting. The build-up to the more smexy scenes was nice and made the payoff that more delicious. Here is the jist of it, Jeremy Jameson is a big rockstar, who is feeling a bit like there is not much in his personal life that is worth getting excited about. One night, before his upcoming tour, he walks into a bar in Arizona and ends up hiring the bartender, Reggie Moore, to be his tour companion…Like his “fake boyfriend” to basically keep him company while he does his shows around the world. A bit unusual situation, but these two get pretty adorable early on in the book, and that snuggly deliciousness keeps going for the remainder of the story. They were so cute!!!

So for this book, I wanted to do a comfort food like recipe with a summer wine as we are having that kind of weather these days. I went for a Spinach and Mushroom Vegan Calzone with a delish Portugese Vihno Verde. Vihno Verde is produced in Portugal and has been quite popular in the last few years, as it inredibly refreshing and ususally very affordable…I buy it by the case in the summer! This particular bottle, 2012 Vera Vihno Verde,  is more than I would normally pay at $11 (although it may be less in your area), but I was curious of the Rosé. It is delicious with the usual super subtle carbonation of VV, and a zippy bite that just makes you want to keep drinking. The Calzone is my little crazy creation, and I think it will pass even Cardeno C’s melty cheese test!

photo 3Now back to the story. Once Reggie goes on tour with Jeremy, it is pretty obvious that his presence is a good influence on the singer. He feels fulfilled and cared for like he never has before,. Reggie’s presence in his life becomes more of necessity with each passing day. It’s confusing too, because as far as he knows he is straight! Jeremy is known for having dated all the up and coming startlets in LA. He’s never really been attracted to men before.Reggie just pushes all his buttons though and pretty soon the chemsitry between them it getting to be too much to ignore. Reggie on his end is head over heels for Jeremy, and is pretty sure the feeling is mutual, he doesn’t want to push and scare Jeremy off, but the man’s sexiness is getting hard to resist.

This novel is a pretty light and easy romance. There are a few stressful twists, but none that involve our heroes, they are pretty steady with each other. There are so hilarious moments, specially with Jeremy which made for solid romcom fare. Reggie and Jeremy’s dance around each other was done well, there was a lot of tension without getting frustrated. Reggie and Jeremy were so dear, those two were certainly smittlen. As far as the rockstar trope there aren’t really many scenes showcasing performances and such, but that was alright, we got the other side of being a musician. There were a lot of pretty intense scenes regarding the kind of pressure starts face with the media, it made for a more coherent story given the plot.

I liked this one, will probably pick it up again when I need light read with cuteness and smexy.

Perfect Imperfections is available on for purchase here.

Spinach Mushroom Vegan Calzone

1 pizza dough (see here)

1 cup of crimini mushrooms chopped

1 cup of baby spinach

1 small onion chopped

1 garlic clove minced

1 bag of Go Veggie! Mozarella flavored rice shreds

1/3 cup of Go Veggie! Parmesan Style Grated Topping

1/2 block of extra firm tofu (drained)

1 tablespoon of nutriotional yeast

a few basil leaves (2-4)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven at 425F. In the food processor place tofu, basil, nutritional yeast, a teaspoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Run the mixture until it has consistency of ricotta cheese.

spinach_mushrooms

Once the mixure is done, mix with the rice shreds and grated topping, and set aside.

cheese

In a sautee pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil. Sautee onions, garlic and mushrooms until they are softened, about 4 minutes, and add spinach at the end for like a minute. Remove from heat.

photo 2

On a floured counter top take the dough, divide it into two halves and roll out to rectangular shape. Place half of “cheese” and half of veggies on lower part of rectangle, fold over and pinch edges to that it is sealed. Once you have the calzone sealed properly then brush the top with oil.

filling calzone

calzone

Prick the calzones with a fork on top a couple of times and place in a pizza stone or pan with nonstick oil for about 22 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce or pesto for dipping and enjoy with a nice chilled wine!

 

Hope that you guys give the book and recipe a try. Uncomplicated and tasty is always a good combination!

 

Cheers and Happy Reading.

Laura

Control by Cardeno C & Mary Calmes…No Fish “Tuna” Salad.

ControlLGI do love when Mary Calmes delves into the paranormal realm. Her shifters usually bank on every possible angle to make them toppily delicious…She also writes a sexy devil of a bottom that totally annihilates all of his mate’s control. This story in some ways is a bit of a change of pace to that. First of all Mary Calmes and Cardeno C teamed up to write the story of Vy Aleknos and Robert Cimino.  I have read almost everything Mary has written, but this was my first time reading a Cardeno C story. I was interested to see how their styles would match up, and if I would still able to get that Calmes brand of writing I know and love. I thought they’re joint effort worked beautifully, I could certainly recognize Mary’s style in Vy’s character, and enjoyed reading Robert’s POV as well.

For these guys I wanted to do something strictly vegan, but with a bit of twist. Robert was a vegan, and seemed to love the fake meat products. I am one as well (like 90% of the time anyways, I love Cheese too much!) but I don’t particularly enjoy the tofurky like products…What to do for food then? I remembered I have an AMAZING recipe for a No Fish “Tuna” Salad which is completely vegan, no mayo, no tuna, no nothing. I paired it with a glass of Malbec, mostly because it was there, and I think Malbec pretty much goes with anything.  The 2012 Portillo Malbec from Salentin Winery in Argentina is full of flavor, has intense cherry overtones and hints of vanilla that make it a very nice wine to sip. It goes great with spicy or peppery foods, and for $9.99 it’s fantastic value.

photo (21)

Back to the guys. Vy Aleknos is a hawk shifter and the leader of his kettle. His entire life is fiercely connected to his animal side, to his role as the leader of his community. He was born to that job, and he made sure from the moment he assumed the role  never to disappoint those under him. He is as much man as he is hawk. He is well loved, by his kettle, but nevertheless there is an emptiness in him. He is sorrounded by family and friends who love him, yet there is a part of him that he can’t share with anyone. He can’t show vulnerabilities, weaknesses, doubts. He can’t ever reveal that he yearns to be taken care of some time, that he has a deep aching need to let go and let someone else take over. When Robert Cimino walks into his life, he finally can sense that what he has been waiting for has arrived.

Robert is a scientist, he has been living out of a tent for his entire life, and has no plans to change anytime soon. He’s come to work in Vy’s little town in Colorado and as soon as he sees the slight, blond man he is drawn to him with everything he’s got. All the feelings and instincts that Robert has kept tampered down from when he was a young child are trying to bubble up to the surface.  Robert is a bear shifter, but he has no pack, or has even shifted since he was a kid. The animal part of himself is dangerous, and he is fearful that he may not be able to control it, if he allows it to come out.

The thing is once Robert and Vy discover their connection it is hard to stay away. Robert is struggling in many ways, he has never contemplated staying in one place, but Vy embraces his animal side and won’t have a mate that doesn’t. They struggle with meeting half way, Vy is proud and quick tempered, while Robert is easygoing and sensitive.  Then there’s the drama within Vy’s kettle, and an outside wolf pack. Is it realistic to even consider making a go of things for them?

I enjoyed this novel a lot, it definitely had the Mary Calmes touch, and I really liked Cardeno C’s writing as well. Robert and Vy were awesome to read in their own POVs, and the tones and styles complemented each other well. This is pretty straighforward shifter fare in terms of pack politics and what not. The town and supporting characters were also very reminiscent of Mary’s other shifter books. I enjoyed the juxtapositions of heros’ personalities, and the inner conflicts both Vy and Robert faced to be with each other. I also liked that their human sides were pretty well aligned with their inner animals. I loved how cuddly Robert was and how prickly Vy could be. I would TOTALLY love a follow up book on the Alpha of the enemy wolf pack! There are at least two more books that could come out of this one.

Recommend, for those looking for a sweet, easy, PNRish read. Control is available for purchase here.

No Fish “Tuna” Salad

(adapted from Carrie On Vegan Blog)

Ingredients

2 cups garbanzo beans
4 celery stalks
2 tablespoons unsalted tahini
2 tablespoon pickle relish
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon white miso
¼ cup red onion

1 teaspoon of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
photo (22)

Instructions

Rinse and drain garbanzo beans and place into a medium-sized bowl. Chop celery and add to bowl. Add tahini, relish, mustard, miso, onion, lemon juice and salt and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine. Use the flat side of a fork to smash some of the beans. Serve over chopped romaine as a salad entrée, wrapped in a tortilla for a wrap, or on toasted bread for a sandwich.
Hope you enjoy the book, the food and the wine pairing! All three are very much worth revisiting soon, at least for me.

Cheers and Happy Reading!

TB_Website_222px