Ahhh. I love food.

I know you’re saying, “Why yes, Melody, most creatures who consume to thrive do love food…”

But I love food in more than a “MAKE ME LIVE!” way. To me, food is love. I make my friend’s and family’s favorite foods to make them happy and show that I care. I enjoy sharing the experience with them. I also always tell them, “Do not tell me you like it if you don’t- I won’t be offended.”

Because seriously, it’s food. If you say you like it, I’m going to make it for you again. YOUR CALL.

The foodie in me is why I love when authors make it a part of their stories. And it doesn’t always have to be a direct recipe– using food in metaphor or to draw out a certain sensation is always a plus. Sarah Addison Allen is so good at this; seriously, read:

“Memories, even hard memories, grew soft like peaches as they grow older.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

“The next morning dawned bright and sweet, like ribbon candy.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

“Like magic, she felt him getting nearer, felt it like a pull in the pit of her stomach. It felt like hunger but deeper, heavier. Like the best kind of expectation. Ice cream expectation. Chocolate expectation.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen

“Coffee, she’d discovered, was tied to all sorts of memories, different for each person. Sunday mornings, friendly get-togethers, a favorite grandfather long since gone, the AA meeting that saved their life. Coffee meant something to people. Most found their lives were miserable without it. Coffee was a lot like love that way. And because Rachel believed in love, she believed in coffee, too.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper

“Anise hyssop honey butter on toast, angelica candy, and cupcakes with crystallized pansies made children thoughtful. Honeysuckle wine served on the Fourth of July gave you the ability to see in the dark. The nutty flavor of the dip made from hyacinth bulbs made you feel moody and think of the past, and the salads made with chicory and mint had you believing that something good was about to happen, whether it was true or not.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

I could quote Allen all day about amazing food, especially with her book Garden Spells, where Claire Waverly is always cooking up something amazing. In fact, Allen compiled a list of recipes from the book, which you can find here. Magic, no?

George R.R. Martin is another author well-known for putting food in his novels– in House Klink, we cook recipes from The Inn at the Crossroads for every Game of Thrones premiere. (Yes, we love the show and books. No, this is not a debate. Sorry, not sorry.) The Inn is a website that has worked to create authentic recipes from the descriptions in Martin’s books, and even got the Official stamp added to their works with the publication of A Feast of Ice and Fire: An Official Game of Thrones Cookbook. I highly recommend the Honeyed Chicken, a favorite of direwolf Ghost. (Speaking of, DID YOU GUYS SEE SUNDAY’S EPISODE? WAAAAAAHHHHH! NO SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T.)

While working on my new book series, I’ve thought a lot about food– mainly how the character is in a foreign world and can’t (shouldn’t is a better word, really) eat the food there. She’s consumed more granola bars than anyone I’ve ever seen, and it’s a little depressing. (I’m making a note to feed her better when I can- a girl cannot live on energy bars alone.)

This also made me think of Godeater, where Naika’s favorite things are iced coffee and strawberry cheesecake cupcakes.

Oh, and they eat a lot of sandwiches.

I’m not projecting, I swear!

(I’m lying. Turkey is the best.)

So what I wanted to do today was share the recipes for these two things with you guys! The first recipe is for Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes, which I originally found on 2Teaspoons. Now, the reason I love using this recipe is that it isn’t wildly sweet, which is a problem with a lot of artificial strawberry products. Top these bad boys with strawberry slices and you’ll be shoving them in your mouth like Noah in no time!

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE CUPCAKES


Fresh strawberry cupcakes topped with tangy cream cheese frosting and filled with a strawberry cheesecake surprise! No cake mix or jello needed!
Author: 2Teaspoons
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS
Cupcakes
12 Strawberries
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup milk
¼ cup plain greek yorgurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⅔ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Frosting and Filling
¾ cup softened unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
2 cups of powdered sugar sifted (measure before sifting)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces of cream cheese
2 tablespoons liquid strawberry puree or strawberry jam
red food coloring (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cuts with cupcake liners and set aside.
Pulse about 4 strawberries in a food processor to get about ⅓ cup chunky puree and set aside. Puree about 8 strawberries in a food processor to get about ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of liquid puree and set aside.
Melt butter in a large microwave safe bowl on medium power for about 30-60 seconds. Stir in sugar, then stir in egg, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and ½ cup strawberry liquid puree (not the chunks yet).
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and gently stir until there are no lumps in the batter. Gently fold in strawberry chunks and lemon zest.
Divide evenly between the 12 cupcake lined muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Once cupcakes are completely cool, beat butter for frosting with an electric mixer on medium until smooth, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, then add cream cheese one ounce at a time until desired tanginess is reached.*
Make filling by combining 2 tablespoons of frosting with the 2 tablespoons of liquid strawberry puree set aside during cupcake making. Cut ½” diameter holes in cupcakes, making sure not to go through the bottom (I went about half way down the cupcake). Fill cupcake with 1 teaspoon each of the filling then cover with the piece of cupcake originally removed.
Divide remaining frosting in half, dying one half pink with red food coloring. Put frosting in a frosting bag with pink on one side and white on the other. Pipe on cupcakes, serve and enjoy!

*****

OM NOM NOM. I could really eat about a dozen of these right now. Luckily, I’m going to the store in a bit…

Oh, right. The iced coffee recipe. Iced coffee can be a funky thing to make at home, but once you get it right, it’s amazing— dare I say, better than the coffeehouse.

Oh yeah, I went there.

The recipe I love to use is an adaptation from Imbibe Magazine, done by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

PERFECT ICED COFFEE

Author: Ree Drummond
PREP TIME:
8 Hours
DIFFICULTY:
Easy
SERVINGS:
24 Servings

INGREDIENTS
1 pound Ground Coffee (good, Rich Roast)
8 quarts Cold Water
Half-and-half (healthy Splash Per Serving)
Sweetened Condensed Milk (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)
Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups…adapt To Your Liking!

INSTRUCTIONS
(Adapted from Imbibe Magazine)

In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.

Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.

To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.

*****

Naika loves caramel coffee, so adding either caramel syrup or sauce (or homemade caramel, if that’s your thing) makes the perfect cup.

Aaaaaand now I’m starving.

Do you think food has a place at the literary table? I’m in the group with George R.R. Martin, Sarah Addison Allen, and plenty of others when I give a massive, hungry “YES!”

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