FIP Recipe: General Tso Cauliflower

When I sat down to think of what recipe I’d paid with When We Collided, I had two things in mind;  first the light airy feel to Vivi and Verona Cove and second the first friend she made at Verona Cove.

So I picked chose to make a vegan classic  — General Tso Cauliflower.

Recipe posted below and linked at end of this post. Would love hear how it went for you folks:
Serves: 6­ to 8
For the General Tso’s Sauce:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 knob of ginger, grated
½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar (more to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Batter:
1 cup flour
⅔ cup cornstarch
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
water as needed (about ½ cup)
Other Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
a deep layer of oil for frying
scallions and sesame seeds for topping
1. General Tso’s Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the ginger and
garlic and stir fry for a minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil;
simmer for another 20­30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add more sweetness, citrus, etc. to your
2. Cauliflower Batter: Whisk all the batter ingredients until a loose batter forms. The batter should be thick
enough to cling to the cauliflower and cover it but stay loose enough to easily drip off (adjust thickness with
3. Cauliflower Frying: Pour oil into a heavy bottomed skillet to make it deep enough so it will cover the
cauliflower about halfway (probably ends up being a few cups). Heat the oil over medium heat. Drop a small
bit of batter in the oil to test it ­ when it rises to the top and bubbles, the oil is ready. Dip cauliflower florets
in the batter and let the excess drip off before gently setting in the oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side,then flip, repeating sides several times if necessary until you get a nice golden brown fried exterior. The
additional frying time helps make it a little crunchier, which I very much like. 🙂 Remove and set on a cooling
rack with paper towels underneath (again, rather than putting it all on a plate or bowl with paper towels,
this keeps it crispy vs. soggy).
4. Serving: Toss the fried cauliflower with the sauce (enough just to cover) and sprinkle with scallions and
sesame seeds for serving. Serve with rice.





FIP Book Review: When We Collided



Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Goodreads Synopsis:
We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

FIP Review:
Simply put, I really enjoyed the book. I understood the trials and tribulations of the characters and also I’m a sucker for any story that shows the goodness of people. I can’t say I loved it – but that may just be my personal hang up of not being able to love a tragedy.

Lord is a wonderful writer who is able to fully immerse the reader into her character’s head, which is no easy task when the story has two narrators. The thought process and the voice of the characters swiftly and fluidly move to each different perspective. And the characters are unapologetic about themselves. I wish more YA books focused on this.

Overall, When We Collided was a well written, purposeful love story that totally satisfies (even if it was a little predictable). FIP recommends it as a whimsical rainy day read. Don’t go looking for the answer to all of life’s secrets here – but you may identify your own aura.


Catching Up with Summer

Hola everyone.

Hope everyone’s summer has been treating them well. Thought I’d drop in and talk books a little bit. I’ve been on quite the reading binge – well for my slow reader standards anyway.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

I’m 3/4 way done with the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.  Am I impressed? No. Am I going to finish the series? Yes. Will I be disappointed? Mostly likely.  With all the books from this author, I feel she fills them with angst that drones on and on — the action in her stories is all but the last 2 chapters and it feels rushed. Often times, I’ve put down the book and felt like “that’s it?”  *Spoiler*  For example, the whole big solution to Shiver – get a high fever and break it and you’re cured of being a wolf. I mean come on!!!! Where’s the magical element? Where the creativity?  More than the writing and the books; I enjoyed the fandom surrounding The Raven Cycle. The fan casting was great, the enthusiasm was contagious even.

Moving on, my son got a ton of books for his birthday. My son is 8 – his books are age appropriate. But meh – who am I to discriminate. I read them all. We even read a few good ones together – a chapter every night. I have to tell you – there was no better feeling then my kid asking for “ONE MORE CHAPTER please I need to know what happens next.” (bless my adorable lil  munchkin). Our most recent book was Return to The Isle of the Lost. What a cute book. Exactly what you expect from the Disney franchise; (no we’re not going to talk princesses vs women’s lib) there was a solid lesson, good conquered evil  and friends stuck with each other. I loved it and my kid enjoyed it. Win Win.


However, the reading adventures haven’t been all Disney and paranormal teenagers. We’ve added some more mature flavor as well.  Although I finished The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wrecker back in June – I can’t get it out of my mind. This is one of those books that stays with you. Essentially it’s a story of two immigrants who unwillingly find themselves in the turn of the century NYC.  There is a villain, a love story, relationships and most of all fantastic prose. Good golly – the woman can write. I was initially taken to the story line but turned off by 500 pages.  However, once I finished I felt like there wasn’t enough. I needed more. Lucky for me there is a sequel coming out. I may or may not read it – sometimes you should leave good enough alone.

I will be recommending this book to my book club and hoping that they will write a guest discussion for FIP.


What’s on the horizon?

I was fishing around Netflix one day and found MTV’s Chronicles of Shannara. Oh good lord I was hooked; I binged my way through the first and only season in one weekend. Craving more of this good stuff I posted on FB and my friends told me the show was actually based on books. I have my reservations because these are older books written in the 1980’s and I don’t know that they’ll have much to offer in ways of interesting plot lines (I fear most of it original ideas have been stolen already) but I’ve gotten the books … I plan on digging into those next. There are allot of Terry Brooks books but I think I shall start with the one the show is based on. I need me some more Austin Butler…even if only in my head.


Also on the list for the near future is much talked about The Heart by French author Maylis de Kerangal.  The synopsis is so intriguing in that it foreshadows death – doesn’t promise a rosy ending. And I’ve heard so many great things about her writing.


So what have you been reading? Has anyone read any of the mentioned books? How’d you like them?