Friday, March 25, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich Inspired by Christie Golden's Dark Disciple


an·ti·he·ro

ˈan(t)ēˌhirō,ˈan(t)īˌhirō/
noun
  1. a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.

Translation: An antihero is generally a protagonist who is reaching after an understandable and (mostly) good goal in completely the wrong way and sometimes for the wrong reasons. They often don't acknowledge that their tactics are wrong. Sometimes they swing around to roguish heroes by the end of the story, though often they stay as their pathetically messed up yet endearing selves. 

Examples? There are a lot: Jay Gatsby, Severus Snape, Rooster Cogburn, Nyssa Al Ghul, Captain Jack Sparrow, Han Solo, Sherlock Holmes, Scarlett O'Hara, Deathstroke, Rick Blaine. The list goes on and on. 

There are a lot of anti-heroes that I'm a huge fan of: Snape being the main one. Recently, I stumbled across an anti-hero that I thought was better done than most: 

Asajj Ventress. 
To be honest, I didn't even know who she was before I read Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. Sure, I knew she was a Dark Side Force user with pretty cool lightsabers, but that was where my knowledge ended. 

But, after reading a book that features her and the Jedi Vos, I became an instant fan. Not only is the book well-written, but the storyline is great, the world-building is cool (of course...it's Star Wars), and the characters are extremely intriguing. 

The Clone Wars rage on, the Dark Side facing off against the Republic. Despite the Jedi's best efforts, the death toll continues to rise, Count Dooku's vicious tactics killing many innocent beings. In light of these events, the Jedi make a decision: To combat the Dark Side and put a stop to this bloodshed, they must attempt something that is against the Jedi way: Assassination. 

The Council decides that the only way to rid the galaxy of Count Dooku is to use the Dark Side against him. Two dangerous force users are sent to destroy this Sith Lord. Quinlan Vos, a roguish Jedi Knight, and Asajj Ventress, a former Sith apprentice who's hatred for Count Dooku just barely outweighs her contempt for the Jedi. 

Asajj is determined to have the head of her former Master and will allow nothing to stand in her way. Her talents as a bounty hunter and strength in the Force are impressive, but she is convinced that Vos must also embrace the Dark Side in order to bring Dooku to justice. But what starts out as a partnership with this strange Jedi Knight soon turns into something very different. When her attempts to strengthen Vos through the Dark Side go horribly awry, she must take on Dooku and battle the Dark Side, not only to gain her revenge, but to save the man she has grown to love. 

There are so many things I like about this book, but I'm just going to focus on Asajj Ventress. Her character arc is beyond impressive. All I could do while reading about her was nod my head, tap the pages, and think, "THIS. This is how anti-heroes are done." 

There's something extremely awesome about reading of a character who is able to overcome the difficulties around her (and in her). Asajj had a pretty horrible life: She's a Dathomirian female (Yes, she's of the same race as Darth Maul). She was given away as a slave, and then her master was killed. A Jedi Knight took her as his padawan, and then he was killed. She fell to the Dark Side, became the apprentice of Count Dooku, who later tried to kill her. She then went back to Dathomir and became a Nightsister...and then all of her Nightsisters were killed. 

If anyone has a right to be angry, it's her. And yet, by the end of Dark Disciple, she is struggling to overcome her darkness. As she moves farther from the Dark Side, Vos gravitates closer and closer to it. So not only does she fight to overcome the Dark Side, but she also fights to rescue Vos from it as well. 
Her strength and determination are unparalleled and very inspiring. By the end of the book all I wanted was for Asajj to overcome her past and find her future: her home among people she loved and who loved her in return. 

So, for those of you who want to see how to correctly write an anti-hero (or who just want to read a good Star Wars book), then Dark Disciple is the book you are looking for. Yes, I know that joke is really old. No, I'm not going to stop using it. 

Now just give me a second to awkwardly transition into "book inspired recipe" mode. 

Okay, awkward transition complete. We may proceed: 

I had a hard time finding a recipe to do for this book. I was surprised to learn that Jedi eat steak. I always assumed that they were vegetarian. What's up with that? I mean, you're eating a creature that used to be part of the Force! How does that follow the Jedi code?

A few of the characters ate pastries, so I almost made those just so that I could use the "Come to the Dark Side. We have pastries" line, but decided against it. Jogan fruit is also mentioned, but my local grocery store doesn't sell those. Apparently importing foods from off-world isn't their thing. Oh well. 

So I thought I'd make a sandwich of roasted vegetables. This is something Vos munches on while waiting for Asajj to cool down so he can offer her his partnership. Unfortunately, sandwiches aren't very Star Wars-ish, so I decided to spice things up a bit. How? You'll see: 
Ingredients - 
  • 1/2 of a large eggplant...or 1 medium one. Your eggplant will probably smell like unripe bananas. That's because of the middle to high potassium content, which is good, because most people are potassium deficient. So eat your eggplant. See? I know stuff other than writing and nerd quotes. Surprise!  
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 1/2 of a red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinaigrette 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette 
  • 1 green onion, chopped 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder 
  • Bread. I broke my gluten-free misery and used sourdough bread, mostly because my grocery store has a horrible selection as far as gluten-free breads are concerned. But honestly, any kind of hefty bread will do.
Directions -

1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven at 400 degree Fahrenheit. Chop your zucchini into medallions. Slice your eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut into slices. Put these in your baking pan, crush your cloves of garlic over them, and throw in your red onion (sliced into half-moons).
Fun fact: Mace Windu secretly loves eggplant and red onions because they match his lightsaber. Who knew?
2. Coat the vegetables with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper. I didn't measure any of these ingredients. If you're worried, don't be. This kind of cooking doesn't require spot-on measurements. Just fly casual.
Okay, that's a boring picture and not very Star Wars-ish. Here, try this: Space Veggies! 
This is Reason #2187 that I should not be allowed on PicMonkey.
3. Place this pan in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Don't forget to stir every 5 minutes or so to help them roast evenly.
4. While waiting for the vegetables to roast, you can make your sauce. In a bowl, mix together the mayo, 3/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinaigrette, chopped green onion, and garlic powder. I know it looks kind of gross, but trust me, it tastes good. What? Don't believe me? I find your lack of faith disturbing. Even Obi-Wan approves:
5. Once the veggies are done cooking, allow to cool for a few moments. You can use this time to toast your bread:
Yes, I am aware that the BB-8 droid was probably not invented back in the Clone Wars. But so what? I take orders from only one person: Me.
6. Spread your bread with the mayo sauce. Heap as many veggies onto the bread as possible and enjoy.
I actually wasn't sure that this was going to taste any good, but it really, really did. You know, sometimes I amaze even myself.

Thus far, Dark Disciple has been my favorite Star Wars book. I've only read five, but still. I'm blown away by how great the characterizations were. It's the perfect book for those of you who want to read about Ventress, the Dark Side, or the Clone Wars. I highly recommend it. It's an amazing book that is not only chock full of awesome lightsaber fights and Force-using, but also themes of redemption, love, and perseverance.
If you're still not sold, I suggest reading this review by Goody, a fellow contributor at Constant Collectible. It's awesome and what first got me wanting to read Dark Disciple. 

What Star Wars books have you read and enjoyed? Do you like Asajj Ventress? Let's talk about her and all other favorite anti-heroes in the comments section!

Related articles:
German Potato Salad Inspired by Andy Weir's the Martian
Peanut Brittle Inspired by Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Mrs. Weasley's Chocolate Fudge Inspired by Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone

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12 comments:

  1. This actually sounds like a book I would read, after your descriptions. :O

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  2. *Throws out carefully planned Star Wars reading list to read Dark Disciple* This book looks amazing. A female antihero? Done right? Sign me up please.

    Once again I am in every of your cooking skills. The sandwich looks amazing. I went ahead and took the liberty of looking up Jedi eating habits. Apparently it's up to the individual what they do, so most stick to the customs of their race/species. Anakin and Luke have both been shown eating meat.

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    Replies
    1. Wow. Thank you for looking that up for me. I guess it makes sense that they stick with their customs. Mystery solved. I feel better now. =)
      Sorry about your carefully planned list. =) I'm sure you'll love this book, though!

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  3. I haven't actually read any Star Wars books, in spite of many people telling me I should. But if there's one thing I love, it's anti-heroes (and a female one at that!) so this book is definitely going on my reading list.

    Also, that sandwich looks absolutely delicious. I love roasted veggies, but I don't know the first thing about cooking. Still, this is a recipe I definitely want to try. (And now I'm hungry...)

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! Some of the Star Wars aren't written well, but others (like this one) are actually very good. Female anti-heroes are usually ruined, so it's always great to come across one that makes sense. =)

      Roasting veggies are super easy. You got this. =)

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  4. "Sometimes I amaze even myself..." Thumbs up.

    The only Star Wars books I have read were the X-Wing series featuring the cast and crew of Rogue Squadron.

    Other than that... it just seems like setting myself up to be disappointed if I read about the main characters as imagined or written by multiple authors.

    I do, however, have a Star Wars nerd for a baby brother, and another family friend (read - brother not by blood) who is fanatical about Star Wars. So I have heard the behind the scenes, the unknown facts, the unique pieces of stories........

    But I may have to make an exception. :-) And the sandwich sounds fabulous.

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    Replies
    1. Lol! Thanks. Han Solo is so easy to quote.

      I haven't read the X-Wing series yet, but I've been wanting to. The Star Wars books are often hit and miss, since, as you said, they are a result of a lot of different authors. But so far I've found a few worth reading. =)

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  5. You have been crazy-inspired lately, and I love reading your stuff :) Your space-veggies are a hoot! :D

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    1. Aw. Thanks! Space-veggies were a product of an extremely hungry, tired Hannah. =)

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  6. I adore Christie Golden :D Her Warcraft books are really good. I should really check this one out...

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    1. I haven't read any of her other novels. Warcraft sounds fun. I'll have to give it a shot!

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