Easy Peasy Summer Strawberry Jam!

Greetings, Mystic Meows!!

It is prime time for all of those luscious berries right now and what better way to enjoy them, besides eating them by the handful, than making jam! Strawberry preserves and jam is one of my favorite spreadable sweet treats. Perfect on oatmeal, toast, biscuits, pancakes, waffles… Ice cream! The possibilities are endless!

My recipe is quick, simple, and of course… easy. You’ll be seeing those words a bunch with my food blogs. Making a jam is a great way to make use of the berries that are super ripe and ready to eat right away. This recipe also works with other fruits such as peaches, apricots, plums, and cherries. If using peaches, I would quickly blanch them in boiling water for no more than 1 1/2 minutes to easily remove the skin before cutting. But let’s get to the Strawberries!!! 🍓🍓🍓

Now, I tend to use way less sugar than most other recipes call for, and I also don’t use pectin because the method for this particular recipe is basically a reduction. It creates a nice, thick, and concentrated strawberry flavor. The use of lemon juice is up to you, but I also usually don’t add that either. It’s pretty much the strawberries, and sugar. That’s it! It thickens as it cools and is spreadable and insanely tasty. Here we go!

Easy Peasy Strawberry Jam 🍓

2 pounds ripe strawberries, washed and hulled

1 1/4 cups of sugar

1/8th cup of lemon juice ( optional )

1. In a large bowl, add the strawberries and sugar, and proceed to mash the berries with a fork or wire whisk.

2. In a medium sized pot, add the mashed strawberries and cook on medium low heat and to help dissolve the sugar. Taste for sweetness and adjust by adding more sugar in small batches if you need to.

3. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a nice rolling boil, stirring constantly as not to burn the berries. At this point, you’re pretty much reducing down the sauce. The amount of time this takes will depend upon the pot you use and your stove. Usually about 20 to 25 minutes from the start of the rolling boil. Be sure to stay with it and stir it constantly.

4. You’ll be able to gauge if the jam is at the right consistency by the way it feels with a spoon as you’re stirring it. It’ll feel thick and of course you’ll be able to see how it looks on the spoon itself… Check out the video to see what I mean… 😉🍓

 

5. Cool completely and put into a jar or container, and refrigerate until ready to eat!

Since we typically eat the daylights outta this stuff in a matter of days, I just put the jam in a container and forgo the canning process. And I like that I can make more jam whenever I feel like it because this recipe is so simple and easy. As I said before, this Strawberry love fest of yumminess is great on just about anything! Peanut butter and Strawberry jam on toast makes a great little snack for the little meows! Even makes a beautiful base for a vinaigrette! Strawberry Balsamic, anyone?

That’s what I love about ingredients and how they’re like the gateway drugs to other recipe creations! 😝One thing leads to another. Use the jam for smoothies, lemonade or iced tea… Jazz up your sparkling water or add to your mimosas! I can go on and on, but you get where I’m coming from… 😉✨

Please let me know what tasty creations you come up with if you decide to give this recipe a whirl, dear reader! Thanks so much for stopping by! Until we eat again… Happy Cooking!

Cheers, hugs, and meows!

Xo Nikki 💕✨

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CBD Infused Foods

Greetings, Mystic Meows!

Chefs all over the world predicted that in 2019 one of the biggest food trends we would see is the incorporation of CBD in pretty much everything edible. From drinks to pet food, chips to chocolate, chefs are seeing unique opportunities for new cuisine and experimental dining options by the inclusion and infusion of cannibis and CBD oil. Just take a look at what a company called Cannabinoid Creations is doing with CBD infusion.

What exactly is CBD? CannaBiDiol is a compound found in the resin of the cannibis flower, and has a rich medicinal history going back for a long time. As in, thousands of years. Unlike the THC compound, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you “high”, so it’s not going to alter your state of mind upon consumption.

However, CBD research indicates that the changes it causes the body might be beneficial. I’ll link a couple of places where you can learn more about it. So far it’s research has shown that it might relieve pain, depression, anxiety, causes of acne, and alleviate certain cancer symptoms.

CBD Benefits

CBD and the FDA

As far as consumption, there’s a variety of ways in which food is being used to entice us into trying CBD products in the latest health food vitamin, chocolate confection, infused coffee, and treats for our pets. Even fast food chains are jumping on the CBD bandwagon. Carl’s Jr., a West coast fast food chain known as Hardy’s on the East coast, recently announced that it is debuting the Rocky Mountain High Cheeseburger infused with CBD on 4/20. You need to be 18yrs or older to purchase it, of course… But the variety of ways that CBD will be making its way into everything you can think of will be intriguing to see and taste.

It’s an interesting and controversial subject considering that no one can say for sure how beneficial CBD really is for us, but as a chef I can totally see the appeal to incorporating it into recipes as these days it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep consumers engaged and interested in following food trends that aren’t embracing a plant based, sustainable, zero waste mentality. CBD would fall into plant based, I suppose.

I’m looking forward to seeing how creative and inventive chefs and other companies are going to be with it all and what changes people will feel if consuming CBD on the regular. Time will tell! Until next time dear reader… Happy Cooking and Happy Eating!

Cheers, hugs, and meows!

Xo Nikki 💖✨

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Photos courtesy of Carl’s Jr., and Google images 😉

Spicy Sambal Lobster Salad

Greetings, Mystic Meows!

With Spring upon us and Summer approaching at a rapid pace, ( it’s already almost mid April! ), the abundance of the rainbow colors of fruits and vegetables in our local markets are quite inspiring. Everything just looks so… Fresh!

Even the fish and seafood are impeccably tempting and inviting. With the weather warming up I always find that my tastes change and my desire to cook and create different dishes kicks into high gear. And I start to crave those flavors that remind me of summer and the sea.

On a recent food shopping excursion I was captivated by some incredible looking lobster tails at a great price that I couldn’t resist. Along with some gorgeous brioche bread and herbs, my chefs brain immediately started going through the inventory of what I had both in the pantry and the fridge, and I knew exactly what I was going to make.

So here is the recipe for Spicy Sambal Lobster Salad, which can be put on your favorite bread or toast, lettuce, crackers, or raw veggie chips like jicama, fresh beets, or radishes. Even rice paper for a healthier version of a lobster roll without the bread! That’s what I love most about recipes… You can always change things to make them your own! Enjoy!

Spicy Sambal Lobster Salad

1 pound cooked lobster meat, diced into medium sized pieces

1 piece of green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 c. chives, chopped

1/2. cup of mayonnaise

2 Tbls. Sambal Oelek ( you can find this in the Asian section at the supermarket ) use more or less to taste. I like mine a bit spicy.

2 tsp. Sriracha or a dash of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and adjust the amount of Sambal, mayo, salt and pepper to suit your palate and set in the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes for the flavors to marry together. Serve on top of your favorite toasted bread or lettuces. 🦞

I made this for lunch and I used brioche and toasted the bread in a skillet with some butter to brown the sides. I like the sweet butteriness of brioche with lobster. The added heat gave it a nice kick that I really enjoyed and I hope you will too! I was feeling extra fancy and made Garlic Parmesan Fries to go with it, cause… why not? 😛 Until next time, dear reader… Happy Cooking!!

Cheers, hugs, and meows!

Xo Nikki 💕

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Beyond Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Greetings, Mystic Meows!

Ok. I’m not in any way vegan or vegetarian, but as a Chef who loves to eat, um… almost anything, I’ve really grown to love the Beyond Meat line of plant-based products and am super excited to try their latest offering Beyond Beef, which tastes, looks like, and can be used just as you would ground beef.

I’m already a fan of the Beyond Burgers, meat crumbles and chicken strips, and recently my local grocery store started carrying the Beyond Sausage Hot Italian flavor and I grabbed it like a mad woman! I was super excited to try it and immediately my creative brain went to work on the countless variations of yumminess I could prepare with it. Hence the title of this here blog post 😉

When I go grocery shopping, I usually have a list of the things I actually need, but mostly I just wander the produce and meat aisles and see what jumps out and inspires me. I spotted some gorgeous looking Crimini ( baby bella ) mushrooms and knew exactly what I was going to make. I grabbed some spinach and a chunk of deliciously nutty Pecorino Romano cheese and off I went.

So here it is, dear reader… My recipe for these absolutely tasty morsels that I hope you make and enjoy as much as I did. If I didn’t have to share them, I could have easily devoured them all by myself! Meow!

Beyond Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

12 large mushroom caps ( reserve the stems)

7oz. (2 links) Beyond Sausage

1/2 cup small diced onion

1 large clove chopped garlic

3 cups fresh chopped spinach

1/3 cup breadcrumbs

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup small diced fresh Pecorino Romano cheese

2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Remove the stems and chop them up as small as you can. In a sauté pan or skillet, add the olive oil or butter on medium heat. Crumble the 2 sausage links and add it to the pan along with the chopped mushroom stems, onions, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up the sausage, cooking until the onions become translucent.

Add the chopped spinach and sauté until it becomes wilted. Lightly season with salt and pepper, being careful not to over-season the mixture since you’ll be adding the cheeses at the end, which are salty on their own. 😉

Add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, mix until well-incorporated and remove from the heat. Add in the diced Pecorino cheese and mix well.

Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Take a heaping Tablespoon of the stuffing and start spooning the mix in your mushroom caps, being very generous with the filling, You might have a bit of the mixture leftover depending on how many mushrooms you make.

Place the mushrooms on a sheet pan or baking dish and bake them uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes depending how large or small the mushrooms are. Once they’re cooked, remove from the oven and take about 1/4 cup water and deglaze the sheet pan before plating the mushrooms. This will create a nice pan sauce for the shrooms. Plate them up, add a touch of salt to the pan sauce, pour over the mushrooms and serve!

I have to tell you that these were really, REALLY delicious! This by far is my favorite Beyond Meat product to date. The flavor and texture was just like pork sausage, and I’m glad I chose the ingredients the way I did, especially the Pecorino. ( Pats self on the back 😉)

I do hope you give these a try cause they are sooooo worth it and easy to prepare. Until next time… Happy eating and happy cooking!

Cheers, hugs & meows!

Xo, Nikki 💕

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Cuchifritos!!!

Greetings, Mystic Meows!

Growing up in The Bronx the food landscape represented the people who lived there. From Chinese food to Pizzerias, Jamaican to Chino Latino, Irish Pubs and good old fashioned Diners that served the best breakfasts and burger platters to satisfy your cravings day or night, there was always a place to go to get your comfort food fix, or a taste from your homeland or cultural background. On a side note, did you know that The Bronx is the only one of the 5 boroughs that’s part of the U.S. mainland? 😛

The diversity of the Latin food culture in The Bronx is something that I’ve grown to miss very much since I moved to California many moons ago. There are a few stand out Colombian and Cuban restaurants here in Tinseltown, but there is, at least to me, a lack of the Puerto Rican cuisine that I grew up eating. In particularly, Cuchifrito restaurants. What the flip is or are cuchifritos you ask? Allow me to explain…

Cuchifritos are various types of fried foods that originated in Spain and Puerto Rico, although most Latin and Afro Caribbean cultures have their own variations of them. Cuchi is short for pig or concino, and frito means fried. It was referring to the combination of fried pork prepared with a wide range of ingredients typically prepared in small bite portions and nowadays refers to the types of restaurants that serve this kind of food and frituras.

You’ll also find offerings of Pernil ( roast pork shoulder ) Arroz Con Guandules ( yellow rice with pigeon peas ) P.R. style Fried Chicken, Soups and Stews, Mofongo ( fried plantains mashed up with garlic and chicharron ) and Pasteles ( think tamales made with yuca, potatoes, and plantains instead of corn masa ) just to give you an idea.

It’s basically a full blown starch fest of the most delicious and epic proportions! Some of my favorite cuchifritos are Rellenos de Papa, mashed potato balls filled with seasoned ground beef or cheese and deep fried. So good! Then there’s the various types of Epanadillas that have all kinds of meat and vegetable fillings fried to crispy perfection. And how can I forget Alcapurrias, which is a fritter made with plantain and yautia filled with ground beef and yes… Fried! Absolutely delicious!

Some would say that most of these are an acquired taste, which I suppose is true. But I’m telling you… Once you taste any one of these you’ll be craving them just like I am today. These flavors remind me of my childhood in The Bronx, and both of my Abuela’s cooking. Now that I cook for a living, I have a better understanding and appreciation for it, and I find myself wanting to prepare the food I grew up with for my own family to keep those flavor memories alive and relevant. If you google Cuchifritos, you’ll see what I’m talking about as well as a ton of recipes that I know I’m going to try my hand at and I hope you will, too! Happy Cooking and happy eating!

Cheers, hugs, and meows!

Xo Nikki 💖✨

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All photos courtesy of google images 😉

Tumeric!

Hello there, Mystic Meows!

Occasionally I get the opportunity to submit a food related quote or two to a major online publication. I posted about this last year on social media when it was first published and figured I’d write about it here on Mystic Meals, since it’s such a great piece, especially looking back on it now and seeing how on point most of the predictions were.

One of Total Beauty s lifestyle contributors, Courtney Leiva, was working on a piece about 13 Food Trends and asked a series of food experts what they thought those foods would be. I chose Tumeric because I was seeing so many of my friends and colleagues not only cooking with it, but using it for its medicinal properties, inner wellness, and incorporating it into their beauty routines in unique and interesting ways. My part of the write up is the 13th ( my lucky number 😊) See below!

I hope you take a look at the article and see if you can spot some of the mentions from it that are trending now. Most of them are and more than a few of them are sure to make your mouth water to try them for yourself, if you haven’t already. I wonder what food beauty trends we’ll be talking about a year from now? Did someone say CBD in just about everything? So many possibilities! Happy cooking and happy reading!

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Cheers, hugs, & meows!

Xo Nikki Meow 💖✨

Sack Lunch PDX – Chef Chris DiMinno Rides for No Kid Hungry

Greetings, Mystic Meows!

This time around I write about a very dear friend of mine who is doing something extraordinary and magical for a most worthy cause. Feeding children in our schools.

Sack Lunch PDX is a non-profit organization consisting of a team of 19 hospitality industry professionals based in Portland, who work together to raise money for Chefs Cycle an annual event that goes to benefit No Kid Hungry.

It’s extremely rare that one can combine all of their passions into something and help make an impact with it, and that’s exactly what Chef Chris DiMinno is helping to do. Having grown up on the East Coast in a large Italian family, food was the focal point of all of his family gatherings instilling the importance of nurturing and nourishment.

Chris honed his skills and learned the art of practicing sustainable farm-to- table cooking under some of New Yorks most renowned Chefs, such as Tom Valenti, Bill Telepan , and Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, just to name a few.

He moved to Portland, Oregon where he was able to embrace his love and passion for cycling since the landscape provides the perfect environment for riding, enjoying the outdoor lifestyle, and encouraging the culture. It wasn’t long before he found others in the culinary scene that had the same love and enthusiasm for riding that he has.

Eventually, Chris was offered the opportunity to combine his two passions of cycling and cooking while he was the Executive Chef and Event Producer for King Cycling Group’s Gourmet Century Events, where he first heard of and became involved with Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry a few years back.

NKH is striving to end childhood hunger, currently focusing on working with Public Schools to improve, and in some cases reinstate meal programs all over the country, including Oregon. When I asked Chris what it was about this cause that means so much to him, his answer was heartfelt and to the point.

“When I was growing up, my parents worked their asses off to make sure I never went without a meal. 1 in 6 children in this country go to school every day hungry… and the fact that this is an issue is an abomination. It’s a solvable problem. As a chef who’s job it is to feed people, it is my obligation to help, especially in such a fun way.”

He says that the SLPDX team is holding several events in the Portland area in the next two months, with a 300 mile ride taking place May 14-16 in Santa Rosa, CA with a goal of 275+ chefs riding to raise $2.4M. Pushing their physical limits while raising funds and awareness in support of such an organization is no easy feat. I was curious as to how he prepares himself for such a thing, so I asked Chris what his daily eating regimen consists of.

“Every day I ride I usually start with a protein shake, then eat something small with a lot of fat…. avocado toast with bacon usually works well. During the ride it varies, but every time I stop I eat and drink a whole bottle of water. I’ve been in the situation too many times where I don’t realize I’m undernourished until it’s too late. Dinner will be huge, and usually a lot of vegetables and proteins. I do everything in my power to avoid a ton of bread and alcohol, but I love beer too much to let it go entirely.”

In addition, he says that their Facebook page is setup with a donate button which will bring you directly to the Chefs Cycle website where anyone can contribute. Even $1 can make a huge impact. Click here to donate!

Currently he’s the Executive Chef at Trifecta, a restaurant and bakery that offers seasonal and sustainable cuisine and a bar that serves up old school cocktails like Negroni’s and Sidecar’s with a modern twist, and also has some impressive wines. He’s already working on the Spring Menu, and if you’re in the Portland area, I highly recommend you check the place out.

I have the utmost respect for people who put themselves out there in such a selfless way to help others in need, especially children. This is truly something that we can all relate to and help with. I hope you, dear reader, will consider giving a donation to help the Chefs reach their goal to help stop childhood hunger in our schools!

Be sure to follow Chef Chris on Instagram for more info and updates about Chefs Cycle 2019!

And Chris… As your friend, I am so very proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished so far. Cheers, hugs, and meows to you and everyone involved with Sack Lunch PDX!😻

Follow me on Instagram at Mystic Meals!

Xo,

Nikki Meow 💖

LA Weekly

Hello there, Mystic Foodies!

Recently I was given the opportunity to submit an article to LA Weekly about some fellow Chef friends of mine who have recently started their own Mexican inspired weekend pop up, Tortilla Con Amor based out of North Hollywood, Ca. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have something I’ve written published in a mainstream publication, and I hope you meows give it read and enjoy the story.

Even if you don’t live anywhere near California, be sure to follow Tortilla Con Amor on social media and watch their food journey unfold, just as my own is blossoming in unexpected ways. I will continue to write for myself, and whoever wants to read about the people, meals, ingredients, and experiences that have and continue to make their impression in my life. You can also keep up with me at Mystic Meals on Instagram!

Happy reading, and happy cooking!

Cheers, hugs, and meows!

Xo Nikki

https://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/on-the-street-feeling-the-love-at-tortilla-con-amor-10138020

Stuffed Artichokes!

Mystic Meals Artichoke 1

Greetings, dear meows!

I’ve been seeing artichokes all over the markets here in SoCal lately and it made me think about what an intriguing vegetable artichokes are.

Artichokes are a variety of Thistle. It’s a flowering plant with purple buds and are quite beautiful when left to bloom. Once that happens, they’re not edible anymore. We consume them before that process happens when the artichoke heart is still tender and delicious!

Artichokes are also high in antioxidants, help lower cholesterol, detox the liver and digestive system, very high in fiber, help to maintain blood sugar levels, high in iron, and are great for the skin! Whew! That’s a ton of benefits. And they’re freaking delicious!

Which leads me to why I’ve written this little blog post! I made stuffed artichokes! They’re a “little” labor intensive, but nothing too crazy. I didn’t really include a recipe, but more of a step by step method of preparation since most meows use the stuffing of their choice.

You can use a vegetable & bread based stuffing like I did, or rice and meat, sausage, whole grains like quinoa or barley… It’s up to you!

I had a ton of veggies in the fridge and about 1 1/2 cups of some stuffing croutons in the cupboard, so I decided to sauté up some onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and parsley. Sautéed them until the veggies were tender, deglazed the pan with 2 cups of water and let that come to a boil, basically making a quick veggie stock. Seasoned with salt & pepper, and after about 5 minutes, added the croutons, mixed it all up and biggity bam! Stuffing was ready.

Now on to the chokes! First you want to fill a large pot, like a pasta pot with water and add salt & some fresh squeezed lemon. The lemon helps to prevent too much oxidation and keeps the artichokes from turning brown. Bring to a boil.

Cut the long stem of the chokes off and leave about an inch of the stem left to keep the bottom petals intact and stable. Then you cut the artichokes in half horizontally to make it easier to scoop out the chokes and stuff later on once cooked. Side note. The petals on the artichokes have little thorns on the tips. Just clip those off with some scissors. Add your trimmed artichokes to the boiling water and cook them for about 20 minutes until you can poke a knife into the bottom easily. Should be soft, but not too mushy or over cooked or else the artichoke will just fall apart.

Once cooked, remove the chokes from the water and let them drain & cool slightly for about 10 minutes so they’re easier to handle. Once they’ve cooled, with a spoon, gently scoop out the center petals until you see the “choke”.

Again, gently scoop out the choke thistles until you see the base of the artichoke heart. You want to make sure and remove all of the thistles because they’re very fibrous and inedible.

Once your chokes are all scooped out, stuff the center and outer petals with your stuffing of choice. I topped mine off with grated pecorino cheese!

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, slice up some lemon, serve with your favorite aioli or just eat them as they are and VOILA! Time to eat!

I hope you meows give fresh artichokes a try. It’s really not as complex as it might seem. It’s a little bit of work, but so worth it in the end! I’m going to try and get another post up before hand, but in case I don’t, I wanna wish you all a very Meowy Christmas!!! May your holiday be filled with lots of eating, drinking, family, friends, love, and meows!!! Thanks for being here with me! Until next time…

Cheers, hugs, & meows!

Nikki ✨💖😻

“Zombie Dave” Reda

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Greetings, dear meows! Hope all is going well with you! As anyone who keeps up with me knows, I am a huge horror fan. Not just scary movies, but the whole culture of it. The look and feel of all the things that lurk around in the dark has always been captivating to me ever since I was a child watching the old Universal black and white films that both scared the crap outta me and made me cover my eyes, yet still peeking through my fingers to see what was going to happen next! I owe my mom so much for planting that seed a long time ago and allowing me to appreciate art and film culture at an early age. Something that obviously stuck!

Back when Jay Luna and I were doing our podcast, The Phantom Zone Radio Show, it afforded us the opportunity to be able to interview and get to know so many people not only within the horror genre from stage and screen, but other fans of the culture as well, from all realms of the entertainment industry and beyond. And we’ve had some amazing interviews!

That leads me into the man who’s the subject of this here blog, “Zombie Dave” Reda! Grrrrrrr! Years ago, and it’s nuts to even say it that way, but yes… Years ago we had the pleasure of meeting Dave through some mutual horror fiends and eventually having him on our podcast which was a tremendous amount of fun! You can listen to them here!

ZOMBIE DAVE REDA INFECTS THE PHANTOM ZONE!

ZOMBIE DAVE REDA RETURNS!

Zombie Dave is an actor, writer, and director and his works include Bit Parts, Horror of Our Love : A Short Film, and My Undeadly, just to name a few. His fantastic taste in music, as well as his flare for the poetic was something that really impressed me and realized that I was drawn to him for many reasons, but mostly because he was another kindred spirit. Someone who “gets it”, which to me, is becoming more and more rare in this day and age. He was gracious enough to let me pick his brains over a bit about what he’s been up to, including his latest film, ROTTING LOVE, which we’re dying to see! He indulges me by answering some of my nutty culinary questions and fires back with one of THE COOLEST and creative “recipes” I’ve ever received. You meows are in for a real treat! Here we go!

MM: Tell us a bit about yourself, Dave! Where are you from originally? How young were you when you first fell in love with the horror genre and what was it that drew you to the dark side? Of course, inquiring minds want to know how you were crowned “Zombie Dave”?

ZD: Hey there, I was born in New York, but grew up in northern California, San Jose. I was lucky to have a video store across the street, it had ALL the best 80’s horror. In my early teens, o would dash across the street to get the latest bloody tale. I always loved the Universal Monsters, they felt like friends to me…

I was running my film HORROR OF OUR LOVE: 

A SHORT FILM, through the fests in 2010 and had a month break. I decided to fool Facebook into believing the zombie apocalypse had happened, in LA, starting with me… I made videos and on my wall my film company tried to capture me. I had intended to just cure me and go on promoting as always, but it really took off… Next thing you know, I had to become the mix of zombie and Dave… All this happened 6 months BEFORE Walking Dead came out…. Once that show hit, & I was the zombie of choice, it shambled like crazy after that… 

MM: As a producer, writer, actor, director, and owner of your own company, Elf Twin Films, what inspires you to keep the creative juices flowing? Do you prefer to be in front of, or behind the camera? How do you manage to stay somewhat sane and keep everything balanced?

ZD: Anything and everything inspires, you never know what it is, you tuck back in your brain, that springs forward just in time to mix with whatever is in front of you. Funny a zombie would say, ya gotta live. I prefer in front of the camera, but know I have to tell my stories my way, so craft it from top to bottom. You have to split personality and trust the one in charge, be it directer, actor, or writer you… Who said I was sane?😜

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MM: Right, right, right… I should have said INSANE. You recently shot your latest short film,  ROTTING LOVE, starring the one and only Brooke Lewis a.k.a. Ms. Vampy! What can you tell us about it and it’s killer cast? When can we expect to see it?

ZD: It was an honor and  blast to finally get to work with Brooke Lewis. She is fantastic and such a pro, we had it down ready to go weeks before hand thanks to a meeting with her acting coach Tim Phillips, who coaches Robert Duval. This was definitely a lofty piece for me, but will fit right in with my stuff. Rotting Love in edit now, hope to finish it soon.

MM: Let’s talk turkey here… Literally! Describe yourself as a drink, appetizer, entree, and dessert ( explain why) 

ZD: I’m a Zombie, French fried in goodness with coca cola and a smoking icee for dessert… Need I explain? 😉

MM: Of course not! How silly of meow… 😛 If you could have the ultimate dead man’s dinner party, who would be on the guest list? What (or who) would you be serving?  What’s your favorite kinda food to eat? Like what’s your go to, ride or die, I always gotta have my fix kinda cuisine?

ZD: I would have to say James Dean, Marylin Monroe, Natalie Wood, Wes Craven, & Bettie Paige with the Ramones supplying the music.. Pizza with pepperoni and brains, and plenty of Coca-Cola!!!! 

MM: If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be, and why?

ZD: I want to move to Catalina Island… The people who live there are so cool to each other, riding around on golf carts rocks… The sea calls me and I would write a lot at night…..

MM: I gotta say, you have great taste in music! I get a kick out of the music videos you post on social media! Is there a particular type or genre of music that defines you or do you just go with the flow? If you had to pick a musical era, which would it be? 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, etc. I know it’s tough cause they all bring something major to the table!

ZD: Thanks!!! I’m glad somebody digs ’em, hahaha I’m a major 80’s kid, but whatever inspires at the time is what I go with…

MM: I also really dig your horror poetry like “Dark Queen” & “No Spark”. Ever consider publishing a book of horror poetry & prose? If so, what would you title it?

ZD: Again, THANK YOU!!! Hmmmm… Brain Stew?

MM: Sounds like a yummy recipe or cookbook title! Any upcoming collaborations or projects you can tell us about? Will you be making any appearances at any Cons  or festivals this year? 

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ZD: Yes! I am always lurking around Monster Palooza, I believe I will attend ScareLA, I am in edit with ROTTING LOVE, but when it’s done, we will be hitting the fests hard!

MM: Horror Movie Marathon! What’s on your list? Name a few of the fiends that inspire you. Anyone on your radar that we should look out for or keep an eye on?

ZD: Mike Flanagan, Patrick Rhea, and Drew Daywalt are ALWAYS one’s to watch… They are not only friends, but keep me inspired to be a better film maker. 

Oh man…tough…ok… Bit Parts, Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors, Army of Darkness,  Halloween 3, House, R.O.T.L.D. 3, Sean of the Dead, Night of the Creeps

MM : Great choices! Name your top 5 guilty pleasures…

ZD: Pizza, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, Mexican, or all of the above? -YES!!!!!!!

MM: I don’t suppose you’d share a secret recipe with us, would you?

ZD: A pinch of paprika to your brain stew, and a quart of coca cola makes it yummy… Bitter  & sweet like me!

An original poem just for you…

****Recipie for Disaster…****

To create a recipe for disaster,  let the blood flow, and your heart beat faster…

Take a pinch to be horribly sweet, a bit of flesh is always a treat…..
I think your tastebuds might even find, you’d enjoy a large piece of mind….
Add some flour and crack an egg, to a severed and off pulled leg….
As you mix, sing in silver tones, removing the meat from a skeleton’s bones….
A hint of wood, for horror’s sake, a tasty tenderized vampire’s stake… 
As guests arrive, & start to linger, offer them sandwiches, made of finger….
When cooking anything the lesson is true, the best recipe, is a piece of YOU!

MM: Grrrrr!! Wasn’t that just awesome!!! I love that poem so much! It’s so true! The best recipe is a piece of you. I think that phrase applies in many, many ways! Huge thanks to Zombie Dave for taking the time to share a bit of his creative genius with us and be a part of my blog madness! Be sure to check out his YouTube vids, and stalk him around social media! Be on the lookout for ROTTING LOVE coming real soon!

Thanks again for being here with me, meows! See ya soon!

Cheers, hugs & meows!

Nikki 😻✨