I just finished a book that I thought was going to be pure cotton candy, and for the most part, it was. It was sexy and heartfelt with steamy sass and just the right amount of snark. However, it was also incredibly well-researched, beautifully emotional, and provides the reader with plenty of Come to Jesus moments you were probably not expecting. A Princess in Theory (affiliate) by Alyssa Cole is royally gorgeous, wickedly intelligent, and oh-so-swoonworthy. To pair with the Princess, I made tempura pepperoncini with garlic horseradish aioli because it’s both hot and rich.
Princess begins with the introduction of Naledi Smith getting an email from the country of Thesolo, reading very much like that long-lost family members that seem to pop up and require your social, a few thousand dollars, and a few dozen Apple gift cards and in exchange, you will get a fortune.
They’re understandably annoying as they keep coming, ever more urgent. At the same time, she meets a very sexy man at work, and he’s…clueless. She’s drawn to this man, despite all evidence of his incompetence. His ego is a mile wide, but so is his smile. DAMMMIT. Isn’t that everyone’s Achille’s Heel?
Prince Thabiso has been dreaming of his intended ever since she disappeared with her parents not long after their betrothal ceremony at age 4. Now, over twenty years later, he’s found her. In full Shakespearian Twelfth Night or Rostrand’s Cyrano, Thabiso courts Niledy in the guise of a rich boy slumming it.
If only there wasn’t the tricky matter of Thabiso knowing that Niledy is his future queen.
This book just sang. Niledy is a research scientist working towards her graduate degree at a school in the city, and her frustrations and stresses were absurdly relatable to anyone who’s been in a similar situation. More than a few times I found myself laughing aloud or groaning along in frustration at the situations involved between her and the men of her cohort. Her interactions at first with Jamal, and later when we know him as Thabiso, are sweet, fraught, and heated. She has a command of herself and awareness of the world that echoes the strength of her ancestors while firmly placing her in her own time.
Niledy, having been raised in the system has learned to count only on herself, even to her own detriment. She is independent in the extreme, and slightly concerned over how deeply and how quickly her feelings for Jamal/Thebiso have formed.This book just SANG. A Princess in Theory by @AlyssaColeLit Click To Tweet
Thabiso — where to start with him. If you could combine the sexiness of Idris Elba, the stoic attitude, intelligence, and conflicted nature of T’Challa, (not to mention the accent that really goes wild on your downtown), and the charm of Charles Michael Davis? You’d get Prince Thabiso of Thesolo. He’s a prince of a man, and the legit heir to the throne who wants only what’s best for his country, and he knows that also includes Niledy as his queen. If only he could figure out how to come clean about the whole princely heritage.
A Princess in Theory has cemented Alyssa Cole firmly in the list of authors for whom I will read everything they write. Be it article, book, or tweet. A Princess in Theory is full to bursting with everything that a modern romance should be. It’s smart, it’s sexy, it’s sweet, and it’s feminist as fuck. Because you know who reads romances? Women. And just because we like to get ours and read about it in the pages of a paperback doesn’t also mean we can’t dismantle the patriarchy in the doing of it.
Niledy in A Princess in Theory isn’t swayed by the notion of a powerful man sweeping her off her feet and rescuing her. Hell no. She’s stands firm in her fancy new princess shoes, sexy when she wants to be, strong when she needs to be, powerful in her vulnerability, and is swept up in doing what’s right for the people, for her, and using her brain to its full glory.
In this book, there isn’t a ton of food, and what stands out is the bodega sandwich — for which there is no replication. It simply must be purchased at a bodega. Whether it’s a godfather or a chopped cheese, buying it anywhere else is a mistake. Therefore, I went with my own hankering. Spicy deep-fried peppers. Specifically, tempura pepperoncini with garlic horseradish aioli. I didn’t use a tempura batter like you might be thinking, instead I used the flour/egg/flour method because I think that in peppers, it yields better results with less pocketing of the crust.
The princely pauper picked a peck of tempura pepperoncini. He dipped it in aioli because it's delicious. You should, too. #vegan Click To Tweet
What Goes In?
- 1 10 oz jar pepperoncini
- 2 chickpea eggs (6 tbsp aquafabas aka the water from the chickpea can)
- 1 cups rice flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp accent
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- canola oil or peanut oil for cooking
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp of the pickling liquid from the pepperoncini jar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp dried cilantro
- drain the peppers, retaining some of the liquid
- poke a hole in the bottom of each pepper with a wooden skewer and squeeze the juice out, place on paper towel to continue drying. Trust me -- DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP UNLESS YOU WANT EXPLODING PEPPERS
- mix the flours, accent (MSG -- if you're allergic, add aminos in the same amount to the eggs) garlic powder, and black pepper together and stir.
- whisk up the eggs in a bowl
- separate the flour into two bowls, equally
- heat oil to 325F in a cast iron skillet filled with about 1" of oil
- drag the peppers into one flour, then eggs, then the other flour
- fry in small batches, about 2 minutes per side, and set on rack to drain
- combine aioli ingredients -- that's it.
- DIP AND EAT
- Calories 1766
- Total Fat: 62 g 95.38%
- Saturated Fat: g 0%
- Cholesterol: 31 mg 10.33%
- Sodium: 2200 mg 91.67%
- Potassium: 898 mg 25.66%
- Total Carbohydrate: 244 g %
- Sugar: 6 g
- Protein: 46 g
- Vitamin A: 3.32%
- Calcium: 135 mg 13.5%
- Iron: 10 mg 55.56%