Festival of the Hunt Stew

Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum

“I heard there are traditional Festival of the Hunt dishes. Do you know where they serve them?”

—FFIX

  • 1½ lbs. beef stew meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, cut into ½” strips
  • 12 oz. smoked kielbasa, sliced into ¼”-thick rounds
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 oz. dried pitted prunes, chopped
  • 8 oz. fresh Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 lbs. drained raw sauerkraut (4 18-oz. jars)
  • 1 sourdough baguette or cooked egg noodles

Cut the stew meat into bite-sized pieces, about 1” square. Dredge the meat in flour. (The easiest way is to put the meat and flour in a plastic bag and shake until all pieces are fully coated.) Set aside.

Heat a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in kielbasa, onion, and mushrooms, and continue cooking until browned, about 20 more minutes. Add the stew meat in a single layer and sprinkle with caraway seeds and allspice. Brown on all sides, about 20 more minutes.

Stir in prunes, tomatoes, and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Slowly pour in wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add bay leaves and peppercorns, and cover. Simmer for about 2 hours, until beef is very tender.

Remove from heat and stir in honey and sauerkraut. Set aside and grill or toast slices of sourdough bread, if using. Divide stew into bowls and serve with the grilled bread or over noodles.

Makes 7 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (not including bread or noodles): 398 calories, 14.4 g. fat, 4.6 g. saturated fat, 0.1 g. poly. fat, 103.3 mg. cholesterol, 1790 mg. sodium, 403.4 mg. potassium, 31.6 g. carbohydrates, 2.2 g. fiber, 37.1 g. protein, vitamin A 5%, vitamin C 60%, calcium 3%, iron 18%

Airship Salad

Aeris and airshipCid: “Wow, what a ship!”

Setzer: “That landing really messed up the engine. It’ll take a while to fix.”

Cid: “I’ll help. No machine can stump me!”

Setzer: “Don’t touch anything!”

Cid: “Go kill time in the casino! I can speed this crate up!”

—FFVI

You can use any dressing you like with this recipe. Here are two suggestions: Trader Joe’s low-fat parmesan ranch dressing, or for a more indulgent choice, Russian dressing (first three ingredients of the linked recipe).

  • 7 oz. chopped butter lettuce (about 5 cups)
  • 8 oz. cooked chicken or turkey breast, cut into strips
  • 8 oz. smoked deli ham, cut into strips
  • 4 oz. crumbled Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, ends removed, cut in half, then quartered lengthwise
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, washed well and cut into wedges
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 ripe avocado, peel and pit removed, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 6 oz. raw bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, warm (optional)
  • Watercress sprigs or microgreens, for garnish (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salad dressing

Divide ingredients evenly between 4 bowls. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

Per serving (does not include salad dressing): 509 calories, 27 g. fat, 17 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 47 g. protein, iron 12%

Elixir Soup

Terra and elixir in Narshe“Show me the alchemist who doesn’t wish in his heart of hearts to know the secret behind making an elixir, and I’ll show you a fraud! Of course, he might already know it… but it’s taboo to reveal the ingredients.”

—Tyak, Master Chef, FFXII

Okay, so you already know to start a pot of White Mage Chicken Soup when you feel like you might be getting sick, right? Well, this is the soup to cook when you’re feeling stressed out, rundown, and in need of some serious super-strength mind and body healing power. It’s packed full of ingredients to reduce your stress levels and make you stronger.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 3½ oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced very thinly
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1½ pounds beef stew meat, uncooked, cut into 1″ pieces
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dry green split peas (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 oz. sweet potato (1 large or 2 small), peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • Fresh oregano sprigs
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 5″ pieces of dried seaweed (optional)
  • 12 oz. broccoli florets
  • 6 oz. baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8–12 cloves), peeled and grated or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup)
  • Diced avocado and fresh basil leaves (optional)

Heat olive oil and coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat just until the oil begins to shimmer. Add onions, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat as needed if the onions are browning too quickly. Add carrots and mushrooms and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add chicken and beef and sprinkle with sea salt, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Stir in split peas and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sweet potato and continue cooking for another minute. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and seaweed. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until stew meat and split peas are soft and tender, about 2 hours.

Remove from heat and stir in broccoli, bok choy, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and let rest for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and crunchy-tender. Divide into bowls and top with avocado and basil, if desired.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (not including avocado): 319 calories, 9.2 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 2.5 g. mono. fat, 79.1 mg. cholesterol, 966.4 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 724.5 mg. potassium, 25.2 g. carbohydrates, 6.1 g. fiber, 34.2 g. protein, vitamin A 62%, vitamin C 58%, calcium 9%, iron 17%

Oglop-Oiled Popped Corn

Zidane in a Dali cornfield“Oglops eat vegetables?”

Princess Garnet, FFIX

You don’t have to eat microwave popcorn! Making it on the stove is easy. If you’re the kind of person who likes to cook bacon for lazy Sunday breakfasts, save the bacon fat in a ramekin in the fridge and use it for this recipe — the flavor is amazing.

If you prefer a vegetarian version, coconut oil is an excellent alternative. Oglop oil, of course, can be easily obtained in Dali’s cornfields as well as Milla’s Oil Shop in Lindblum.

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oglop oil, bacon fat, or coconut oil (about 14 g.)
  • 6 tablespoons of popcorn kernels (about 72 g.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (about 14 g.)
  • Italian seasoning, crushed
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the salt and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a few popcorn kernels and cover the pan. When they pop, add the rest of the kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat, and count 30 seconds.

Return pan to heat. The kernels should begin popping soon, all at once. Once they begin popping, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Keep the lid slightly vented to let the steam escape.

When the popping slows to 1 or 2 seconds between pops, remove the pan from heat and dump the popcorn immediately into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices and cheese to taste. Serves 2.

Dali Pumpkin Bread

Dali Field“An auspicious day for you to go out and have fun! You’ll find lots of money and lost items. You’ll also eat lots of yummy food, and meet interesting people. Go out and share your luck with the ones you love!”

—very good omen in the Dali Inn, FFIX

  • 2 cups flour (8.5 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 14-oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, spice, baking powder, baking soda.

In another large bowl, whisk together syrup and oil. Whisk in eggs, then pumpkin and vanilla.

Slowly whisk flour mixture into pumpkin mixture, then stir in chocolate. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake about 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Makes 8 servings: 403 calories, 16 g. fat, 64 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 7g. protein, iron 31%

Tantalus Steamed Sandwich

Tantalus“Boss! Let me join Tantalus again! We can steal treasure together, just like old times!”

—Zidane Tribal, FFIX

If you have a farmers’ market in your neighborhood, check and see if there’s a vendor who sells sauerkraut — homemade is way better than the kind they sell at the supermarket.

  • 4 tablespoons (60 g.) prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g.) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (17 g.) ketchup
  • 2 slices of rye bread
  • 2 oz. Swiss cheese
  • 4 oz. thinly-sliced corned beef or pastrami
  • 2 oz. sauerkraut
  • Gysahl pickles (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together horseradish, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Lightly toast the bread and place on a very large piece of aluminum foil. Spread about half the dressing on the two pieces of bread, saving the other half for later.

Top one of the slices with, in order: half of the cheese, then all of the meat, then the rest of the dressing, then sauerkraut, then the rest of the cheese, and then the other slice of bread.

Wrap in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook for about 30 minutes. Unwrap and cover with a plate, then quickly flip so the foil is on top. Remove foil, cut sandwich in half, and serve immediately.

Makes 1 sandwich. Multiply as needed for the entire troupe and serve with Gysahl pickles.

Per 1 sandwich (not including pickles): 644 calories, 30 g. fat, 46 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 45 g. protein, iron 25%

Alexandria Castle Chili

Alexandria Castle Kitchen“Whew! I’m gonna cry!”

—Onionmeister, FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (chuck), 85% lean
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 25-oz. jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup Chianti or Sangiovese wine
  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Finely diced white onion
  • Oyster crackers

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the ground beef, use a spatula to break into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle with chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, paprika, cumin, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, beans, and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8–10 minutes. Drain and divide between six bowls. Top with chili, cheese, and onions. Serve hot, with oyster crackers on the side.

Makes 6 servings; each serving is about 7 ounces of cooked spaghetti plus 1 heaping cup of chili. Per serving (includes spaghetti; does not include cheese, onion, or crackers): 843 calories, 32.1 g. fat, 10.1 g. saturated fat, 1.1 g. poly. fat, 13.2 g. mono. fat, 92.9 mg. cholesterol, 1185.3 mg. sodium, 468.9 mg. potassium, 88.9 g. carbohydrates, 10.9 g. fiber, 45.4 g. protein, vitamin A 5%, vitamin C 20%, calcium 15%, iron 32%

White Mage Chicken Chili

Eiko's kitchen in Madain Sari“Good food not only delicious! Good food made with heart! This very important when cooking for friends!”

—Quina Quen, FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and halved
  • 16 oz. chicken sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lbs. plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz. cooked, shredded home-smoked chicken or storebought rotisserie chicken
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated white cheddar cheese (optional)

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for about 20 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the onions are browning too quickly. Add garlic and cook, uncovered, for about 15 more minutes.

Add sausage and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add spices. Stir in the jalapeno peppers and cook for about 2 minutes before slowly pouring in the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in the beans and increase heat. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Stir in chicken and cook, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lime juice and serve with cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top, if desired.

Makes about 8 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving (does not include cheese): 457 calories, 16.6 g. fat, 5.2 g. saturated fat, 1 g. poly. fat, 4 g. mono. fat, 92.9 mg. cholesterol, 1435.8 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 477.1 mg. potassium, 38 g. carbohydrates, 13.9 g. fiber, 36.5 g. protein, vitamin A 11%, vitamin C 26%, calcium 15%, iron 25%

Café Carta Chicken Fettuccine

Café Carta in Treno“I purchased a life-sized griffon statue the other day…”

“How wonderful! I bet it’s gorgeous.”

“Indeed, it is. I had to add a room to my mansion for it!”

—Nobles in Treno, FFIX

  • 1 16-oz. box of fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup Chianti or Sangiovese wine
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Start boiling the water for the fettuccine. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, but not fully cooked, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add onion to the skillet and cook until tender, about 2 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to avoid burning. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté until the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken breasts crosswise into slices, about ½” thick. The water should be boiling by now; prepare fettuccine as per package directions.

Add wine to the mushrooms and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and the mustard. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.

Divide the fettuccine between six bowls. Remove the skillet from heat, stir in the parsley, and divide the chicken mixture evenly between the six bowls.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 652 calories, 28.4 g. fat, 14.5 g. saturated fat, 1.2 g. poly. fat, 5.2 g. mono. fat, 121 mg. cholesterol, 346.7 mg. sodium, 551.1 mg. potassium, 62.7 g. carbohydrates, 3.5 g. fiber, 35.1 g. protein, vitamin A 12%, vitamin C 4%, calcium 6%, iron 19%

South Gate Bundt Cake

South Gate mapCinna: “I missed my ride! What am I gonna do now?!”

Marcus: “How the heck should I know…? You were the one who wanted to watch the scenery while eating South Gate Bundt Cake.”

Cinna: “I’m gonna be late returning to Lindblum…”

Marcus: “There’s nothing we can do. I won’t tell the boss.”

Cinna: “Thanks, buddy! Let’s eat another bundt cake!”

—FFIX

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 8 lemons (about ½ cup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ¾ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour Bundt pan and set aside. Whisk baking powder, salt, and 3 cups flour in a medium bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub together until well blended. Add 1 cup butter and mix with an electric blender on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating and occasionally scraping down side and bottom with a rubber spatula, until mixture is light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes more.

Reduce speed to low. Add about one-third of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk, another one-third of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk, and the rest of the flour mixture. Use the spatula to transfer the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top.

Bake until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, remove pan, and let cool completely.

Combine preserves and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Pour over cooled cake at let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 492 calories, 17.1 g. fat, 10.1 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 4.6 g. mono. fat, 110.4 mg. cholesterol, 545.6 mg. sodium, 102.2 mg. potassium, 80.4 g. carbohydrates, 0.9 g. fiber, 6.3 g. protein, vitamin A 21%, vitamin C 3%, calcium 5%, iron 10%