Grilled Saxham Beans and Peaches

Noctic at Furloch Farms“Beeeans?”

—Noctis Lucis Caelum, FFXV

  • ½ pound trimmed green beans
  • 1 white peach, cut into ½-inch wedges
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss beans with ½ tablespoon olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, toss sliced peach and almonds with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Transfer beans to a grill pan and cook, stirring often, until beans are crisp and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in peaches and almonds and cook for a couple minutes more, until peaches are tender. Toss with vinegar and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

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Takka’s After-Hours Chili

takka“Y’all wanna fetch some edibles for me?”

—Takka, FFXV

This one isn’t listed on the menu at Takka’s Pit Stop, probably because one of the main ingredients is whiskey. But if you can get on Takka’s good side, he might offer you a bowl after hours.

Make sure you buy Spanish chorizo, not Mexican chorizo (they’re quite different). If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, you can substitute another cured and smoked sausage like salami. The spicier the better!

Finally, when you’re done cutting up the pork shoulder, save the bone in your freezer for stock. I usually have a big bag with vegetable ends, chicken bones, and other assortments. When it gets full, I dump it into a pot, add water, and simmer low for a few hours. Homemade stock is one of the best things you can do to improve your cooking, and it’s easy.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 pound pork shoulder, bone removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 to 8 ounces raw bacon (half a package), cut into ½” strips
  • 1 large onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  •  4 cups chicken broth
  • 200 ml whiskey such as Jim Beam, divided
  • 4 ounces Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Sour cream
  • Chives

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Add onions and celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Stir in beans, chipotles, cumin, broth, and ½ cup whiskey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours, until pork is tender.

Stir in chorizo and remaining ¼ cup whiskey. Simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes more. Stir in cilantro. Ladle into bowls and serve with sour cream and chives. Makes about 9 servings.

 

River Nebra Salad

“One of the large desert regions of Dalmasca, located to the east of Rabanastre. Rife with all manner of monstrous beasts, it regularly plays host to hunts organized within the city.

“What settlements there are line the banks of the River Nebra, a vibrant blue vein running through the heart of the sands, wherein can be found ferries for the conveyance of travelers and goods across her flow. Many merchants make a point of stopping in the villages to trade on their way to and from Rabanastre.”

—FFXII, Sage Knowledge piece 46

You can change the character of this simple winter salad quite dramatically with different kinds of lettuce. I like butter lettuce and radicchio, or a mixture of baby kale, baby chard, and baby spinach.

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 5 ounces lettuce
  • ½ large red onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly against the grain
  • A handful of pitted olives, such as Kalamata
  • A few marinated artichokes
  • 2 skin-on wild Pacific salmon fillets, about 8 oz. each
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Chopped dill or other fresh herb

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper to a large serving bowl. Rinse green beans thoroughly. Trim ends, break in half, and pat dry. Add to bowl and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and slightly golden.

Divide lettuce between two bowls. Add onion, olives, and artichokes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon fillets skin side-down and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook until skin is rendered and crisp, about 5 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook a little longer until it lifts easily.

Flip salmon, sprinkle skin with salt, and cook on second side until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium, about 1 minute longer.

Place a salmon fillet in each bowl on top of the vegetables, skin-side up. Arrange green beans on top.

In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and several grinds of black pepper. Pour over the salad and garnish with fresh herbs.

Makes 2 servings.

Dalmascan Tomato Salad

Rogue Tomato“Here’s the bill I posted for the Rogue Tomato, the mark I’ve petitioned to have hunted. Do you want to hear all the details?”

—Tomaj, FFXII

This vegan summer salad is light and refreshing, but also quite hearty and filling — exactly what you need at the end of a long hunt.

  • ½ cup white quinoa (about 3 oz.)
  • ½ cup red quinoa (about 3 oz.)
  • 1 pound Persian cucumbers
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3–4 small tomatoes
  • ¼ ounce fresh mint

Place quinoa in a small pot and add 1½ cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15–20 minutes. Set aside, covered.

Meanwhile, wash the cucumbers, remove the ends, and slice thinly. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to combine.

Preheat broiler with rack in highest position. Dry garbanzo beans on a paper towel and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Broil, shaking sheet halfway through, until golden and crispy, about 8 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, turmeric, cumin, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Slice tomatoes and sprinkle lightly with salt. Pick mint leaves from stems.

Divide quinoa between two bowls. Visualize each bowl as being divided into three sections. Place tomatoes in one section, cucumbers in another section, and chickpeas in the last section. Top with dressing and mint leaves.

Makes 2 bowls of salad. Per bowl: 871 calories, 36 g. fat, 583 mg. potassium, 1421 mg. sodium, 114 g. carbohydrates, 22 g. fiber, 28 g. protein, vitamin A 53%, vitamin C 68%, calcium 13%, iron 44%

Rikku’s Mix

Rikku's Mix Overdrive“A little bit of this, a little bit of that…”

—Rikku, FFX-2

Do you have half-empty bags of egg noodles, brown rice, and elbow macaroni in your cupboard that never seem to get used up? Frozen hashbrowns that are heading towards freezer burn? Random cans of salmon, sardines, or tuna that just get pushed to the back? Use this recipe as a blueprint for fusing your stockable items to create something more delicious. You can include any cheeses you like, but if you’re having trouble deciding, a high-quality white cheddar is especially good. Grate it yourself instead of buying the pre-shredded kind, which is coated with additives to prevent clumping.

  • 12 ounces of dried pasta or rice, or 20 ounces frozen cooked potatoes, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly crosswise
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved, thickly sliced, and rinsed well
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2½ cups (20 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1¼ cup (10 ounces) half-and-half
  • 6 ounces cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Crystal)
  • 2 6-ounce cans of fish (such as salmon, tuna, or sardines), drained
  • 8 oz. frozen peas or other vegetables (about 1½ cups), thawed
  • 2 ounces panko, crushed potato  chips, or parsnip chips
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  • A dash of smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, washed well
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh chives

Prepare the pasta  or rice according to package directions but slightly undercooking it by a few minutes.

In a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally and seasoning with salt and pepper, until soft and golden, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slowly pour in wine and continue cooking, scraping the bottom of the pan, until pan is almost dry, about 2 minutes.

Add flour and stir until onion and leeks are coated. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and stir in half-and-half. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is bubbling. Stir in cheese and hot sauce, then add fish and peas. Break the fish up with a spatula, add pasta, and stir until combined.

Turn off heat and sprinkle evenly with panko or chips, Parmesan cheese, and paprika. Bake uncovered until bubbly around the edges, about 15–20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then zest one-quarter of the lemon over the top. Use scissors to trim fresh dill and chives over the top. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Dali Pumpkin Ale Stew

Art designs for cups in FFIX“I’ve got better things to do than hang out at the pub.”

—Zidane, FFIX

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 2 serrano chile peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3–4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 22-ounce bottle of pumpkin ale, such as Coronado Punk’In Drublic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • About 2 pounds fresh or canned chopped tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • ½ oz. dried chiles guajillos, stems removed (about 2–4 peppers)
  • ¼ oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems removed (about 8–12 peppers)
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped red onion
  • Lime wedges

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, serrano peppers, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the garlic is turning golden. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Slowly pour in the beer, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and increasing the heat. Add broth, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in oregano, sugar, and dried chiles, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

Remove from heat and discard chiles. Stir in cilantro and apple cider vinegar. Ladle into bowls and serve with tortillas, sour cream, red onion, and lime wedges.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving (does not include tortillas and sour cream): 450 calories, 14.3 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 1.6 g. poly. fat, 7.6 g. mono. fat, 88.7 mg. cholesterol, 1282.9 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 651 mg. potassium, 40.5 g. carbohydrates, 13.2 g. fiber, 39.1 g. protein, vitamin A 6%, vitamin C 16%, calcium 16%, iron 31%

Luca Stadium Chicken and Rice

Tidus and Yuna in Luca Bar, FFX“I hate it when this cafe is so packed. Every place in town is packed during the tournament. It’s a nightmare trying to find a place to eat.”

—a man in Luca, FFX

You’ll need kabob skewers for this recipe. Double-pronged ones like this are useful so the meat doesn’t slip around.

For the chicken marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger (about 6 square inches)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 6 medium green onions, chopped
  • 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed and minced
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, divided in half
  • 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
  • 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 10½ oz. long-grain brown rice, jasmine or basmati (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Combine marinade ingredients and half the thyme sprigs. Divide into two containers. Set aside one of the containers in the refrigerator (it will be used later as sauce for the cooked chicken). Add the raw chicken to the other container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

While the chicken is marinating, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the rice and saute until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and salt. Stir and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes, reducing heat as needed and being careful not to let the rice burn.

Pour the coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add water until there are 4 cups of liquid in total. Slowly pour liquid into the rice. Stir in beans and bring to a simmer. Add the other half of the thyme sprigs and continue cooking until all liquid has been absorbed. Lower heat to very low and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

About 1 hour before you’re ready to start cooking the chicken, soak the wooden skewers in water so they won’t burn. Prepare a grill for direct heat, using wood chunks such as pimento or apple if available.

Discard marinade. Thread the chicken onto the skewers. Grill at 350 degrees with the lid closed for about 5 minutes on each side, until beginning to blacken. Transfer to a platter and serve with rice and the other container of sauce for dipping.