Mandragora Jam

Mandragora, FFIX“A vexing Representative of the Deadly Nightshade Family has been sighted nearby Rabanastre!”

—bestiary entry, FFXII

I initially wanted to write this as a vegetarian recipe, but the addition of bacon makes it such a good partner for meat-based dishes like burgers that I couldn’t resist. However, it’s just as good if you leave the bacon out. You can substitute a tablespoon of olive oil instead.

If you decide to include the bacon, save the leftover grease and use it to make Oglop-Oiled Popped Corn.

  • 6 oz. smoked bacon, uncooked (about 4 slices)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed well, stems removed, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, minced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablepoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Arrange the bacon on a baking sheet and place in an unheated oven. Turn the heat to 425 and cook until crisp, about 20–25 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to cool.

Heat a Dutch oven or large deep-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the bacon grease from the baking sheet into a sturdy container. Remove 1 tablespoon and add to the skillet. Save the rest in the fridge for later use (optional).

Add the chopped shallots to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes, chile pepper, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, salt, ras el hanout, and few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and crumble in the bacon.

Simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered, until the consistency is as thick as you like it. (The jam will thicken more in the fridge.) Remove from heat and let the jam cool, then pour into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 4 months. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20 ounces of jam. Per 2-tablespoon serving: 78 calories, 4 g. fat, 7 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, iron 2%

Year-End Recipe Roundup, Plus a Contest!

Quina QuenI experiment with plenty of Final Fantasy recipes, but I only post the ones that I really love.  That said, looking back over 2010, I definitely have some favorites.


Cid’s Spicy Chili

This was the first recipe I posted here, and there’s a reason.  I kept re-writing the recipe, re-making and passing it off for friends to try, through several winters.  I started with dried beans, played around with that concept, and ultimately decided that canned beans were a better choice.  When I finally had a keeper, I was thrilled!  This is, in my opinion, the perfect chili recipe.  (I know Texans will disagree.)


Irvine’s Cowboy Breakfast

I make this all the time.  It’s healthy, but also deliciously cheesy — a great Sunday breakfast.  To vary it up, use a can of pinto beans instead of refried beans, adding them in the beginning along with the butter and allowing some of the liquid to cook off before pouring in the eggs.


Coq Au Madhu

Bhujerba obviously has roots in colonial India, and I used that as the inspiration for this revamp of a classic French recipe.  Another variation is Bodhum-Style Coq Au Vin, which is inspired by California cuisine instead — the two recipes are as different as night and day.


Mobliz Dried Meat

This recipe is time-consuming, but the results are oh-so-worthwhile.  I’ve served these ribs at several summer parties, and they’re always a huge hit.


Zanarkand Lamb Pilaf

FFX’s city of Zanarkand was modeled after the Uzbek city of Samarkand.  This recipe is a take on a traditional Uzbek recipe.  The lamb and apricots melt into the rice to create a deliciously creamy pudding.


Madain Sari Stew

In FFIX’s Madain Sari cooking scene, Eiko sings, “Potato, potato, pumpkin bomb, lots and lots of nuts,” while she’s making her stew.  I used that as a starting point for this recipe, which might sound weird but is surprisingly (and exceptionally!) tasty.


White Mage Chicken Soup

This is my go-to recipe when I’m under the weather.  It’s full of ingredients that heal and promote wellness.  It’s also fairly quick and easy, which is useful when you aren’t feeling strong enough to cook more complicated food.


Nabradian Garlic Chicken

I keep making this over and over.  Based on a French recipe, it’s incredibly rich and flavorful.  The mushrooms reference the flora of shady Salikawood.  When paired with good wine and good bread, it’s a feast worth serving to friends.


Costa Del Sol Beach Burgers

I’m a San Diego native, and a lot of my recipes are local in flavor.  I tend to think of Costa del Sol as a stand-in for my region.  Of all my Costa del Sol recipes, this is my favorite.  Whether you use a grill, or opt for a faster version on the stove, these burgers always come out better than anything you could order from a beachside drive-thru.


The one-year anniversary of this blog is coming up soon.  I’d like to challenge my readers to create your own Final Fantasy recipes!  Send them to me at ffrecipes@gmail.com.  The contest ends February 15, 2011.  I’ll pick my favorite and publish the winner on March 1st.

Happy cooking!

Costa Del Sol Beach Burgers

Cloud Strife at Costa del Sol“Oh man, we’re almost to Costa del Sol. When I get there, I’m going to take a long overdue vacation. Maybe I’ll go down to the beach and get a tan…”

—FFVII

  • 8 oz. ground chuck, 85% lean
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) mayonnaise
  • ½ tablespoon (¼ oz.) ketchup
  • ½ tablespoon (¼ oz.) hot sauce, such as Cholula or Tapatio
  • ½ tablespoon (¼ oz.) sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 soft white hamburger buns
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 slices of deluxe American cheese
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 thin tomato slices
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce

Remove the meat from the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, and pickle relish, and transfer to the refrigerator.

Pour olive oil into a small bowl. Slice the onion into ½” rings and brush on both sides with oil. Save about half the oil for later use.

Shape the meat into four patties, each approximately 4 inches across. Spread a light coat of olive oil on each side of the patties, and salt and pepper them to taste.

Prepare a grill for high heat.  Place burgers directly over heat. Spread each patty with mustard, cover, and cook for 2 minutes.  Flip and cook for an additional minute, covered.  Add a slice of cheese to each burger.  Cover and cook for 30 seconds.

Remove burgers to a plate and tent with aluminum foil, being careful not to let the foil touch the cheese to prevent sticking.  Grill onion and buns, about 1 minute.  Continue cooking onion until golden and soft.

Divide the mayonnaise mixture between the two bottom buns. Add a tomato slice to each bun, and sprinkle with shredded lettuce. Add a meat patty to each bun, and cover with onions. Top with remaining meat patties and the top buns. Makes 2 double cheeseburgers.

Per double cheeseburger: 685 calories, 46 g. fat, 14 g. saturated fat, 7.2 g. poly. fat, 14.3 g. mono. fat, 120.7 mg. cholesterol, 1306.1 mg. sodium, 302.9 mg. potassium, 26.7 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 38.7 g. protein, vitamin A 5%, calcium 28%, iron 20%

7th Heaven Bar Burgers

7th Heaven“You have to go through the slum in Sector 6 to get to Tifa’s 7th Heaven.  I’ll take you there.  Come on!”

—Aeris Gainsborough, FFVII

  • 12 oz. ground chuck, 85% lean
  • ½ tbsp. onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 4 slices of whole-grain bread, or two hamburger buns
  • 2 1-oz. slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 1 onion, sliced thick
  • 1 tomato, washed and sliced thin
  • Lettuce, washed and torn into pieces

Remove the meat from the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  In a bowl, combine meat, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix lightly, being careful not to overwork the meat.

Shape into two patties, each approximately 4 inches across.  Using the back of a spoon, put a dimple into the center of each patty.  Spread light coat of olive oil on each side of the patties, and salt and pepper them to taste.  Butter the bread on one side.

Prepare a grill for high heat.  Place burgers directly over heat and cook for 3 minutes, covered.  Flip and cook for an additional 2½ minutes, covered.  Add a slice of cheese to each burger.  Cover and cook for 30 seconds.

Remove burgers to a plate and tent with aluminum foil, being careful not to let the foil touch the cheese to prevent sticking.  Let rest, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill onion and bread, about a minute on each side.  Continue cooking onion until golden and soft.

Arrange bread with the buttered side down and place each burger on a slice of bread.  Top with grilled onion, tomato, and lettuce.  Makes 2 cheeseburgers.