Chocobo’s Paradise

Choco returns to Mene“Oh!!! Legend was true, kupo! I’ll tell you a secret. I’m looking for paradise on earth!”

—Mene, FFIX

Make sure you have plenty of fresh limes on hand for this delicious summer treat. The mug should be chilled in the freezer prior to preparing the drink.

  • 1 16-ounce mythril mug (you can substitute copper)
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) rum
  • 6 ounces (half a bottle) ginger beer
  • Lime wedge
  • Fresh mint

Pour or squeeze fresh lime juice into the mug and add 2 or 3 ice cubes. Add rum and fill with ginger beer. Stir and serve with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint.

Advertisements

Troia Pub Pasta

Troia Pub“Thanks to the ample supply of water here, we can grow fresh vegetables and even raise chocobos.”

—a man at the Black Chocobo Farm in Troia, FFIV

For a vegan version, omit the anchovies and substitute 1 tablespoon of olive oil. You can also make it gluten-free by using rice pasta.

  • 16 oz. uncooked linguine or other pasta
  • About 2 pounds fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 g.) drained capers
  • 4 ounces pitted olives
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon or 1 slice preserved lemon, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • One 2-ounce can anchovies packed in oil, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While the water is heating, stir together the tomatoes in a large bowl with the capers, olives, garlic, lemon, crushed red pepper,  and anchovies and their oil, until a chunky sauce forms. Stir in basil, sea salt, and black pepper. Divide the cooked pasta into bowls and top with sauce.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving (includes anchovy oil, about 1/4 tablespoon in each serving): 1,096 calories, 55 g. fat, 129 g. carbohydrates, 22 g. fiber, 30 g. protein, iron 63%

Dead Pepper Hot Sauce

Zidane Tribal  in Chocobo's Forest“The Dead Pepper has been our favorite food for 5,000 years…”

—Gold Choco, FFIX

This is a thick, richly flavored hot sauce that’s great on eggs or burritos. It’s also a fantastic sauce when you’re grilling chicken — brush it over the chicken about 10 minutes before taking it off the grill.

  • 1 20-oz. mason jar
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 8 oz.), washed well and stems removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • ½ white onion, peeled and sliced thickly
  • ½ oz. dried chiles guajillos, stems removed (about 2–4 peppers)
  • ¼ oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems removed (about 8–12 peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Put a heavy frying pan over medium heat and toast the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and onion until they char slightly, about 10 minutes. When they’re almost done cooking, open the windows in your kitchen. If your stove has an exhaust fan, turn it on.

Push the vegetables to one side and add chiles, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Cook for 1 or 2 more minutes, until they char slightly. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the frying pan to a blender. Add salt, oregano, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, and water. Let the mixture soak for about 15 minutes, until chiles have softened. Blend well, then taste sauce. If it’s flat or bitter, add another teaspoon or so of salt and blend.

Pour the hot sauce into a mason jar or other container that can be tightly sealed. Refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving. The sauce will last about a month in the fridge.

Mideel-Style Gysahl Greens

Mideel after its destruction“The light of hope can be found anywhere.”

—the doctor in Mideel, FFVII

  • 6 oz. raw bacon (about 4 slices), cut into ½” strips
  • 1 large serrano chile pepper or 2 small ones, diced
  • 2 lbs. greens, cleaned and chopped (beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, or spinach are all good choices)
  • Half a can of light coconut milk (about 1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Cooked basmati rice, or other whole grain (optional)

Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to crisp and render its fat.  Stir in chile peppers and continue to cook, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium, add half the greens, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the other half of the greens and repeat.  Once all the greens are combined with the bacon and chile peppers, slowly pour in the coconut milk while scraping up the crispy bits.  Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice.

Serve over rice if desired; the greens are also delicious on their own. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving (not including rice): 105 calories, 5.6 g. fat, 2.6 g. saturated fat, 0.1 g. poly. fat, 0.1 g. mono. fat, 12.2 mg. cholesterol, 378.5 mg. sodium, 368.6 mg. potassium, 8.9 g. carbohydrates, 3.7 g. fiber, 7.2 g. protein, vitamin A 89%, vitamin C 98%, calcium 17%, iron 8%

Grilled Gysahl Greens

Cait Sith at Gold Saucer“Wild chocobos are really cautious.  They’ll run away from the slightest things.  But, if you use ‘Greens’ they’ll focus on that, and won’t run away.”

—Choco Billy, FFVII

For a vegetarian version, omit the Worcestershire sauce and anchovy fillet.

  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 anchovy fillet, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, washed
  • Freshly-ground pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, olive oil, parmesan cheese, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, anchovy, and 1 tbsp. water.

Prepare a grill for medium heat (about 350 degrees).  Lay kale flat on the grill and cook on both sides until edges get brown and crispy and kale starts to wilt, about 4 minutes total.

Remove ribs and tear kale leaves into pieces.  Add to the large bowl and toss to coat with dressing.  Transfer to two salad bowls and sprinkle with pepper.

Gysahl Greens

Basch and chocobo“Fine. I’ll just get to the point. These are Gysahl Greens, kupo! You can call Choco outside the forest with these. Find chocobo footprints near the forest, kupo.”

—FFIX

  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 8 oz. package of crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 lb. greens, cleaned and chopped (beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, or spinach are all good choices)
  • ¼ c. water (if using pre-washed greens)
  • 1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • Cooked basmati rice, or other whole grain (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot on medium-low, being careful not to let it smoke. Add mushrooms and sesame seeds and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the greens, with the water still clinging to the leaves (if using pre-washed greens, add ¼ cup water). Sprinkle with soy sauce. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until greens are wilted.

Stir well to combine. Test the greens; if you prefer them to be more tender, add more water if needed, cover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve over rice if desired; the greens are also delicious on their own. Makes 4 servings.