Ovenmeister’s Potatoes

Alexandrian chef“A good shake o’ salt ♪ Potato, potato ♪ “

—Eiko Carol, FFIX

This is one of those very simple recipes, like Tifa’s Premium Heart, where you might say, “Everyone knows how to do that.” But when I was growing up, we cooked potatoes in the microwave — I didn’t learn how to prepare a proper restaurant-style baked potato until I was an adult. The extra baking time is worth it!

  • Russet potatoes, up to 4
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Snipped chives
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch drippings.

While the oven is heating, scrub potatoes and pat dry. Poke each potato deeply with a fork about 5 or 6 times. Coat lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place the potatoes directly on the top rack of the oven. Bake about 1 hour, until skin is crispy and flesh underneath is soft. Remove from oven and use the fork to create a dotted line down the length of the potato. Press the ends of the potato towards each other until the line cracks open. Be careful, the steam will be very hot!

Place each potato in a bowl and serve with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives, and black pepper for topping.


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%

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!

Madain Sari Stew

Madain Sari“I’m gonna cook my specialty: rock-fisted potato stew!”

—Eiko Carol, FFIX

Please note that adding an oglop for seasoning is inadvisable.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 4 serrano chile peppers, minced
  • 1 head of garlic (about 8-12 cloves), peeled and minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, about 1 lb. total, peeled and cubed, ½” pieces (choose waxy boiling potatoes, not russets)
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed, ½” pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted variety preferred)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice, or ground cinnamon
  • 4½ oz. smooth, unsalted peanut butter (about ½ cup)
  • 3 oz. roasted, unsalted peanuts (about ½ cup)
  • 6 oz. baby spinach

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the onions are browning too quickly.  Stir in peppers, garlic, potatoes, and squash, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, salt, and spices, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Mix in peanut butter and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in peanuts and spinach.

Makes about 8 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving: 377 calories, 21.6 g. fat, 4.6 g. saturated fat, 4.8 g. poly. fat, 10.4 g. mono. fat, 7.9 mg. cholesterol, 974.2 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade broth instead of storebought), 785.4 mg. potassium, 37.7 g. carbohydrates, 6.7 g. fiber, 10.4 g. protein, vitamin A 93%, vitamin C 57%, calcium 12%, iron 14%