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.

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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%

Cockatrice Pie

Terra at the Returner hideout“Food! Food! Bring me everything ya got!”

—Sabin Rene Figaro, FFVI

This savory treat goes great with Narshe Spiced Wine or a tankard of strong ale on a cold winter night.

  • 1 16-oz. package of frozen puff pastry dough (2 sheets)
  • 2 cups prepared stuffing
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cooked cockatrice or turkey
  • ½ cup turkey gravy
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • ½ cup cranberry sauce

Defrost both sheets of dough at room temperature for 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll each sheet of dough and use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut each sheet into 4 squares.

You should now have 8 squares of dough. In the center of each square, place ¼ cup stuffing. Stir together the turkey and gravy and place ¼ cup on top of each pile of stuffing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes to each square, and top with 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce.

Start with the first square and fold each corner to the center of the pile, pressing the corners together until you have a messy bundle. Gently lift the bundle off the paper and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 7 squares.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 pies.

Echo Herb Stuffing

Locke Cole in Thamasa“An herbal medicine used with minimal preparation. The leaves are ground up and swallowed to cure throat ailments.”

—description in Bravely Default

A natural companion to Echo Herb Chicken, this dish is also an excellent accompaniment to Roast Cockatrice. Use any leftovers to make Cockatrice Pie.

  • 1 pound sourdough bread
  • 1 pound hot Italian pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

The day before you want to serve the stuffing, cut the bread into ½-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and leave them uncovered on the counter or in the oven to dry overnight.

Remove the casings from the sausage and chop into ½-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven and add sausage, onion, carrots, celery, and sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl and add the sausage mixture from the skillet. Toss with parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Add broth and toss until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the eggs.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9×13″ ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the stuffing in the dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned and crisp, another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Roast Cockatrice

XII cockatrice“Lo, the mighty cockatrice, proud-feathered sphere, known as much for its ill humor as its dire rotundity. The great naturalist Merlose once remarked: ‘…live they in the sands and other arid climes, whereabouts they moveth in a rolling fashion most peculiar.'”

—bestiary entry, FFXII

  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage, crushed
  • 1 12- to 16-pound cockatrice (you can substitute a turkey if necessary)
  • 2 large lemons
  • 8 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • ¾ oz. fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • About ½ bottle of white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (1½ cups)
  • ¾ oz. fresh sage, stems removed, chopped finely
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Rub salt and dried sage together in a small bowl. Rinse the cockatrice inside and out with cold water, removing neck and giblets, if any. Drain, cavity down, before placing breast-side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with about half the sage salt. Flip to breast-side down and sprinkle with the remaining sage salt. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

Set oven rack at lowest position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain off and discard any liquid from the roasting pan. Slice the lemons in half. Stuff the lemon halves, rosemary sprigs, and thyme sprigs inside the cavity.

Put the pan in the oven and begin roasting, uncovered. Meanwhile, mix together the olive oil, butter, wine, and sage. After the cockatrice has roasted for about 30 minutes, remove from oven and baste all over with olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and return to oven, making sure to turn the pan so the cockatrice cooks and browns evenly.

After another 30 minutes, remove from oven, turn breast-side up, and baste all over with olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and return to oven, again turning the pan.

Check on the cockatrice after another 30 minutes have passed, baste with the remaining olive oil mixture, and turn the pan. The breast should be beginning to brown; if not, continue roasting for another 15 minutes or so.

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue roasting. Every 30 minutes, baste with juices and and turn the pan. After the cockatrice has been cooking for a total of three hours, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast. The bird is ready when the thermometer reads 160 to 165 degrees.

Transfer to a platter or carving board and let rest 30 minutes to 1 hour. Pour the pan juices into a clear measuring cup and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add apple cider. Scrape the pan until the cider boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from the pan. Add chicken broth, stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Spoon off as much of the fat as possible from the measuring cup of juices. Add the juices to the pan and continue cooking, about 10 minutes more. Strain into a warm gravy boat and serve with the roast cockatrice and Echo Herb Stuffing, if desired. Save the carcass for Cockatrice Soup, and use any leftover meat to make Cockatrice Pie.

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-inch 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%