Seasoned Midgardsormr

Seasoned Midgardsormr“You can never have too many spices.”

—Ignis Scientia, FFXV

You’ll need wooden skewers for this recipe. Make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

  • ½ tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • ½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • 7 ounces plain Greek yogurt, such as Fage
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1½” cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Cooked basmati rice

Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seed, mustard seed, and cloves in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind the toasted spices in a clean coffee or spice mill and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, and cayenne.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a food processor or blender and add garlic, ginger, and the bowl of spices. Blend until smooth.

In the bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and ¼ cup of the tomato mixture. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 4 to 8 hours. Transfer the tomato mixture to a storage container and refrigerate.

Thread chicken tightly onto skewers. Heat the tomato mixture in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s bubbling, stir in cream and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.

Grill over medium-high direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until well browned on all sides. Transfer skewers to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

In the center of each plate, place a large serving of sauce. Arrange skewers on top and garnish to taste with sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

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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%

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.

Ivalice Stewed Chicken with Olives

Ivalice“Food would be a start—the good stuff, mind you.”

—Balthier, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly crosswise (about 1½ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • One 2-ounce can anchovies, drained and chopped
  • 1½ lbs. skinless boneless chicken thighs, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup (180 grams) whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 12-ounce jar pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep oven-safe skillet with lid.  Add onion and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently and reducing heat as needed to prevent burning. Add anchovies and spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Push anchovies and vegetables to the side and add chicken. Sprinkle with flour and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Slowly pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. When the wine is at a simmer, slowly pour in ½ cup broth. Add tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until chicken is very tender.

Uncover and stir in olives. Cook for 15 or so minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, place couscous in a large Tupperware container. Heat 1½ cups broth to boiling and pour over the couscous, stirring once to make sure that the liquid is evenly distributed. Cover tightly and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and divide into 4 bowls, about 4 ounces of couscous per person. Divide stew into each bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Steakhouse-Style Mandragora

Mandragoras in FFVII“Thought to be a variant of mandragora, for the vines that reach up from its collar, covering its face like a mask. Notes the famed naturalist, Merlose: ‘It weareth its skin in layers, much like to the root of similar name, perhaps for the proffering of protection ‘gainst the cold.'”

—bestiary entry, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved, thickly sliced, and rinsed well
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh baguette

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms, leeks, garlic, thyme, and salt, and saute over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until leeks are very tender. Add capers and red wine and season with black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes more, until liquid has evaporated. Stir well and serve with warm bread. This recipe pairs beautifully with Basch’s Campfire Steak or Bahamut’s Baseball Steak, but it’s so good you can eat it all by itself.

Ivalice Eggs

Estersand“The region consisting of the three continents of Valendia, Ordalia, and Kerwon, blessed throughout with verdant natural landscapes and climatic conditions supporting a great variety of life. Regional climate trends are thought to be determined largely by the density of Mist present in the air, though this correlation is as yet not well understood. Many humanoids call Ivalice home, each belonging to a distinct cultural sphere. By far, most prevalent of these are the humes, and it is around the civilization that affairs throughout the rest of the world revolve.”

—FFXII, Sage Knowledge piece 29

  • ½ cup (90 grams) whole-wheat couscous
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly crosswise (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Place couscous in a large Tupperware container. Heat ¾ cup (6 ounces) of broth to boiling and pour over the couscous, stirring once to make sure that the liquid is evenly distributed. Cover tightly and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, and cumin, and cook until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes, lowering heat as necessary to avoid burning the vegetables.

Add chopped tomatoes and the remaining ¾ cup broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and divide into two bowls, about 4 ounces of couscous per person. Spoon tomatoes and eggs on top. Sprinkle with feta and parsley and serve.