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.

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.

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.

Kupo Nuts

A moogle“Kupo!”

—a moogle

  • 30 g. grapeseed oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 10 g. sesame oil (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1½ tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • ½ tablespoons ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoons Chinese five-spice blend
  • 1 pound raw almonds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and spice and stir to distribute evenly. Add almonds and stir to coat. Cook until almonds begin to darken slightly and mixture is fragrant, stirring frequently, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let cool completely.

Per 31 g. serving (about ¼ cup): 182 calories, 16.5 g. fat, 1.2 g. saturated fat, 3.9 g. poly. fat, 10.8 g. mono. fat, 145.3 mg. sodium, 6 g. carbohydrates, 3 g. fiber, 6 g. protein