Sector 5 Flower Soup

Aeris Gainsborough in Midgar“They say you can’t grow grass and flowers in Midgar. But for some reason, the flowers have no trouble blooming here.”

—Aeris Gainsborough, FFVII

Nasturtiums are one of the easiest things you can grow in your garden — just scatter a handful of seeds and they’ll keep coming back every year like beautiful weeds. You can also buy fresh nasturtium flowers at Whole Foods.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, chopped and rinsed (about 2 cups)
  • 24 garlic cloves (about 2 bulbs), peeled and halved, divided into two piles
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ cup white quinoa (about 3 oz.)
  • ½ cup red quinoa (about 3 oz.)
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 15-oz. can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch fresh kale (about 10 oz.)
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens (about 10 oz.)
  • A handful of nasturtium flowers
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add leeks, half the garlic, and salt, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the garlic is browning too quickly.

Stir in quinoa. Add broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, about 20 minutes, until quinoa is tender. Meanwhile, rinse the kale and dandelion greens, then chop into bite-size pieces.

Remove the pot from heat and stir in the kale and dandelion greens, nasturtiums, lemon juice, honey, and white pepper. Use a garlic press to add the remaining garlic to the pot. Stir well, divide into bowls, and serve immediately for best results.

Makes 7 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving: 297 calories, 9.3 g. fat, 1.1 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 5.6 g. mono. fat, 673.1 mg. sodium, 100.4 mg. potassium, 44.1 g. carbohydrates, 9.7 g. fiber, 10.2 g. protein, vitamin A 121%, vitamin C 90%, calcium 17%, iron 25%

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SOLDIER Smoothie

Cloud at the Wall Market bar“For better or for worse, only the strong can enter SOLDIER.”

—Cloud Strife, FFVII

Put the greens, coconut water, and lime juice in a blender and pulse until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Perfect post-workout drink! If you want more protein, try adding a couple tablespoons of hemp protein powder.

Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 288 calories, 4.2 g. omega-3s, 14 g. fat, 37 g. carbohydrates, 11 g. fiber, 8 g. protein

Wall Market Korean B.B.Q.

Cloud Strife at Wall Market“It’s thanks to the Don that we can eat like this.”

—FFVII

Marinade:

  • About 3 pounds of L.A.-style beef short ribs
  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ cup soju (you can substitute sake, or just use water)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 Korean pear, core removed and cut into slices
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Dipping sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soybean paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper paste
  • 1 green onion stalk, chopped
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil

Vegetables:

  • Perilla leaves
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Persian cucumbers
  • Korean green chili peppers

Trim excess fat from the short ribs and rinse a few times under cold running water. Soak in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, soju, sesame oil, and honey in a large casserole dish and set aside.

Using a food processor or blender, combine the pear, garlic, onion, and ginger. Transfer the pear mixture to the casserole dish.

Rinse the short ribs under cold running water a few more times, to remove any remaining bone fragments. Add to the marinade and mix it well. Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients, then prepare the vegetables. Rinse and drain the perilla and lettuce leaves and place them on a plate. Wash and dice the cucumbers. Chop the chili peppers into thin rounds.

Prepare a grill to high heat.  Place beef over direct heat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes.  Flip, cover, and continue to cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from grill and cut the meat from the bone and into bite-sized pieces with a pair of sharp scissors.

Layer a piece of lettuce and a perilla leaf, then add a piece of meat, a piece of chili pepper, a chunk of cucumber and a scoop of dipping sauce. Wrap and eat.

7th Heaven Bar Burgers

7th Heaven“You have to go through the slum in Sector 6 to get to Tifa’s 7th Heaven.  I’ll take you there.  Come on!”

—Aeris Gainsborough, FFVII

  • 12 oz. ground chuck, 85% lean
  • ½ tbsp. onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 4 slices of whole-grain bread, or two hamburger buns
  • 2 1-oz. slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 1 onion, sliced thick
  • 1 tomato, washed and sliced thin
  • Lettuce, washed and torn into pieces

Remove the meat from the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  In a bowl, combine meat, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix lightly, being careful not to overwork the meat.

Shape into two patties, each approximately 4 inches across.  Using the back of a spoon, put a dimple into the center of each patty.  Spread light coat of olive oil on each side of the patties, and salt and pepper them to taste.  Butter the bread on one side.

Prepare a grill for high heat.  Place burgers directly over heat and cook for 3 minutes, covered.  Flip and cook for an additional 2½ minutes, covered.  Add a slice of cheese to each burger.  Cover and cook for 30 seconds.

Remove burgers to a plate and tent with aluminum foil, being careful not to let the foil touch the cheese to prevent sticking.  Let rest, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill onion and bread, about a minute on each side.  Continue cooking onion until golden and soft.

Arrange bread with the buttered side down and place each burger on a slice of bread.  Top with grilled onion, tomato, and lettuce.  Makes 2 cheeseburgers.

Biggs and Wedge Potatoes and Chicken

Biggs in the Sector 1 Reactor“Tifa always lets me taste her cooking.  And look at me now, I’m rolly-polly.  Don’t know whether I should be happy or sad.  But it’s the good food and drinks that make this shop famous.”

—Wedge, FFVII

  • 2 to 2.5 lbs. uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, washed, dried, and cut into strips
  • 6 medium russet potatoes (about 2 lbs.), scrubbed and cut into ¼” – ½” wedges lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Dipping sauce, prepared at least 1 hour in advance (choose one from the recipes below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.  Soak potatoes in bowl of hot water for 10 minutes to remove excess starch.  Drain, pat dry, and return to dry bowl.  Pour oil over potatoes, and toss to coat.

Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Bake on the lower oven rack for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden on the bottom.  Turn, and bake 20 minutes more, or until golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, coat a second baking sheet with cooking spray.  Add chicken to the bowl and toss with the remaining oil.  Arrange chicken in single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, turn the strips over, and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

Season potatoes and chicken with salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Serve with one of the dipping sauces below.  (Make the dipping sauce at least an hour in advance and refrigerate, so the flavors can blend.)

Makes 6 servings (about 4 oz. chicken, 2½ oz. potatoes, and ¼ c. dipping sauce per serving).

Rooster Dipping Sauce:

  • 1½ c. mayonnaise
  • ½ c. sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed

Honey-Dijon Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 c. honey
  • 1 c. hot Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Wasabi-Ranch Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 packet ranch dip mix
  • 14 oz. Greek yogurt, or 16 oz. sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. powdered wasabi
  • 2 tbsp. minced chives

Midgar Miso Ramen Soup

Midgar's Sector 8“Each town used to have a name, but no one in Midgar remembers them.”

—Jessie, FFVII

This quick and easy soup makes enough for one person… just the way Cloud likes it.  Delicious for breakfast with a mug of green tea!

  • 3 oz. broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 oz. dry soba noodles
  • 1 1-oz. miso soup packet (Trader Joe’s brand is recommended)
  • 3 oz. cooked chicken or tofu, chopped (optional)

Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a pot.  Add broccoli and noodles.  Cook for 6-8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in miso soup mix and chicken or tofu, if desired.