Cosmo Canyon Chicken and Rice

Cosmo Candle“Bonfires are funny, aren’t they? They make you remember all sorts of things.”

—Tifa Lockhart, FFVII

For the chicken:

  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 1 or 2 limes)
  • ¼ cup organic tamari soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon hot chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 4 skinless, boneless organic free-range chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup white wine

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10½ oz. long-grain brown rice, jasmine or basmati (about 1½ cups)
  • 8 oz. raw tomatoes, washed and chopped
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth

Mix together lime juice, soy sauce, cumin, coriander, chili powder, olive oil, honey, and garlic in a shallow baking pan, stirring thoroughly. Lay the chicken breasts in, breast-side up, then flip to breast-side down. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, turning the breasts over halfway through.

While the chicken is marinating, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the rice and saute until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, carrot, onion, garlic, and salt. Stir and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes, until onions are translucent.

Slowly pour in broth, bringing to a simmer. Continue cooking until all the broth has been absorbed. Lower heat to very low and cover for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Turn the chicken breasts to breast-side down and pour the white wine over them. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping the breasts after about 10 or 15 minutes. Check that the internal temperature has reached at least 160 degrees.

Arrange 4 plates. Put a half-cup scoop of rice on each plate and pat it down to make a nest for the chicken. (You’ll have rice left over; save it to serve at another meal with Ifrit’s Adobo-Achiote Chicken.) Place each breast on a plate and top with the pan juices. Serves 4.

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Costa Del Sol Guacamole

Hojo on Costa Del Sol beach“Wait a minute. I’m going to look for my guidebook. It says, Costa del Sol is the gateway to the West. And has a prominent world renown resort, which has been around for ages.”

—a tourist in Costa del Sol, FFVII

When you’re done with this recipe, you’ll be left with half a tomato, half a chile pepper, and lots of onion and cilantro. Use them to make Costa Del Sol Sashimi Cocktail!

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tomato (about ½ small tomato)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • ½ serrano chile pepper, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Tortilla chips

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the insides into a large bowl. Add tomato, onion, chile pepper, cilantro, garlic, salt, and lime juice. Mash until combined and stir in black pepper. Serve with warm tortilla chips.

Costa Del Sol Shrimp Cocktail

Cloud in Costa Del Sol“…Puff… puff… would you kindly hurry? The heat here is drying my nose.”

—Red XIII, FFVII

For a vegetarian version, substitute a 14-oz. can of white beans, drained and rinsed.

  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if grilling shrimp)
  • Worcestershire sauce and freshly-ground pepper, to taste (if grilling shrimp)
  • 1 pound Persian cucumbers, washed and diced (or 1 large common cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and diced)
  • 2 ripe avocados, peel and seed removed, diced
  • ¼ large red onion, peeled and diced (about ¼—½ cup)
  • 2—3 red tomatoes (about 12 ounces), washed and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, washed and minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, washed and minced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup)
  • 1 cup V8 juice, or tomato juice (if you have a juicer, try using Vincent’s Red Juice instead)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Cholula or Tapatio are recommended)
  • 1 lime, washed and quartered
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • Mexican beer (optional)

Toss raw shrimp with 1 tbsp. olive oil and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle with freshly-ground black pepper. Grill in a basket or on skewers over direct high heat for about 4 minutes, turning once, until the shrimp are firm to the touch and just turning opaque in the center.

Alternatively, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Cook raw shrimp in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, until turning opaque. Remove and immediately immerse in ice bath. Drain well.

Combine cooked shrimp, diced vegetables, lemon juice, V8 juice, and hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour, or overnight.

Spoon mixture into 4 bowls and garnish each with a lime wedge. Serve with tortilla chips and Mexican beer, if desired.

Lunar Lentil Soup

Nanaki and Seto in Cosmo Canyon“The lunar world is a world of monsters. Didn’t you learn that in school?”

—FFVIII

This recipe uses two sausages from a 1-lb. package. To use the remaining three sausages, see Cid’s Spicy Chili.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, chopped and rinsed (about 2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 pork sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 7 oz. total)
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2½ cups dry brown lentils (about 1 lb.)
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 12 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

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. Add leeks and carrots and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add garlic and sausage and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and seasonings and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add lentils and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very tender, about 2 hours. Stir in spinach and vinegar and serve.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving: 283 calories, 9 g. fat, 2.8 g. saturated fat, 0.6 g. poly. fat, 2.2 g. mono. fat, 15.9 mg. cholesterol, 1062.6 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought broth), 674.1 mg. potassium, 36 g. carbohydrates, 14.4 g. fiber, 15.7 g. protein, vitamin A 45%, vitamin C 29%, calcium 10%, iron 28%