Festival of the Hunt Roast

ZaghnolBreeder: “This year’s specimen is perfect. Nothing can stop him! Ha ha ha! What power!”

Soldier: “Hey, make him stop! It’s too early to let him loose!”

Breeder: “How? I have no control over him.”

Soldier: “Dammit! Open the gate at once! The gate’s gonna fall apart!”

Breeder: “GO, ZAGHNOL!”

—FFIX

This recipe takes all day (and sometimes into the night), so plan ahead and get all your tools and ingredients together the day before. A good-quality digital thermometer is an absolute necessity, and make sure you have enough wood to keep the fire going for 12 hours! If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also cook the pork in the oven, but you’ll lose that special flavor that comes from the wood smoke.

  • 1 Boston butt (bone-in pork shoulder roast, 4 to 6 pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Barbecue sauce (Mandragora Jam works well)
  • 10 to 12 hamburger buns

Begin 12 to 24 hours before you plan to start cooking. Trim most of the fat, but not all, leaving about 1/8″. Pork butt often comes tied with butcher’s twine to keep them from falling apart. If yours is not already tied, tie it with twine. Wash and thoroughly dry the meat, then salt it and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare a grill or smoker for indirect heat. Place cumin seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, and coriander in a grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in chili powder, onion powder, and paprika. Wet the meat all over with water and cover with the rub.

Place the meat fat-side down on the grill and cook at 225 degrees for about 10–12 hours, checking once per hour to make sure fuel is sufficient and smoker temperature is under 250 degrees. For the first couple of hours, you can also add a handful of hickory or cherry wood chips every half-hour or so, if desired.

The meat is done when temperature at the very center reaches at least 195 degrees. Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board, loosely tent it with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves if desired, pull off and discard any skin from the meat, then pull the pork into pieces, discarding any bones or fat. Using your fingertips or a fork, pull each piece of pork into shreds 1 to 2 inches long and 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.

Serve on hamburger buns with barbecue sauce on the side for topping. Fried in a little fat, leftovers make great carnitas tacos the next day.

Rin’s Herb Platter

Rin's Travel Agency“Welcome to Rin’s Travel Agency. Would you care to take a rest?”

—travel agency clerk, FFX

A delicious spread for hungry travelers. Tear off a piece of flatbread and wrap it around a selection of items to create a mini-sandwich. If you’ve got a really fresh tomato or some Persian cucumbers, you could slice those up and add them to the platter too.

  • 8 oz. block of feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 small bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 bunch radishes, ends removed and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 bunch scallions, ends removed and quartered crosswise
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • Lavash or other flatbread

Drain the feta and place it in the center of a large platter. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the caraway, cumin, and coriander seeds and stir until they start to release their aroma, about 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Transfer to a small bowl and pour in the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and set aside.

Wash and dry the mint, basil, cilantro, and dill and cut the ends off the stems. Arrange around the feta in piles. Add radishes, scallions, and walnuts to the platter. Pour the olive oil mixture over the feta. Serve with warmed flatbread.

 

Sky Pirate’s Sandwich

Balthier Bunansa“A pirate would do well to smile. Wouldn’t want to sour his reputation.”

—Jules, FFXII

This sandwich is best when it’s freshly cooked — leftovers become dry and less flavorful. Make a full batch of the chickpea batter, but only fry as much as you can eat in one sitting and store the rest of the batter in the fridge. It will keep for about a week, or you can shape it into balls and freeze for several months.

For the sauce:

  • 7 oz. plain lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the chickpea batter:

  • ½ pound dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 17-oz. bottle grapeseed oil

For the sandwich:

  • Mediterranean flatbread
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh romaine lettuce
  • Thinly sliced white onion

Start about 8 hours before you want to serve the sandwiches. First, place the dried garbanzo beans in a large bowl and cover with 4 cups of cold water. Next, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and refrigerate.

About 2 hours before you want to serve the sandwiches, drain and rinse the chickpeas and pour them into a food processor or blender along with the chopped onion, parsley, garlic, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Blend until mixture is combined, but still chunky. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1–2 hours.

When you’re ready to start cooking, pour the bottle of oil into a large skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, start shaping the chickpea mixture into round balls or patties, about 2 tablespoons of mixture per ball.

Drop a test ball into the center of the skillet. It should take about 3 minutes per side to brown. If it’s browning too fast, reduce heat before adding the rest of the balls. Once they’re fried on both sides, remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with warm flatbread, yogurt sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and raw onion.

Makes about 21 balls. When the oil has cooled, you can transfer it to a tightly-sealed container and refrigerate it up for up to a month to reuse in another recipe, such as Queen Brahne’s Fried Chicken and Biscuits.

Tantalus Steamed Sandwich

Tantalus“Boss! Let me join Tantalus again! We can steal treasure together, just like old times!”

—Zidane Tribal, FFIX

If you have a farmers’ market in your neighborhood, check and see if there’s a vendor who sells sauerkraut — homemade is way better than the kind they sell at the supermarket.

  • 4 tablespoons (60 g.) prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g.) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon (17 g.) ketchup
  • 2 slices of rye bread
  • 2 oz. Swiss cheese
  • 4 oz. thinly-sliced corned beef or pastrami
  • 2 oz. sauerkraut
  • Gysahl pickles (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together horseradish, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Lightly toast the bread and place on a very large piece of aluminum foil. Spread about half the dressing on the two pieces of bread, saving the other half for later.

Top one of the slices with, in order: half of the cheese, then all of the meat, then the rest of the dressing, then sauerkraut, then the rest of the cheese, and then the other slice of bread.

Wrap in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook for about 30 minutes. Unwrap and cover with a plate, then quickly flip so the foil is on top. Remove foil, cut sandwich in half, and serve immediately.

Makes 1 sandwich. Multiply as needed for the entire troupe and serve with Gysahl pickles.

Per 1 sandwich (not including pickles): 644 calories, 30 g. fat, 46 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 45 g. protein, iron 25%

Treasure Hunter’s Sandwich

Locke in South Figaro“You’re Locke, right? Edgar told me about you. Is it true you’re a thief?”

“That’s TREASURE HUNTER!”

—Terra and Locke, FFVI

Treasure hunters don’t settle for empty-calorie white bread and processed meat when they’re on the go!

Instead of buying a sub at a fast-food sandwich shop, treat yourself with nutritious whole grains, minimal-ingredient condiments, probiotic yogurt cheese, and fresh veggies.

Spread each piece of bread with mayonnaise and add mustard. Sprinkle one piece of bread with pepperoncini and pile with turkey breast, cheese, and avocado. Add salt and pepper and top with greens. Sprinkle with vinegar, if desired. (Not too much, or your sandwich will be soggy before you get to Narshe!)

Slice in half lengthwise and serve with pickles.

Makes 1 serving: 535 calories, 25 g. fat, 37 g. carbohydrates, 7 g. fiber, 36 g. protein, iron 21%

Kohlingen Pub Sandwich

Kohlingen Pub and Inn“We meet again… Just need ‘nough to feed my dog.”

—Shadow, FFVI

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 slices of whole-grain bread
  • 1 oz. pepper jack cheese
  • 3 oz. sliced turkey

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet. Saute onions over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.

Push onions to the side and put bread slices in the center of the skillet. Place cheese on top of one piece of bread. Scoop the onions onto the other piece of bread, and top with turkey.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking for about a minute, until cheese is melted. Flip the bread and cheese onto the other piece of bread. Use a spatula to transfer the sandwich to a plate. Slice in half diagonally and serve with pickles.

Nalbina Black Beans

Nalbina“A soldier doesn’t complain about his post, Gibbs.  Granted, it’s hot… the city reeks of sweat… and I’ve sand in places sand has no right to be.”

—Deweg, FFXII

This is a delicious, quick lunch for a hot day.  It’s even better if you refrigerate it overnight so the flavors have time to blend.

You can use the leftover half of the onion to make Gysahl Pickles.

  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 oz. feta cheese
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Paprika
  • Whole-wheat pita bread

Divide beans between two bowls, about ¾ cup each.  Sprinkle with chopped onion, crumbled feta cheese, lime juice, and paprika.  Serve with pita bread.