Dali Pumpkin Bread

Dali Field“An auspicious day for you to go out and have fun! You’ll find lots of money and lost items. You’ll also eat lots of yummy food, and meet interesting people. Go out and share your luck with the ones you love!”

—very good omen in the Dali Inn, FFIX

  • 2 cups flour (8.5 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 14-oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, spice, baking powder, baking soda.

In another large bowl, whisk together syrup and oil. Whisk in eggs, then pumpkin and vanilla.

Slowly whisk flour mixture into pumpkin mixture, then stir in chocolate. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake about 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Makes 8 servings: 403 calories, 16 g. fat, 64 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fiber, 7g. protein, iron 31%


Lunar Lentil Soup II

Baron Castle“Oh man, the moon… outer space… my dreams…”

—Cid Highwind, FFVII

The finishing touch on this soup is a pre-made salad from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have that store near you, try choosing a similar salad from another grocery store, or substitute 3 ounces of baby spinach, 3 ounces of cooked quinoa, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds, and 4 tablespoons of ginger-sesame salad dressing.

This recipe uses three sausages from a 1-lb. package. To use the remaining two sausages, see Landisian Cider Stew or Wakka’s Fried Rice.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 3 hot Italian pork sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 10 oz. total)
  • 2½ cups dry brown lentils (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1½ lb. zucchini, chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1 Trader Joe’s Super Spinach Salad

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 carrots and mushrooms and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add sausage and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Stir in lentils and continue cooking for another minute. Add tomatoes and seasonings and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour in broth, stir well, 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 zucchini and the entire contents of the spinach salad, including the dressing. Remove from heat and serve.

Makes about 14 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving: 284 calories, 10.9 g. fat, 3.1 g. saturated fat, 0.5 g. poly. fat, 1.9 g. mono. fat, 17.9 mg. cholesterol, 967.8 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought broth), 598.1 mg. potassium, 32.3 g. carbohydrates, 12.2 g. fiber, 14.9 g. protein, vitamin A 34%, vitamin C 31%, calcium 6%, iron 21%

Landisian Cider Stew

Basch fon Ronsenburg in the Barheim Passage“You have grown very thin, Basch.”

—Judge Gabranth, born Noah fon Ronsenburg, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, chopped and rinsed (about 2 cups)
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 hot Italian sausages, uncooked, casing removed and cut into 1″ pieces (about 7 oz. total)
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. uncooked Arborio rice
  • 22 oz. bottle of hard cider, such as Julian Hard Cider
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 10 oz. kale
  • 12 oz. peeled, chopped butternut squash

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks, mushrooms, and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes until sausage is browned on all sides.

Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Pour in rice, and stir well to combine. Add cider and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in kale and squash and simmer, uncovered, about 2 hours, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and lowering the heat as necessary, until squash is tender.

Makes about 18 flat 1-cup servings. Per serving: 230 calories, 6.7 g. fat, 2.1 g. saturated fat, 0.5 g. poly. fat, 1.8 g. mono. fat, 32.1 mg. cholesterol, 588.2 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 291.2 mg. potassium, 29.3 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 13.1 g. protein, vitamin A 35%, vitamin C 33%, calcium 6%, iron 8%

Dali Scrambled Eggs with Pumpkin and Spinach

Adelbert Steiner in Dali“Alexandrian cooking is the finest in the realm!”

—Adelbert Steiner, FFIX

The eggs in this recipe come out with a somewhat custard-like consistency rather than the traditional scramble you might expect. Use the leftover can of pumpkin puree to make Cosmo Canyon Squash Soup.

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • Fresh chives

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, turmeric, paprika, salt, and pepper and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and toss until leaves are coated with oil and wilted. Divide between two plates.

Add butter to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat until foamy. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are almost cooked (still a little wet, but not liquidy). Add the cheese and stir to combine.

Spoon the eggs on top of the spinach. Sprinkle each plate generously with chopped chives and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.  Per serving: 380 calories, 28.3 g. fat, 11.2 g. saturated fat, 2.4 g. poly. fat, 10.2 g. mono. fat, 448.2 mg. cholesterol, 353.2 mg. sodium, 619.8 mg. potassium, 10.5 g. carbohydrates, 3.9 g. fiber, 18.6 g. protein, vitamin A 244%, vitamin C 38%, calcium 17%, iron 27%

Oerba Harvest Hodgepodge

Oerba“Miracles are things that we make for ourselves.”

—Oerba Dia Vanille, FFXIII

This is an extremely versatile recipe for using up leftover vegetables from your refrigerator or garden.

  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous (about 6 oz.)
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions (about 3 oz.), washed, root ends removed, halved and chopped
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, washed and ends removed, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, washed and ends removed, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, rinsed and chopped (optional)

Place couscous in a large Tupperware container. Heat 1¼ cups broth or water to boiling (reserve the other ¼ cup for later use) 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.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the light-green parts of the onion (save the dark-green ends for later use), garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, black beans, lime juice, remaining ¼ cup broth or water, and hot pepper sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and dark-green onion ends.

Fluff the couscous with a fork. Serve 1 cup of the black bean mixture over ½ cup of cooked couscous. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 287 calories, 3.3 g. fat, 0.4 g. saturated fat, 0.4 g. poly. fat, 1.7 g. mono. fat, 670.4 mg. sodium, 316.4 mg. potassium, 52.7 g. carbohydrates, 10.3 g. fiber, 14.2 g. protein, vitamin A 9%, vitamin C 98%, calcium 14%, iron 19%

Dalmascan Bean Salad

Basch and Vossler“All I have done — I’ve ever thought of Dalmasca first.”

—Vossler York Azelas, FFXII

Despite the long list of ingredients, this recipe is fast and easy to make. It tastes even better the next day, when the complex flavors have had some time in the refrigerator to blend.

  • 3 medium zucchinis (about 1 lb.), washed and ends removed, cut into spears
  • 1 red pepper, washed and ends removed, cut into quarters
  • 1 green pepper, washed and ends removed, cut into quarters
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole-wheat couscous (about 14 oz.)
  • 2½ cups broth or water
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley (about ¾ oz.), washed, stems removed, and chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions (about 3 oz.), washed, root ends removed, halved and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger (about 2 square inches)
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon dark-roasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 small or 2 large lemons)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a baking pan, toss the zucchini and peppers with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 10 minutes. Stir well and continue to cook an additional 10 minutes, until zucchini is turning brown. Turn off the oven, remove baking pan, and set aside to cool.

Place couscous in a large Tupperware container. In a medium saucepan, heat broth or water 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 the couscous with a fork to separate the grains. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, chop the zucchini and peppers into small pieces. Add them to the couscous, along with the remaining liquid in the baking pan. Add the beans, parsley, onions, garlic, and ginger. Pour in sesame oil and lemon juice and toss well to combine.

Makes 8 servings (about 2 flat cups per serving).

Per 2-cup serving: 414 calories, 8.6 g. fat, 1.1 g. saturated fat, 1.3 g. poly. fat, 5.1 g. mono. fat, 777 mg. sodium, 378.3 mg. potassium, 69.5 g. carbohydrates, 13.8 g. fiber, 16.3 g. protein, vitamin A 7%, vitamin C 87%, calcium 11%, iron 20%

Year-End Recipe Roundup, Plus a Contest!

Quina QuenI experiment with plenty of Final Fantasy recipes, but I only post the ones that I really love.  That said, looking back over 2010, I definitely have some favorites.

Cid’s Spicy Chili

This was the first recipe I posted here, and there’s a reason.  I kept re-writing the recipe, re-making and passing it off for friends to try, through several winters.  I started with dried beans, played around with that concept, and ultimately decided that canned beans were a better choice.  When I finally had a keeper, I was thrilled!  This is, in my opinion, the perfect chili recipe.  (I know Texans will disagree.)

Irvine’s Cowboy Breakfast

I make this all the time.  It’s healthy, but also deliciously cheesy — a great Sunday breakfast.  To vary it up, use a can of pinto beans instead of refried beans, adding them in the beginning along with the butter and allowing some of the liquid to cook off before pouring in the eggs.

Coq Au Madhu

Bhujerba obviously has roots in colonial India, and I used that as the inspiration for this revamp of a classic French recipe.  Another variation is Bodhum-Style Coq Au Vin, which is inspired by California cuisine instead — the two recipes are as different as night and day.

Mobliz Dried Meat

This recipe is time-consuming, but the results are oh-so-worthwhile.  I’ve served these ribs at several summer parties, and they’re always a huge hit.

Zanarkand Lamb Pilaf

FFX’s city of Zanarkand was modeled after the Uzbek city of Samarkand.  This recipe is a take on a traditional Uzbek recipe.  The lamb and apricots melt into the rice to create a deliciously creamy pudding.

Madain Sari Stew

In FFIX’s Madain Sari cooking scene, Eiko sings, “Potato, potato, pumpkin bomb, lots and lots of nuts,” while she’s making her stew.  I used that as a starting point for this recipe, which might sound weird but is surprisingly (and exceptionally!) tasty.

White Mage Chicken Soup

This is my go-to recipe when I’m under the weather.  It’s full of ingredients that heal and promote wellness.  It’s also fairly quick and easy, which is useful when you aren’t feeling strong enough to cook more complicated food.

Nabradian Garlic Chicken

I keep making this over and over.  Based on a French recipe, it’s incredibly rich and flavorful.  The mushrooms reference the flora of shady Salikawood.  When paired with good wine and good bread, it’s a feast worth serving to friends.

Costa Del Sol Beach Burgers

I’m a San Diego native, and a lot of my recipes are local in flavor.  I tend to think of Costa del Sol as a stand-in for my region.  Of all my Costa del Sol recipes, this is my favorite.  Whether you use a grill, or opt for a faster version on the stove, these burgers always come out better than anything you could order from a beachside drive-thru.

The one-year anniversary of this blog is coming up soon.  I’d like to challenge my readers to create your own Final Fantasy recipes!  Send them to me at ffrecipes@gmail.com.  The contest ends February 15, 2011.  I’ll pick my favorite and publish the winner on March 1st.

Happy cooking!