Seasoned Midgardsormr

Seasoned Midgardsormr“You can never have too many spices.”

—Ignis Scientia, FFXV

You’ll need wooden skewers for this recipe. Make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

  • ½ tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • ½ tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 3 square inches)
  • 7 ounces plain Greek yogurt, such as Fage
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1½” cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Cooked basmati rice

Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seed, mustard seed, and cloves in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind the toasted spices in a clean coffee or spice mill and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, and cayenne.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a food processor or blender and add garlic, ginger, and the bowl of spices. Blend until smooth.

In the bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and ¼ cup of the tomato mixture. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 4 to 8 hours. Transfer the tomato mixture to a storage container and refrigerate.

Thread chicken tightly onto skewers. Heat the tomato mixture in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s bubbling, stir in cream and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.

Grill over medium-high direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until well browned on all sides. Transfer skewers to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

In the center of each plate, place a large serving of sauce. Arrange skewers on top and garnish to taste with sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

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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.

Tsenoble Pork Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce

Vaan taking the cab to Tsenoble“Good to be back, eh? My regards to your lord father, Master Ffamran… er, rather, Master ‘Balthier.’ Anon, anon.”

—Jules, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds)
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 7 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g.) prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g.) Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tablespoon (7 g.) Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Crystal
  • Snipped chives (optional)

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add pork and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, turning and seasoning occasionally, until all sides are golden and crispy, about 40–45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the horseradish sauce. Mix together the yogurt, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Check the tenderloin’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Continue cooking and turning until thermometer inserted in center registers 140–145 degrees. Remove and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice into ½-inch-thick medallions and serve with horseradish sauce.

After you’ve finished eating, hand wash your cast-iron skillet with water and a soft sponge, then dry immediately and rub with a light coat of vegetable oil, such as grapeseed. Any leftover horseradish sauce goes great with smoked salmon and crackers, or on a baked potato.

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%

Rienna Barley Stew with Tchita Greens

Tchita Uplands“I do so love to cook! Why, the other day, I held an impromptu party at my house, and fed a new dish of mine to my closest acquaintances. Why, they told me ’twas a taste to tantalize the tongue of a philosopher of cuisine! Yet… their faces were sour as old Nanna cheese.”

—FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ lbs. beef stew meat, uncooked, cut into 1” pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion or two small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 10 oz. chopped kale
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 7 oz. plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Fresh chives

Heat butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add stew meat in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions and garlic. Sprinkle with sage. Cook until onions are turning golden, about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook until all their liquid has been released and the pot is almost dry, about 15 more minutes. Slowly begin adding the wine, scraping the crusty bits from the bottom and maintaining a simmer.

Stir in kale. Once it’s wilted somewhat, stir in the pearl barley. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until stew meat and barley are soft and tender, about 2 hours.

Remove pot from heat. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and a little broth from the stew (this prevents curdling instead of adding the yogurt all at once). Stir the yogurt mixture into the stew until combined. Divide into bowls, garnish with chives, and serve.

Makes about 8 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving: 336 calories, 14.7 g. fat, 5.2 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 6 g. mono. fat, 64.6 mg. cholesterol, 840.9 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought broth), 588.8 mg. potassium, 26.4 g. carbohydrates, 4.4 g. fiber, 25.7 g. protein, vitamin A 43%, vitamin C 62%, calcium 13%, iron 20%

Cactuar Nachos

Cactuar“Nacho nacho!”

—a cactoid, FFXII

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can refried beans
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 6 oz. thick tortilla chips
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz. grated cheese (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • Salsa
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add refried beans and broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until combined and heated through.

Arrange tortilla chips on an ovenproof platter or baking sheet. Pour refried beans over the chips. Sprinkle evenly with black beans and cheese and bake for about 5 minutes, until cheese is completely melted. Remove from oven and top with avocado. Serve immediately with salsa and Greek yogurt, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

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