Chocobo’s Paradise

Choco returns to Mene“Oh!!! Legend was true, kupo! I’ll tell you a secret. I’m looking for paradise on earth!”

—Mene, FFIX

Make sure you have plenty of fresh limes on hand for this delicious summer treat. The mug should be chilled in the freezer prior to preparing the drink.

  • 1 16-ounce mythril mug (you can substitute copper)
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) rum
  • 6 ounces (half a bottle) ginger beer
  • Lime wedge
  • Fresh mint

Pour or squeeze fresh lime juice into the mug and add 2 or 3 ice cubes. Add rum and fill with ginger beer. Stir and serve with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint.

Advertisements

Dali Pumpkin Ale Stew

Art designs for cups in FFIX“I’ve got better things to do than hang out at the pub.”

—Zidane, FFIX

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-12 garlic cloves (1 bulb), peeled and halved
  • 2 serrano chile peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3–4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 22-ounce bottle of pumpkin ale, such as Coronado Punk’In Drublic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • About 2 pounds fresh or canned chopped tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • ½ oz. dried chiles guajillos, stems removed (about 2–4 peppers)
  • ¼ oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems removed (about 8–12 peppers)
  • ¾ oz. cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped red onion
  • Lime wedges

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, serrano peppers, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the garlic is turning golden. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Slowly pour in the beer, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and increasing the heat. Add broth, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in oregano, sugar, and dried chiles, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

Remove from heat and discard chiles. Stir in cilantro and apple cider vinegar. Ladle into bowls and serve with tortillas, sour cream, red onion, and lime wedges.

Makes about 12 heaping 1-cup servings.  Per serving (does not include tortillas and sour cream): 450 calories, 14.3 g. fat, 3.9 g. saturated fat, 1.6 g. poly. fat, 7.6 g. mono. fat, 88.7 mg. cholesterol, 1282.9 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 651 mg. potassium, 40.5 g. carbohydrates, 13.2 g. fiber, 39.1 g. protein, vitamin A 6%, vitamin C 16%, calcium 16%, iron 31%

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.

Ruby’s Mini-Theater Chili

Ruby's Mognet letter to ZidaneCinna: “H-Hey, Ruby! I heard you started a mini-theater.”

Ruby: “That’s right, darlin’! My plays are a hit!”

Blank: “Cool! Let’s go watch!”

Marcus: “Yeah!”

Ruby: “Alright, cowboys! Zidane… You ain’t comin’, are ya? That’s awright, darlin’. Come on over whenever you want. Let’s go, boys!”

—FFIX

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lbs. ground beef (chuck), 85% lean
  • 4 tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 14-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 4 15-oz. cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Finely diced white onion
  • Finely diced green jalapeno peppers
  • Oyster crackers or saltine crackers

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the ground beef, use a spatula to break into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle with chili powder, flour, salt, sugar, cornstarch, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Remove lid and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and serve hot with cheese, onion, jalapeno peppers, and crackers for toppings.

Makes 12 heaping 1-cup servings. Per serving (does not include toppings): 414 calories, 19.6 g. fat, 7 g. saturated fat, 0.7 g. poly. fat, 9.1 g. mono. fat, 77.1 mg. cholesterol, 1224.7 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 340 mg. potassium, 27.4 g. carbohydrates, 7.3 g. fiber, 29.9 g. protein, vitamin A 2%, vitamin C 7%, calcium 8%, iron 24%

Dead Pepper Hot Sauce

Zidane Tribal  in Chocobo's Forest“The Dead Pepper has been our favorite food for 5,000 years…”

—Gold Choco, FFIX

This is a thick, richly flavored hot sauce that’s great on eggs or burritos. It’s also a fantastic sauce when you’re grilling chicken — brush it over the chicken about 10 minutes before taking it off the grill.

  • 1 20-oz. mason jar
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 8 oz.), washed well and stems removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • ½ white onion, peeled and sliced thickly
  • ½ oz. dried chiles guajillos, stems removed (about 2–4 peppers)
  • ¼ oz. dried chiles de arbol, stems removed (about 8–12 peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Put a heavy frying pan over medium heat and toast the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and onion until they char slightly, about 10 minutes. When they’re almost done cooking, open the windows in your kitchen. If your stove has an exhaust fan, turn it on.

Push the vegetables to one side and add chiles, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Cook for 1 or 2 more minutes, until they char slightly. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the frying pan to a blender. Add salt, oregano, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, and water. Let the mixture soak for about 15 minutes, until chiles have softened. Blend well, then taste sauce. If it’s flat or bitter, add another teaspoon or so of salt and blend.

Pour the hot sauce into a mason jar or other container that can be tightly sealed. Refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving. The sauce will last about a month in the fridge.

Oglop-Oiled Popped Corn

Zidane in a Dali cornfield“Oglops eat vegetables?”

Princess Garnet, FFIX

You don’t have to eat microwave popcorn! Making it on the stove is easy. If you’re the kind of person who likes to cook bacon for lazy Sunday breakfasts, save the bacon fat in a ramekin in the fridge and use it for this recipe — the flavor is amazing.

If you prefer a vegetarian version, coconut oil is an excellent alternative. Oglop oil, of course, can be easily obtained in Dali’s cornfields as well as Milla’s Oil Shop in Lindblum.

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon oglop oil, bacon fat, or coconut oil (about 14 g.)
  • 6 tablespoons of popcorn kernels (about 72 g.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (about 14 g.)
  • Italian seasoning, crushed
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the salt and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a few popcorn kernels and cover the pan. When they pop, add the rest of the kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat, and count 30 seconds.

Return pan to heat. The kernels should begin popping soon, all at once. Once they begin popping, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Keep the lid slightly vented to let the steam escape.

When the popping slows to 1 or 2 seconds between pops, remove the pan from heat and dump the popcorn immediately into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices and cheese to taste. Serves 2.

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%