Cooking in Thedas: Nug-Nug and Llomerryn red

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nugnugillustrationI’ve gone fantasy feasting again. Yesterday, I received a surprise gift from my husband: The World of Thedas, Volume 2 Exclusive Edition. As one would expect, it is packed with Thedas lore. And this time, the authors included recipes!

Well, I saw that as a challenge and whipped up a couple of the dishes. Llomerryn Red is essentially fancy ketchup. It’s tasty, but it’s still ketchup, which I don’t usually use. However, the kid and husband enjoy it on many things. Nug-nug, on the other hand, is a pretty dish. Consisting of rice, mini-meatloaves on a stick, tomato, and garnish. To make it look more like the illustration, I baked whole acorn squash and surrounded the dish with lettuce and root vegetables. I used who cloves as the eyes. It was delicious.

Nug-nug completely garnished and ready to eat.

Nug-nug completely garnished and ready to eat.

Nug-nug with Llomerryn Red.

Nug-nug with Llomerryn Red.

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Cooking in Thedas: Not-So-Qunari Cookies

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Once the Warden is friendly enough with Sten, he mentions a story about a Qunari village that had fields of cinnamon and nutmeg. He mentioned liking this aroma. The Qunari though would not deign to mix their cinnamon and nutmeg into a cookie, as Sten also mentions a distinct lack of sweets in Qunari fare. This recipe is based in part on an old, at least 18th century, recipe for molasses cookies. I modernized it to include coconut oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Had I some almond flour on hand, I probably would have experimented with more than wheat flour.

With the exception of molasses and coconut oil, many kitchens will already have these ingredients. If Coconut Oil and Molasses aren't staples for your kitchen, add them today.

With the exception of molasses and coconut oil, many kitchens will already have these ingredients. If Coconut Oil and Molasses aren’t staples for your kitchen, add them today.

 

Not-So-Qunari Cookies

3/4 cup Coconut Oil, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Egg
1/4 cup Molasses
2 1/4 cup Flour, sifted
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Cloves
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ginger

Preheat oven to 375.

1. Mix oil, egg, sugar, and molasses thoroughly. You can use a mixer for this. To get coconut oil soft enough for blending, I typically measure it out and set it next to the stove while I prepare the rest of my ingredients. You can always soften it in a microwave or over low heat if desired.

The molasses gives a rich aroma and taste to the cookies.

The molasses gives a rich aroma and taste to the cookies.

2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, sea salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together.

Make sure to sift your flour for better blending of the dry ingredients.

Make sure to sift your flour for better blending of the dry ingredients.

3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

The batter will be thick and crumbly. It will not like being shaped, especially if you like to chill your dough before use.

The batter will be thick and crumbly. It will not like being shaped, especially if you like to chill your dough before use.

4. Shape each cookie into a 1 1/2 inch circle or ball – flatten ball with fork. Place a parchment paper lined cookie sheet two-to-three inches apart.

5. Bake 10-12 minutes.

platedcookies

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Calories: 83.7
Total Fat: 5.3 g
Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .4 g
Cholesterol: 5.8 mg
Sodium: 102.9 mg
Potassium: 65.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 11.9 g
Dietary Fiber: .1 g
Sugars: 10.6 g
Protein: .3 g

Cooking in Thedas: Leliana’s Pudding

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lelianaWhen traveling with Leliana one can get a sense that the foods she enjoyed in Orlais were savory and rich. While, not as “frilly and pretentious” as Orlesian-style Lamb, this pudding bathes the senses with its thick texture, sweet taste, and rich smell. Can be served warm or cold and with or without a nut topping. I found that making this pudding in my kitchen made it taste better than any kind I’ve purchased at the grocery stores. Give this one a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And you can always give the left overs to Chantry orphans…or your own kids.

Leliana’s Pudding
2 cups 2% Milk
2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 large Egg
2/3 cup Sugar
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. Whisk egg, cornstarch, and one-half cup milk until well blended. The mixture will be thick. Set aside.

Make sure to do this first. Time is of the essence in pudding making.

Make sure to do this first. Time is of the essence in pudding making.

2. Heat a two-quart pot to medium-high heat. Add sugar to melt and brown slightly. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the sugar. Use a wooden spoon or the like as the sugar will be melting and adhere to plastic utensils very easily. This will take about four minutes.

At first it will seem like nothing is happening, but the magic occurs in the last minute-and-a-half of heating. The sugar melts and turns light brown.

At first it will seem like nothing is happening, but the magic occurs in the last minute-and-a-half of heating. The sugar melts and turns light brown.

3. Stir remaining milk (1 1/2 cup) into the sugar. The sugar will crystallize immediately. Don’t worry, it is going to remelt quickly. Stir to mix thoroughly and remelt the sugar.

What happens when you add the milk to the caramelized sugar. The sugar will float to the top as a single sheet.

What happens when you add the milk to the caramelized sugar. The sugar will float to the top as a single sheet.

4. Take one-half cup of caramelized sugar mixture and add it to the cornstarch mixture. Blend well and then pour this new mixture into pan. Stir until the mix thickens and bubbles.

Keep stirring and heating until the pudding is thick.

Keep stirring and heating until the pudding is thick.

5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extract. Set aside to cool slightly and prepare the nut topping. The pudding can also be served cold, if preferred. Note: my recipe makes the pudding have a strong almond flavor because I love it. Some may prefer to decrease the amount of almond and increase the vanilla, or replace the almond with something else like raspberry or orange. Both of those options will work and are tasty.

6. Makes 9 quarter-cup servings. Can be served warm or cold.

Serve the pudding warm or cold and with or without nuts.

Serve the pudding warm or cold and with or without nuts.

7. If leftovers exist, it may be stored for up to two days in the refrigerator. The leftover pudding should be served cold.

Nut Topping:

2 oz. Plain and Dry Almonds, Pecans, Peanuts, or Walnuts, unsalted
1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Sugar
.5 tsp Cinnamon

Melt butter and then add cinnamon and sugar. Once well mixed, add nuts and mix well. Heat skillet to medium heat. Make sure the skillet is hot before adding nut mixture. Gently toast nuts mixture until fragrant. Stir often. This will take less than five minutes. Let cool slightly before serving atop the pudding.

Nutrition Facts (without nut topping)
Calories: 102.3
Total Fat: 1.6 g
Saturated Fat: .8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .2 g
Cholesterol: 25.1 mg
Sodium: 40.2 mg
Potassium: 107.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 19.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 17.3 g
Protein: 2.9 g

Nutrition Facts (with nut topping)
Calories: 154.1
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .9 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 28.6 mg
Sodium: 40.4 mg
Potassium: 153.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 21.8 g
Dietary Fiber: .9 g
Sugars: 18.5 g
Protein: 4.2 g

Cooking in Thedas: Oghren’s Dwarven Brisket

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oghrenOghren’s love of inebriation, and my spouse’s love of craft beer, inspired this dish. While Oghren is a drunk, he has some good conversations with Wynne about his strong brewing skills. So don’t use cheap beers for this dish! We’ve found that stouts and porters work very well. Make a trip down to your local beer store and take some time to read the labels. Many craft brews do a fantastic job of enticing you with the descriptions of their beers. Imagine how the flavors they describe will work with the sauce and slowly permeate the meat as it simmers. For example on our most recent version of this we used Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter which imparted a tangy taste to the brisket. Over the years, we have made this dish for St. Patrick’s Day (Guinness), during the heart of winter (Sam Adams’ Cream Stout), and in the summer when it is too hot to turn on the oven (Breckenridge Vanilla Porter).

Oghren’s Dwarven Brisket

3 lbs Bronto (or Beef) Brisket: fat trimmed, but not completely cut away
12 oz Stout or Porter Style Beer: Like Guinness Extra Stout or Sam Adams Cream Stout
1 large onion: cut into rings
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of cloves
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

1. Mix tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and cloves together until smooth. Add the beer and stir gently together. A few words about the beer. The choices of the beer you select is limited only by what your local store carries. Experiment, your taste buds will thank you.

taddyporter

Every beer imparts a different flavor, so experiment, but stick to the thicker, dark beers like stouts and porters. Their flavors hold up better to the slow cooking,

brisketsauce

The sauce will not be smooth until the beer is poured into it. When pouring the beer, use a slow pour along the side of the container to avoid excessive foaming.

2. Trim brisket of excess fat. Do not trim all fat.

3. Place brisket in slow cooker on low. Place onion rings on top. Pour beer mixture on top. Cover and cook 5-6 hours.

You can slow cook this in the oven instead. Arrange your pan the same way, cover your dish in foil, and cook at 300F for about 40 minutes per pound.

You can slow cook this in the oven instead. Arrange your pan the same way, cover your dish in foil, and cook at 300F for about 40 minutes per pound.

4. Remove meat from pot and place on cutting board or platter to rest for at least 10 minutes. Pour some of the onions and remaining juices/liquid from the crockpot into a pan or skillet.

The melted fat and brisket sauce combine making it so the only thing needed to make a thick gravy is cornstarch and water.

The melted fat and brisket sauce combine making it so the only thing needed to make a thick gravy is cornstarch and water.

5. Mix water and cornstarch together to make a thick paste-like substance.

6. On stove top, bring liquid and onions to near boil. Add cornstarch mixture. Stir to mix well. Cook on medium heat until thick and bubbly – this will take only a couple of minutes. This gravy will be served over the meat; it is also great over mashed potatoes.

7. Slice brisket into 12 equal slices and serve.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished gravy! Store leftover brisket in the gravy.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished gravy! Store leftover brisket in the gravy.

Serves 12.

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 194.1
Total Fat: 4.6g
Saturated Fat: 1.7g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .3g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.9g
Cholesterol: 46.5 mg
Sodium: 209.4 mg
Potassium: 508.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 11.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Sugars: 7.9 g
Protein: 25.1 g

Cooking in Thedas: Morrigan’s Wilder Rice

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Alistair_and_Morrigan_bicker_spoiler_alert_I get the impression that when Alistair asks Morrigan whether she can cook, she would rather find poisonous things and feed those to him instead. Still, her knowledge of the wilds plants would give her an advantage over the castle-and-chantry raised Warden. Regardless of her personal feelings she would have to eat as well. I came up with dish by asking the older folks what they remember as being easily sourced wild plants and weeds – one and all they called asparagus an annoying weed. I selected parsley and dill as the complimentary flavors largely based on the fact that if you plant your asparagus in a home garden and you plant parsley and dill on either side, you will have an effective deterrent for many wild creatures.

Morrigan’s Wilder Rice
4 oz. Wild Rice, dry
9 oz. Carrots
12 oz. Asparagus
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
Fresh Dill, 5-6 sprigs

1. Cook wild rice according to package directions.

I forgot to take a picture of the wild rice cooking. Be aware that wild rice takes about an hour to cook.

I forgot to take a picture of the wild rice cooking. Be aware that wild rice take about an hour to cook.

2. Place asparagus and carrots into a skillet and just cover with water. Bring water to boil to cook the carrots and asparagus. Asparagus will cook completely faster than the carrots.

carrotsandasparagus

You may want to start your carrots sooner than your asparagus. I take my asparagus out, shock it, and then cut it.

3. Remove from pan and rinse. Cut the carrots and asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Return to skillet.

4. Add cooked wild rice to combine.

5. To prepare dill either chop or use spice-mill. Add dill and parsley to skillet.

wilderricecooked

Once all ingredients have been combined, heat on medium-low until warm.

6. Heat until warm.

Serves 4.

Calories: 143.8
Total Fat: .3g
Saturated Fat: .1g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .1g
Monosaturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 21.3mg
Potassium: 379.9mg
Total Carbohydrate: 29.6g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 1.6g
Protein: 6.6g

Cooking in Thedas: Dalish Salad

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500px-Location-Dalish_Camp_CampfireThe Dalish do not spend time in agricultural pursuits. Instead, they must gather their fruits and vegetables during their travels. This salad incorporates the idea that the Dalish wild source their foods. Experienced wild sourcers could collect the ingredients to make a salad or incorporate local flavors instead. The following recipe is a suggestion and should be adapted to the individual tastes; for example I recommend dandelion greens because they can be picked from pesticide free yards, but personally I find them too bitter to be enjoyable. Each serving should be 1 cup.

Dalish Salad

Purslane, Dandelion Greens, or Spinach
Fennel (anise)
Apple
Strawberries, preferably wild
Leek
Edible Flowers
Fresh Mint
Rosemary

Wash and pat dry all ingredients.

Chop “lettuce” and fennel. Cut your leeks into rings. Slice the strawberries, and cut  apple into bite-sized pieces.

If you have never worked with leeks before, cut up the leeks first and then soak them in water. Leeks grow in sandy soil and the sand permeates the rings quite a bit. Drain thoroughly and pat dry.

If you have never worked with leeks before, cut up the leeks first and then soak them in water. Leeks grow in sandy soil and the sand permeates the rings quite a bit. Drain thoroughly and pat dry.

Fennel is another ingredient that many people may not have encountered before. You want the bulb with the green leafy part. The entire vegetable can be eaten. Though you will want to taste each section to see what you like if you’ve never encountered it before. The green feathery fronds are the part you will often see as dried fennel. The licorice-like flavor will add interest to the salad. You probably will not need the entire bulb, so the rest can be baked in the oven with balsamic vinegar for another vegetable offering.

Fennel is another ingredient that many people may not have encountered before. You want the bulb with the green leafy part. The entire vegetable can be eaten. Though you will want to taste each section to see what you like if you’ve never encountered it before. The green feathery fronds are the part you will often see as dried fennel. The licorice-like flavor will add interest to the salad. You probably will not need the entire bulb, so the rest can be baked in the oven with balsamic vinegar for another vegetable offering.

Of the rosemary, you will only want the leaves. Harvest enough for about one tablespoon.

Pick about 10 leaves of mint. You will want to either ribbon cut this or use a spice-mill to cut it. Doing either of these methods will release the mint more thoroughly into your salad.

Make the Dalish Salad aesthetically pleasing by using a variety of textures and colors.

Make the Dalish Salad aesthetically pleasing by using a variety of textures and colors.

Mix the desired amount of “lettuce,” fennel, leeks, apple, rosemary, and mint together. Arrange strawberries on top. Finish with edible flowers.

If desired, a dressing made from a fruit-infused or plain balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil may be offered, if desired. The ratio is for every 3 tablespoons of oil add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. This will add about 100 calories per serving to your salad.

 

 

Calories: 53
Total Fat: .4 g
Saturated Fat: .1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: .2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: .1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 32.0 mg
Potassium: 338.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 12.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Sugars: 7.5 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Cooking in Thedas: Antivan Pasties

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Antiva_-_Dragon_Age_The_Silent_GroveIn trying to find a finger-food/appetizer and something inspired by Antiva, I had very little canon to go on. Zevran and Ignacio speak with Spanish-esque accents, but Fergus’ wife does not. As a merchant nation, I figured Antiva has access to the largest variety of food stuff.

Into the kitchen I went determined to make something that was similar to an apple-pork pie that I make during apple season and tapas. I wanted some exotic flavors to round out the dish and made myself a rule that I could only use ingredients I currently had on hand. After trial and error, I ended up with the Antivan Pasty. If you do not have all of the ingredients on hand, this can be an expensive dish to prepare.

These pasties are like food crack ~ Alexis, age 16, Zevran fan

I am providing the measurements in two different amounts because a full batch will make enough pasties for four pounds of puff pastry. Alternately, you could bake some of the filling into puff pastry and the rest into pie crusts. Pork pie is very good, and as a meal just needs the addition of a salad to round it out.

I am rubbish at making pie and pastry crusts, so I do not provide the instructions here. If you make your own, you will probably make a tastier crust. Still, I tested with a Pillsbury ready-to-use pie crust and Pepperidge Farms frozen puff pastry and both were good.

Antivan Pasties (full batch)

4 lbs Puff Pastry or 1-2 lbs Puff Pastry and 2-4 Pie Crusts
16 oz. Ground Pork
1 Spanish Onion, diced
1/2 tsp. Saffron, ground
1 tsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika: preferably Pimento de la Vera
2 cups Shredded Potatoes
10 oz. Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (store-bought or prepared at home), optional
6 oz. Tomato Paste
2 cups Water
Queso blanco Cheese, shredded
Egg, optional

Quarter Batch:
1 lb Puff Pastry
4 oz. Ground Pork
1/4 cup Spanish Onion, diced
Dash Saffron, ground
Pinch Smoked Spanish Paprika: preferably Pimento de la Vera
1/2 cup shredded Potatoes
2.5 oz. Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (Optional)
1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Water
Queso Blanco Cheese, shredded
Egg, optional

1. Add pork and onion to pan. Cook pork through. You do not need to add oil to the pan, the pork provides the oil. Drain excess fat. Let cool.

cookpork

Cook your pork all the way through. Don’t eat pork? Substitute ground turkey or chicken. Just don’t use ground beef; beef is too intense for the rest of the palate.

2. Add your pork and onion to a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until pork is consistency of large sand – consistency of ground meat you would find at a Mexican restaurant. The onions may “float” to the top, this is fine. If you don’t own a food processor, simply cut any large chunks of pork into small pieces. Add saffron and paprika, stir to combine. Meat will take on a reddish hue.

seasonpulsedpork

A sand-like texture and size for your pork can be obtained by pulsing the pork in a food processor.

3. Return meat to pan and add potato, water, and tomato paste. Add the tomatoes with green chilies if using. Cook until most of the water absorbed and potatoes cooked through.

pastyeverythinginskillet

Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, potatoes, and water one at a time. Stir well to combine and let the flavors meld.

4. Heat oven to 400 if using puff pastry. If you using pie crust, follow instructions for the crust. Cut the puff pastry into 9 squares.

puffpastry

If you can make your own puff pastry, do so, but if not frozen will work.

5. On each square place just under 1 tablespoon of filling and 1 teaspoon of cheese. Fold the puff pastry around the mixture at the diagonals twisting the corners together. If desired, whisk one whole egg to make an egg wash. Brush wash over the tops of puff pastry. The egg wash will make the pastry more golden brown and will not effect flavor.

uncookedpasties

Brushing the pasties in an egg wash is completely optional and will impart a shiny golden brown look to the finished product.

6. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or non-stick foil. The paper is better.

7. Cook at 400 for 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

If you over-fill, the pasty may come apart when cooking, but it will still taste good.

If you over-fill, the pasty may come apart when cooking, but it will still taste good.

Nutrition Information (per pasty)
Calories: 181.1
Total Fat: 11.9 g
Saturated Fat: 2.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 6.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 5.9 mg
Sodium: 180.8 mg
Potassium: 109.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 15.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Sugars: 1.1 g
Protein: 3.5 g