06 February, 2016

Hotroot Punch

Hotroot punch is something that was very briefly mentioned in Mossfloweras being -- what else -- a favorite of the Skipper of Otters. It stuck in my mind as being an interesting idea and this past weekend when coming up with mixer ideas for a party I decided to give this a shot. It's non-alcoholic, but that could be changed pretty easily with a shot of bourbon or (if you prefer strong drinks) everclear. I don't recommend other alcohols, as they would affect the taste too much. Sorry I don't have pictures for this recipe, although they aren't really necessary.

A WARNING NOTE: The longer you leave the infusers in this "punch," the hotter it will become. I highly recommend taking a taste every hour or so and straining once it's reached the right heat level. I forgot to do this and by the halfway point of the party people were getting a little more of a punch than they were expecting.

Hotroot Punch

Prep time: 1 minute
Infusing time: Anywhere from 3-6 hours, I'd say, depending on your spice preference

Yield: 48 ounces

Ingredients


  • 48 ounces of 100% apple juice (make sure it doesn't contain added sugar, or this will become weirdly cloying)
  • 6 habanero peppers or cayenne peppers
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root
Directions

  1. Remove the stems of the habaneros and cut them in half
  2. Peel the piece of ginger and cut it into thin slices
  3. Place the peppers and ginger into a bottle (I used several because there were multiple drink stations)
  4. Add the apple juice, seal the bottle, and give it a vigorous shake. Repeat this every 30-60 minutes, tasting a small sip, until the taste is what you want.
  5. Remove the peppers and ginger from the bottle and enjoy. 

30 January, 2016

Spicebread

The Redwall series is certainly an exploration of carby goodness. When going through the series, I wrote down more than 40 different types of bread, more than 20 types of scones, and more than 50 turnovers/pasties. This particular bread, spicebread, I decided to make as a quick loaf bread to be cut into sandwich-like slices. I highly recommend spreading it with some of your favorite nut butter.

Spicebread

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf (about 12 slices)

Ingredients


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just until combined
  4. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
  5. Let cool completely before slicing

23 January, 2016

Sweet Oatcakes

Sweet oatcakes, just like the baked apples, were discovered in The Outcast of Redwall when Sunflash was teaching the hares of Salamandastron how to cook. They are made with milk, honey, dried fruit, and nuts and can be cut into squares for easy snacking. For mine, I used dried blueberries and chopped walnuts -- a combination I find particularly wonderful, especially with the addition of some cinnamon. Feel free to use your own favorites, though. I bet dried cherries and chopped almonds would also be fabulous.

Sweet Oatcakes

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Cool time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Yield: 8-16 bars, depending on how big you want them

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (or other fruit)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp honey
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together the oats, nuts, fruit, and cinnamon.
  3. Mix together the water, oil, and baking powder (this is making a binding similar to an egg), then add the milk, vanilla, and honey.
  4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. At this point, you will think that I have missed an instruction or ingredient because you will have a bowl of wet oats sitting in a puddle of milk. Don't despair and don't add anything. This is how it's supposed to be, I promise. It'll all work out. 
  5. Pour the mixture into a greased 7x11 inch pan and use a spoon or your fingers to spread the oats into an even layer. The milk should spread itself out on the bottom.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting.

16 January, 2016

Turnip 'n' Tater 'n' Beetroot Deeper 'n' Ever Pie

The Turnip 'n' Tater Deeper 'n' Ever Pie is one of those things that is constantly mentioned in the Redwall series, but is constantly changing. It goes from Turnip 'n' Tater to Turnip 'n' Tater 'n' Beetroot to Turnip 'n' Tater 'n' Beetroot 'n' Bean. I decided that the biggest version would be too big for my pie tin, so I went one step down. It was still a little too big for my tin, but it juuust fit.

The mashed potatoes can be made a few days ahead of time if you like ,just place them in an airtight container and refrigerate until you're ready to make the pie itself.

Turnip 'n' Tater 'n' Beetroot Deeper 'n' Ever Pie

Yield: 6 servings

Prep time: 45 minutes if you don't multitask during the potato cooking
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

Ingredients


  • 1 pound potatoes (I prefer Yukon gold)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, sour cream, or greek yogurt
  • 1 pound turnips (about one large one)
  • 1 pound beets (get golden if you can...my store didn't have them)
Directions

  1. Peel potatoes and place in a large pot of water
  2. Bring water to a boil, then keep at a boil for 20 minutes
  3. Drain potatoes, add milk, and mash
  4. Preheat oven to 425F
  5. Chop onion and saute in oil for about 10 minutes, or until translucent and just starting to brown
  6. Add the cream or yogurt to the onions and stir until melted and mixed in
  7. Peel turnip and beets
  8. Slice the turnip and beets into thin slices (I used a mandolin on the 1/4" setting)
  9.  Press about 3/4 of the mashed potatoes into a 9" pie tin to make a "crust"
  10. Layer the onions into the bottom of the pie, then top with the turnip and beet slices and sprinkle with the remaining potatoes
  11. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until beets and turnips are beginning to soften

09 January, 2016

Butterbeer

Don't get mad -- I know this is the wrong literary universe, but I needed to share this recipe. A while ago, I visited Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida for the first time and tried hot butterbeer. When I got home, I started searching online for recipes. Everything I found just seemed wrong. They all called for heating up cream soda. Not only is that disgusting, it's clearly not what Orlando is doing. If you ever get the chance to try hot butterbeer, look at it closely. It's not carbonated, nor does it have the taste of flattened carbonation. It's also opaque, not translucent the way soda is. After a bit of experimenting, I came up with this idea that I think is close to Orlando's recipe but slightly more complex in flavor (and therefore better).

BIG IMPORTANT NOTE: When making this, be sure to get actual white chocolate, which contains cocoa butter. Fake white chocolate, such as Ghirardelli's "Classic White Chips" and Nestle's "Premier White Morsels" (note that neither use the word "chocolate") are both made from palm oil, with no cocoa butter at all. Kroger brand white chocolate chips will work, but your best bets are chopping up Baker's White Chocolate Bar or Ghirardelli's White Chocolate Baking Bar.

Butterbeer

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients


  • 4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cups chopped white chocolate (read the big important note!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp rum flavor
  • 1/2 tsp butter flavor
Directions

  1. Heat the milk and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low to medium heat, stirring constantly. Do NOT let the milk boil, but it's fine to let it simmer.
  2. As the chocolate melts, you will notice the milk changing to a creamy yellow color. Pull your spoon up occasionally to check that the chocolate is melting.
  3. When the chocolate is funny melted, add the three flavorings and heat until it reaches desired temperature.

02 January, 2016

Seastew

It's not very common, but occasionally Brian Jacques would expand on the ingredients of a dish, rather than just simply giving the name. In the book Triss, the badger Sagax has seastew: "The seastew was rare good eating, comprised of many types of shrimp and shellfish, thickened with cornflour, and full of mushroom, potato, leek, and carrot." I did my best to come up with a recipe that followed this guideline and think I did a fairly good job. The "shellfish" probably should be clams, oysters, or mussels instead of crab, but I don't like any of those and I do like crab so I made a tiny change there. I did really mess up one thing, though: my local grocery store doesn't sell chunk crab meat. It also doesn't sell shrimp in smaller quantities than two pounds, so I tried to buy 8 ounces of canned meat of each. What it turned out I was buying was 8 ounces of canned shrimp puree and 8 ounces of canned crab puree...so be cautious not to make the same mistake I did.

Seastew

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients


  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 pound potatoes (preferably Yukon gold)
  • 6 cups seafood stock (If you can't get it, vegetable stock is fine)
  • 2 cups dry white wine or sherry
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 8 ounces cooked shellfish meat (chunked crab, oysters, clams, etc)
  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp (de-shelled and de-tailed)
Directions

  1. Roughly chop the leek, and carrots and peel the garlic.
  2. Roughly chop the potatoes. 
  3. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a large soup pot and saute the leek, carrots, and garlic for 5 minutes or until the leek is soft.
  4. Add the potatoes and saute another 5 minutes
  5. Add the stock, wine, and tomato paste and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch into the milk.
  7. When the soup is done simmering and the potatoes are tender, puree using an immersion blender or a regular blender in batches.
  8. Stir in the milk/cornstarch mixture, the Worcestershire, the pepper, and the fish. Simmer until fish is heated through.

26 December, 2015

Pear with Yellow Cheese

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. When reading Eulalia, a pear with yellow cheese was briefly mentioned. At first glance it may sound odd or even gross, but pears and apples with a hard, slightly salty cheese can be very good. The natural sweetness of the fruit compliments the sharpness of the cheese quite nicely. You can make this recipe with thin slices of cheese or shredded cheese, so use whatever you have on hand.

Pear with Yellow Cheese

Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Bartlett pear
  • Sharp cheddar, either shredded or thinly sliced (amount to taste)
Directions

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350F.
  2. Cut the pear in half. Remove the seeds and, if desired, the hard flesh around the seeds and stem.
  3. Cover the cut faces of the pear with the desired amount of cheese. 
  4. Bake the pear for 10-15 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and the cheese is melty and beginning to brown.