So one thing I’ve noticed in all my travels is that frying bird flesh is pretty universal, but there are so many different ways to actually do it. In Boralus, there’s an open air tavern that sells fried bird on a bun. It doesn’t sound exciting, but the second I bit into this, I knew it was something special. I couldn’t figure out what it was. The meat? The seasoning? A different kind of bird?
After the requisite two hours of buttering up, I asked the cook what made it so special. I asked if maybe it was seagull meat? He laughed and told me that there’s only one way to cook seagull:
Catch and pluck a seagull
Boil it for six hours in seawater
Dump the seawater and boil again in fresh water and milk
Dump the water/milk mix and boil again in salted ale
Throw the entire pot out, bird and all because you’ll never get that wretched stink back out again
Point taken. But, in exchange for being the butt of the joke, he did eventually part with the recipe.
Summer is finally starting to wind down! Finally. I don’t know about you, but it’s been as hot as Hellfire Peninsula in Stormwind lately. So of course, when you get out of the hot sun after working all day, you don’t want a hot meal. No no, you need something to help you cool down. That’s why I love a good, cold pasta salad.
Miss Jean, a druid and an avid gardener, got me hyped up last winter to try and grow my own veggies. I planted a few different types of tomato plants, some little cherry tomatoes, some big ol’ slicing tomatoes, and some felberries, which are sorta similar to tomato but they taste a bit like tingling.
At first it was great! Every day there were a few cherry tomatoes, or a felberry. And then all at once EVERYTHING came into season at the same time. I realized that even with cooking for the Keg, putting some in the chicken pasta salads (tune in next week!) a lot of these tomatoes were going to go bad if I didn’t figure something out. I’m not a fan of most tomato sauces (I know, I’m weird) but there is one thing I can’t get enough of.
Let me tell you something about Zandalar. The place is gorgeous. It’s hot. All the animals are huge and you are very small. Among the huge animals are the crawfish. You ever see a Zandalari crawfish? They’re crazy big, big enough to snip-snip off parts that you’d like to keep on.
That’s why I like to grind them up and serve them in a cheese sauce. Boo-yah, top of the food chain!
You know a dish is ingrained in a culture when you ask how to make it any you get told that one — there is no recipe, you just inherently know how to do it and two — no not like that, move over let me show you.
Rice is easy to grow on the Echo Isles, and Trolls are known for their intense spices. When I approached my good friend Zan’juul and asked him how to make this, I had no idea it would be an ordeal. It turns out there are as many ways to make this as there are Troll tribes and my simply asking ‘how make the yum food’ was enough to spark a debate.
How do you know who to listen to? Whichever Troll looks most likely to eat you — that’s why you obey. I don’t make the rules.
Candy is dandy but meat is sweet! In Orgrimmar, lollipops mean two things. First, of course, is the delicious hard candy on a stick. But as one Orc guard pointed out to me, lollipops are you just flavoring your own spit as a snack. Charming. And now I can’t look at hard candy the same way.
The second kind of lollipop is a way of preparing poultry. By wedging the meat down towards the head of the bone, it gives you bare bone to hold onto and all the meat at one end for better access. Yes, this sounds simple enough — and it is — but it makes it pretty convenient, especially with the bigger cuts of meat like plainstrider.
But strider is a bit of a pain to wrestle with, so today we’re going to work with chicken!
One of my favorite things about Dwarves is that they know how to make some damn ribs. There’s something special about eating ribs. It’s almost like a ritual. The fall off the bone meat, the sticky fingers, the bone. I don’t know about you, but I love gnawing on the ends of the ribs while my food is settling. It’s so primal.
But sometimes you just can’t justify the trip all the way out to Ironforge. And sometimes, you work in a tavern that isn’t properly equipped to smoke things. Don’t get me wrong, the Keg has great tools! We’ve got… a spoon. At least one pan. A cup or twelve. Ya know. The essentials. But we don’t have a smoker.
So when summer comes around and the craving strikes, what do you do?? The answer, like for most other problems, is to FAKE it!
Man, where do I even start with this one? It’s a massive favorite in the non-Pandaren nations. I remember being able to find this even in Orgrimmar, and sometimes you get lucky and find a cart in Dalaran. Noodles are of course, the go-to, but there’s something divine about the crunchy, sweet, savory, little bit tart stickiness of a dish like this.
When I lived in Halfhill, the old Pandaren that used to let me rent a room from them told me the story about how when their ancestors began to set up their farms and breweries from the West, the insectoid Klaxxi were beginning to spread in from the East. Wars raged and fire burned and crops were destroyed and overall, there was terror.
One Pandaren in particular was desperate for peace. And he realized that when he worked a long hard day, he was rather cranky before he got his supper. So, he thought, perhaps it was the same with the angry Klaxxi. He’d seen the nectar they ate, and decided, well that simply couldn’t be sustaining enough. So he came up with a dish — a perfect blend of everything he thought a hard working creature needed. Protein for strength, vegetables for health, fruit and sweetness for the disposition. And with it, he offered up an offering, that Bug and Bear could sit together in peace and the commonality of food.
I think it’s fair to say I stand by everything I make. If I ever plan a dish to share with you guys and it turns out sub-par, I scrap it until I can perfect it.
I honestly thought this was going to be one of those projects. Boy was I wrong.
Eggrolls have always been elusive to me. Crunchy outside, savory inside, deliciously filled, folded like some complex origami. It intimidated me. But when it was suggested that I make them for Pandaren month, I decided to give it my best.
It was not hard. I should not have waited. And everyone needs to try this.
When I made my first batch of 12 (the yield for this recipe), I decided to let them cool while I cleaned up and did the dishes. There was only one other person around at the time, I told them they could try one if they’d liked. Do you want to know how many I got to sample?
One. I had one. And only because I took it in the kitchen with me while I worked. I returned to a very full Alexi and an empty plate. Apparently once he had taken a bite of the first one, he simply couldn’t help himself. I’m a bit cranky about that… Because my reaction was the same. The moment I bit into that crunchy, flavorful goodness, I needed more.