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.
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!
This one has a bit of an odd story behind it. My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I decided to head to Gadgetzan in Tanaris as part of the celebrations. While there, I came decided to wander through a few shops. I came across a very nice Goblin and we got to chatting. He was very interested in my little project here, and asked to sponsor it. I told him I wasn’t really comfortable without knowing his products a bit better so he gave me a free sample.
After the exchange (there were the usual customs fees, brokerage fees, a currency exchange fee to move from Stormwind gold to Bilgewater gold, and of course, a small fee for mismatched coins, as I had a few Ironforge coins mixed in) I was given a rather interesting can of Duskwood Style Dusky Crab Lumps, courtesy of Kwality Katch.
Kwality Katch! It says ‘Kwality’ right in the name
I actually had a dream about this last night. No joke. It wasn’t one of those coherent dreams — I was cooking this and then the noodles came to life and ran away and I was really upset because I thought we were friends, ya know? and then the roof came off and I was actually in the Cathedral but there was no roof? You know. Weird dreams that make no sense.
Lately, this has been my favorite dish. Pho is warm, soothing, it’s amazing for when you’re sick or have sore muscles, and with this recipe, it’s really easy to make. Once you try this out, you’ll want this every week.
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.
1 – I’m sorry this is late, I’m in Dalaran dealing with some stuff. Honestly, I’m not even supposed to be posting this, but I managed to sneak away to write this. If my healer found out, I’d get my butt kicked.
2 – I’m trying out something new! Themed months! They might not be every single month, but if people like this, then it could be a lot of fun. Have an idea for a style, theme or culture you want to see for a month? Drop a comment!
For those of you who doesn’t know, I learned basic cooking in Pandaria. By basic, I mean basic. Boiling water, making rice, sun-drying fruit. But it was there that my life started turning around. I learned how to read Pandaren before I could read Orcish or Common, and memories of sitting on a cushion at a low table at lessons with a steaming bowl of rice beside me are near and dear to my heart. So at my one year anniversary of coming to Stormwind, I wanted to honor the generous Pandaren that took me in.
So for the kickoff of Noblegarden, my friend and fellow Knight Initiate with the Argents, Denarys Deneres Denarus Senechal (swear to Light, humans have hard names) invited me to join his family for their traditional wild boar and egg hunt.
I’ve never hunted a wild boar before, and there’s an art to it. An art I don’t really understand. It consists of some very fast, very strong horses that take their job very seriously, dogs in armor, and a very pissed off boar. To be fair, from past experience, ‘pissed off’ is the default for wild boars, and the moment you’re in their territory, one of you is going to become dinner. We just decided to make them dinner first.
It was intense. It completely rattled my initial image of these prim, proper nobles who stand with their backs so straight and their head angled in such a way that they seem to be peering down the bridge of their nose. His mother’s hands were so soft as she kept insisting on clasping mine. I thought the rest of them was soft too.
But oh no. Oh man. No. The moment there is danger, that softness gives way to an intensity that is beyond my ability to put them into words. They are graceful, powerful. Lethal. And I am very glad that they’re on my side.
Afterwards, while the meat was curing, we enjoyed a lot of his family’s mead and hunted for eggs. Those at least, didn’t fight back.
Good times all around. I don’t always do well with big groups, so it was refreshing to get to slip into the kitchen with their personal chefs to help them prepare this ham. Trust me, the hardest part was killing the thing.