Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Corran's Birthday Club Dinner
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo
"Corran, I'm not going to talk about this again. It's hard to get a reservation at this place, so whether we have the credits or not, we have to jump when we can. And these are business guests as well as family. Everyone will be so impressed ... It's justifiable! Now shut up and don't upset me or I'll crash." Mirax drove the speeder smoothly through the Coruscant traffic.
Corran didn't want to argue about a "gift" on his birthday, but knowing that he and Mirax would be footing the bill for a dozen guests at a very expensive meathouse was giving him headaches. It was partially because he was absorbing more of the Jedi philosophies in his life and hoped to live more simply to be better able to hear the Force. But also he'd looked at their bills that morning. They were higher than he'd ever seen them, and he wondered how they'd ever pay them off.
When they got to the exclusive restaurant, his heart sank. His father-in-law, Booster, was looking very aggitated and yelling at the maitre d', who was looking back at him in a disinterested way. The restaurant had lost the reservation, and Booster was NOT happy about being told to wait at the bar for a "table to come up"!
Mirax ran in to intervene, but the damage was done ... here were guests she'd hoped to impress and friends who'd come to celebrate with a fancy dinner, and the restaurant was snottily refusing to honor their booking. Soon, she was yelling at the manager, too!
Corran took a deep breath, then signaled to his friends. They each took a guest by the arm, and walked out of the restaurant. People were perplexed, but they were happy to get out of the tense situation. Corran stood before them and announced, "Thank you for coming to my birthday party! I regret the problems with the reservation, but I have managed to procure a reservation at a much more exclusive dining establishment. Please, guests, you will be escorted by my entourage. But ... there are rules. You are sworn to secrecy about this club!"
His mind racing, Corran made sure everyone had a ride, then ran to Booster and told him to buy some liquor and wine from the discount store. He told Mirax to lead everyone to their home ...
"Corran, what are you doing??" Mirax was still upset about the lost reservation. "These are work contacts! What club are you talking about, and why are we going home ...? ?"
Corran winked at her, "I'll bet these high-rollers haven't had a home-cooked meal in so long that this will seem like a novelty! I've already commed Whistler to tidy up and start a pot of water boiling." Corran's astromech 'droid was an adept housekeeper.
He stopped her from spouting something regrettable, interrupting her with a loud but happy, "Hey, it's my party, and I'll cook if I want to! Mirax, don't fight it it's a birthday club!"
Oven Baked Club Burgers
In his many years fighting the Galactic Civil war and the follow-up battles, Corran learned that one food he could make easily for "company" were burgers! It could placate an enemy, sooth and ally, and fill your belly. Sometimes, concentrating on making edibles was a panacea for the stresses of war. Baking them was often simpler if there were lots of burgers to be made, and it also meant that oil was not needed for frying.
His "birthday guests" enjoyed the novel simplicity of this dish; they all admitted they hadn't had a straight-forward burger in years! (Corran called them "club burgers" telling his guests that they were all now "members of his birthday club.")
In a bowl, mix together the ground meat, garlic, ginger, soy sace, scallions, bell pepper, sesame oil, and grill seasoning. Form 6 patties, then should be about 1¼ inch / 3 cm thick. Place on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven till done to your liking. Serve on rolls or as a "steak" on its own.
Like many in the post-war GFFA, Corran discovered that the less processed a food item is, the better it is for you and the tastier it generally is. Besides, he didn't like processed foodsticks and boards. But fresh produce could be expensive. Salads could be had growing on the side of a road while on the lam if you were lucky, but in general, they were rare and pricy. No wonder Corran enjoyed salad, and the less processed the better! This version was also very easy as long as he had the items on hand, he could just tear up a lettuce head with his bare hands, dump in some small tomatoes, dribble in the dressing, and toss with his still-bare hands. It was so guileless that it was really refreshing, and the guests enjoyed watching him make it, "primitive style," as much as they loved eating it.
Place the leaves in a large bowl and toss in as many whole small tomatoes as you wish. Just before serving, drizzle in "enough" vinaigrette or dressing of your choice, just enough to coat the leaves. Toss with your hands, and serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 12.
NOTE: If you use a bitter green, you should consider using a strong tasting or sweet dressing.
Olive & Veggie Bruschetta
Fortunately, Corran was able to invite his friends from Rogue Squadron to his birthday. They'd been together through many adventures, and trusted one another. So, he had plenty of willing hands to help him with the tedious work of chopping things up to make up this paste. This bread topping is made from stuff in cans and bottles in the pantry, and could be varied depending on what you have on hand. Anyway, it's said that some people just enjoy hanging out in the kitchen at parties, especially if they don't care for the other guests. So Mirax and Corran got to hang out with their respective acquaintances and thus could each have a better time.
In another bowl, mix together the cream cheese (or butter) and garlic. Cover well, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature again when you're ready to serve.
Just before serving, heat the broiler. Slice the bread diagonally, about ¾-in / 2-cm thick. Place on a baking tray and put into the oven to toast on one side. Be careful not to burn the bread!
To assemble, smear a bit of the garlic mixture on the UNTOASTED side of the bread, then lightly mound the olive mixture on top of that. Place on a platter to serve. Serves about 10 to 15 people as an appetizer.
NOTE: Instead of Italian style pickles, you can use pickled artichokes, roasted tomatoes (if using canned, drain them well), cocktail onions, capers, etc. Or use a mixture of black and green olives.
Artful Lemon Tarte
Mirax had been given a basket of lemons in partial payment for a delivery; fresh produce could be really expensive on Coruscant, a world where nothing was grown, and which could not feed itself. Everything was imported and traded. She sold some, but brought a lot home to Corran, who wondered how much lemonade he could possibly make before Mirax was sick of it. So he'd decided to make a marmalade and had soaked slices of lemons in sugar water ... which turned out to be just the thing he needed to make this simple tarte! (Serendipity is a fickle mistress, but you should just take what she gives you and be grateful for her muse.)
This tarte does take some preparation and forethought ... but the parts of the special-looking dessert can be made well ahead and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator until you need them. So, plan to have it on hand anyway, whether you need the tarte tomorrow ... or a week from now. And it's so artful that people will think you're a pastry genius, even if they normally consider you artless.
Roll out the pie dough large enough to fit into a 12-inch round tarte pan with a removable bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the freezer overnight, or at least for 30 minutes.
When you're ready to assemble the tarte, heat the oven to 450°F / 230°C. in a bowl, beat the eggs and salt together well, then add to the lemon mixture, tossing and stirring to combine without breaking the slices up. Strain the egg and lemon juice mixture into the bottom of the pie, then arrance the lemon slices artfully over the surface of the juice and egg.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, and place the tarte on that. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350°F / 175°C and continue to cook till the lemon custard is just set and still a bit jiggly in the center of the tarte. Remove from the tray and cool on a rack will you can handle it, then remove the tarte from the pan. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmer. Cut into wedges to serve.
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