Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

by McGonagirl, Dumbledwarf, Hagrid

Menu: Big Bowl of Easy Beef Veggie Soup | Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy | Appetite Killer Chicken Wings with Killer Wings Hot Sauce and served with Bleu Cheese Dip | Bubble and Squeak | Double Berry Sweet and Yummy Pie | Cheesy Mexican-style Poppers | Surprise Grilled Ears of Corn

Before Ginny Weasley went off to Hogwarts to begin her magical studies, she used to occasionally go with her mother to special mother-daughter cooking classes at the Domestic Institute of Witchery and Cookery. Arthur Weasley, using a perq of working at the Ministry of Magic, would get complimentary registrations for his wife and daughter. One time, Molly had just sent in their confirmation forms by Registered Owl when word leaked out that a celebrity graduate of the Institute would make a special appearance on the day she's applied to attend!

The Two Fat Saxon Witches -- who had once held court in the kitchens at Hogwarts -- operated this famous Institute and were responsible for training a number of celebrity chefs, both witch and wizard. Among their protégés were such superstar chefs as flamboyant Emmanuel LeBam, grill-master Roberto Flavius, perky Quealius Ray, and comfort-food maven Paulette Napoleoni. When word of the special session leaked out, women all over the wizard world scurried to get their forms filled out and sent. Sadly, many of the applicants did not have daughters or mothers to attend with, and they'd resort to "borrowing" a friend or other relative to fulfill the "mother with daughter" requirement. Molly had to firmly turn down several requests from her friends who only had sons -- they wanted to borrow Ginny in order to be eligible to attend the class. She loudly reminding them that she'd endured half a dozen boys to get Ginny for herself.

On the morning of the special class session, the crowds outside the Institute were huge, and the Daily Prophet had even assigned several photographers and reporters -- including Rita Skeeter -- to try to catch a glimpse of the special guest. Both of the Saxon Witches had been besieged with requests and demands to know who would appear, but they had -- as always -- stubbornly refused comment, which only served to fuel the desire to know WHO ...?

Unbenownst to the masses, the Saxon Witches had cast a spell on the classroom that prevented anyone from indiscreetly apparating. To allow their celebrity graduate to enter the room without being swamped by the crowd, they had made arrangements with the Ministry of Magic to have a special portkey placed inside the Institute -- it was safer for all involved. (The Ministry had agreed, since anyone who had crossed the Saxon Witches in the past had come out much worse for the effort!)

Molly and Ginny arrived very early that day and were near the front of the line to be admitted for the class so they were able to get choice seats in the amphitheatre-style kitchen. They were so glad they did -- they were able to muscle their way so they could sit right by the portkey, which Arthur had told them was a chinois (a fine-meshed strainer) in a stand on the counter.

With a sort of popping sound the guest arrived, and Molly was stunned to see rock-and-roll chef Ollie Jimius in her lap! The two large Saxon Witches lost their gruff, authoritative demeaner, and with cries of "Ollieschatzy!", they grabbed the arms of the young man and hugged him hard. They obviously adored their former student.

The audience erupted into applause, cheers, and screams of delight as they realized who the special guest was. Teen-aged girls and even some matronly types swooned at the sight of the charming, handsome young man, especially when he waved and smiled at the crowd. The crowd squealed with delight and nearly stormed the stage, but were firmly told to get back to their seats by the Saxon Witches. Even so, it took nearly 20 minutes to get the crowd settled back down.

Finally the Saxon witches yielded the demonstration kitchen to their talented guest. Jimius thanked them all for coming and announced that the theme of today's lessons and demonstrations would be "Pleasing the Menfolk."

"The way to a bloke's heart is through his stomach, yeah?" he advised, making every statement into a question with his lilting accent. "Make these treats for 'im every coupla weeks or so and -- corrrr! -- 'e'll be your slave for life, I reckon!" It was said that Ollie owed his popularity to his "regular man" attitude toward cooking, and the audience was entirely delighted to see he was as personable in the flesh as he was in his books.

He scanned the audience for a moment. "I need a coupla volunteers to 'elp me today; y'see I'm a bloke and you ladies all know blokes are 'opeless in the kitchen, yeah?" Amidst many giggles, every single hand shot up, begging to be chosen. But Ollie looked at the woman whose lap he'd occupied a short time before, and waved the Weasleys toward him.

Molly was thunderstruck and could not move -- even after he hopped over from behind the counter and helped her to her feet. It was Ginny's exasperated whisper, "Mothurrrr ..." that finally snapped her out of her daze enough to follow him back behind the counter. She held in her stomach and giggled as he put an apron over her head and tied it behind her back. Ginny felt embarassed at her mother's flustered behavior; she didn't think Ollie Jimie was THAT cute! For one, he looked like he never brushed his hair, favoring a mussy, quiffy, spiky, tzudged style.

The class went by quickly, with many anecdotes, questions and laughter punctuating the demo. Even though it was supremely entertaining, every witch in attendance honestly felt they learned something from this young wizard. And if they weren't fans before, they all fell head-over-heels for him when he announced that everyone would get a free copy of his latest book! Molly and Ginny were asked to stay and assist while Ollie Jimius signed copies of his cookbook "Magic Tucka" for all the class participants and posing for photographs. Molly preened and glowed when her friends looked at her enviously -- even though she was spattered in gravy, Molly stood shoulder to shoulder with the famous chef, exchanging banter and laughter. It was obvious to everyone that the famous chef thought Molly was "pucka" -- the greatest!

When the Saxon Witches had shooed everyone out of the building and thanked them for coming, the Weasleys were ordered to sit and have some tea with them. Molly was nearly bursting, wanting to tell everyone she knew about her day!

Ollie plopped down between the two Weasley women and planted a kiss on each of their cheeks. Even after three hours of non-stop talking and chopping and stirring and bouncing around the kitchen, he was full of energy and enthusiasm. "'ere you are, Darlin's, think you could get away from me?" he shouted, hugging their shoulders. Even Ginny had warmed up to him by then, and felt a tingle of excitement being so near the famous star. She'd seen how her friends who attended the class had oggled him, so he couldn't be as scruffy as she'd originally thought, yeah? And he really was very nice.

He flamboyantly scratched his quill across the cover of his cookbook and tossed it toward Ginny. "Read it to your Mum, sweetheart! And I mean every blimmin' word!" Blushing at his casual use of endearments and swear words, she read out loud: "To Molly and Ginny: It's Magic, Darlin's! Thanks for all your help, couldn't have done it without ya! Love & Quiches, The Big O!"

Menu: Big Bowl of Easy Beef Veggie Soup | Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy | Appetite Killer Chicken Wings with Killer Wings Hot Sauce and served with Bleu Cheese Dip | Bubble and Squeak | Double Berry Sweet and Yummy Pie | Cheesy Mexican-style Poppers | Surprise Grilled Ears of Corn

Big Bowl of Easy Beef Veggie Soup
"You know how you get these stews, they're kinda like rock soup, yeah? Hard, nobbly bits, not a whole lotta flavour, eh! This is a tasty, scrummy, almost instant soup -- you use frozen and canned things, really easy -- and your blokes will LOVE it! Serve it in a big, big bowl with a huge spoon, almost like he was a Neanderthal, yeah? Really easy, please try it, especially you young girls in the audience -- make it for dear ol' Dad, he'll be putty in your hands, yeah?"
  • 1 lb / 450 g beef stew meat
  • 2 tablspoons olive oil
  • 1 quart / 1 litre beef broth, homemade or canned (if canned, season carefully -- many canned broths are salty!)
  • 1 pint / 600 mL vegetable broth, homemade or canned
  • 3 oz / 85 g tomato paste
  • 1 lb / 450 g frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 beef bouillion cubes
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Cut beef into bite sized pieces. Put olive oil into a heavy bottomed dutch oven and heat over medium high heat. Place the meat into the pan to sear. When the beef is browned, add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cook till the beef is tender. Serve with crusty bread. Makes 4 hearty servings or 6 normal servings.

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy
"When I was in America -- in the south, yeah? -- they have a whole bunch of comfort foods that are, like, different from what we have here, yeah." He smirked when the bigger of his two mentors scoffed at the idea that Americans -- the people who created hamburgers and supermarkets, for heaven's sake! -- could have decent food of any sort. "Witchy, don't be so judgemental! Some of it is way pucka, I promise, yeah! Anyway, it's mostly hard-workin' bloke food, you know the type -- lots of meat and gravy. You know how they love their burgers, yeah? But this is like a burger-as-steak, so it's juicy and tender and a pleasure to eat! And blokes love gravy, you know that. Gravy and burger-steaks, it's heaven for the boyos, let me tell you!"
    Salisbury Steak
  • 1½ lb/ 750 g beef sirloin, minced/chopped by knife or meat grinder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, minced or grated
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
In a bowl, gently combine the minced beef, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt and pepper, then form into "steaks." These are usually flat ovals, rather than disc-like patties or burgers. You can form a couple of big "meatloaf" sized ones, or individual ones for each diner (can make about 8 servings with this amount of meat). Heat a non-stick skillet and place the "steaks" in it. Don't fuss with them, let them cook till they brown nicely, then turn them ONCE. Brown on the other side till "done." Remove the steaks to a warmed plate and tent with foil to keep hot while you make the gravy.

    Mushroom Gravy
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 oz / 350 g mushrooms of any type(s), sliced (white button, crimini / babybellas, shiitake without stems, etc. -- one type or mixed)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
In the pan used to cook the "steaks," add a tablespoon of oil and butter. When the butter melts and foams, add the mushrooms and sauté until they are wilted and tender. This takes about 5 minutes. Sprinkle over with flour and stir to prevent lumps; cook for a couple of minutes, then add the hot stock bit by bit. If lumpy, use a whisk to beat the stock into the mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, slice up the steaks if you made big ones, or put straight onto a platter if you made the smaller ones. Either way, pour the mushroom gravy over the "steaks" and pass extra gravy at the table.

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

Appetite Killer Chicken Wings
"I was in America during that season when they play that sport they call football -- you know the one? They wear helmets and pads because they bang into each other like tuppin'-time rams! These big blokes may use their 'eads and shoulders, but they don't use their feet mate, why do they call it football? Anyway, the menfolk pile up in their local bars and pubs and watch the games on the telly, yeah, and the barman puts out these free snacks. They call 'em 'appetizers' but I tell you, they're blimmin' huge -- more like 'appet-killers,' y'know what I mean? You could make a full meal out of the free stuff they serve in pubs there, I reckon ... now, tell me what bloke doesn't think that's brilliant -- all you can eat of stuff they love best? Oh, and it's always served with this thick, sticky, creamy dip made with any sort of crumbly bleu cheese, yeah? Don't worry, it's supposed to smell like that, salty and twangy and a bit wicked, yeah? I guarantee the men love this sort of thing. Use it as a salad dressing, really lather up the salad, and they'll eat it! In fact, this dish is always served with celery and carrot sticks, which are dipped into the creamy dressing, too. They eat it all, amazing but true, yeah?" The older women in the audience shook their heads at the thought of ruined appetites and meals at home going untouched, caused by a stop at the pub. However, the younger women who had yet to be married paid close attention, hoping this might be the magical amulet to attract the right man! (They were all hoping that maybe there was another man like Ollie Jimius out there somewhere?)
    Creamy Bleu Cheese Dip
  • 4 oz / 100 g bleu cheese, crumbled (Roquefort is good)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Using a mixer, beat together the bleu cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. Add lemon juice to taste, then cover and chill for a couple of hours or more before serving.

In a saucepan, heat the butter and pepper sauce together and beat together. Prepare just before you need it, as it does not emulsify and will separate. (You can't chill it either, or the butter will turn solid!) Place into a very large bowl to toss the cooked wings.

    Wings and Assembly
  • 10 to 20 chicken wings, cut into pieces
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into sticks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
Heat the oil to 350°F / 175°C. Pat the wings dry with paper toweling, and deep fry the wings a few at a time till crispy and fully cooked. This takes about 10 minutes. Be careful not to add too many at a time -- do the frying in batches. Otherwise, you might get a lot of oil splattering, and the temperature of the oil will drop and the wings will come out soggy with oil instead of light and crispy.

When the wings are done, place into a large bowl with the wing sauce and toss. When well coated, drain or not, as you prefer, then place on a platter. Serve with the bleu cheese dip and carrot, celery, and bell pepper sticks. Serves 6 to 10.

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

Bubble and Squeak
Someone in the audience asked why men never ate vegetables or fruit unless you nagged and threatened? Chef Jimius shurgged and smiled in a guilty manner, "Y'know what the blokes say: meat, potatoes and none of that funny green stuff on the side! Most men don't seem to be overly fond of vegetables with the exception of potatoes, yeah? It's a pity for sure, since there are so many great veggies, and they can be cooked in so many ways, mate! So girls --" The audience tittered at the young man referring to witches young and old as 'girls.' "Don't laugh, give yourselves some credit, you're all lovely girls, and you all love your blokes -- more than they deserve, I reckon! To get your man to eat the veggies, you need to make them interesting, or at least disguise them under a mess of potatoes, yeah? Fool the men, that's the way! One mess I personally favor, and I know blokes of any type love this, is classic Bubble and Squeak! Think about it -- it's got cabbage in it yet they eat it! And really, it's made from nearly overboiled leftovers, yeah? You know how fussy some men get about leftovers, yeah, but they'll eat this, so a great way to use up things left from another meal, and economical, too! I know you all have your own versions, and yours is the best, yeah? But this one's mine -- I'm a bloke, so listen up, yeah!"
  • 6 potatoes, peeled (floury or mealy ones are best, like for baking)
  • 6 carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 strips bacon, chopped roughly
  • 2 onions, coarsely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped small
  • 1 lb / 450 g cabbage, coarsely diced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • cider vinegar, to taste
Cut the potatoes and carrots into golfball-sized chunks or bigger -- not too small. Put into a saucepan with enough cold water to cover and boil. When it comes to a full boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook till a bit overdone, about 15 or 20 minutes.

In the meantime, put the bacon pieces in a cold pan and cook over low heat to render the fat from the bacon. When the bacon is lightly browned, add the butter and heat till foamed up. Add the onions and celery and cook for about 3 minutes till softened, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage and cook till the cabbage has softened a bit and are translucent, about 5 minutes. The vegetables can color a bit, but try to keep them mostly unbrowned by cooking them slowly.

Add the potatoes and carrots and work them into the pan with a potato masher, combining with the stuff already in the skillet, till they've broken up and are mixed evenly throughout. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar. Now, make an even layer and flatten it down nicely and leave it alone over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or till a nice crust forms on the underside -- you're making a sort of potato "cake." To turn, cut up the potato cake into serving-side wedges and turn them over one at a time. Cook another few minutes till a light crust forms on the second side. Serve with your bloke's favorite bottled sauce! Serves 6 to 8.

NOTE: You can use leftovers from a boiled or roasted dinner the night before! It'll even save you some steps cooking the vegetables before you fry them up. You can even use mashed potatoes and chopped carrots if you have them, yeah?

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

Double Berry Sweet and Yummy Pie
"As for fruit," continued Ollie, "men prefer them sweetened up a lot, yeah? I'll tell you ladies all a secret!" The audience stopped breathing and leaned forward as Chef Jimius whispered in a conspiratorial whisper, "It's like this, yeah? Men seem to have blunted tastebuds compared to women. It's true! Why do you think they like hot sauce, salty chips, sweet pies?" Many women "oohed" in comprehension, suddenly realizing why their menfolk often complained their cooking was too bland or not tasty enough ... "So if you're going to make the effort of servin' a homemade baked fruit dessert for your bloke, pick a fruit with strong flavors that can stand up to extra sugariness, yeah? And don't fuss with it, don't put exotic flavours or make different presentations -- men are like kids, yeah, they want everything to be like Mum did, but better!" This was met with laughter from half the women present, who'd suffered comparisons to a mother-in-law's cookery. "And if you have trouble with pie crusts, go ahead and buy one at the shop! Yeah, it's true that they're easy enough to make once you know how, but it's all technique, and let's face it -- when the fruit is at its gorgeous best, it's hot out and torture in the kitchen, and we all know a good crust needs to keep cool. So make and freeze 'em up when it's cooler, or buy one of the quality crusts available at the market, yeah? You have enough to do loves, and you know what that American president says -- the one was good with the trashy birds? 'Don't ask, don't tell!'" The women applauded, grateful that at least ONE man understood them. "So go ahead, use the canned fillin's and frozen blanched things -- the pie is good tucka, and frankly the type your bloke will prefer. By the way girls," he continued, "don't take it personal-like if he tells you your cookin' isn't like Mum's. Remember you can turn it around and take it as a compliment, yeah? I mean, his Mum was probably an awful cook!"
  • Frozen or chilled piecrust (yours or the shop's) -- enough to make a double-crusted pie, about 1 lb/ 450 g packet (not puff or flaky pastry)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (fine cornflour)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon OR nutmeg OR cloves, grated or powdered
  • 1 x 21 oz / 600 g can cherry pie filling (prepared, already thickened, not in syrup)
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 egg, beaten, or a couple of tablespoons of milk
  • extra sugar, for sprinkling over the pie (use pearl sugar or demarara or turbinado sugar if you have it, or plane granulated white sugar if you don't)
Heat the over to 425°F / 220°C. You'll need to read the packet instructions on the pie crust in order to prepare it. You might need to defrost it, or roll it out, or whatever. Follow the instructions, and you'll have a nicely textured pie. This is important, don't improvise!

In a big bowl, combine the white and brown sugar, the cornflour and spice(s) and blend well. Dump in the pie filling and blueberries and mix well. Pour the filling into the pie crust (in general, this type of pie should be done in an uncooked crust, but do follow the packet instructions of the crust you bought).

Place the top crust over the filling and seal the edges -- the easiest way is with a fork. Cut slits into the top crust -- this is to let steam escape, which will help the pie thicken as it cooks. By the way, no matter how well you seal the crust, a good homemade fruit pie will bubble up and make a mess, so place the assembled pie on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet that's bigger than the pie, in case it makes a mess. Brush the beaten egg or milk over the top crust, then sprinkle over with a couple of tablespoons of sugar to decorate the top -- this will make it sparkly and brown and crunchy. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, till the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. You'll need to cool this pie, so the filling can "set" and not be all runny. Let it sit in the kitchen for a couple of hours -- it'll still be slightly warm then. Blokes love this served in a wedge with a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream on top of the pie, or on the side.

Makes 8 servings.

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

Cheesy Mexican-style Poppers
"Listen, if you want to impress the bloke and not get any grief, but the dish doesn't have meat for whatever reasons, you need to practice a spot of artful deception they call it, eh? Ya gotta figure, what do men love besides meat and potatoes? Cheese, they love cheese, nice and creamy, but not too pongy! Y'know what I mean by pongy, eh? Not too smelly or strong, they're like kids, yeah? So if you're servin' something without meat, and your bloke is one of the stubborn types --"

At this point, Ollie was interrupted by the bigger Saxon witch, who said in a thick accent, "Don't be stupid, they ALL are, Ollieschatzy! Even you, you were so stubborn and bad about the necessity of properly seeding capsicums --"

"Now, now, darlin', I got better, didn't I? True, I needed to be taken down a notch a the time, yeah, but what man doesn't, eh ladies?" This was met with cheers of agreement from the audience!

"So back to the recipe -- remember what I said about most blokes don't have as sensitive a palate as a bird, yeah? So make it a bit saltier and hotter than you think is perfect, unless you have one of those blokes who like baby-pabulum, in which case you should consider trading him in for a newer model!" Hoots of approval were mixed with many of the witches yelling out, "Where can I trade my bloke in?"

"These are based on a dish I learned about when I was in Mexico, called Relleños, which are right scrummy, but a bit of a pain to make. They have to be chilled, then deep-fried, and the eaters have to be right there when they're done, blahblahblah. This is MY version, and it's dead simple. In America, they serve these in the bars and pubs I told you about before, yeah, and they're called 'poppers' because men pop them into their mouths -- they're like crisps, yeah, can't stop putting them into your mouth! You'll love 'em, too, darlin's!"

  • 12 jalopeño chiles
  • 3 cups grated cheese -- use a mixture like cheddar, colby, asiago, parmesan, manchengo, monterey jack, etc. Or if you must, use one of those "Mexican blend" pre-grated cheeses from the shop
  • 8 oz / 225 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten well
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs (Panko Japanese breadcrumbs are good)
  • sour cream, to serve (optional)
CAUTION: The oils in the chile are the main component in pepper spray, the stuff used to ward off attack dogs and some humans! The "capsaicin" is contained in the seeds and ribs of the peppers. It's hot and painful if you get it on your face, so do NOT put your hands to your face when working with hot peppers. Better yet, use gloves if you aren't used to handling these types of chiles and wash them thoroughly in soap and water after playing with the peppers.

To prepare the chiles, split them in half right through the stems, so you have two servings with their own little "handles" -- that'll make them easier to pick up. Using a melon baller or a small spoon or small knife, remove the ribs and seeds from the insides and discard them. Have a bowl of ice water ready, boil a pot of water, then drop the prepared pepper halves into the hot water for a minute -- no more! Using tongs or a skimmer, remove the peppers from the hot water and dump into the ice water and allow to cool down completely, about a minute or two. When cold, remove them from the water and drain, so that all the water inside the peppers run out.

In a bowl, combine the grated and cream cheese to make a rough paste. Using a couple of spoon, place the cheese inside the pepper halves to fill. You can prepare the poppers up to here and store them well covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days before you need them. Good for parties, especially if the blokes are coming to watch sports!

Heat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Put the poppers open-side-up on a foil- or parchment-lined baking tray. Paint with egg wash, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, then the breadcrumbs. Pop into the oven till the tops are browned and the cheese mixture is all melted and bubbly. Serve immediately. HINT: If it's too hot for some, serve with a dollop of sour cream on top -- sour cream will cool down the "heat" from the peppers right quick, but your guy can still feel macho about eatin' hot peppers.

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

Surprise Grilled Ears of Corn
"My final recipe, ladies, yeah? Oh, don't be like that, you know I luv ya," he responded to the groans of disappointment, "but fair's fair, lovies! Don't want to run me down and leave me in poor health ... and remember that a woman takes much more satisfyin' than a man, yeah? It's what makes you adventurous and flexible and blokes stubborn but lovable!" Titters were followed by applause and laughter. "Right, then! So the final recipe to satisfy your menfolk, and I KNOW men love this one. Not only me, yeah, but I'll tell you about these two big, strappin' movie-star boyos! When I was a student here, these blokes would help out their Mum," he winked at the two Saxon witches, but was met by a sad stare from one and a serious grimace from the other. Realizing he'd crossed some line, he gulped and ad-libbed, jumping to explaining how to grill corn on the cob with bacon wrapped directly against the kernals.

Despite a "no press allowed" policy at the Institute, Rita Skeeter, disguised as a "daughter" of an elderly witch, had managed to infiltrate the cooking lesson. Her ears pricked up and her brain started turning at the reaction the Two Saxon Witches gave toward mention of two sons, and reflected ... Not much was known about these women; they'd always refused to answer questions they didn't want to answer, and their strength and power ensured that no one gave them any trouble for it. But could it be ... that one -- or both -- of the witches could have had children? Rita couldn't wait to write up THAT juicy titbit! (Personally, we wouldn't want to be anywhere near Rita when the Two Fat Saxon Witches got their copy of the Daily Prophet ...)

  • 12 ears corn
  • 12 strips streaky bacon
Shuck the corn, but don't pull off the husks. Pull off the fine cornsilk and use a pastry brush to sweep them off the kernals -- the silk is inedible and stringy and nasty when cooked. With the husks still peeled back, place the corn into a bucket or deep pan of water to submerge -- if you don't have one big enough, it's actually only the husks you want soaked, since you'll be grilling these with the husks left on, and you don't want them burning too fast. Soak for about 30 minutes. While you're at it, soak some butcher's string too, the type you use for tying roasts. This should be cotton string, not polyester.

If you are grilling these outside, heat the grill or start the fire. You want a medium heat, so you'd cook these after you cook your steaks and such, when the coals have cooled down a bit. If you are using an oven, heat it to 375°F / 190°C.

Shake the water off the corn ears and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Take a strip of bacon, and starting from the bottom, wind it round and round the ear. You don't have to completely cover it -- when it cooks the steam and fat from the bacon will flow around. Fold the corn husks back around the corn and bacon, then tie the husks shut with the water-soaked string.

To cook, place the corn on the hot grill for about 15 minutes, turning every few minutes to cook evenly. If you're using the oven, you don't have to turn them so often, since the heat is not coming from just one direction -- put the husks on a foil- or parchment-lined baking tray, and turn them once or twice, just to get the juices flowing around the corn ears. Serve immediately, letting the menfolk open their "present" at the table -- the steam and aroma is the best aphrodisiac I know!

Back to the Menu: Cooking School Wizard - Pleasing the Menfolk

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