Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Devist Clan Harvest of Thanksgiving
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, Diana, Csillag
Menu: Winter Solstice Pickles | Fingerling Potatoes | Glazed Ham | Cinnamon Cider Jelly | Honey-Glazed Apple Tart | Rich Bread PuddingThe Devist brothers of Pakrik Minor were self-sufficient farmers loyal to the land and to family. They were also superlative fighter pilots. If that combination sounds familiar, it's because they are clones of Baron Soontir Fel. They came to be placed on Pakrik Minor by Grand Admiral Thrawn as a sleeper cell, to await the return of their master.
Though truth to tell, it was an anticipation they were dreading, for they'd grown fond of their lifestyle, as hard as it was. Though they could not deny their imprinting and training, they liked the solitude, they liked being farmers, and they loved their families.
And so at every annual harvest, they had a dinner of thanksgiving for not being called to fulfill their original purpose. The food they prepared spoke of their attachment to their land, to their wives and children, and to each other as brothers, not as warriors.
Menu: Winter Solstice Pickles | Fingerling Potatoes | Glazed Ham | Cinnamon Cider Jelly | Honey-Glazed Apple Tart | Rich Bread Pudding
Winter Solstice Pickles
The Devist women would "put up" fruit and vegetables all through the summer, so the clan would have enough food stored away for the winter. The longer they'd have to keep, the more harsh the storage conditions, so they wouldn't go bad before the Devists could eat them. This usually meant more acidity in the form of vinegar or citrus, and heat. But one pickle was put up quickly at the very end of harvest and would be preserved in a perfunctory manner and kept in chillers. By the time of the winter solstice, the pickles were ready for consumption. They were not as acidic and strong as other pickles, and retained their crunch and bright colors. It represented the most recent harvest, and faith in the the future. The pickles were so cheerful in the dark nights of winter, and they gave the Devists gratitude for their agricultural and culinary accomplishments.
Remove half the water from the pot, and add the vinegar to the pot with the hot water. Add the remaining salt, fennel seeds (or pickling spice), red pepper flakes, and garlic. Heat till the pot is back to a boil. Add the carrots and onions and cook till they are tender but still crisp. Remove them with a wire spider and place them in the ice water bath with the cauliflower.
Add the celery and peppers to the boiling water/vinegar mixture and cook they are are just tender. Again, remove them with a wire spider to the ice water bath. When all the vegetables are cold, drain them.
In a large bowl, place the drained vegetables, olives, capers, parsley, and dressing. You can serve this marinated salad immediately, or place them in plastic or glass storage containers and seal them tightly. They will keep in the refrigerator for about a month or more, to augment an otherwise veggie-deprived meal!
Tapatoes of any type are wonderful, and they come in a variety of textures and tastes for different purposes. The Devists grew many kinds, but by sheer accident, a small, mis-shapen, finger-shaped tapato evolved in the hard soil of Pakrik Minor. Rather than burning them, or wasting too much time cooking them, they threw them in the radiant microwave cooker where they cooked up quickly and without scorching ... and were delicious!
In a large bowl, place the cleaned, dried potatoes and drizzle over sparingly with oil or fat. Add the mashed herb mixture and toss to coat. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a microwave-proof baking dish which is the right size to fit in the microwave and still turn on the turntable.
Cook for 10 minutes on high power. Toss or turn over the potatoes and test for done-ness with a skewer. If it goes all the way in with no resistance, they are done. Otherwise, cook for another 3 minutes, then test again. Keep cooking in decreasing time increments till they are done.
The potatoes are hot and will continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes. Cover them with foil or plastic wrap to keep warm while the rest of the meal is organized. Serves a dozen or more.
The Devists imported gornts to Pakrik Minor; like earth's swine, they were largely self-sufficient and would forage for fodder all summer. The meat animals would be slaughtered late in autumn, so that fewer animals would need to be fed from the grain stores. Of all the cuts of gornt, the back legs were most prized for smoking and / or brine curing; this cut was the ham. And the flavor of the ham was so wonderful that the Devists only added the most basic of glazes to their hams. It was delicious, it would feed their crowd, and leftovers were prized for use in sandwiches, omelets, casseroles, etc. for as long as it would last.
In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and brown sugar. Coat the ham with the mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, occasionally basting the ham with the glaze. It's done when the scored meat and fat "gap" open and the thin edges of the meat are heavily browned or blackened.
Allow to rest under foil for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Served about a dozen.
Cinnamon Cider Jelly
Early in the harvest season for apples, they're tart and flavorful, and high in yet-undissolved pectin. This means that freshly pressed apple cider is easily coaxed into a semi-solid jelly, to be used as a condiment on meats or sweets. But later in the season, the tartness gives way to a luscious sweetness which is great for fresh eating and drinking, but the pectin in the fruit itself is less available to gel up the jelly. When Carib Devarist's wife couldn't get her cider to gel, the Fel clone understood that jellying not only requires pectin and sugar, but also tartness in the form of acidity. He added lemon juice, and it gelled up beautifully. What's more, it had a much more interesting flavor than the early season efforts which was really toothsome.
Add all of the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the lemon juice. Add the two packages of liquid pectin and bring the mixture to a hard boil for one minute.
Ladle the jelly into prepared jars. Place two part lids onto jars and finger tighten. Process the jars by the boiling water method for 10 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool.
Makes approximately 9 8 oz jars.
Honey-Glazed Apple Tarte
The male Devists were clones of Baron Fel, and though they were not given Fel's memories, like their template, they did crave a measure of sophistication. In addition, Thrawn believed that the key to any civilization's beliefs and thinking could be found in their arts; you can believe he programmed this into the clones. That didn't mean big-city trappings or fine, expensive food and wine. They wanted more sensitive treatments, more delicate portions, finer flavorings. An example was this apple tart, which was also a kind of magic one apple could feel many, and a little flour and butter made an almost miraculous, tender dough. It wasn't expensive, it stretched out ingredients, yet it was not a coarse way to feed the masses. Rather, it fed the souls of these people, so they did not forget their humanity or their origins. (You go ahead and buy the puff pastry; we bet the Devist women would have if they could have!)
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll each of the pastry sheets out on a lightly floured surface to form thin 18" x 8" (45 x 20 cm) rectangles (the proportion is roughly twice as long as it is wide but be aware of the pans you're using better to size them to fit!). Chill them in the refrigerator until you're ready to construct the tartes.
Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Slice them very thinly. Place them on a dish or a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and drizzle them with lemon juice to keep them from browning.
Using a very sharp knife, score the puff pastry about ½-inch / 1¼ cm from the edges, to form a rim. Be careful not to squish the dough. Dock the area of the pastry inside the score line with a fork; this will keep the dough from puffing up in the middle.
Layer apples in the inside area of the pastry do not let them overlap to the edge, or the edge will not puff up. The apples should be one overlapping layer thick only. Carefully brush milk onto the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle the sugar over the apples and the pastry edges.
Bake the tartes until the apples are tender and just starting to color, and the edges are golden brown and puffed up. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat the honey in the microwave and drizzle it over the apples when they are still hot. Let the tartes cool on wire racks for at least 10 minutes. They can be served warm or at room temperature. Serves about a dozen.
Rich & Fruity Bread Pudding
While the above tart is elegant in its austerity, this dessert is opulent and calorically decadent! It was something that comforted and pleased everyone, and contained any variety of fruits fresh or dried or frozen the Devists could get. They did trade a bit when travelers (like Han and Leia) found themselves in their systems, so they could get more exotic seeds and plants, like cacao to make chocolate, or bananas, or grapes to be dried into raisins. High-falutin' maybe, but the base of this luscious dessert was simple: bread, milk, eggs, sugar it's essentially a custard. In fact, it's an excellent way to make something luxurious from stale bread, or even bread crusts. Save room for this dessert! It was the perfect way to end a meal of Thanksgiving that the Devist clan was left whole and unbothered for another season.
Butter a large baking dish with half the bread slices, overlapping as needed to fill in all the spaces. Scatter half the chocolate and fruit evenly over the bread. Layer the remainder of the bread over that, and then top with the remaining chocolate chips and fruit. Pour the dairy-heavy mixture evenly over the top. Go slowly so that the bread has a chance to soak it all up. Wrap tightly in foil and let it sit for about 10 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
Place the covered baking dish in the heated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The bread pudding should look very wet and somewhat loose. Remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes or so until the center of the pudding is barely jiggling, and it's lightly browned. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before serving. Cut into slices, or scoop out with a spoon.
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