Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Handmaiden's Menu
by SuSu, Rosie, MaceVindaloo, PlazaQueen

Senator Amidala had been Queen of Naboo, and she'd had handmaidens who not only served as bodyguards, but also as decoys in times of need and danger. As senator, she maintained this tradition, and in the years in this position, her handmaidens were Dormé, Cordé, Versé, Motée, and Ellé.

One thing the senator disliked was having to eat in public. Not only was it unseemly, but she found it impossible to ingest some of the awful fundraiser meals. Also, she worked hard to maintain her appearance and disliked having to eat things she didn't like or enjoy. Her handmaidens would take turns filling in at these "for appearance sake" type of functions, so to spread out the duress.

But occasionally, the handmaidens would come back raving about a dish because it was genuinely delicious, but also flavorful, light, and eminently digestible. When they had a chance to eat together, they'd use these recipes if they were easy enough for them to produce. After all, a fine lady never was seen eating in an unseemly manner (at least, not in public)!




Mango Salad (Motée)
Amidala had instructed them to appear to eat little or nothing; this was for their own good, as the potential to be poisoned would increase if people thought she would eat what was offered indiscriminantly, or if it because apparent that she favored one food over another. So in public, if they were seen putting food in their mouths, it was only in tasting quantities, and things that were as plain and fresh as possible. This would reduce the possibility of being poisoned.

Motée broke this rule once in the presence of this mango salad. She found the fresh and contrasting ingredients to be so delicious that she'd find herself eating whole plates ... and asking for more! Thus, for a while, many fundraising functions expecting Padmé to attend would feature this dish. But Motée would not be the handmaiden to attend these functions. Knowing she could not control herself around this salad, it was too dangerous to send her!

  • 2 mangos, peeled and sliced into julienne sticks
  • 1 red onion, cut into julienne
  • juice of 1 large lime (or 2 key limes)
  • ¼ cup mint or basil, chiffonade
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and let sit, covered, for one hour at room temperature before serving.

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Avocordé and Salmon Stack (Cordé)
Cordé was the handmaiden who loved food and had a relationship with it that many thought was odd. But she cared about what she ate and she enjoyed showing off her skill at assembling ingredients into something bigger and better than the sum of the parts. This particular recipe came about because she had received some smoked salmon that she found rather icky, but her frugal nature wouldn't let her toss it out.

Then she found herself doubling for the senator at a fundraising dinner where this was the glamorous looking appetizer. It combined two good salads into one beautiful one, and the combination of flavors and textures really complemented each. She added some more things to the salmon portion to compensate for the bad salmon in her chiller, and voilà! A wonderful light salad which could be the main dish if you use a big ring, or an appetizer with a smaller ring. And Cordé was proud but embarassed when Padmé and the other handmaidens called this creation "The AvoCordé"!





    Avocado & Wasabi Salad
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • juice of one lime
  • ½ teaspoon wasabi powder
  • salt, to taste
Cut the avocados in half and remove the seed. Then score the flesh with a small knife while it's still in the skin, then with a spoon, scoop out the "cubes" of flesh in to a bowl. Sprinkle over immediately with lime juice and toss to prevent the avocado from browning. Add salt and wasabi powder and toss to combine.

    Salmon Salad
  • 8 oz / 225 g smoked salmon or lox
  • ½ cup coarse breadcrumbs (these can be made from cubed leftover toast)
  • 1 scallion or small bunch chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Chop up the salmon and place in a bowl for mixing. Slice the scallions or chives into fine pieces, and toss with the parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE:
Have a biscuit cutter or a tuna can with both top and bottom removed. Place on a plate. Spoon an eighth of the salmon into the bottom of the ring and pack down evenly.

Then spoon in a little less than a quarter of the avocado salad and pack down. Then top with another eighth of the salmon. Pack down and remove the ring. Garnish with a little mound of avocado pieces and a sprig of parsley.

Yields 4 servings.

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Chocolate Kibble (Versé)
Versé did not often travel with the senator because she was hired to attend ribbon cuttings and media openings in the guise of the senator. As long as she and Padmé were not seen at the same time in different places, the senator was spared the need to go to what she deemed trivial and tedious events. But Versé actually loved them. She loved the crowds, the pretty clothes to wear, the posing for holographers (thus she tended to wear the clothes which covered her features so that people would not realize it was not Amidala in the holo). She even liked all the handshaking and bowing, but most of all, she loved the goody bags distributed at such events. She loved the toys, gifts, and exotic foods packed into the boxes and bags, and she always took them back to headquarters.

She discovered an almost addictive snack mix in most of the bags she collected, and she'd munch on it behind closed doors. Versé had to admit that it was a good thing no one saw her eat one piece after an another! What's worse, it was called "Chocolate Kibble" because of its physical resemblance to petfood nuggets. But it was delicious and really easy to assemble — only five ingredients in the radiant cooker, meaning they could do it themselves — that Versé and the other handmaidens nibbled on this "homemade" snack often.

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter (optional, if you have nut allergies)
  • 1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 9 oz / 250 g Chex or Crispix breakfast cereal (or any waffle-like crispy cereal)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed
You'll be cooking this in a microwave, so have a bowl that can take the heat. Glass is preferable; plastic will scar with the heat. In a medium-size bowl, place the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, and microwave on high heat for a minute, then stir to combine. Be careful not to burn the mixture, it will get very hot. If not heated through yet, return to the microwave in 30 second increments. You're done with the mixture is very soft and smooth.

In a large bowl, place the cereal, then pour the hot butter-peanut butter-chocolate mixture over it all. With a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir/toss the cereal till it's all coated in chocolate.

While the chocolate is still sticky, place the cereal into a plastic bag or brown paper bag and add the powdered sugar. Seal the bag well, and shake till the cereal is entirely covered. Pour out onto parchment or wax paper to dry out. Serves 6 as a snack. Store leftovers in an air-tight container at room temperature.

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Ardent Mushroom Risotto (Dormé)
One time, it was Dormé's turn to go on a politically motivated date with a man who actually had a deep crush on the senator which was getting a bit out of hand. The handmaiden was instructed to be discreet but to go ahead and do what she must to dampen the man's ardor. That meant that she had to be noticed enough so that people would swear they saw the senator, but not cause a scene which might embarass anyone or cause a closer inspection of the senator/decoy.

Dormé explained that she was investigating the cause of animal rights vegetarians, which she knew the man abhored. For every dish he chose, she chose the complete opposite. For instance, when chose a gornt steak, she asked for organic salad greens with no dairy cheese. When he suggested a rich fish soup, she countered with simple dish of tapatoes, grilled till just cooked.

The man decided to let the waiter present dishes so the two could eat from a private buffet, hoping that the women he thought was Padmé Amidala would appreciate being with him, or at least understand his sacrifice! Dormé acted the fussy eater, refusing most of the dishes (this wasn't hard, as she was a light eater, usually), until a particular rice dish, called a risotto, was presented.

The risotto was creamy without any cream in it. It had no animal body parts. And it was so luxurious and beautiful tasting that Dormé moaned that she would give herself, body and soul, to the chef who had created this marvelous dish! (She thought this fickleness would dissuade the suitor, for sure.)

The man at the table — who had, in fact, not been discouraged by Dormé's fussiness in the least; in fact, he seemed charmed by it — quietly took it upon himself to learn how to cook the dish, even going so far as to physically threaten the chef for lessons on how exactly to produce this fine recipe!

Imagine Padmés surprise at being presented this dish by the ardent suitor!

  • 1 cup dried mushrooms (a variety is best: porcini, morels, trumpets, shiitake, chanterelles)
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • ½ cup / 4 oz / 125 g butter (you'll be dividing this)
  • 1 small onion, finely minced (about ½ to ¾ cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 to 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
In a bowl, soak the dried mushrooms for at least 30 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms when they are rehydrated and chop them up. KEEP the soaking water and do not agitate the bowl — there may be grit at the bottom of the bowl.

In a saucepan, melt a third of the butter. After it foams up, add the onions and garlic and cook slowly to soften without browning.

Add the rice to the onions and cook with stirring till the rice grains start to look a bit translucent. Add the wine and continue stirring, until the wine is absorbed by the rice. Start adding the mushroom broth ½ cup at a time, stirring slowly with each addition till the liquid is absorbed, before adding more. The starch from the rice will enter the liquid to form a creamy sauce.

Continue adding mushroom broth and stirring. Eventually, you'll run out of broth; taste a rice grain. If it seems chalky, add hot water ½ cup at a time with stirring, and continue to test. When the chalkiness is gone but the rice grain is firm (al dente), add the reserved chopped mushrooms and a tablespoon of butter. Stir, and when the butter is blended in, add the rest of the butter a tablespoon at a time. Finally, add the cheese, sprinkling it in so that it melts evenly into the rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a main dish, and up to 6 as a side dish.

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Chicken, Tomato, Avocado, SwissCheese Pizzetta et Quesadilla (Ellé)
At one time, it was all the rage at cocktail parties to be presented a tray of tediously decorated things in painstakingly made precious pastry shells. People would pop them in their mouths and not give a second thought to them once they were consumed. Creating these things made cocktail parties rather competitive and expensive, and soon, all the glitterati would be bored by them. So, imagine the reaction when more "rustic" and "free form" appetizers were passed around instead! The partygoers went wild for simply grilled flatbread topped with chicken, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese, cut into simple wedges.

Handmaiden Ellé brought a plate of them back from one of the ultra-fashionable parties that Padmé had been required to attend, and though the comrades intended to nibble at them, they ended up gobbling them up! Then when they tried to describe it to the cooking 'droid, they couldn't remember if it was open-faced, like a pizza, or more like a sandwich. So they made both!

The 'droid used leftover chicken and cheese, and made a simple butter and tomato sauce for these scrumptious dishes. It made the canapés less arduous and time-consuming than one would expect. A good time-saving tip — make more of something than you think you and your family and guests will eat, and use the leftovers in another way so it appears fresh and new!






    Butter Tomato Pulp
  • 4 very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Cut the tomates horizontally through the middle (the "equator"), then squeeze out the seeds and wet pulp. Chop the remaining tomato flesh into small dice.

Heat a skillet and add the butter. When it foams up, add the garlic, tomatoes and salt, and let cook down till pulpy. Add the basil and pepper and stir; cook for another minute or so. Remove from the heat. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

    Chicken, Tomato, Avocado, SwissCheese Pizzetta
  • 6 small to medium sized pita bread
  • butter tomato pulp
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced thin or chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced or chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • ¼ lb / 125 g swiss cheese, sliced or grated
Heat a griddle pan very hot, and place the pita bread directly on it till it starts to smell toasted. Flip them over, and place on the pita, in order: a spoonful of butter tomato pulp (spread it out thinly over the bread with the back of a spoon), chicken, avocado, salt, pepper, and then top with cheese. Note: If you plan to serve this at room temperature, add a bit more salt and pepper — cooler temperatures blunt the tastebuds. Leave on the griddle till the cheese is warmed and melted slightly. Remove to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serves 6 as a light meal, or more as an hors d'oeuvre or appetizer.

    Chicken, Tomato, Avocado, SwissCheese Quesadilla
  • 6 small to medium sized flour tortillas
  • ½ lb / 250 g swiss cheese, sliced or grated
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced thin or chopped
  • butter tomato pulp
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced or chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Place a tortilla on a plate and line with swiss cheese, keeping at least 1-inch / 2½cm from the edge. Place a single layer of chicken, then dot with butter tomato pulp, then avocado. Sprinkle over with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with another layer of swiss cheese, then lay another flour tortilla over it, to form a "sandwich."

Carefully place the whole "sandwich" on a griddle pan till it's hot and toasted on the underside, and charred with grillmarks. Using a spatula and your hand, carefully flip over the quesadilla to toast the other side. When done, remove to a board and cut into wedges for serving.

Repeat with the remainder of the ingredients. Serves 6 as dinner, 12 as a lunch, or many more as "substantial" appetizers.

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Banana "Sorbet" (Padmé)
Finally, Padmé herself had a contribution to this menu of handmaiden's preferences; it was appropos, since she did play a handmaiden in times of crisis and risk. And toward the end of her life, she was pregnant, unknowingly carrying twins. When things got too stressful and she needed something refreshing but didn't feel like asking a 'droid or her staff to make it, she'd just stick ripe bananas in the freezer. Then she's stand in front of the open freezer in her nightgown, enjoying a frozen natural popsicle! It was a nice treat, though the handmaidens liked it mashed and plated in a dainty bowl, perhaps drizzled with chocolate sauce. But for Padmé, simpler was often better in her times of stress!

  • 1 banana, peeled
  • chocolate sauce (optional)
Place peeled banana on a clean plate in the freezer till firm, but not hard. Break the banana into smaller chunks to fit into a small bowl, individual serving size and mash with a fork. Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired.

Or ... just eat the frozen fruit as is, straight out of the freezer!

Makes one serving.

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