Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Instant Party While On K.P.
by Susu, Rosie, Runt

Menu: Store-Bought Meatballs in Quick Sweet & Hot Gourmet Sauce | Store-bought Eggplant Parmagiana Cheated Up with More Sauce and Cheese, Turned into Congratulatory Hoagies | Store-Roasted Chicken Roll-ups | Serendipitous Cream Cheese and Chutney with Sturdy Crackers | Reclaimed Salad | Easy Formula Smoothies to Whip Up Fast | Foolhardy But Healthy-Seeming Baked Fruit Dessert | Flippin' Lucky Cookie Bars

Sometimes things just come together and you want to party with the people who have gathered. Or a special guest arrives on short notice, and you realize everyone wants to see them, too. So you throw a big party, BYOL (bring your own lomin!), or whatever else takes your fancy. You trust to the gods that there will be enough stuff to go around, and no one will hate any of it.

But sometimes you're forced to cater a party ... like Wes Janson was. He got caught with a woman he shouldn't have in Should Have Known Better (Rated PG-13) and suffered KP as a result. (It could have been much worse ... General Salm was talking about court-martial and disbanding the Rogues!) And while he was relegated, he was ordered by the kitchen hierarchy to put together a party for higher officers. They told him there were officers of several species, and that they had not been happy ith the fare served previously. If Wes did a good job; they would apply for a commuted sentence for him. What incentive! Do a good job, and get let out early; do a bad job, and who knew what would happen to him?

Wes knew that if you're a responsible host, you don't just hope people bring stuff to supply your party. You try to make sure there is enough of everything, especially stuff the others will not likely bring. There are other species to consider, but you call ahead and ask them to bring a small dish they like, so they don't end up starving while everyone else gorges. You also try to remember the "common denominator" foods throughout the Galaxy. But since he was responsible for providing the food in little time, he thought about how he could minimize this work and yet still put on a good spread.

Even in the GFFA, some observations seem to be true about people's food preferences, and Wes came up with these after thinking about the parties where he'd enjoyed the food. He had a lot of time to think, since he was sequestered in the brig:
  • Spicy food -- not mouth-searing, just spicy -- seems to be especially popular with males of any species, and it goes very well with drinks: lomin, milkshakes, iced tea, fruit juice, etc. So try to have at least one spicy, nibbly dish.

  • Appetizer-sized things can do double duty -- chopped pieces can be presented on toothpicks, perhaps, or in a chafing dish with a sauce. Or they can be served as a main -- or other -- course. For instance, meatballs are great served on their own with a sweet/sour dipping sauce as an appetizer. They are also great served over pasta with a wetter, savory sauce. They can also be awesome sandwiches -- whole or sliced -- topped with melted cheese and other condiments.

  • Have plenty of ice on hand -- many drinks and some dishes should be served cold, and ice can be used to instantly transform the temperature of any liquid. If you have a lot of it and handle it right, it can also keep uncooked foods chilly while they await cooking, or to be eaten in it's un-altered state. And put it into a blender with fruit juices, etc. to thicken and froth up milkshakes and smoothies!

  • Crunchy food is always popular!

  • If you have a lot of guys, remember, they like the vegetable to meat ratio to be low. Hey, it's a party, make everyone happy!

  • Use lettuce leaves and herbs to line the platter before you plonk the food on it. People are impressed as heck when you do this!

  • Biggest tip -- take the help where you can get it! That means buy things prepared and "doctor them up" at home to modify the flavor or texture more to your liking. Buy bread, salad, ice, cakes, meatballs, pasta, etc. -- anything and everything, as long as it doesn't bust your budget. Use your own plates, bowls, sauces and spices to customize and present the bought products.

  • Use leftovers creatively. Wes knew from experience that some of the very best recipes with the long, long ingredients lists are simply excellent use of progressive leftovers. Impressive, and good for your budget, too.
None of this has to cost a lot either -- Wes was given a miniscule budget for "new" ingredients, but he saw there were plenty of leftovers and a well stocked larder from which he could derive dishes. Having cooked for the squadrons, he knew that you can always buy more cheaply if you have the time, of course. But often, you can find bargains or 'economy packs' and save them for that party day. And also, some sales are so good that it's actually cheaper to buy the store-bought product and do the modifications at home.

So no excuses of time, budget, or talent limitations! Party on!

Menu: Store-Bought Meatballs in Quick Sweet & Hot Gourmet Sauce | Store-bought Eggplant Parmagiana Cheated Up with More Sauce and Cheese, Turned into Congratulatory Hoagies | Store-Roasted Chicken Roll-ups | Serendipitous Cream Cheese and Chutney with Sturdy Crackers | Reclaimed Salad | Easy Formula Smoothies to Whip Up Fast | Foolhardy But Healthy-Seeming Baked Fruit Dessert | Flippin' Lucky Cookie Bars

Store-Bought Meatballs in Quick Sweet & Hot Sauce
You can make the sauce and keep it in the refrigerator till you happen to have meatballs on hand. Use leftover ones, or ones already mixed, cooked and frozen from the store. You can even used chunked up leftover meatloaf! You eat it by either spooning it onto a roll, topping with melty cheese and eating it like a sandwich, or pour them out onto a platter and skewer them with toothpicks as an appetizer. The taste seems odd at first, but you'll find yourself going after them again and again. By the way, this sauce is also great served with balls made of turkey, chicken, pork, even fish balls, or chicken wings, or hotdogs (the little ones, or cut up bigger ones), or ... or ... or ... good on tofu, too ("tastes meaty!")! You can even marinate meat or vegetables that have already been cooked. But Wes went for meatballs, for obvious reasons.
    Quick Sweet & Hot Gourmet Sauce
  • 24 ounce jar grape jelly
  • 24 ounces soy-based marinade sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper or hot paprika
  • 12 ounces tomato paste (2 cans)
Heat the blackish-colored marinade in a large, non-reactive pot, then add the grape jelly and let it melt into the sauce. Add the hot spice (adjust to your preference, but it will mellow a bit with time), then mix in the tomato paste. Use a whisk to get out all the lumps. This makes about 2 quarts of sauce. Pour into clean mayonnaise jars, cap tightly, let cool, then store in the refrigerator till you need them.

    Meaty Meatball Appetizers
  • 5 lb/2½ kg frozen meatballs, or equivalent leftover meat chunks
  • one batch Quick Gourmet Sauce
In a large crockpot or slow cooker, place the meatballs, then top with sauce. Stir or toss to coat the balls completely. Turn the slow cooker on low or high (depending how much time you have before your guests will want to eat), put the lid on the device, and go do other stuff for up to 4 hours or so. Serves a lot of people.

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Store-Bought Eggplant Parmagiana Cheated Up with More Sauce and Cheese, Turned into Congratulatory Hoagies
There are many miraculous things to be found in the deep-freeze at the grocer's, include meals that simply have to be put into a microwave oven. And it's often cheaper and better than you can do yourself (especially if you're into spending your time and efforts elsewhere)! Of course, if you partake in such fare, you should do as one does when ordering in a restaurant -- get stuff that you don't make yourself, or is just too tedious.

Eggplant Parmagiana is one such dish -- all the frying of eggplant, the making of sauce, etc. It's messy and eggplant sucks up so much oil ... So buy the prepared dish that serves 8 or however many, but don't dare serve it out of the box! When it's still frozen, you can rip open the box or bag and dump the solid block into a nice baking dish, and since this dish tends to become less moist with time (due to the breadcrumb coating on the vegetables) add a tomato sauce you've seasoned to your liking. Heck, you can even used canned or bottled sauce, and add some herbs and stuff to make it more homemade. Pour over the dish, grate some cheese over all, pop into the oven, then collect the oohs and aahs! It's so good, you can serve it as a meal by itself with a side of plain spaghetti. And it's cheaper because it isn't meat, but it's so awesome that the guys will never notice that point. (By the way, if you happen to have leftovers of this dish, you can treat them the same way as pre-made, store-bought products.) Wes also does this when cooking for dates -- the women are always impressed -- good for Wes, eh?

    Cheated Up Italian-Style Sauce
  • 1 quart spaghetti sauce, your favorite kind, or 1 quart tomato purée
  • ¼ cup dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs of your choice (we like basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg or powdered ginger
  • 1 bouillion cube or 1 teaspoon powdered bouillion granules
Put all ingredients in a pot and simmer together for about 10 minutes. You probably won't need salt and pepper, but if you must, go ahead (taste it first!). Makes a bit more than a quart of sauce.

    Store-Bought Eggplant Parmagiana, Cheated Up
  • 2 lb/1 kg or so sized eggplant parmagiana from the grocer's freezer
  • 1 batch Cheated Up Italian-Style Sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbs of your choice (try oregano, marjoram, basil, parsley)
If you keep it frozen, that's fine, but some people end up thawing their frozen eggplant parm because they have no freezer space. Either way ... if you thaw it, beware that the red sauce can stain your clothes, but you have the benefit of being able to add sauce between your eggplant layers.

Get a nice homey looking baking dish and dump the parmagiana into it. If it's too big, you can take a serrated knife to it and cut it up. Or thaw the stuff and lay it into the dish. Pour the sauce over. Top with cheeses, then with herbs. Bake in the microwave till bubbly and the cheese is all melted, takes about 15 or 20 minutes on high power if it's frozen, somewhat less time if thawed.

    Assembling the Congratulatory Hoagies
  • torpedo-shaped bread rolls, or long loaves of Italian or French bread
  • 1 batch of Cheated Up Eggplant Parmagiana
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
Split the bread and scrape out a bit of the soft white crumb. Pile on the hot eggplant parmagiana on one side, top with cheese, then cover with the other half of the bread. Very messy to eat! To make them less messy, wrap them tightly in foil and/or wax paper and let them sit for about an hour -- the sauce will have absorbed into the bread, and the sandwich will be less messy to eat. For a crowd, make one long sandwich and slice crosswise and serve the slices. Also good as picnic or traveling fare.

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Store-Roasted Chicken Roll-ups or Pinwheels
Some grocery stores have a display of rotisserie-style chickens cooking, pumping the tempting smells into the store ventilation to make shoppers ravenous and more likely to buy more! Just get the chicken, the source of all those salivary juices. Serve it without apology! The secret is how you cut it up and what you serve with it. Wes learned that if you use greens to line the platters, people think you're a genius and that you spent hours. Far be it from him to deny the effort made. (Again, use leftovers if you have them! Remember, it's free food since the cost for the chicken had been calculated into another meal.)

  • 1 store-bought cooked chicken, about 2½ lb/1 kg
  • 1 seedless long cucumber
  • 2 or 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 red peppers, roasted, peeled (you can buy these in jars or cans, drain them well)
  • 1 red onion, or other sweet onion
  • capers or olives, drained
  • plain yogurt or sour cream or mayonnaise
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • pita bread or lavash bread
Thinly slice cucumbers, using a box grater or mandoline slicer, or a knife, if you're good at that sort of thing. Slice the tomatoes, onion, and peppers. Place these on a platter, in their own piles. Also arrange the capers or olives on the platter, too.

Cut up the chicken and shred or slice it into bite-sized bits, not too small. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Arrange on the platter. Put out yogurt and sour cream in bowls, and the bread, too.

To assemble, place the flat bread on your plate, and place the chicken and your choice of vegetables in a line near the center, like you might be making a sushi roll. Spoon yogurt, sour cream or both on the pile -- not too much or it'll leak everywhere. Roll it up like a log, or fold it up like an eggroll or burrito: site the concoction so the line of chicken, etc. is sitting from left to right. Fold the bread bits to the left and right about a quarter of the way toward the center (not precisely, the don't have to meet in the middle); then starting from the bit closest to you (the bottom), roll tightly upwards to form a roll. Tie with a bit of cotton butcher's twine or spear with a toothpick to hold it shut.

Some people like to make big rolls and cut them like sushi into 1 to 2 inch slices. They come out looking like a pinwheel! Skewer each pinwheel transversely through with a colorful toothpick to hold it shut; colorful because you want to make sure people don't bit through the toothpick! You can also skewer two or three together on a shish-kebab skewer, interlaced with cherry tomatoes, for a festive presentation. Also, if you want to do this, consider using the large lavash, and try finding the ones in different flavors, like spinach or tomato -- they are green or red, and make for nice looking pinwheels.

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Serendipitous Cream Cheese and Chutney with Sturdy Crackers
Wes came up with this recipe when he planned on making cheese cakes, but ran out of time. Neglecting to read the recipe, he didn't realize he needed to cook them the night before so that they would "set" and the flavors would meld. (The same is true for chocolate cake, but that's another story.) Desperate to use the softened cheese (there was nowhere to store it, and he had requisitioned it), he thought he could make a strawberry-cheese type of dessert and dumped what he thought was sweet fruit jam over the top. But before he could whip it together, he saw Hobbie's face through the porthole of the kitchen door. Pressed against his cheek was the girl over whom Wes had landed in trouble!

In a rage, he chased Hobbie, who was pulling Ameeli Salm down the hall behind him, till he ran into some MPs. He got some demerits, and was returned perfunctorily to the kitchen. When he got back, he was confused -- where had the cheese/jam mixture gone?

First surprise -- the waiters had taken the unstirred stuff out to serve. Second surprise -- why are there empty jars of chutney in the kitchen? Where were the empty jars of jam? Oh no ... Panicking, he crawled on his hands and knees into the dining hall so that no one would see him, hoping to sneak the platters off the table. But when he got there, he found the concoctions worked over and the platters nearly empty. They liked it! And thus through serendipity was a classic born!

  • 8 oz/ 225 g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup chutney (a mango-ginger chutney like Major Grey's is always good. Or make your own! See Too Ripe Mango Peach Chutney, for example)
  • an approximately 1 lb/450 g box of sturdy crackers, like Triscuits (Ritz don't scoop through the cheese well -- only use daintier crackers if you're going to be dainty to spread with a knife)
Keep the cream cheese in it's brick-like shape; put it on the plate carefully. Be sure to allow enough room around it. Pour the chutney evenly over the top to completely cover. Arrange the crackers around, or in a separate bowl.

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Easy Formula Smoothies to Whip Up Fast
For some reason, certain cooks don't like recipes. They consider them beneath them, for some reason. Worse, if they don't have an ingredient, they just leave it out! Wes is kind of like that, even though he knows he should know better (thus, not knowing he needs to prepare things in advance, as for the intended cheesecake, above). Thus, he really likes this recipe because there are so few components, he doesn't need a recipe. Unlike milkshakes, it doesn't tend to separate on standing, so it actually can be put into a pitcher for party-goers to pour for themselves. It's got a big "ta-dah!" result, and he can honestly (and modestly?) say, "It's just something I whizzed up!"

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 3 cups fruit yogurt
  • ½ to ¾ cup fruit juice
  • 2 to 4 cups of ice
Put everything into a blender. (If you'd like, add a few ice cubes, too.) Blend till smooth. Serves 4 to 6.

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Reclaimed Salad
This really depends on what's in the refrigerator and cupboards. You'll need a few fresh "new" ingredients, but this type of salad is different every time you make it. It's hard to give a recipe (which Wes doesn't like anyway -- something so "sissy" about following a recipe!), since Wes looks in the refrigerator and pulls out all the storage containers, peeks in them, then tries to imagine what a forkful of the stuff would taste like all mixed together. Anything that seems odd gets tossed out or put back in the 'fridge! Of course, there are some things that are are questionable or funny smelling ... don't ask, don't tell is the motto of many military organizations.
  • 1 head lettuce, washed and dried (hydroponic romaine is great, less washing)
  • total of 4 to 6 cups cooked, unbuttered leftover vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • dressing of your choice
What sort of vegetables are good? On this particular day, Wes found:
* little red potatoes, boiled
* string beans, cut into thirds
* asparagus, cut into one-inch sections
* cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* roasted red peppers, but into strips
* raw carrots, sliced thin

You get the idea. Shred or chop the lettuce, then throw it all into a very large bowl. This makes about 10 cups of salad. Add about a cup of dressing or to taste, toss well, and serve immediately. Feeds about 10 or 12.

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Foolhardy But Healthy-Seeming Dessert
What could be healthier than fruit? It's a joy to eat when ripe or baked -- sweet, flavorful, lucious. Honey and orange juice are two other "healthy" ingredients ... but seriously, we all know that sugar and honey have a lot of calories. And the sweetened cream cheese is mostly fat ... but isn't cream cheese kind of healthy? "Oh heck," thought Wes "... it's just good." And it's easy! Don't even need to plate it, since there's a certain rustic appeal about serving the hot fruit on the tray or platter it baked on. Serve with ice cream, if you prefer. Then it will seem less healthy? "Well, it'll fool everyone into thinking I care," reasoned Wes ....

  • peaches, pitted, quartered
  • plums, pitted, halved
  • pears, cored, quartered
  • any other fruit, pitted, etc.
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 8 oz/225g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
Hear the oven to 400°/195°C. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and arrange the cut fruit, cut sides upwards. If you use whole fruit like berries, you can put them on an oven-save dish. Snug them together on the tray.

Mix together the brown sugar, honey, juice, half the extract and nutmeg. Dribble over the fruit. Sprinkle over with extra sugar and/or nutmeg if you wish. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake till softened, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Beat together the cream cheese, half of the vanilla extract and the white sugar. If you prefer it thinner, you can beat in a small bit of milk -- don't all too much at once or you'll end up with a runny sauce!

Serve by taking the tray directly to the guests and letting them take what they like. Dollop some of the cheese with the fruit as you serve.

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Flippin' Lucky Cookie Bars
So how did Wes do? General Salm, who had caused Wes to be under arrest, was the man to decide how long his sentence should last. If it went to trial, it could be very bad for Wes and the Rogues, so it was important that the General make a decision before that could happen. Fortunately, General Solo had some dirt on him, and could force the issue; it's doubtful that Salm would have let it go to trial, but Solo decided to have some fun.

He challenged Salm to a round of sabacc; deep in his cups, Salm was pressured into accepting a deal -- if Han won, all charges would be dropped. If Salm won, he could send Wes to trial. Admiral Akbar and Wedge Antilles would make the third and fourth for the round.

Wes had made a quick cookie, a large tray cut into rectangles, rather than dropped on a baking sheet. It was much simpler, and to make it less rough and ready, he iced the things with a simple chocolate icing. That gave them "dark" and "uncoated" sides. Instead of dealing cards, General Solo dealt these cookies. Akbar and Wedge played along, but Salm was clearly befuddled. In the end, Salm ended up eating his "cards" and falling asleep. With witnesses to his loss, Salm rather good-naturedly agreed to leave Wes alone (perhaps because he had as much to lose if certain facts became public?).

  • 1 cup margarine, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350°F/160°C. In a bowl or using a mixer, cream the margarine, brown sugar and white granulated sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the butter mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins. Press into an ungreased 11" x 13" baking pan (a lasagne pan is good). Bake for 25 minutes or so, till golden brown.

Sprinkle over with chocolate chips and allow to melt a bit, then spread with a spatula or knife. Cut into 48 pieces when cooled.

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