Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Let the Tempest Arise
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, PotBellyPig, DrachmaProfile

Space rations were so bland and predictable that most freighter pilots had a stash of spices and quick recipes to perk up their meals, now and again. The problem with doing proper cooking is that there was no way to ventilate the smells off the ship, especially if the filters were not working too well. The smells could not only cause a storm by their presence, but incite fond tempests of travels that the spacers had experienced.

The exoticness of some smells made eating worthwhile — even if they had to harbor the smells on board long after the food had been cooked and consumed. But it was if a tempest could be raised within the confines of the ship and their tastebuds, this incited imaginations and memories, which helped them to endure the interminable hours of space travel.

Now and again, let the tempest arise, and treat yourself to food that will rile up a stormy passion for more!

Saag Feta
This recipe doesn't give off as powerful a smell as other curries, but don't let that fool you: it's redolent of delicious spices and heat, and is integral to a good-for-you vegetable. There is a whole stick of butter in the dish, but it's divided among many servings, so it's pretty virtuous, really. It's good without the cheese, too, but you might want to salt or spice it more to make up for the lack of salty sourness of the feta, if you opt not to use it.
    Convenient Bottled Spice Mix
  • 2 parts ground cumin
  • 2 parts ground coriander
  • 1 part ground cardamom
  • 2 parts ground mustard
  • 1 part ground chili
  • part ground cloves
Place all powders together in a sealable jar, and shake to thoroughly blend. Keep stored, tightly sealed.
  • 5 boxes (10 oz / 300 g each) chopped spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry
  • 1 stick butter (4 oz / 125 g)
  • 4 inches / 10 cm ginger root, peeled, minced
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and mince
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons spice mix, to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 lb / 450 g feta cheese, cut into ½ inch / 5 cm cubes
Melt the butter in a large skillet and cook the garlic and ginger till browned. Add the spice mix and cook till you can smell the spices. Add the spinach and break it into the hot butter till it's evenly textured, then add the milk and mix it in. Add the feta cheese blocks and sprinkle over with turmeric. Fold to not break up the feta, till heated through. Add salt to taste and serve.

Makes 6-10 servings as a side dish.

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Coconut Almond Cupcakes
The ingredients in these little cakes will evoke tropical breezes and coconutty desert island peacefulness, unless there aren't enough! Then there will be many a stormy tempest to get the last ones!
  • 1 box French Vanilla cake mix
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, broken
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cups water or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F / 165°C. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the eggs, sour cream, water, oil, vanilla extract. Stir in the coconut and and nuts, then let sit for 10 minutes so that these can absorb some liquid. Add the cake mix and beat till uniformly mixed — the batter will look a lumpy because of the coconut.

Line 30-36 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners, and fill each no more than three-quarters full. Bake 23-25 minutes, till the crumb is moist but cooked through when tested with a wooden or bamboo skewer.

Yields about 3 dozen cupcakes.

Frost with:
    Classic Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 tblsp softened butter (half a stick)
  • 8 oz / 250 g block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
Beat together the cream cheese and butter till very smooth and combined, then beat in the extract. One cup at a time, beat in the powdered sugar till it's all blended in the texture is nearly still enough to spread. Place in the refrigerator to chill till needed, and frost completely cooled cupcakes. Yields about 2½ cups of frosting, enough for a small layer cake, or a whole lot of cupcakes.

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Rhubarb Ginger Galette
Because of their seasonality and the need for them to be fresh, this pie is special indeed. Even more special, the main ingredient is a vegetable that grows celery like into stalks, but they are a bright red color, which cooks down to a mellower dark pink. The somewhat confusing, tempestuous jumble of cut-up fruit and chopped up and grated spices is welcome at any table, and it cuts neatly too, unlike most fruit pies — as long as you cook it enough. When the rhubarb is available at all, it's pretty cheap, too.
  • 1 pie crust
  • 3 to 4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices (do not use the green leaves, they are somewhat toxic!) — about 3 cups total
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 tblsp of candied ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tblsp butter
Combine the rhubarb, sugar, flour, orange zest, flour, vanilla, and ginger in a bowl to macerate, for about 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375°F / 175°C. Roll out the pie dough larger than your pie plate — if your pie plate is 9 inches / 23 cm, roll the dough out to about 13 inches / 32 cm.

Lightly butter the pie plate and drape the pie dough inside of it. Put the rhubarb mixture into the center, then fold up the edges of the pie crust, pleating it around the edges. It will overlap into the crust, leaving a large round exposed in the middle.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The crust will be lightly browned, and the filling should be thickly bubbling. Remove from the oven onto a rack to cool for about an hour. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmer. Serves six wedges.

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Bottled Plum, Dried Grape, Preserved Ginger Upsidedown Tart
This dessert seems like a too-healthy dessert, rather like a counterpoint to the Rhubarb Galette — a pie that can be made with what's in the cupboards, even at the last mingute. That lends savor and spice in a most delightful way, and you often don't have to go out to buy anything fresh for it, either.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 can plums, drained, halved, pitted plus a few tablespoons of the reserved canning juice
  • 2 tablespoons preserved ginger jelly
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pie crust
In a oven-safe skillet, place a few tablespoons of the plum canning syrup, then sprinkle the surface with sugar. Place the plum halves in a pattern, cut sides down, then sprinkle over with the jelly and raisins. Dot with butter, then heat till the mixture is bubbling, then keep cooking it till the liquid is thickened and the liquid is reduced. Do not stir, you want to keep the pattern of the fruit as you'd laid it down.

Heat the oven to 400°F / 185°C. Place the rolled-out pie dough over the fruit directly in the skillet, tucking in the edges (as if you were putting it to bed). Place the whole thing in the oven for 30-60 minutes, till the crust on top is golden brown and the fruit liquid is thickly bubbled out the sides of the crust.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then invert over a serving place. Serve at room temperature, cut into wedges. Makes 6 servings (but will probably feed two or three people!).

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