Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Potluck Wedding Feast
by Susu & Rosie

Weddings in the GFFA seem to have a certain ad hoc and jumbled quality about them. It's probably because our heroes are forced to grab love and commitment where and when they can. Futures are hardly absolute or certain, and resources are always limited and questionable. So if you can gather the one you love with your friends and family, that's a happy occasion. But since living beings cannot live on love alone, everyone usually pitches in to provide food and drinks, making the event merry indeed!

This is not a new idea ... throughout history and across cultures, friends pool their efforts to throw parties for one another. Whether engagement, wedding, baby showers, birthdays ... or any reason for a get-together, friendships forged in hard times and amidst death and destruction prove hard to break apart.

In Csillag's A Second Chance, Hobbie Klivian finally married a young girl named Sela. The wedding was hurried (they didn't even get a chance to tell her mother!) and thrown together. The Rogue women found her a dress, arranged the venue, got the men to pitch in for the honeymoon costs ... and arranged the potluck reception! Since it was too late to find a caterer (and let's face it, Alliance pilots were hardly well paid, if paid at all ...) Mirax Horn took point and assigned recipes to squadron members.

The results were often mixed, but good! Many of them adopted the recipes for their own private meals and celebrations, and you can be sure the dishes showed up again at other events. A wonderful way to commemorate the living -- and the future!

Menu: Crudité Platter | Garlicky Crumbly-Crusted Turkey | Opportunistic Paella | A Man's Man Casserole | Cheesy Caulies | Jewelled Cranberry Relish | PopLeftovers | Apple Rhubarb Pastry

Crudité Platter
There seems to be nothing simpler than creating a platter of cut vegetables and a bowl of dip. But the selection, the presentation and how fast you can deliver the veggies are all-important. They should be colorful, fresh and appetizing, cut or trimmed, to suit their textures and flavors. The pieces should be no larger than a mouthful and a half. If you do a good job, this can replace the salad course, and even the vegetable side dishes you'd normally present. This is a selection of vegetables that work well together. Add, replace, and delete as you see fit.

Remember that like humans, once a vegetable has it's skin removed, it dies quickly! Mirax had to pull some favors to get a good selection of fresh vegetables for Hobbie and Sela's reception, but what are friends for? To supply, impress, and curry favors from!

  • carrots, peeled ... cut them about an inch long, on the diagonal. Cut one, then roll one-quarter of a turn, then cut again, roll again, etc.
  • celery, crosscut into 1 inch or longer pieces
  • bell peppers, any color, cut into strips
  • asparagus, the bottom of the stalk snapped and peeled, presented as whole spears (try to get the thinner ones, rather than the big monstrous woody ones)
  • broccoli, cut into florets
  • cauliflower, cut into florets
  • mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed
  • radishes, trimmed
  • scallions, cleaned, trimmed
You can prepare the vegetables in advance, and keep them in ziploc plastic bags in the refrigerator up to a day ahead. Arrange in clusters on a platter, placing complementary and/or contrasting colors next to each other. Serve with bowls of salad dressing -- the creamier, thicker dressings seem to work best.

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Garlicky Crumbly-Crusted Turkey
Anytime this moist, flavorful roast is served, everyone gives thanks to Wedge Antilles and his daughters. Ever since they were small, he liked to have his children around him, even when he was cooking. But they would grow bored just sitting there, so he'd have them "help." Initially, this took the form of helping cut out biscuits or cookies, then rolling out pastries or forming patties or croquettes. They especially loved this recipe -- it's their very favorite, more like playing than working! They got to tear up the bread slices into shreds (Dad didn't seem to mind that the pieces are not small or uniform), then could happily squish their (washed!) hands into the butter-breadcrumb mixture till dear old Dad deemed the paste to be ready. They got to smear the turkey or chicken with the mixture too; as they got older, they got more of it on the bird than on themselves! When finally they were ready to get married, they asked Dad to help them make this for their receptions. Nice continuity!
  • 4 to 8 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 4 cups breadcrumbs, taken from soft white bread
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • turkey or turkey breast, or skinned chicken breasts, about 8
Heat the oven to 325°F/155°C. In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, butter, breadcrumbs and cognac till blended thoroughly. Place the turkey, chicken or breast pieces in a baking pan, and coat all upward facing surfaces. Place in the oven till a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads about 170°F/70°C. (For a whole turkey, this is about 15 minutes a pound.) Remove and let the meat sit for about 15 minutes to finish cooking, before slicing and serving. The garlicky butter on the bottom of the pan can be served hot with bread for dipping, too!

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Opportunistic Paella
This meat, vegetable, seafood and rice casserole is very popular, despite the fact that no one can ever reproduce the same version twice! It's referred to as "opportunistic" because it's really depending on what's available. But this dish must always have rice, shrimp and peas, at the very minimum. It's considered good luck to serve this at events like weddings. In many cultures, rice represents fertility, and peas were equated to money and prosperity. (The shrimp just tastes good!)

For Hobbie and Sela's wedding, Winter -- who had been known as "Tracker" during the galactic civil war because of her ability to track down any supply item, in any quantity -- used her connections to Mon Calamari to acquire shrimp, a rare and expensive commodity on Coruscant, as well as a fragrant assortment of wild and domesticated rices. Everything else was pretty simple to find, except for -- believe it or not -- peas! Fortunately, when Wedge Antilles was helping to rebuild the capital world, he managed to discover the home his sister Syal once shared with her husband, Baron Soontir Fel. The property included a greenhouse; Baron Fel was a known agricultural enthusiast. One of the things he grew in profusion was peas! Tycho and Winter harvested them, and this opportunistic paella was complete!

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes, drained with juice reserved separately, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped
  • 5 cups stock (chicken or duck works well)
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs: basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, etc.
  • 1 lb/450g shrimp, peeled and deveined (pre-cooked frozen is our preference)
  • 1 lb/450g chicken, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and steeped in about ¼ cup boiling water for a few minutes
In a large lidded pot large enough to cook the casserole, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook till softened, then add tomatoes and peppers. Add the hot stock and reserved tomato juices and bring to a boil. Add the rice and herbs, stir, then lower to a simmer. Add the chicken and frozen shrimp, and cover the pot. Let it cook under very low heat till the rice absorbs the liquids, about 15 minutes or so. When the rice is tender, add the frozen peas and the saffron threads and all the water they were steeping in, and mix into the rice. Let everything stand together for about 15 minutes before serving. Serves about 8.

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A Man's Man Casserole
After seeing so much carnage, some battle veterans are known to go vegetarian, at least temporarily. Besides, if they have to forage, it's simpler to find vegetables than meat. Even so, men tend to resist most dishes unless they contain at least the essence of meat! This dish, on the surface, is nothing more than beans and corn, but boys and men love it! Of course, it contains butter, cream and bacon ... men consider bacon to be one of the essential food groups. Well, not all men, but all the men of Rogue Squadron certainly do!

This dish was brought to Hobbie and Sela's wedding by none other than Booster Terrik, a man's man! No one dared not try it, and once they did, they were immediately hooked ... in fact, some men remember only this dish from the reception. Bad boys!

  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped up
  • 2 cups lima beans, frozen and thawed is okay
  • 2 cups corn kernels, frozen and thawed or canned and drained is okay
  • ¼ cup butter (half a stick)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, freshly ground, to taste
Fry up the bacon pieces in a skillet until the fat is renedered and the meaty bits are crispy. Stir in the lima beans and corn, and heat in the bacon fat. Add the butter and cream and simmer for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6.
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Cheesy Caulies
It's been years since he left Tatooine, but Luke Skywalker never stopped trying to leave his homey roots behind. Evidence this dish -- he considers it exotic and delicious, and something that's near-impossible to eat on the run. Crops like cauliflower or dairy products were simply too water-guzzling to be commonly available on an outpost like his home planet. Though his uncle owned a moisture farm, Luke's family was quite poor and not likely to waste money or water on exotic, weird looking vegetables. But now that he's grown and away from that place, Luke partakes in dairy- and water- rich dishes every chance he gets. And being on the lam for so long, he really enjoys meals that are kind of sloppy -- stuff you have to sit at a table to eat, with proper utensils. He had to juggle a bit to get this potluck dish to Hobbie and Sela's wedding reception, but the effort was well worth it -- he got the dish back completely emptied of it's delicious contents!
  • 1 stick butter (½ cup)
  • ½ cup plain all purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • a bit more butter
In a large saucepan, melt the butter till it foams. Add the flour and stir vigorously, cooking the fat/flour mixture till it starts to brown a bit and smell nutty. Add the hot milk, with whisking to avoid lumps, and cook till bubbling and thickened. Add the grated cheese, and stir to melt the cheese into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the cauliflower in water till a fork can pierce the cauliflower easily. Do not overcook, or it might start to smell kind of sulphurous. Butter a large baking dish and place the well-drained cauliflower in it. Pour the white cheese sauce over all and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Dot the surface with a bit of extra butter.

Place in a 375°F/170°C oven till the surface is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

Serves 6 to 8.

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Jewelled Cranberry Relish
In the framework of Csillag's story, Wedge and Iella are expecting their first child. During her pregnancy with baby Syal, Iella Wessiri Antilles had rather severe morning sickness, which she tried very hard to hide. She didn't want special dispensation from her job or from her friends; she reasoned that it's normal to be sick when pregnant! But she simply couldn't deal with the smell of cooked meat during her first and second trimesters without feeling violently ill. To help her survive the ordeal, Iella concocted a fragrant relish/jam out of a tart-tasting berry, which glimmered like gems in its serving bowl. People told her it went beautifully with meats. Thus she masked the smell of meat on her plate at dinner parties, and she could get through the evenings gracefully. And the recipe was good enough to keep making, even after her daughter was born.

  • 1 cup sherry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 24 ounces fresh cranberries, about 3 to 4 cups
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons orange zest
In a large saucepan, boil the sherry, then add the sugar. Stir till dissolved. Add the cranberries, and cook with stirring till you can hear the berries popping. Add the zest and stir. Makes about 4 cups.

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Jehri Janson, the woman in Csillag's story who managed to tame Wes, was a resourceful and tough woman. Of course, part of this was real, and a large part of it was attitude and illusion. Jehri learned that if you stood tall and acted tough, you could get away with anything. But if you have a great recipe that could make a hearty yet elegant meal for drop in guests or hungry slavers, it was easier to act the part. She would often mix leftover meat and vegetables with this batter and drop large spoonfuls into a well-greased muffin tray for a dish she called "pop-leftovers," which didn't look or taste like leftovers at all! She could clean out the kitchen of old edibles and present a great meal at the same time. These are so good that Sela actually begged Jehri to makes these for the wedding reception, AND for the picnic dinner she shared with Hobbie on the first night of their honeymoon. (Funny that Sela should be thinking of her stomach on her honeymoon! Poor Hobbie ... or was it lucky Hobbie, to have such a considerate wife??)

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • up to 2 cups of leftover cooked and chopped vegetables and/or meat
Heat the oven to 400°F/185°C. Beat together the milk, eggs and butter. Add the flour gradually, beating well. Liberally grease a muffin tray, and add a bit of the chopped up mixed leftovers into each hole. Distribute the batter even over the muffin cups. Bake for about 40 minutes, till the batter is "popped" and brown. Serve hot. Makes about 12.

Of course, if you don't have leftovers, these popovers are great without them!

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Apple Rhubarb Pastry
Talk about flying by the seat of your pants! Sela was whisked off to find a wedding dress, but started fretting right away that there would not be a proper wedding cake. Dazed though Sela was, she told Mirax about an apple pastry her mother used to make; it was her favorite sweet. Mirax promised the young girl the pastry would be on the menu for the reception ... but how to manage it? At just that moment, Wes checked in with Mirax and told her that he and Hobbie were done with their list of errands. Mirax immediately handed Sela the comlink and told her to tell Wes the recipe, and ordered Wes to put it together. When he got home, he found that he didnít have enough apples on hand, but found some rhubarb in the garden and filled out the fruit component with it. Hey, fruit is fruit, right? Luckily for Wes, when Sela tasted it, she declared it even better than her motherís!

  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 15 Tbsp flour
  • ľ tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ľ tsp salt
  • 4-5 large Granny Smith apples, quartered, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/8 inch slices
  • 1-2 cups rhubarb cut into small pieces.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp oatmeal
Preheat the oven to 350°F/160°C.

In a medium bowl, mix all of the dough ingredients until a loose dough is formed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough forms a smooth ball, but donít over-knead. Cut the dough ball in half and set one half aside. Roll the other half of the dough out in a rectangle shape until it will fit into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan. Sprinkle the oatmeal over the dough. This will absorb some of the liquid the fruit exudes during baking.

Spread the fruit in the pan next. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it evenly over the fruit. Roll the other half of the dough out into a rectangle shape to cover the fruit and carefully tuck the dough in around the edges. Using the tip of a sharp knife or the tines of a fork, make small slits or holes to allow steam to escape. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Allow to cool completely. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pastry to loosen it from the pan. Using two cutting boards large enough to cover the baking dish, turn the pastry out of the pan and then onto the other cutting board so it ends up right side up. Trim the edges off since they will have darkly caramelized juices on them, then cut the remaining pastry into about 20 small pieces or 12 larger pieces. Dust with powdered sugar and arrange on a serving dish.

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