Secret Honeymoon Picnic Basket
by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, Rosie
Menu: Very Easy Pâté with Crackers | Boneless Stuffed Trussed Cross-sliceable Chicken: Boning a Chicken and stuffing it with Mushroom Stuffing | Herb Salad, Seasoned with Love | Watermelon Juice | Stolen Plum Galette
Right after the ceremony which bound Leia Organa to Han Solo in matrimony, they endured the formal reception with its protocol and many speeches. People assumed they left for their honeymoon immediately and thus their disappearance from public view, but they actually spent their first night as a married couple snoring with exhaustion! They exited the reception hall, switched speeders several times, had body doubles as decoys ... so by the time they got to the former Imperial Palace, only their final driver knew where they really were.
No one suspected that their driver was Leia's companion-at-arms, Dame Winter, who had been Leia's decoy all her life; this time, however, she was the only security officer Leia trusted to bring her and her new husband home. Evidence her thoughtfulness: Winter had stashed several changes of clothing in the speeders for them to help with the deception and had dealt with the housekeeping aspects of their new apartment, but most importantly, she had prepared a picnic basket for them, so that they could share a simple meal together when they felt up to it. It was a welcome change from the rich fare they'd were forced to imbibe at the reception.
When they awoke many hours later, they finally managed to consumate their marriage and they were ravenous from hunger! They found the basket full of food and memories, and the two talked about the many good things Winter had thoughtfully packed, with the help of Chewbacca. And though very much in love and amazed to have this private time together, they were both very grateful to their best friends for having provided clean sheets and a delicious indoor picnic meal. And they loved not having to go out at all for a couple of days!
Very Easy Pâté with Crackers
Winter recruited Chewbacca to help with preparation of the post-wedding picnic for Leia and Han. When Chewie heard that Winter would be making chicken, he asked what she'd do with the livers? He told her that if they were roasting a joint of meat, they'd often take the liver which cooks quickly and would make a quick paste with it to spread on crackers as an meal starter, so that Chewbacca's appetite would be curbed and he wouldn't be tempted to eat the meat before it had cooked well enough for Han's taste. This is a very non-fussy recipe with proportions based on how much chicken liver is available. Winter thought it was a good reminder to Han and Leia of Chewbacca's love for them, so she included a pot of pâté and a container of crackers in the picnic basket.
Boneless Stuffed Trussed Cross-Sliceable Chicken
As a child, Leia loved this version of roast chicken. The chef would bone all the flesh off the carcass so that it was just a hollow "tube," which would be stuffed with a mixture of stale bread and vegetables, rolled up, tied so it forms a roll, then roasted in a hot oven. When it was served, the chef would invite them into the kitchen and the chef would let the girls carry in the roast and carve it at the table. Leia made a big show of clanking the knife against the sharpening steel, then in a maneuver which seemed like magic cut RIGHT ACROSS the roast. Leia's aunts would always gasp, thinking she was going to stab herself or someone else, or that she was hacking through bones and leaving splinters in their servings. Chewbacca chortled when Winter told him this story, and he asked her to make it so he could learn how to do this magic to teach to the Solo children when the time came! (Winter pointed out that this is a great adult way to serve a whole roasted chicken, since carving and plating it was really easy at the table.)
In a skillet, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium low heat. Cook the onions and garlic till they become soft and translucent. Add the white button mushrooms and cook till the liquid exudes, then add the hydrated dried porcinis. Cook till the liquid evaporates you'll be able to hear the mushrooms frying when the liquid is gone (instead of a boiling noise). Add the crushed crackers and mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Assembling the Roast
Heat the oven to 400°F / 200°C.
Serves up to 8 or 10.
Herb Salad Seasoned with Love
Believe it or not, this is a recipe from the days following Han's emergence from carbonite. After he, Leia, and "the fellowship" had escaped Jabba's palace, Han found he was malnourished from the stress of the escape, the year or so in carbonite, and his general lack of good eating habits preceding his imprisonment. Leia and Chewbacca went to a lot of effort to find fresh produce for Han, insisting he eat it at least twice a day till his symptoms diminished. Though Han complained loudly, he actually found himself craving the salad when the treatment was over. Why? Instead of pallid lettuce, this delicious salad was seasoned with love and concern in this case, it took the form of red-ripe tomatoes, pickled salmon (lox or gravlax), and wood-smoked bacon, with croutons fried in the bacon fat. The nutritious herbs were parsley and arugula, but any leafy herbs you love would be wonderful, too. Try not to use more than three different herbs at any one time or the effect might be overpowering.
Pick the stems off the arugula and parsley and wash and dry thoroughly. (Save the parsley stems for soup stock, of course!) Toss and place on a platter. Scatter the bacon and fried bread over the top, then halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes and add that over the top. Stack the lox slices together, roll them up into a tube, and slice thinly to make a sort of "noodle" and scatter those over all.
This salad doesn't really need a dressing. Serves 4 to 8, depending on if it's the meal or a starter course.
This is one of the very first things Leia and Winter learned how to cook in the nursery they occupied. They'd often forget to put the lid on the blender and make a horrendous mess, but it delighted Leia no end!
Stolen Plum Galette
Leia was a precocious child who revelled in challenging those who were responsible for her. They told her not to climb trees, not to steal, not to get dirty, not to get lost. By picking sweet prune plums off a tree deep in the far orchards connected to the Organa palace, she accomplished all four of these things, much to her glee and to her guardians' chagrin. Winter would always come to her defence, saying Leia had picked them for her ... and to make the lie into a truth, they'd beg the chef to help them make this simple tarte to serve to Leia's caretakers at dinnertime. The chef, who enjoyed the girls' antics, would keep frozen pie crusts for just these sorts of occasions.
You can make a piecrust or buy a refrigerated crust, the kind that comes in flat discs, usually folded into quarters. They come two to a packet, and freeze very well. If you have been storing your piecrust in the freezer, take it out of the box but leave it in the plastic wrap out on the counter for about 20 minutes to thaw.
Cut the plums along the long axis, split them and remove the pit. Cut the plums into quarters, the long way.
Line a 8-inch cakepan with foil, then lay out the piecrust so it's centered. Lightly tamp the dough so it's places down against the inside corners. Sprinkle the bottom with sugar, then lay the pieces of plums in a symmetrical manner on the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with more sugar.
Fold the dough over the plums, taking care to fold lightly and artfully. Paint the top surface with milk as a wash, then sprinkle over with sugar again. Place in the oven till the galette is well browned and the sugar is a bit melted and shiny. Cool to room temperature before lifting out with the foil. Cut into wedges to serve. Serves 4 to 6.
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