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Radagast’s Rhosgobel “Rabbit” Sausage Sauté – tastes alot like chicken!Rostobel Rabbit Sausage Saute

The eccentric old wizard Radagast the Brown is the Middle-earth version of St Francis of Assisi!  The animals of the forest come to his home for refuge and healing.  His magic potions sometimes even bring them back from the brink of death!   He is even able to communicate with some of them using the Westron language – most notably his prized Rhosgobel rabbits

Everyone knows rabbits are swift of foot, but this breed of rabbit is even faster than usual, and much bigger – up to two feet long not counting the legs!  So it only makes sense that they would work wonderfully to pull a wizard’s sleigh!  Able to dart quickly in new directions to evade enemies such as giant spiders, bats, wargs, and grissly orcs, they are excellent at creating a diversion so a company of dwarves, a hobbit, and a wizard can escape into the caves that lead to Rivendell!  It may seem improbable that a team of rabbits can perform such feats, but, when Gandalf suggested the wargs and orcs would over power them, Radagast defiantly replied, “These are no ordinary rabbits!  These are Rhosgobel Rabbits! LET THEM TRY!”

 

As a point of clarification, please note that this is not a Middle-earth Recipe from the “LOTR Scrapbook” site but is a creation of my own, and the suggestion for the name of the dish came from my husband.

Radagast’s Rhosgobel Rabbit Sausage Sauté

6 large sausages
1 large sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, smashed (more if you really like garlic)
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced (or canned if not in season)
Fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper
White wine
White rice, prepared in advance

Obtain a package of six large sausages of your liking from the local market – chicken, pork, or turkey.  They come with a variety of seasonings these days!

Grill the sausages, preferably over a flame, but a cast iron skillet works well indoors too.

While sausages are grilling, slice or dice the onions and tomatoes.  Remove the sausages from the grill and cut them into one inch rounds.

Heat a large heavy skillet to medium high and add two tablespoons of olive oil and the smashed garlic.  Stir it quickly so the garlic doesn’t burn, then add the sausage pieces.  Immediately add the white wine and let it cook off a bit, stirring the sausage a couple of times.  You’re just keeping the meat warm and letting it soak up the flavors.

Turn down the heat to medium and push the sausage to the side of the skillet and add the onions, salt and pepper, sautéing until nicely browned and translucent.  Then add the tomatoes and stir all of the ingredients together, cooking another 2 minutes or so.

If you like cheese with your “rabbit” consider adding fresh ricotta cheese in serving spoon-size portions around the top and let it melt into the mixture for a few minutes.

Serve over steamed white rice, noodles, or potatoes!  You might also add sauteed mushrooms or peppers to this dish.

This post, which has been a long time coming since my last one, is in honor of the milestone of more than 50,000 site views! Thanks for noticing!


Back in the finer days, before orcs and cave trolls ravaged the great city of Dwarrowdelf, Balin’s kin would gather for his legendary feasts, which always included his famous Spiced Beef.  Now the dwarven people, as we well know, are a rather proud folk; prone to boasting and very fond of contests to demonstrate their prowess.  Games of one-ups-man-ship between best mates were a daily occurrence.

And so, on the mornings before Balin’s gatherings, it was customary for the elder dwarf to summon a few of the younger dwarves and challenge them with the question, “which of you lads has the sharpest axe, the best aim, and the strongest arm?”

As each one roared, “I DO!,” they snapped to attention, fixing their eyes on Balin’s eyes, planting feet firmly in the soil and crossing their arms over puffed-out chests.  “Well, then,” Balin continued, “it seems as though we have a stalemate – each of you believes he is the best, but only one can be the champion.  We will have a contest.  I plan a feast for tomorrow, and we are short on game.   Go out to the hunt, and bring us back a prize.  The first one to return before nightfall with the largest kill shall be the champion.”

As the young dwarves ran to gather their weapons, Balin would turn to his best huntsmen and, with a wink and a nod from him, the men set about the task of butchering the game they had caught before that morning’s sunrise.  Even if the lads managed to bring back a fox or a few rabbits, let alone a buck, it wouldn’t be enough to fill this hearty and hungry lot.  And it would take hours for the meat to slowly roast until it fell cleanly off the bone.  They would have the day to get at least the first course ready to eat.

The young champion had the honor of being seated next to Balin at the feast, his contribution to the meal now roasted to perfection.  The first bite was Balin’s, who would proclaim that it was the most delicious of all the choices laid out before them.  The cousins and brothers, mothers and sisters, grandmothers and other elders of the company would then cheer the young hunter and dig into the feast.  Strong drink flowed and merry songs of conquests were sung with great gusto. 

Torches were lit from the fire and families slowly went off to sleep, filled not just with food, but the hospitality of their friend and elder, Balin, who was greatly esteemed by all who knew him.

_____________________

This is a very delicious recipe that works well in a crock pot but for authenticity why not try a cast iron dutch oven if you can find one.  Add vegetables to make it a stew if you like, and soak up the juices with a crusty garlic bread!  We also suggest shredding the cooked beef for sandwiches to stave off your hunger while you watch the Oscars to see how The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey was honored.


3 News NZ online has a link to The Middle-earth Foodie in a story dated December 16, 2012,  about a new book being written on food inspired by Tolkien’s works.


Doc's Carrot Cake

It is hard to imagine a carrot cake more delicious than this one!  Very moist — probably owing to the pudding mix in the recipe.  If I were on the catering staff in Minas Tirith I would have baked this for the wedding of King Elessar and Lady Arwen.   Or perhaps it was made in honor of Galadriel‘s birthday in Lothlorien because its color reminds one of her golden hair, so lovely that Gimli could think of nothing more to ask from her than a lock to keep as she sent each member of the Fellowship off with a blessing.

The only thing I added was the decoration — a “carrot” made from an orange gum drop and a sprig of parsley.   I used walnuts instead of pecans as that’s what I had on hand.  You will want the cake “quite cool” before you frost it, and pay attention to how much confectioners sugar you put in the frosting so it firms up well.  Still, I recommend you put the frosted cake in the fridge, especially on a warm day.

You must make all haste to summon the bakery staff to get this delicacy on your family table tonight!  Or at least on Super Bowl Sunday!


Blackberry Tarts from Bree

Blackberry Tarts from Bree

The Inn at Bree offered a full array of meats and desserts to satisfy the four hungry young Hobbits, yet Sam reckoned the true test of the establishment’s suitability was the quality of its beer!  After some initial research, he determined that the beer and the rest of the menu were on a par with anything he had enjoyed “back ‘ome at the Shire, and that’s sayin’ somethin’!”

In the summers before the forming of The Fellowship, the four often stopped along the banks near the Buckleberry Ferry to glean the last of the sweetBlackberry Tart from Bree first bite plump berries from the prickly vines.   They sat on the edge of the ferry and pulled themselves to the middle of the waters to dangle their dusty feet in the deep, tossing the juicy gems into the air and catching them in their mouths, making faces at one another as if there were nothing pressing at all in their lives.  No need to hurry.  No reason to fear. 

Merry and Pippin played their favorite game: arguing over who was taller.   Sam would warn the two of them about how Farmer Maggot and his dog would soon track them down and find the basket of pilfered mushrooms and cabbages sitting next to them.  His Old Gaffer would hold him responsible of course, he worried out loud.

Frodo told Sam he’d vouch for him if such a need arose.  Then he lay back and stared up at the tree tops into the sky and wondered what had become of his old Uncle Bilbo.  He missed his stories of adventures with trolls, dragons, dwarves and Elves.  He thought that one day he would go on an adventure himself, if the occasion presented itself.  Frodo couldn’t imagine what kind of adventure would ever draw him more than a day’s walk from his beloved Shire.   Even so, Frodo resolved to bring up the idea with Gandalf, if the old Wizard ever did return to Bag End.

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A sweet morsel for the Ranger's rucksackGondorian Griddle Cookies

These sweet biscuits might have been a staple of the Gondorian Ranger, as they are similar to Elven Lembas Bread in function.   Cooked on a griddle, these “cookies” are really little pancakes with a touch of sweetness to them.  They are “pocket-sized” and can be carried by workers in the field or troops on the march.  

Let us think back for a moment to the early days of the Age of Men, and check in with our friends in Gondor:

So many dreamy Gondorian Rangers, so little time!  But our slayer of the Witch King and Princess of Rohan, Eowyn, has taken one of the best of the lot off the market — Faramir.   Faramir may have been able to resist the powers of The One Ring, but his love for The White Lady smote him, leaving him powerless to resist her.  

Renowned for her valor as well as her beauty, she could now settle in to a traditional life as wife and mother. albeit a royal one.  But alas, fair Eowyn was no domestic goddess and there were no more wars to fight.    Skilled with a blade and the art of war, yet she was unschooled in the simple tools and traditions of the culinary arts.  Even this simple staple of the Ranger’s rucksack was a challenge for her to master.  

But master it she would!  She could have left the cooking to the servants, but this is not her style.  With their help, she learned the domestic arts and became a fully rounded woman, which gave her great pleasure although Faramir could not have loved her the more.   She delighted to host their dear Hobbit friends when they came for long visits.  And yet she rode out with the company when The King sent Faramir off on a diplomatic mission.  It is quite possible that she perfected the Gondorian Griddle Cookie while on one of these journeys under Faramir’s patient tutelage.

Now back to the recipe!  

The dough is not runny like pancake batter yet it is softer than a typical cookie dough and firm enough to roll out and cut into shapes.   When camping or on a long journey, wrap them in Mallorn leaves to keep them fresher.  Today you will have to rely upon a specialty store to procure your Mallorn leaves, which come in the form of parchment paper cutouts.  Here are some ideas for dressing up your Gondorian Griddle Cookies:
 
  • Dip them in melted butter mixed with honey or brown sugar.
  • Make Gondorian S’Mores by putting a bit of chocolate on top when you turn it over, then have your toasted marshmallow at the ready.  Or use Nutella instead of the chocolate candy.
  • Mix crushed nuts or fruit into the batter before cooking.
  • Make a mini Trifle: Place one cookie in a glass bowl, pour a splash of rum (or other liquor) over it –  not TOO much (about half a tablespoon) or it will disintegrate –  then spoon on vanilla pudding, add sliced bananas (or other fruit), now add a gooey topping like hot fudge, place another cookie on top, another splash of rum, some more pudding, and top with whipped cream and a cherry! 
  • Bananas Gondor anyone?  Brown sugar and butter and rum simmered together and drizzled on top!  Yum! Don’t forget the whipped cream!
– Submitted with appreciation to Primula for her background details on the family history of this recipe!

It’s the time of the season for…

Dwarven Women’s Pumpkin Cake!

We are certain that the hardy Dwarven men finished off one of these delectable mini-bundts in one bite – no forks required! 

I tend to think of Dwarven women as clones of “Master Dwarf” Gimli.  The Dwarf himself hinted at the similarities!  But since we have met no Dwarven women, what can we know about them? 

Well, if we consider the Dwarves’ artistry as creators of the ancient city Dwarrowdelf, then it may stand to reason the women were also artisans when it came to cave-keeping.   One imagines great feasts would await  the workers at the end of a day digging for Mithril.  Gimli was expecting to celebrate with his cousin Balin with “red meat off the bone and malt beer!”

Certainly the Dwarven race was used to hearty fare, or how else to maintain those stout physiques?  Not that the women were confined to the kitchens of Moria!  Many surely took up a chisel and hammer along-side the men!   

In honor of the creativity of the Dwarves I used a mini-bundt cake form with the result being a cake with an arch pattern and a hole in the middle for that important cave effect. 

I further changed up the recipe by drenching the cakes in a ginger chai pear sauce with a dusting of powdered sugar.   This recipe made six mini-bundts and one tort size cake which I topped with sliced fresh pears, then covered in the pear sauce made into a gel to hold it all together.  That picture will soon appear on my other blog where you will also find the sauce recipe.


Second Breakfast is served!  

Follow the link to the recipe for Breakfast Scones for Mr. Frodo!  This recipe lends itself to any number of variations.  I used plain greek yogurt instead of strawberry but only had a 6 oz container, so I added home-made ricotta cheese to make up the other 2 ounces.   The triangle-shaped version uses dried figs, and the square has only fresh ground cardamom seeds.   After feasting on these for a day or so I encountered an orange scone at Panera Bread and decided to do a comparison test.  This recipe was equal to the bakery’s in flakiness and flavor!  (Note:  After trying this recipe several times I have found it to be a bit heavier product than most bakery scones.   You might try adding one egg, or switching from yogurt to 3/4 cup of cream to improve the flakiness.)

I presume that either Sam or Rosie prepared these for their dear friend and host Frodo, or perhaps they began to affectionately refer to their son, his namesake, as Mr. Frodo!  Either way, the sweet smell of these scones baking would be the best way to call the family to table for first or second breakfast!

This was my first time using cardamom.  Wow!  SO flavorful.  Definitely citrusy.  A bit tedious to remove tiny black seeds from the papery pod without leaving “chaff” behind, but the ground variety do not have nearly as much flavor.  This spice is expensive but a little goes a long way!  My secret? Penn Mac in Pittsburgh’s Strip District has 2 oz samplers for only 99 cents!

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