Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cooking in Azeroth, post 1: Dragonbreath Chili and Chocolate Cake

Welcome to the first Cooking in Azeroth post!

This weekly blog series features the recipes from "World of Warcraft, the Official Cookbook" by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. Over the next year I will cook and review all 100 recipes.

To start, I selected Dragonbreath Chili and Cornmeal Biscuits. Though our weather has been unseasonable warm, it is still very chilly here (well, it is January). This cookbook is full of recipes for warm, delicious-sounding soups, perfect for this gray part of winter.

Dragonbreath Chili
Dragonbreath Chili is a food item in Warcraft that includes a special ability - for ten minutes after eating it, player characters have a chance to belch fire while they are engaged in melee combat!

With a skill like that, I knew to expect a spicy chili.

We were not disappointed - this chili is delicious. This recipe is described as being on the "milder side of dragon-y," so cooks can alter it as they like. There really was not a lot of heat, but I could taste the smokiness of the chipotle peppers. The Boyfriend thought there was a nice amount of spice in the aftertaste, but I couldn't feel it - I might add more chipotle and jalapeno next time.

I ended up letting it simmer an extra half hour because I started my biscuits late. This let the chili thicken up a bit more, and it was a delicious consistency as a result.

Right away I noticed a typo in this recipe - there is a line that lists "1 tsp..." but doesn't include the ingredient! Googling showed me that other people had noticed this too, but there was no correction available. I think it was probably a dry spice that got left out - later on the recipe instructions say to add the "spices" but cumin is the only one left at the point.

While assembling my shopping list, I was shocked at the shear amount of meat included in this recipe - three pounds of ground beef, chuck beef, and Italian sausage! I bought my Italian sausage as raw links and squeezed the meat out of the casings, using it like a mince. Everything else about the ingredient list was very straightforward - spicy peppers, canned beans and tomatoes, things like that.

This recipe makes 8 servings, and clocks in at 505 calories per serving. This may seem high (I track my calories and panicked a little at the thought) but the servings are very big. Depending on how large a portion you want, this could easily be stretched out to 10-12 servings.

We're going to be eating this for days...

My ingredients cost $30.21 at Wegmans. Half of this cost was the fresh meat, and this recipe makes A LOT of food - it averages to less than $4 per serving. If you did want to decrease cost or number of portions, I would recommend using only ground beef and spicy sausage (for flavor), halving the recipe, or adding more beans and tomatoes instead.

Cornmeal Biscuits
In-game, food items are used to heal player characters after combat. The Cornmeal Biscuits in-game heal high level players for 20,000 health points. The homemade Cornmeal Biscuits were pretty hearty, holding up to their in-game description.

This recipe creates a basic cornmeal drop biscuit that can be served with a variety of meals, including stews, chowders, or pork.

The ingredients include grated cheddar cheese, which really stood out in the finished biscuit. These biscuits complimented the Dragonbreath Chili well, with a sour cheesiness and a good texture for dipping into the chili. Adding minced garlic or other seasonings would also work well with this recipe.

One tip, because I never remember to do this - pull your butter out of the fridge to soften. Prep time took a while for me because my butter was cold. I'm going to stick a post-it in my cookbook so I don't forget next time!

This recipe makes 12 biscuits, 185 calories each. The biscuits are a good size, about the same size as a hockey puck. They did not spread very much while baking

Ingredients were not very expensive; I already had things like AP flour and baking powder on hand at home. The additional ingredients, like buttermilk and cornmeal, cost $7.27 at Wegmans.

Chocolate Celebration Cake
The Boyfriend's birthday was last week, so I also made the Chocolate Celebration Cake! We used to play Warcraft together often, even raiding in the same guild for a season. It seemed fitting to make him a cake inspired by an in-game item.

The Chocolate Celebration Cake in-game is a sharable item, feeding up to five player characters. The cake I made was also a sharable item, and could feed more than eight party members (get it? Birthday? Party? I'll stop now.)

Combining chocolate, hazelnuts, and a variety of spices, this cake is very flavorful. The batter is described as "light" in the recipe but it was very thick and sticky, almost more like a brownie than cake batter. The recipe does not call for much liquid and the cake is just on the border of dry - though The Boyfriend thought it was fine.

Whipped Cream, from the recipe in the Spices & Basics section of the Warcraft cookbook, is used to decorate the cake. This lightens up the cake, and provides a smooth contrast to the spicy chocolate cake. It also is a pleasant source of moisture. Dotting the top of the cake are candied hazelnuts. The instructions for these are included in the recipe, though I overcooked my sugar just a touch.

Because this cake is layered with whipped cream I was worried that the "icing" wouldn't fair well in the fridge for leftovers - but the second night it was still delicious! The spices, cayenne in the cake and cinnamon in the chocolate whipped cream, were more muted than when they were freshly made, but otherwise it was just as good. The piped decorations even retained their ridges and definition!

The Chocolate Celebration Cake cut into 8 servings is 691 calories a slice. (Ouch.) Being a double layer cake, it is large enough to cut into 10 slices (or more). It can be served with ice cream, but I didn't think it needed it.

The cost for additional ingredients, such as whole hazelnuts and Nutella, cost $20.84 at Wegmans. Though the ingredients included AP flour and other things I already had in my cupboard, I was low on vanilla and butter - this contributed to the cost, though most of these ingredients will last me through several recipes.

Making the Chocolate Celebration Cake the same week as the Cornmeal Biscuit recipe was a lucky decision too, since they both call for buttermilk. Buttermilk is something I do not keep on hand - but there are recipes online if you would rather buy regular milk and sour just enough for your recipe using vinegar or lemon juice.

Thank you for reading!

Recipes completed to date: 4/100

Banner background, item description images and links are from Other images are my own.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cooking in Azeroth: an Introduction

For Christmas I received a copy of "World of Warcraft, The Official Cookbook" by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. We saw it in person at the Insight Editions booth during NYCC 2016 and it looked really fun, filled with recipes inspired by the Cooking profession in World of Warcraft.

As soon as I unwrapped the book I decided... I'm going to "Julie & Julia" this thing and cook every recipe in it!

I had thought calling this new blog series "Katie & Kil'jaeden" or "Katie & Kael'thas" would be funny. I even found a Cooking Trainer NPC named Katherine Lee, but I was pretty sure no one would get the joke if I called it "Katie & Katherine."

Instead, I welcome you to Cooking in Azeroth!

This series will run weekly on Thursdays, with 1-4 recipes from the book featured in each post. There are 100 individual recipes included in the cookbook, and I will cook all of them before the year is over. The book is divided into sections for Appetizers, Breads, Soups, Entrees, Desserts, and Beverages. All of the recipes are inspired by foods found throughout the game, either through the Cooking profession or bought from a vendor. The images included with the recipes are delightful, resembling the game art used for each dish.

Throughout the book are other references to the game, such as mentioning the NPCs who sell or teach a recipe, or describing harder recipes as requiring a Master-level Cooking Skill (as opposed to an Apprentice-level skill). There is even a section about the importance of feasting in Azeroth, with suggestions for holiday-themed recipe combinations.

I'm looking forward to learning these new recipes and level up my Cooking Skill! Each blog post will include photos, cost and sourcing information for ingredients, and calorie information. I will not post the actual recipes or step-by-step instructions, but will offer tips and tricks if I come across anything that I feel needs explained.

The first Cooking in Azeroth post will publish this Thursday and will feature Dragonbreath Chili, Cornmeal Biscuits, and Chocolate Celebration Cake! Please come back on Thursday to see how it all turns out!


The "World of Warcraft" cookbook retails for $35, though it can be found for a discount on Amazon. The author, Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, has also written "A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook."