Dornish Garlic Strata

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Game of Thrones Series Week #7

I swear that every time I think I’ve seen the most dramatic Game of Thrones episode this season, the next one will come on, and I will be freshly stunned and shocked by the jaw dropping ending. I think this may be the best season yet, and from what I understand from my twin sister (who knows what’s going to happen with the story ahead of time), the best is still yet to come in the final two episodes we have left. There was a lot to recap from this past week’s episode- yes, even more than that last scene, which I’ll get to in a minute. So let’s review, shall we?

  • I find the romance between Grey Worm and Missandei to be cute. They definitely have chemistry between each other, and although I think they may be one of the sweeter couples in the GoT series, I can’t see that they have much of a future together. Unless Missandei is one of those women who don’t mind being in a relationship with a guy who’s been ‘handicapped’ (if you know what I mean), which she doesn’t seem to be for now. Peeping Tom or no Peeping Tom, she’s definitely into Grey Worm. Side note: the Mother of Dragons braids her servants hair and does Girl Talk in her spare time? Since when did this happen?

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  • Speaking of Daenerys, oh man, how about  her kicking Ser Jorah to the curb? I understand her suspicion of him now that she’s found out the truth about the poison, but I still feel like this may be her one, big ‘fatal error’ that sets things into motion towards her losing her shot at ever being able to take over the Iron Throne for herself. Whether she realizes it or not, Jorah was the best and truest friend that Daenerys has EVER had. Tywin Lannister certainly realizes it, and she’s playing right into his schemes to thwart all of her plans just because of one mistake that Jorah made years ago. All that he’s went through with Daenerys should have been more than enough for her to at least grant him the opportunity to properly explain himself to her and allow him to give his side of the story. Not only that, I’m also disappointed that she made the blunder of throwing him out of her country alive when he now has so little to lose and now, so much to get revenge on her for. Let’s not forget, Jorah still had sour grapes over her new dalliance with Daario Nahaaris. To be rejected by the woman you’ve loved, served, protected and stood by through thick and thin is hard enough for any man- but to then be kicked to the curb over 1 misunderstanding without even the chance to properly defend himself is probably going to be enough to send Jorah over the edge and straight into the enemy’s camp. He knows her mind, her secrets, the workings of her kingdom, army, and her plans. If Daenerys was really set on ridding herself of him, she should have just had him executed and let that be the end of it; Banishing Jorah is going to be the nails in her coffin, mark my words.

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  • You know, I’m definitely not going to say I’m thrilled about this turn of character for Sansa, but I’m also definitely not going to say that I don’t completely understand why she’s decided to stay on Littlefinger’s ‘good side’ and try to make herself an ally for him, and not a mere prey. She knows that he was obsessed with her mother, she saw him shove her aunt through the moon door without blinking an eyelash, she knows that he poisoned Joffrey- all with that cool, sneaky smile on his face. It took her a while, but our Sansa has finally grown up and seen the way that the world works. She knows she’s not tough or strong enough to take Littlefinger on as an enemy, but she obviously feels strong enough to try and play his (creepy/disgusting) infatuation with her as Catelyn’s daughter to her own advantage. I can’t say that I can see any other way for her to survive at this point. Women do what they have to do when they have to do it- it’s just the way things are. (Another side note: was I the only one reminded of Maleficent by Sansa’s new threads and hair job? Maybe it’s just because Angelina Jolie’s movie just came out, I don’t know. But she did  seem very reminiscent of of the Disney icon to me,)
  • In other news, Ygritte’s heart wasn’t completely demolished by Jon Snow’s diss as she was willing to let Gilly and her baby live. To be honest, I can’t wait to watch it freeze right back up when the two of them meet back up again. I don’t care how good a fighter he is; Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and that means that our Jon is in for SUCH a beat down when Ygritte gets her hands on him again.It’s bound to be epic.
  • Well, Theon turned his ‘faux’ performance out after all- resulting in more people dying and Ramsay Snow dropping the ‘bastard’ title from his name. Oh joy. Oh rapture. I’m sure this will go splendidly.

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  • And of course, there was the Trial By Combat. Oh man, what a scene. I’m trying to think of a more grisly, gruesome death scene in Game of Thrones up to this point (and we all know there have been plenty), but I’m coming up with blanks. Nothing tops Oberyn’s exit. Blegh. Here’s my take on the fight: Guys, I’m sorry, but this was doomed from the very beginning. You know why? Because Oberyn was going into this fight with his feelings. It was personal for him, and there’s always a much bigger risk when you fight with your feelings. I understand why he wanted to fight the Mountain; he wanted vengeance for his sister and her children. But it was this desire for vengeance that ended up getting him killed. Oberyn not only wanted to kill the man who killed his family, he wanted to get  a confession from both the killer and indict/humiliate the man who ordered the hit: Tywin Lannister. If he’d been satisfied with just killing the Mountain, he never would have gotten distracted enough to let him live long enough to force him to name Tywin as the mastermind behind the crime. He couldn’t afford to be that careless with that good (and huge) a fighter- it should have been a quick, clean, precise kill. Oberyn was obviously capable of doing that, but he wanted to kill the Mountain, he also wanted to humiliate the Lannisters. His own pride was ultimately his unfortunate downfall. God knows what Tyrion is going to do now that his champion is dead. I’m sorry to see Oberyn go; he was a very charismatic character, and I was touched by his devotion to avenging his sister’s rape and death.

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Because last week was our farewell to Prince Oberyn, I thought that I would dedicated this week’s dish to him. In thinking of aspects of Oberyn’s character, I obviously decided to draw on inspirations from his amorous, exotic nature, while also being substantive and delicious. (Yes, I did just use that word because Pedro Pascal = male deliciousness on a stick. Am I right? Of course right.)  What I came up was this strata recipe. What makes this an Oberyn recipe? The garlic and the eggs; both are considered to be ancient and modern aphrodisiac foods (you learn something new every day, huh?). I ate mine with jalapenos and salsa on top to give it that extra ‘Dornish’ kick; it was just as fantastic as it looked. This would make a great recipe for a brunch to feed a crowd, or an easy fix for a Breakfast for Dinner craving.

R.I.P. Prince Oberyn. You fought well. You (and your smoking hot accent) will be thoroughly missed.

Game of Thrones Series

Week 1: Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

Week 2: Winterfell Brown Bread

Week 3: Southron Spinach & Plum Salad

Week 4: Baratheon Smothered Pork Chops & Apple Gravy

Week 5: Lemon Cakes

Week 6: Dothraki Flat Bread

Week 7: Dornish Garlic Strata

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Dornish Garlic Strata

Recipe Adapted from Annie’s Eats and Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

For Garlic Oil:

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

For Strata

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 (10 oz.) pkgs frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
  • 8 cups stale, cubed bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (6 oz.)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2¾ cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup meat of your choice (sausage, chicken, bacon, ham)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic & herb seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

 Directions

1. In a small saucepan, bring garlic and oil to a boil, then turn heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes, until garlic is lightly browned. Turn off heat and set aside. The garlic will continue to cook.

2. Remove garlic cloves from the oil & slice them. Place them in a bowl & pour the oil over them.

3. Place bread cubes in a bowl, and pour garlic oil over them. Toss to combine, set aside.

4. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onions & peppers to pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the spinach, remove from the heat and set aside.

5. Butter the inside of a 2½-3 quart baking dish.  Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes.  Top with one third of the meat, one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheese.  Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, meat, spinach and cheese.

6. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic/herb seasoning, paprika, and pepper.  Whisk together until blended.

7.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

8. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake uncovered until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Winterfell Brown Bread

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Game of Thrones Series {Week 2}

Happy GoT Day, guys! I hope you all were able to catch my first post of this totally awesome series I’m doing right now dedicated to the popular HBO show, but if not, just click on the link and check it out so you can be all caught up for this week. I thought that before we get to the recipe, I’d talk a little bit about last week’s episode a little bit with some of my favorite moments from it. (If you don’t want spoilers, go ahead and skip this part)

  • Omg, it was Margery’s grandmother Olenna (with Littlefinger) who poisoned Joffrey! She honestly would not have been the first suspect on my list, which I guess goes to show why she would realistically be able to get away with it. I gotta say though, that maternal instinct of hers is really admirable- I sure as heck wouldn’t want to leave my granddaughter in the ‘care’ of a sadistic monster like Joffrey. Whether she sees it or not, girlfriend really is better off with him dead.
  • Speaking of Margery, I gotta applaud how fast she works to make sure that she’s able to sway Tommen over to her influence and not that of Cersei’s. My sister (who’s very familiar with the books) tells me though that Margery is really supposed to be no older than 15- this is kinda confusing to me, as Natalie Dormer (however lovely and talented) is umm…not 15. The wide age gaps between her and the actors portraying Joffrey and Tommen have proven kinda distracting to me into buying them as actual couples and I wish I knew why the producers of the show just didn’t decide to go with a younger actress to be more realistic.

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  • Ugh, I SO wish that poor Sansa could catch a break at sometime during this show. From Joffrey and Kings Landing to Littlefinger and the open sea/unknown? I honestly don’t know which one is worse. I can’t get over this yucky feeling that he schemed to lure her away from Kings Landing out of some sick fantasy he has about seducing her because he never was able to get Catelyn Stark for himself and feels like the daughter is the next best thing to her mother. The guy’s just a real creepy jerk.
  • Jamie and Brianne: I swear man, they’re just the best BFFs ever. Brianne’s character really served an awesome purpose in showing us a more complex, sympathetic side to Jamie’s character that (in spite of all the bad things he’s done) makes me really unable to completely dislike him. I don’t really dislike him at all actually, and find myself hoping that nothing else arises that makes me change my mind about that. I felt kinda sad about the scene between them when she left to find Sansa- something about it just made me feel like it was a real goodbye…

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  • I loved the scene between Tyrion and Jamie in the prison cell. You could really feel the subtle respect that they have for each other, which Tyrion hasn’t been able to receive from Cersei or Tywin. Once again, to me it shows Jamie’s ‘nobler’ side and feeling of loyalty to Tyrion if for no other reason than for the fact that #1: Blood is blood, and #2: if it weren’t for Tyrion, he wouldn’t be getting better at learning how to fence with his left hand.
  • Look, I like to oogle at the eyecandy that is Jon Snow more than anybody…but the truth is, that most of the time, I don’t care about what’s happening at the Wall. Same thing with Bran. If they could just meet up with some of the other characters elsewhere, I feel like I could get more into their storylines- but on their own? I just can’t get completely interested.

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Today’s post is of a recipe that I knew I wanted to do for a GoT series before I even decided that I would actually be doing a GoT series. The inspiration for it just seemed so perfect. When I first started watching the show, one of the things that really pulled me into it the plot was Sean Bean’s performance as Ned Stark. I just loved Ned (and no, it wasn’t just because of his looks, although they certainly didn’t hurt). I loved him as husband, father, lord, and overall person. He was certainly good for what ailed Robert Baratheon (albeit too late), and I think would have made a far better king. One of the best things I loved about Ned was that he was all about protecting his family, and preserving all that he had managed to build at Winterfell.

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I knew that I definitely wanted to do a bread dish for the series- the question was which characters would I take the inspiration from in choosing a recipe to use. I eventually decided on this one because of how much all the elements really reminded me of the elements of Winterfell to the point that I could see this really being served there for a meal. It’s rustic, dark and yet a sturdy, hearty bread. Gotta be the Starks to a T, right? However, this may not be the last bread recipe I do for the series- I may decide on a light brioche for the Lannisters, or maybe  even a fruit loaf of some kind, we’ll see…

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Okay, so can I be honest with you guys? This bread really reminds me of the delicious, dark loaf of bread that gets served at a certain popular steakhouse on a wooden cutting board with a knife stuck through it. If that’s not enough of a clue for you then think of it this way: it’s antonymous with the words, “In-Front.”

Think about it. Right. There you go.

So, yeah, it’s really very good. The rye flour gives it a really earthy, almost nutty flavor that I didn’t think I would actually like as much as I did. The molasses gives it a rich sweetness that isn’t too overpowering, along with the cocoa powder that also gives it that dark color that I was really looking for when I decided to make this bread. In short, it’s well worth the effort. One more thing: I would definitely recommend following the tip that I included below the recipe for a chewier crust- it’s the perfect crowning touch.

Stay tuned for next Sunday to see what else I cook up for the GoT Series 🙂

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Winterfell Brown Bread

Recipe Courtesy of Hodgson Mill.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

 Directions

1. Put water in a large bowl.  Add brown sugar and active dry yeast.  Let yeast develop for about 5 minutes.

2. Add molasses, rye flour, vital wheat gluten, cocoa and caraway seeds.  Beat well, then let sit for ten minutes.  Mix in melted butter and salt. 

3. Mix in 1 cup of Best For Bread Flour.  Stir in enough of the remaining Best For Bread Flour to make soft dough and knead for 8-10 minutes.

  4. Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover with damp cloth, and allow to rise in warm place for one hour or until doubled.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces.  Gently knead to work out air bubbles and form into loaves and place in two greased loaf pans. 

6. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise another hour or until the dough is nearly doubled.

7. Bake in a 400º preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes.  Immediately remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

  Makes 2 loaves .

* Chewy crust – Place empty metal baking pan on bottom rack in oven during preheating process.  Directly after placing the bread in the oven, place ¼ cup of water along with a couple of ice cubes in empty metal pan and immediately close the oven door.  Doing this along with slashing the top allows the bread to rise a little more during the first few minutes of baking and leaves it with a nice chewy crust.

 

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