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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Lemon Cakes

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Game of Thrones Series Week #5

Before I give my recap/thoughts of last week’s episode, let me just say for the record that I am thoroughly ticked off that there is not going to be a new episode of GoT tonight.

Ticked.Off.

It’s really not cool, and I can’t imagine why the Powers That Be at HBO would do that to us. What else could they possibly be showing? Explain it to me, I don’t get it. Actually never mind, I don’t care about the explanation. I just want there to be a new episode tonight, especially after last week’s episode. Grrrr. Moving along to the recap:

  • Daenerys and Daario Naharis FINALLY stopped with the flirting and banter and just did what we’ve known they were going to do since they first met each other. It was very true to Daenerys’ character to make sure that she was in control of the situation though, and I can appreciate that. I did feel a little bad for Ser Jorah- we all know he’s wanted to be in Daario’s position since Daenerys was still married to Khal Drogo. But it was definitely strategic on her part to change her mind about her original plan to execute the slave masters in Yunkai and go with Jorah’s suggestion instead. She’s obviously trying to keep Jorah from becoming embittered against her because of her new relations with Daario by making it clear to him that he still has influence over her decisions, while also letting Daario know that just because he’s slept with her doesn’t mean that she’s going to be biased or partial to his influence. She’s a smart girl, as that was a very tricky situation to navigate.

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  • The scene between Tyrion and Bronn was very well done. Their ‘friendship’ has always been based upon the mutual interests that they share with each other, and although I was slightly disappointed that Bronn chose not to be Tyrion’s champion and accept Cersei’s bride, my disappointment was tempered with his question to Tyrion of “When have you ever risked your life for me?” That shed light on the power dynamic that has always existed between them; they may be friends, but ultimately, Tyrion has always operated in that friendship in the area of privilege and power with Bronn as his hired muscle that gets things done for him for the right price. Tyrion may not have realized this, but this scene showed that Bronn has never forgotten it. He may feel bad for the situation that Tyrion’s in, but ultimately he’s not the ‘servant’ anymore, and he doesn’t feel the need to act like one out of pure sentiment for their past history.
  • And the eternal sufferings and trials of our favorite Damsel in Distress Sansa Stark continue in the Vale. I’ve been hearing a theory that Littlefinger’s come on (and thoroughly disgusting kiss)  was a calculated move on his part that he meant for Lysa to see so that he could ultimately dispose of her. I can buy this for sure: we’ve seen how intelligent and calculated Littlefinger is, and I can’t see him letting his obsession with Catelyn Stark and everything associated with her let him get sloppy and careless enough to make a move on her daughter when Lysa  is such an unstable, high risk liability. He’s too careful for that. He’s probably been waiting for the day that he could shove her through the Moon Door from the day that he told her to poison her husband. Such an evil jerk.

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  • Whoa, I did NOT see that scene between Oberyn and Tyrion coming! I can definitely understand his reasoning for wanting to take on the Mountain, but I’m curious to see how this battle goes down. That dude’s enormous. Bronn was an excellent swordsman, but even he was afraid to take the Mountain on himself. Oberyn is of course, driven by a lust for revenge, so he may be entering in the fight with more focus and determination. Was anyone else heartbroken at the look on Tyrion’s face when Oberyn told him about when he, Cersei and Jamie surrounded his crib and Cersei assaulted him? That was awful. It further goes to show that Tyrion has never known what it was for his family to show him any kind of love or affection. He was born being hated and rejected. That’s rough.
  • John Snow’s still being hazed by Ser Alliser Thorne, aka ‘Big Brother Almighty’ back at the Wall. What else is new?
  • I know Brienne didn’t care, but the food blogger in me was totally into the speech about getting a meat pie right. I’ll admit it.

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This recipe is another one that I knew I wanted to do for the GoT series its very beginning. I think just about every GoT fan knows about Sansa Stark and her love for lemon cakes. I wanted to do a rendition of them, I just didn’t know the approach I would take to them. Then I bought The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook, where (of course) there was a recipe for lemon cakes. I’ll be honest with you guys, I was skeptical of it. For one, the ‘cakes’ are actually yeast based. Then, rather than being baked like typical cake, they’re made on a griddle-top like pancakes.

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However, despite my misgivings, I decided to give the recipe a shot. I used round, metal biscuit cutters on my flat top griddle. I also decided to make them in different sizes, both for aesthetics and because it was more practical for expediency purposes. The yeast in the batter makes them puff up nice and fluffy while cooking on each side. I would describe the texture as a cross between a dinner roll and a flaky biscuit. These do not fit into the conventional mold/idea of ‘cake’, however I still like them very much. In all honesty, they’re probably closer to the authentic, medieval style of cake, anyway. These would be a great addition to a GoT themed party, or even for a regular tea party.

As usual, I’ll post the GoT series links below for all those who still need to catch up. See ya next week, guys!

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

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Lemon Cakes

Recipe Courtesy of The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook by Alan Kistler & Americanfood.about.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp lemon verbena extract or lemon oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp dried lemon verbena, crushed (or 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest)

Lemon Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 small drop yellow food coloring

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside for about 10 minutes until foamy.

2. Mix in egg, lemon verbena (or lemon oil), 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt, flour and dried lemon verbena. Beat together 5 minutes until a smooth dough is formed.

3. Cover with plastic wrap and rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours (until doubled in volume).

4. Heat griddle over high heat. Test by sprinkling on a little water. If griddle sizzles and water evaporates, it’s ready.

5. Lower heat to medium-low. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter on the griddle. Place muffin rings on griddle and fill halfway with batter. Cover loosely with foil and cook until cakes are browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes.

6. Using spatula or tongs, flip over each small cake and ring. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks and allow to cool.

7. Mix together all remaining ingredients and spread on top of cakes. Allow to sit until icing is hardened, about thirty minutes.

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