IMG_4494 This side dish comes to you straight from The Redwall Cookbook! I love it because it’s simple and wholesome, just as a Redwall Abbey recipe should be. Plus, the cayenne pepper ties in with our appetizer, and the nuts will tie in beautifully with our dessert! I wasn’t able to snag a copy of the cookbook itself, so I accessed the recipe through The Half Cut Cook.

NOTE: There’s no rule that says you can’t repurpose Beorn’s Nut Bread from our Hobbit menu as your Redwall side. I just think the hearty, ever-so-subtly spicy nature of this particular bread recipe is a perfect companion to our Hotroot Soup and Deeper ‘n Ever Pie. :)

Loamhedge Legacy Nutbread

“Always gallant, Matthias patted his friend’s paw. ‘Well, now, if you like my nutbread–Loamhedge Legacy, I call it–I’ll trade recipes with you!’
Rosey agreed willingly, ‘Ooh, I love any sort of nutbread. Which one is yours?’
Matthias pointed. ‘Over there, by that big marvelous pudding. It’s nothing so grand, I fear. Just a homely thing, but it’s very tasty and made to a real ancient recipe…’ “

— The Redwall Cookbook
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Makes 1 loaf (serves approximately 6 people)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First off, set your oven to 425°. Add your flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Now, slice your butter into individual tablespoon portions, add half to the mix, and process on low for about 2 minutes. Stop the processor and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add your remaining butter and repeat the process. After scraping the bowl the second time, run the processor for another minute or until the mix has a course texture, like this:

    IMG_4463

    It will still be really dry and crumbly, but don’t worry. That’s just what we want.

  3. Transfer the mix to a medium mixing bowl and stir in 2/3 cup of your nuts.
  4. Add your milk a few tablespoons at a time, stirring well with a wire whisk after each addition. Keep stirring in milk until the texture of the dough is damp, but not wet (if you need to use extra milk to reach this texture, that’s ok).
  5. NOTE: There will also be some dry, unincorporated bits of dough in the bottom of the bowl. This is totally normal. A little milk goes a long way here, so when you knead it all up, even the dry bits should incorporate easily.
  6. Gently knead the dough into a ball.

    IMG_4467

    With all the nuts, it looks kinda like a big ball of chocolate chip cookie dough!

  7. On an ungreased baking sheet, flatten out the dough and shape it into an 8″ square.
    IMG_4474
  8. Press the remaining nuts firmly into the top of the dough. With a sharp knife, cut a pattern of 12-16 squares across the top of the loaf, being careful to only cut halfway through the dough.

    IMG_4478

    The idea behind slicing the top is that you’ll be able to easily break off squares of bread for serving, rather than having to cut it up.

  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is firm and lightly browned.
    IMG_4485
  10. Let cool and serve with Deeper ‘n Ever Pie at your next Redwall feast!
    IMG_4511

IMG_4415Today, we continue our menu with a Redwall Abbey staple. Mossflower Woods has loads of great entrees to choose from, but this wouldn’t be a Redwall menu without the abbey’s famous Deeper ‘n Ever Turnip ‘n Tater ‘n Beetroot Pie! The ultimate in root veg goodness, this savory pie boasts buttery herb crust and hearty diced vegetable filling, with a flavor reminiscent of Thanksgiving stuffing. And like all recipes eaten by the mice and moles of Redwall, it’s naturally vegetarian…but I won’t fault you if you add some diced chicken to the mix! ;)

P.S. The recipe I use here is adapted from a recipe developed by Mary Jane Robbins of King Arthur Flour.

Deeper ‘n Ever Pie

“But you’d love the vittles, an’ there ain’t no better cook in all of Mossflower than Friar Wopple. She makes pies an’ soups, an’ pasties…an’ deeper ‘n ever turnip ‘n tater ‘n beetroot pie for the moles. Best food you ever tasted…”
— The Rogue Crew: A Tale of Redwall
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INGREDIENTS:

IMG_4341

Savory crust

Filling vegetables

  • 2 cups pearl onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup white turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup leeks with leaves cut off, diced (be sure to wash and drain them thoroughly before you chop them up–leeks are known to harbor lots of dirt between the layers)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (you can add up to 2 cups, but if you don’t like lots of celery in your stuffing, I’d go with 1 cup)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 2 to 3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Potato filling binder

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried chives
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 medium baking potatoes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Start by chopping up all your vegetables (except the potatoes—we’re going to bake those separately). I recommend starting with the white or green vegetables, then moving on to the colored ones. Save the beets for last and be careful to keep the juices on the cutting board. Beet juice loves to stain!
    IMG_4349
  2. Set your vegetables aside in a large bowl and preheat your oven to 400° (we’ll come back to them soon. I promise!).
  3. Now it’s time for the pie crust! In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp dried herbs. Using a pastry blender or the end of your whisk, mash the butter and cream cheese into the flour mix. It won’t blend exactly, but it will evenly incorporate throughout the mix. You’re done when the mix has a “texture like granola” (a very fitting description from the original recipe).

    IMG_4327

    For me, there’s something incredibly soothing about making pie crust. You can’t rush it, so it forces you to slow down. You just gotta stand at your counter, rhythmically pressing your tool down into the butter, gradually incorporating it through the whole mixture. I do some of my best thinking while making pie crust!

  4. Add your milk one tablespoon at a time and continue “blending” the dough with your whisk or pastry blender. You want to add just enough milk to make the dough dense and adhere easily to itself, not enough to make it wet or drippy.

    IMG_4331

    See how it’s beginning to stick to itself in clumps? That’s the texture you’re looking for.

  5. Gather all the dough together into a smoothish ball and flatten it out a little bit. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
    IMG_4336
  6. Now it’s time to roast the vegetables. Grab your big bowl of vegetables and pour in your olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper). Toss to coat.
  7. Line two baking sheets with tinfoil and pour half your vegetables into each pan, spreading them out until each pan is evenly covered. Slide the sheets in the oven.
  8. Remember those potatoes that we left all by their lonesome during our veg chopping session? Firmly poke each one six times with a fork and place them on the oven racks right next to your baking sheets.
    IMG_4358
  9. Let the vegetables bake for about 45 minutes (stirring them thoroughly every 15 minutes) or until you can slice straight through one of the denser vegetables with a fork. When they’re all done, take them out and set them on the stove, but also take your dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter to warm a little bit.
  10. Carefully peel the potatoes and mash them in a very large bowl. Add the eggs, 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp chives, 1 tsp thyme, and ½ tsp salt. Stir it all up until completely blended.
  11. Now add your other vegetables to the bowl 2 cups at a time, folding them into the potato mixture. Now your pie filling is all set!
    IMG_4376
  12. Lightly spray a 9” or 10” pie plate. When your dough is slightly softened and malleable, roll it out on a floured surface until it is 12-14” in diameter. Lay it gently into the pie plate. Pat the edges flat and trim around the outside so the dough doesn’t extend beyond the lip of the plate.

    IMG_4380

    Don’t press the dough into the bottom edges of the plate. This can make the dough thin out, causing uneven baking and shrinkage. Instead, gently lift the dough by the ends and let it drape into the bottom edges of the pie plate. Now your dough will be an even thickness throughout!

  13. Pour your filling into the pie plate and decorate the edge of your crust.

    IMG_4388

    I like to use a fork to decorate rustic pies with a simple design, but there are loads of ways to put a decorative edge on a pie crust.

  14. Place the pie in the oven (still at 400°) for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350° and bake for another 25-30 minutes. NOTE: Keep a keen eye on the edge of your crust for the last 10 minutes of baking. If the crust begins to over brown before the rest of the pie is finished, cover the crust with a layer of tinfoil for the remainder of the cook time.
  15. It’s all finished when the crust is golden brown and the top of the filling has started to crisp up.
    IMG_4389
  16. Serve it up warm to your favorite mole friends from Redwall! :)
    IMG_4426
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That’s right. Those are lightsaber candlesticks and a framed hobbit map…because I’m cool like that. ;)

Bea’s Book Nook recently published a post in which Bea lists 20 authors with the most books on her bookshelf. It got me curious about which authors had the biggest real estate claim on my bookcase, so I decided to check it out! My findings surprised me a bit…

#3: SHARON CHREECH (8 books)
I don’t read her stuff much these days, but Sharon Creech was my favorite author growing up. I love her lyrical style and quirky characters. In fact, her book The Wanderer made “Rosalie” my favorite name! I’m still determined to name my daughter this someday.

#2: C.S. LEWIS (10 books)
Of course, I love the Chronicles of Narnia, but Lewis is also my favorite Christian apologist. While some authors can make theology needlessly abstruse and dry, Lewis’ approach is accessible and interesting.

And the author with the most books on my bookshelf is * drumroll please *…

#1: AGATHA CHRISTIE (17 books, not counting short stories)
To anyone who knows me, this was the obvious winner. Agatha Christie is my hero. She dives right to the core of what makes human beings tick, and I always feel free to work my hardest to guess the killer (because I know I won’t be right). The Mister even took me to see a Christie play in Wheaton for my birthday last year!

Which authors have the most books on your bookshelf? Do any of them surprise you?

IMG_4308Happy September, folks! The heatwaves are behind us. My favorite season is finally here! There’s something about the combination of crisp air, orange leaves, and harvest activities that give fall a special place in my heart. And when it comes to books, nothing captures the essence of autumn like the Redwall series. Cozy, hearty, homemade dishes are the norm there, so I knew a Redwall menu would be the perfect way to kick off fall.

This week, we’re starting our menu with a favorite of the Redwall otters: Hotroot Soup! It’s a bit of a misnomer, since the root in question is actually hotroot pepper. The dish itself is seafood based, with shrimp, leeks, onions, and LOTS of hot sauce. Using my own variation of a Taste of Home recipe, I’ve recreated it here. Light but lively, it’s the perfect appetizer for our new menu! :)

Hotroot Soup

“Thrugg crept up from the kitchens. Sleep did not come easily to the burly otter, particularly with the knowledge that there was a huge pot of shrimp and bulrush soup, flavored with watercress and hotroot pepper, simmering gently on the embers of the kitchen fire. Thrugg could not resist until he had sampled it.”
— Salamandastron, a Redwall book

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INGREDIENTS:

IMG_4255

 

  • 3 tbsp canola oil (plus 1 tbsp for vegetables)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 celery stalks
  • half an onion
  • half a green pepper
  • 1 leek (white portion only)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 3 shakes of Tabasco
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 can of corn (you’ll want half the corn and all the liquid)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked shrimp (thawed, if originally frozen)
  • Makes 4-6 cups

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First, chop up all your vegetables. I left the leek as rings, but you can cut them however you like.
    IMG_4258
  2. Pour the 3 tbsp of canola oil in a soup pot set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the flour one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until completely incorporated.
  3. Cook the oil-flour mixture for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure to stir continuously to prevent the flour from clumping!

    It might look a little funky now, but the end result is going to be a wonderful, creamy broth!

    It might look a little funky now, but the end result is going to be a wonderful, creamy base. This step is actually the primary reason I chose this recipe. Most versions of hotroot soup use vegetable broth, which isn’t too flavorful unless you make it from scratch.

  4. Set the burner on low and add your celery, onion, green pepper, and leek. Add another tablespoon of oil. Stir it all up and let it cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions just start to become translucent. Then add your garlic and stir for 1 more minute.

    It smelled heavenly--just like stir fry!

    It smelled heavenly–just like stir fry!

  5. Time for spices! Add your Tabasco, black pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and parsley to the mix. Give it a quick stir.
  6. Now open your can of corn and dump in half the corn, plus all the liquid. Add your half cup of water as well.
  7. Cover the soup pot, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

    It's all set when it looks like this.

    It’s all set when it looks like this.

  8. Pour in your shrimp and let it cook for just a few more minutes, until it’s heated through.

    Ready for eating!

    Be careful not to cook the shrimp too long. Otherwise, it could start to fall apart and lose texture. You want it warm but still nice and firm, like the picture above.

  9. Garnish with cubes of mild Cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes.
  10. Serve while lunching with the Redwall otters! :)

    IMG_4281

    I love this soup so much! The corn and leeks make it subtly sweet, and the red pepper and Tabasco add a strong but pleasant kick. Considering I’m Queen of the Spice Wimps, that’s saying something!

I had so much fun making Rum-Soaked Ribs and Key Lime Coins for our Treasure Island menu! Alas, August is drawing to a close, so it’s time to end this Book of the Month. If you like, you can give Treasure Island a farewell toast with our exclusive Long John Island Tea at Adagio.com!

It’s time for a New Book of the Month that embraces the essence of autumn. Can you guess what it will be? Here’s a hint:

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