Colin Thomas joins RPG Buffet regulars Mags, Steve, Louis, and John to talk about Hex Games' QAGS and a little other game talk. The mentioned 4-hour actual play will be additional content coming up, not something in the actual feed. So keep an eye out, and we'll let you know when it's available!
In January, the RPG Buffet did one of their favorite meals: breakfast for supper! In a twist, Mags decided to provide the fixin's for Bloody Marys. Bloody Mary bars are becoming popular in area restaurants, and for folks hosting breakfasts and brunches in their homes, so consider having one of your own.
Building Your Own Bloody Mary Bar
First, get a good vodka. There are some top shelf vodka producers like Tito’s Handmade (Texas) and 13th Colony (Georgia). You can also kick things up a notch by infusing your vodka. Lemons and limes add a citrus-y kick while fresh jalapenos lend heat. In general, most infusions take less than a week for the flavors to develop, although more creative blends (such as bacon-infused vodka) will take more time. In a pinch, you can buy vodka already infused--Mags recommends Absolut's Pepper vodka.
Of course, you want a good quality tomato juice, since this is the base for your Bloody Mary. Mags likes V-8, for its fuller flavor. V-8 also offers a hot and spicy version, for people who really want heat in their Bloody Marys. And many folks like some orange juice and bitters mixed in.
Other things to consider having at your Bloody Mary bar:
Red wine vinegar
Celery salt (can also be used to rim the glass)
Black pepper (some people like to rim the glass with a mix of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
Clamato (for "Clammy Mary")
Old Bay Seasoning (something else to rim the glasses with)
Pickled green beans
Pickled baby carrots
Boiled shrimp (for garnishing a "Clammy Mary")
Lime and lemon wedges
Olives, a variety of stuffed and pitted
Bacon (strips, or crumbled)
Beef jerky or pepperroni sticks
As you can see, you can get as simple or elaborate as you like. For a simple Bloody Mary bar, just have on hand some chilled vodka, a good pre-mixed Bloody Mary mix (also chilled), and three or four add-ins (such as tabasco sauce, lemon wedges, celery stalks, and beef jerky). Your guests will have a great time. Don't forget plenty of ice!
Here's the ingredients for Mags's favorite Bloody Mary:
5 oz. good tomato juice
1 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco
1-2 drops Angostora bitters
Freshly ground black pepper or 1 piquin chile, crushed
Pinch of sea salt
3 oz. 90 proof or better tequila
2 celery sticks with some leaves, trimmed to fit glasses (optional)
February was Black History Month in the US, and Mags's has long threatened to cook Soul Food for the Buffet. Instead of hitting them with chitlins, Mags presented a supper of favorite dishes originating from Africa:
Chicken & Groundnut stew
5- to 6-pound chicken, cut and chopped into 12 or more pieces
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
5 medium-sized firm ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped and puréed with a food mill
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dried ground shrimp
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon finely grated ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground hot red pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
6 cups boiling water
1/4 cup coarsely crumbled dried anchovies, (available in Asian markets)
2 whole fresh hot chillies, each about 3 inches long
1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup cold water beaten to a smooth paste
12 large fresh okra, washed and stemmed, or 12 frozen okra
6 hard-cooked eggs
Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels. Combine the salt and ground ginger, and rub the mixture evenly over each piece of chicken. In a heavy 5- to 6-quart casserole, heat the oil over moderate heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Brown the chicken in the hot oil, 3 or 4 pieces at a time, turning the pieces frequently with tongs and regulating the heat so they colour richly and evenly without burning. As they brown, transfer the pieces to a plate. Discard all but about 1/4 cup of the oil remaining in the pan and drop in the chopped onions. Stirring frequently and scraping the browned particles from the bottom of the pan, cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add the puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, ground shrimp, garlic, ginger root, red pepper and white pepper. Raise the heat to high and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly, pour in the boiling water in a thin stream and add the dried anchovies and the whole chillies. Return the chicken and any liquid accumulated around it to the casserole, and turn the pieces with a spoon until they are evenly coated. Cook uncovered over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter paste and the okra, and continue cooking uncovered until the chicken is tender and the dark meat shows no resistance when pierced with the point of a small, sharp knife. Add the hard-cooked eggs and simmer 4 or 5 minutes or until the eggs are heated through. Serve the stew at once, directly from the casserole or mounded attractively in a heated bowl or deep platter, accompanied by as many garnishes as you like.
Garnishes can be 1/2 cup finely chopped onions; 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple; ½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts; spiced okra; avocado salad with ginger; fried plantain cubes, diced ripe papaya or diced tomato salad.
Fufu (from whats4eats.com)
4 to 6 servings
White yams -- 2 pounds
Butter -- 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper -- to taste
Place the unpeeled yams in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 15 to 30 minutes, or until the yams are cooked through and tender. Drain and let cool somewhat. Peel the yams, chop them into large pieces and place them into a large bowl with the butter, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until very smooth. Alternatively, put the yams through a potato ricer and then mix with the butter, salt and pepper. Place the fufu into a large serving bowl. Wet your hands with water, form into a large ball and serve.
To eat fufu, pull a small ball of mush off with your fingers, form an indentation with your thumb and use it to scoop up stews and other dishes. Or place large balls in individual serving bowls and spoon stew around them.
Ethiopian greens (from Betumi.com)
1 lb. Green Kale, chopped fine
1 Medium Onion, finely minced
1/2-1 tsp. Garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp. Tumeric
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Jalapeno Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Water
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1) Saute onion in oil until clear.
2) Add garlic and spices.
3) Cook 3 minutes.
4) Add chopped kale.
5) Add water.
6) Cover and cook kale until tender (about 30 min.)
7) Add jalapenos and cook for 5 min. on low heat.
8) Add more salt to taste (serves 6).
Pineapple, Ginger, and Chili Salad
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
25 g (1 oz) fresh root ginger, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
1/2 a cucumber, cut into same size chunks as the pineapple
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Mix together all the ingredients and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Serves 4.
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Hex Games (QAGS)