It’s Poll Day!

Last week’s poll got more votes than I anticipated, which felt really amazing!  So here’s next week’s poll!  I’m in a dessert mood, so let’s make that happen.  Happy voting!

Thursday Thoughts: E3 Edition

Thursday Thoughts: E3 Edition

With E3 slowly winding down and coming to a close I wanted to join the hundreds of people expressing their feelings on the turn out this year.  I know quite a few of my fellow gamer-bloggers have been live-blogging E3 this year.  I appreciate their stamina and insight, particularly because it allowed me to skip a lot of it due to other conflicts.  If you want a really good exploration of a lot of the showcases I highly recommend Adventure Rules.  His posts made me laugh and were pretty good at capturing the feel of the presentations.

Bethesda:  Let’s start with one I didn’t watch.  Thanks to Ian, my little brother, and my brother-in-law I got a pretty good idea of what happened.  It made me feel very lucky that I didn’t stay up for it… Nothing was announced that sparked my interest, including Skyrim for Switch, because, frankly, that guy stealing Link’s stuff was just weird to me.

Microsoft:  I don’t own an Xbox and I probably won’t ever own an Xbox.  But their overwhelming focus on something that’ll be difficult for people to afford utilizing technology hardly anyone can afford painted them into a serious corner.  So what if your console has 4K resolution?  Are you going to drop $500.00 on a new console only to play it on your TV that’s still 1080P?  In order for this truly to work you’ve got to spend the thousands on a new TV, and then buy the console, and then buy only the games that have 4K capability!  Am I impressed with the technology they presented?  Of course!  It’s a huge leap forward.  But do I honestly think it’s going to work out for them?  I think that’s an obvious no…  At least not right now.

Ubisoft:  I’m not an Assassin’s Creed fan.  I know the stories are pretty interesting, in general, but I think the gameplay is pretty boring.  I didn’t even like Black Flag despite the fact that you’re a pirate and pirate’s were in that year.  But an ancient Egyptian storyline has so much potential!  I think I’ll still feel the same way about the gameplay and, frankly, even with the coolest concepts Ubisoft hasn’t delivered on a storyline I care about.  But then there’s Mario + Rabbids.  It looked like a mixture of straight-up weird and cool.  I couldn’t tell what my feelings were on this one.  At first I pushed back, thinking it was something I would never play.  But the more I see of it, the more willing I am to give it a chance.  It’s a Mario game, after all.

EA:  Confession time: I love Star Wars.  When I went to my very first Comic Con and saw Dave Prowse I started crying because I was so overwhelmed.  He thought that was pretty cool and invited me and my family to dinner with him and Peter Mayhew.  Definitely worked out in my favor.  So when I see a newer and much, much better Battlefront coming, I get excited.  Nothing else really stood out, but Star Wars is always worth it for me.

PlayStation:  Every year my brother-in-law throws a PlayStation party where we gamers come together and watch the showcase.  This year we even had a game.  Each of us wrote down a list of games we thought they’d present and there was a point system and everything.  I don’t always play something other than Nintendo, but when I do, I play PlayStation (keep gaming, my friends), so I was pretty interested in what they’d be showing.  However, since I don’t play it very often, PlayStation would have to show something incredible to get me excited… But that didn’t happen.  I didn’t see anything that blew me away.  Even the new Uncharted, a series I actually love, didn’t appeal because I really don’t like Chloe!  What surprised me, though, was how little the people around me cared.  All the games we had guessed and games we were excited for weren’t discussed and the gameplay didn’t wow.  Though I admit, the zombear was pretty awesome.  Luckily they closed with Spider-man, which has some serious potential for making the Arkham fanbase happy.

Nintendo:  Now for the cream!  I don’t know what I was expecting from this but it wasn’t what we got.  Other than the weird voice-over for Xenoblade 2 (seriously, what was that?), they blew me away with their animation, titles, color, and excitement.  A new Pokemon RPG, a new Metroid, the Breath of the Wild DLC, a new Kirby, an amazing-looking Yoshi, followed up with Super Mario Odyssey.  It was like eye candy and happiness had a baby.  I’m so excited for nearly every single thing they announced and now I’m anxious for it all to get released!  I’m so excited for these games it feels like I’m a kid again.

So who, in my opinion, “won” E3?  I think that’s not really a fair question.  Everyone has different tastes, opinions, and ideas about what they want from their gaming experience.  I am a pretty exclusive Nintendo gamer so Microsoft (obviously) didn’t appeal to me and, while I enjoy PlayStation games and the stories they tell I wasn’t wowed by anything they brought to the table this year.  So it’s pretty fair to say Nintendo, with their colors, graphics, lack of mindless intro’s, and announcements of some new heavy hitters was my absolute favorite.  But it was last year, too, when the only thing they talked about was Breath of the Wild.  I think, based on preferences determined by a quick poll at my laboratory of all the serious gamers there, everyone got pretty excited about something someone was releasing.  Which means that, to me, E3 itself was the winner, bringing another year of excellent games to excellent platforms that appeal to a wide audience of gamers.

So what did you guys think?  Any games you’re super excited to play?

Creamy Heart Soup

Creamy Heart Soup

This recipe was hard.

There were several issues with it right from the get-go.  First: voltfruit, hydromelon, and that giant version of a radish don’t exist in the real world.  Second: The obvious substitutes, based on what the BotW equivalents look like, were a very strange assortment of flavors.  And third: Fruit soup is something I am not a fan of.  Ever.  So finagling a recipe utilizing fruit and a random vegetable was a major challenge to me.

This recipe morphed from an attempted appetizer to a definite dessert soup.  Apparently that’s a real thing – I checked.  Frankly, I didn’t go crazy for any of the combinations I tried, but, as mentioned earlier, I was pretty limited by the ingredients and by my prejudice against fruit soup.  To me it tasted like a melted smoothie until I finally found the right combination to change it to a pureed fruit salad.  Which, to me, is way better.  So is it decent enough?  Absolutely.  Is it something I’ll eat all the time?  Nope.  Was it worth experimenting?  Do you even have to ask?  Will you like it?  You’ll have to let me know!

Creamy Heart SoupCreamy Heart Soup Difficulty and Time Meter

We had to start with the substitutions.  Obviously hydromelon is watermelon.  They didn’t even attempt to change the name.  I made the gambit through all the milk varieties – milk, half and half, heavy cream – and finally landed on whipped cream.  Why?  Because fruit soup really needed some cream and the whipped kind tasted best.  If you need an easy whipped cream recipe check out my Hylian Wildberry Crepe post.  The last is voltfruit.  When I picked up my first voltfruit on Eventide Island a dragon fruit immediately came to mind – and the idea just stuck.  It looks just like it!  So that’s what we went with.

Creamy Heart Soup Ingredients

We start with dicing our watermelon into large cubes, dicing our radish into small cubes, and scooping the fruit from the dragon fruit.  It was actually incredibly easy.  Watermelon is cut into slices, the rind is removed in pieces, and then you can easily cut through the delicious insides.  The dragon fruit is cut right down the center and the edible portion is easily removed with a spoon.  And the radish is diced like, well, everything else.

Add all the ingredients to your blender in this order.  Based on your blender there may be a particular order you should add things in.  For my blender it was: dragon fruit, watermelon, radish, sugar, and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth, stop and add the whipped cream, and then blend until well-mixed.

Creamy_Heart_Soup_06

Once it’s all ready add the mint leaf and stir it around for 30 seconds to a minute.  You don’t need to go crazy – that fresh, minty flavor will be there without any additional mashing or dicing.  Remove the mint and chill the soup thoroughly, at least one hour.  I promise it will not taste as good warm.

Now for the confession.  You know the nicely made fruit balls that look like they float so well in the photo?  Yeah… they didn’t float at all.  The minute I tried to gently place them in they sank to the bottom like a rock.  So it took some serious maneuvering and MacGyver-ing to get the photo to look sort of like the Breath of the Wild photo.  Hey, that’s the price of a photo!  But what does it mean for you?  Well, you won’t be able to present the soup the way I did.  Unless you want to serve it to your guests with a few lids and coins in the center to keep the fruit from sinking…  So whether you want to include fruit balls or not is totally your call.  My recommendation: skip it entirely.  This soup doesn’t need any more fruit.

Gif of Making Watermelon Balls

If you do choose to add fruit simply take either a melon baller or, if you don’t have one (like me!) then use a round teaspoon and gently cut a circular shape from a slice of fruit.  It’s not that hard – I promise!  Garnish however you choose and enjoy slurping your dessert!

Creamy Heart soup final

Link’s Creamy Heart Soup recipe:

    • Any radish
    • Hydromelon
    • Voltfruit
    • Fresh Milk

Creamy Heart Soup

  • Servings: 4 small, 2 large
  • Time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour to chill
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Creamy Heart Soup with Watermelon and Dragonfruit from Breath of the Wild


Soup

  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium dragonfruit
  • 1 tsp radish, diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 mint leaf

Garnish Ingredients

  • 12 small watermelon balls
  • 8 small dragonfruit balls
  • 4 radish slices, cut into hearts

Directions

  1. Dice the watermelon into large chunks
  2. Dice the radish into small pieces
  3. Slice the dragonfruit in half and scoop out the edible fruit
  4. Add all ingredients to a blender in this order: dragonfruit, watermelon, radish, lemon juice, sugar
  5. Blend until smooth
  6. Stop the blender, add the whipped cream, and blend until thoroughly mixed
  7. Pour the soup into a bowl and add the mint leaf. Stir and mix for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the mint flavor is infused in the soup. Remove the leaf.
  8. Chill the soup for at least 1 hour.
  9. Using a melon baller or teaspoon remove fruit balls from watermelon and dragon fruit.
  10. Slice and shape radish into hearts.
  11. Garnish the chilled soup with fruit and radish hearts and serve.

Let’s Change Poll Day to Monday

So remember how not even a week ago I said we should make Wednesday’s poll days?  Well I’ve changed my mind.  I think I’m going to need more than 2 days to prep for these recipes.  So without further ado, here is the poll for next Tuesday’s recipe!

The Completionist’s Dilemma

The Completionist’s Dilemma
Warning- this post may contain a few minor spoilers for completionists

I’ve always been a completionist when I play Zelda.  I complete every side quest, open every chest, get the highest possible tier in every game, collect every item, explore literally every nook and cranny, and, up to this point, cut every blade of grass and pick up every single rock.  I love the feeling of mastering a game, of knowing it inside and out, and of feeling like I gave it everything I have.  So when I started playing Breath of the Wild there was never any question of whether I would collect all the Korok seeds, explore every area thoroughly, and complete as many missions as they threw at me.

I started with a game plan: I would explore every new tower area completely and 100% before I unlocked the next area.  It was the only way to ensure that I didn’t miss anything.  I block off the new area before I activate the tower and then I start exploring.  Literally every single square foot is explored before I move on to the next tower.  I slowly move my boundary inward until I have seen all the amazing, incredible landscape and admired every lovingly-rendered scene.  If I see anything suspicious that I haven’t figured out yet, I stamp it and come back to it once I’ve had time to figure it out.

File_000

It’s been a fantastic way to see everything.  I have definitely gotten hours of excitement and enjoyment from this game I would have missed if I had focused on the story alone.  It’s nice to be the one my little brother questions when he can’t find a shrine and it’s fun to feel like I gave the developers the exploration they were intending.

But sometimes it’s a struggle.  When I climb yet another craggy peak at Death Mountain it can get boring and tedious.  When I run across yet another empty field, zig-zagging until the entire thing has been viewed I wonder what I’m doing with my life.  And when I accidentally notice how many hours I’ve played and I’ve barely finished half the map I worry about my life choices.  Sometimes I worry that, by choosing to play the game this way, I’m losing all the spontaneity and pure excitement that comes from random exploration.  And, frankly, sometimes I worry that people are judging me for not spending my time the way they think I should.

File_002

So there’s the dilemma… What I am doing vs. what I feel I should be doing vs. what other people do.  It’s been hard.  Sometimes I don’t want to keep playing because Hyrule field took forever to explore and there was literally nothing there.  And sometimes I get bored climbing and climbing and waiting in the rain to do yet more climbing just to get to the top of spires that don’t contain a single item.  But when I find something all the spark and energy come flowing back.  It’s rewarding to find a Korok seed in some random area I never would have explored.  It’s awesome to be obsessed with killing every Lynel only to find out there’s a medal for doing so.  It’s breathtaking to find a view you never would have seen unless you were in the right place at the right time.

And you know what – it doesn’t matter what people think and how other people play the game.  This is your game and your experience.  Don’t let anyone take that away from you!  They can keep their judgy comments to themselves  because this brings you joy and life is about having joy.  However you choose to play the game, just do it!  Because Zelda is about adventure and someone else’s adventure should never take away your adventure.

So has it been worthwhile to become a 100% completionist for Breath of the Wild.  You bet.  I wouldn’t change this experience for the anything.

So how about the rest of you?  Are there any completionists out there pushing for 100% like me?  Have you been working a different strategy to make sure you get every piece of awesome you can?

 

Wednesday’s Are Now Poll Days

Let’s be honest with each other.  After I posted my first recipe I had no idea which one to tackle next.  I knew crepes were first and that was it.  The next recipe was the result of a conversation that went like this:

“Here is a list of 8 ideas I could make next, [insert husbands name here].  Which should I do?”

“Ummmm… the Mushroom Risotto looks good.  Do that one”

“Okay.  But that’s the hardest on this arbitrarily determined list… I guess we can work with that”

But my very good friend Ishto (his reddit handle.  Is that what it’s called?  A handle?) posted my last recipe to reddit and I GOT A REQUEST!! It made me very, very happy.  But it also made me decide that hey, why don’t you, the *cross my fingers* loyal readers get a say in what I make next?  So Wednesday’s are now poll days.  I’ll list 4 new recipe options that I feel like making for the next post, it’ll be open for 1 day, and you get to decide what I make.  I’ll make the poll available on twitter as well as here on this blog.  The winner will be the next recipe on Tuesday!  Sound good?  I think so.

However, this week’s option has already been decided by Arealtossup.  He commented on reddit that he would love to see Creamy Heart Soup.  So I’m going to make it for him… somehow…  (I know I also got a request from bobpuller but sorry, bobpuller, monster cake is definitely going to be a Halloween special!).  But I still thought, hey, we should do a poll to start us off.  So feel free to take it and lets find out which letter of the alphabet (or number, if you’re one those people who think multiple choice questions are numeric) people like the most.  I’m sure we can tell a lot about your personality by your letter choice…

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

I tried making risotto once.  It did not turn out.  So why did I decide to tackle something that was this intimidating this early on?  Come on, guys.  It’s obvious.  I’m a gamer and gamer’s do not give up and do not take the easy road when it comes to conquering a difficult challenge.  How many of you have come across a puzzle that was difficult and said to yourself “Nah.  It’s too hard.  I’ll just pretend like this side quest doesn’t exist and that’ll be just fine”?  The answer is none of you.  Guys, we are the ones who stick with it to the end.  The completionists.  The puzzle-solving-it’s-2-AM-because-once-more-will-do-the-trick kind of people.  And that’s why I attempted this terrifying food so early on.  Why not chalk up the win from the get-go?  And with this recipe I found it was definitely worth it.

Mushroom RisottoDifficulty and Time for this recipe

A few pointers before we begin:

  • Risotto should never be made in a regular pan.  A heavy-bottom pot or enameled cast-iron pan are really the best.  They keep a hot temperature that isn’t easily changed by adding liquids.
  • I cannot say this strongly enough: once you start stirring your rice you can. not. stop.  If you stop the rice will burn to the bottom, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!
  • You must use Italian rice.  It has a special type of starch that allows the rice to stick together, unlike any other kind of rice.  The best (according to one author) are: Arborio, Vialone Nano, and Carnaroli.  I use Arborio, myself
  • Musrooms are versatile but you definitely want some with flavor.  I used portobellini’s for this recipe but other options could be portabella’s, porcini, or shiitakes.

Ingredients for Mushroom Risotto

Now that the rules are over with, we start with the prep work.  Once you start cooking your Risotto you can’t, and I do mean that (see warning above), stop stirring it.  So keep everything nice and handy and ready to throw in the pot.  Start with getting your diluted vegetable  broth simmering.  It needs to stay at a slow simmer the entire time you make your risotto.  Then fine dice onion, large dice mushrooms and get them soaking, grate Parmesan cheese, cut 2 tablespoons butter and separate into 1 tablespoon pats, measure out your vegetable oil, and ready your salt and pepper.

Adding the Rice to the potHeat up your nice, heavy pan and add the oil and butter.  Cook the onion until it’s nice and tender and get ready for the fun/exciting/scary/hot part: the rice.

Add all the rice, stir it around until every grain is coated in the butter mixture, and start adding your broth 1/2 cup at a time.  I found that using a ladle was perfect for this.  It was easy to keep in my left hand while my right stirred like crazy to keep the risotto from sticking.  I made sure my set up was broth on the left, risotto on the right.  But feel free to switch it up!  We don’t discriminate against lefty’s here.

The broth and risotto set up

Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan until all the liquid has been absorbed and then add a second ladleful of broth.  Keep stirring and keep repeating until it’s been 10 minutes.  At this point, when you would add more broth, instead add the mushrooms and soak water.  When that liquid is evaporated and absorbed add more broth.  Continue until the rice is tender but still has a bite.  Some like it crunchy in the center.  Mine was definitely not crunchy but you don’t want it soft.  It’ll go mushy if your rice isn’t still al dente.

Adding butter and Parmesan cheese to the risotto

Add Parmesan cheese because it’s delicious, correct for salt and pepper, and enjoy while it’s hot!

Close texture of risotto

Link’s Mushroom Risotto recipe:

    • Hylian Rice
    • Goat Butter
    • Rock Salt
    • Any Mushroom

Mushroom Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 minutes, 18-25 minutes to cook
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan cheese from Breath of the Wild



Adapted from Essentials of Italina Cooking by Marcella Hazan

ingredients

  • 5 total cups diluted vegetable broth, 2.5 cups broth + 2.5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons onion, diced very fine
  • 2 cups Arborio rice (or other Italian rice-see note above)
  • 3 ounces Portabellini mushrooms (or other mushrooms-see note above), diced, soaking in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Bring broth to a very slow, steady simmer on a burner near where you’ll be cooking the risotto.
  2. Heat your heavy-bottom pan on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and the vegetable oil.
  3. When the butter is melted add the onion and cook until it becomes translucent.
  4. Add all the rice and stir quickly and thoroughly until the grains are well coated.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and cook the rice, stirring constantly with a long wooden spoon or spatula until the liquid is gone. Make sure you wipe all the sides and bottom of the pan clean as you stir. You must never stop stirring and you must wipe the pot completely clean frequently or the rice will stick.
  6. When there is no more liquid in the pot, add another 1/2 cup of broth and stir as described in step 5. Continue to add broth and stir in this manner.
  7. When the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and water. Continue to stir until there is no more liquid.
  8. Finish cooking the rice with broth, or, if you have no more broth, with water. Cook the rice until it is tender, but firm to the bite, with no more liquid remaining in the pot. This will take anywhere from 18-25 minutes total.
  9. Off heat, add a few grindings of pepper, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and all the Parmesan cheese. Stir thoroughly until the cheese melts and clings to the rice. Taste and correct for salt. Transfer to a platter and serve promptly with additional grated cheese on the table.