Riskian cheese pastry

When renegades steal your ship and you misplace your saddle, you can at least be comforted by the notion of these Riskian cheese pastries (TNG: Starship Mine). These cheese pastries were part of a spread put on by the notorious Commander Hutchinson (“call me Hutch”), which all Starfleet officers tried to avoid - except Commander Data. While I can’t comment on Hutch’s hosting abilities, if these cheese pastries are anything to go by, he knew how to put on a good spread!

These cheese puffs are well known, of course - but they are simple to make and make an impressive starter to a dinner, or dish on a larger buffet. It’s impossible to stop at one. I used a combination of cheddar and parmesan cheeses, but really, any hard cheese will do. Experiment to find your favourites!

Replicate your own
(Based on this recipe - makes about 20 cheese puffs)

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Keiko vs Miles pt 2: Plankton loaf, kelp buds, sea berries

After last week’s corned beef hash (beloved by Miles O’Brien), let’s move on to Keiko’s breakfast. As she says to Miles, she ate this almost every day growing up (TNG: The Wounded). We are of course talking about plankton loaf, kelp buds and sea berries.

I’ve taken some liberties with this one, trying to match the look of the dish as the starting point. The plankton loaf is basically a savoury mochi, with a filling of small shrimp and other flavourings (and I acknowledge that this is definitely the easy/cheat’s way to make mochi!). The plate is garnished with various pickles, including pickled ginger. As for the verdict: delicious! But I’m not sure I’d want it every day for breakfast - although, while I love corned beef hash, I don’t know if I could cope with that every day for breakfast either. 

So overall, I definitely enjoyed both of these breakfasts, but wouldn’t want them every day. Keiko’s was certainly different to what I normally have for breakfast but very tasty nonetheless. 

Replicate your own 
(Serves 2 - makes about 5-6 large mochi)

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Vermicula (whitebait soup)

I know that sometimes travelling to important conferences can be hard work and very tiring. So why not take a leaf out of the Anteadeans’ book and travel in a catatonic state, and arrive at your destination refreshed?! After awakening, the Anteadeans eat huge amounts of Vermicula, to revive them and provide nourishment - not to mention grossing out the crew of the Enterprise in the process (Next Generation: Manhunt).

In my opinion you could do far worse than consume this soup in great quantities. It is light, tasty and refreshing - and may have the similar effect of horrifying your dining companions. While whitebait are generally battered and fried, they were very nice in this soup, and only took a few minutes to cook. You could substitute another small fish (or even pieces of a larger fish) if you can’t find any whitebait.

Replicate your own
(Serves 2 for a main meal)

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Thalian chocolate mousse

Hearing Ensign Wesley Crusher describe Thalian chocolate mousse (The Next Generation: The Dauphin) definitely makes me want to try it. Cocoa beans which have been aged for 400 years?! This really sounds like it would make good chocolate mousse. No wonder this was the dish Wesley chose to impress Salia, the new leader of her planet travelling to her destination.

While there’s lots of shapeshifting (including a quick appearance by Shelly from Twin Peaks!) and other adventures going on in this episode, I have always wondered about this chocolate mousse, and was keen to try it. The resulting recipe did not disappoint: it’s quite rich, chocolate-y, and quite light. The perfect combination with which to impress new leaders!

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Replicate your own
(Makes 6 individual servings)

250g dark cooking chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
25g butter, at room temperature, chopped into a few pieces
300ml cream
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Generous pinch of salt

For the optional topping:
4-5 tablespoons dessicated coconut
6 packets of pop rocks (one for each mousse)

Start by melting the chocolate. You can do this either in the microwave, in short 20 second bursts, stirring each time; or via the double boiler method on the stove. To do this, place a saucepan of boiling water on the stove, and place a second saucepan or glass bowl over the top. Stir while the chocolate melts. With either method, ensure that no water comes into contact with the chocolate as this can cause it to seize.

Once the chocolate is fully melted, stir in the butter. This may cause your chocolate to look like it is starting to seize and it may come together into a lump. Don’t panic!

Stir in the cream bit by bit, mixing as you go, and your chocolate should revert to its smooth liquid state. Next add the egg yolks and stir to combine, and sprinkle in the salt.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar, and continue whipping until you have firm peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula. You want to keep in as much air as possible. Be gentle but make sure that the egg whites are completely mixed in.

Spoon your mousse into individual serving glasses or bowls and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve the mousse, make the topping (which is optional, but awesome): Mix together the dessicated coconut and the pop rocks in a small bowl, then spoon onto the top of the mousse. You need to do this once the mousse is set otherwise the pop rocks will dissolve into the mousse.

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You will end up with a deliciously rich and smooth dessert, with a topping which is literally out of this world! Certainly something for young ensigns to impress passing young leaders with!

'Owon (eggs)

So far, we’ve covered some drinks, lots of main courses, canapes and a few sweets. However, there hasn’t been much you’d want to eat for breakfast (except if you’re like me and would happily have hasperat for breakfast). All this is about to change. This dish is perfect for breakfast!

The eggs in this dish are from the 'Owon. Riker purchased them while on a Starbase, and hoped to impress the crew with his eye for strange ingredients and his wonderful cooking skills (The Next Generation: Time Squared). Unfortunately, the eggs proved inedible to everyone but Worf. I hope to provide a version which is slightly more palatable to a Human audience…

I thought about various unusual eggs and decided to use an emu egg for this dish. A single emu egg is about the same as 10-12 chicken eggs, so it can certainly feed the entire senior staff of the Enterprise. Emu eggs are also much prettier than chicken’s eggs, with a green textured surface:

You can get emu eggs from some farmer’s markets or emu breeders at certain times of the year. You can, of course, substitute chicken eggs to get a perfectly acceptable dish of scrambled eggs.

The emu egg is creamier and fluffier than a chicken egg, but apart from that, your eggs will turn out pretty much the same. And remember, a cook is only as good as his (or her) ingredients.

Replicate your own
(Serves 4)

1 emu egg (or 10-12 chicken eggs)
Butter
Parsley, chopped, to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

You will need a large frying pan or wok to cook the egg in.

Break open your emu egg into a large bowl. The shell is very thick, and I found the easiest way was to saw it open with a bread knife. Break the yolk using a knife or fork, then gently whisk the egg with a fork or whisk until it is yellow and frothy.

Heat a large frying pan or wok. Add the butter and let it melt. Swirl it around until the pan is covered in the butter. When the butter starts to bubble, add the egg. Leave it on a high heat for about 1 minute, then turn the heat down to low. Pull the egg gently around the pan, taking care to remove any egg that might be sticking to the base. Continue to move it around until the egg is cooked and there is no runny egg yet.

Remove from the pan immediately (so that it doesn’t continue to cook and get rubbery) and sprinkle on some chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve to your favourite bridge crew. 

Notes:

  • As an emu egg is quite creamy on its own, I did not add any cream or milk when making these eggs. If you’re using chicken eggs, you might want to add a dash of cream or milk.
Hasperat

Now we’re talking classic Star Trek cooking. Hasperat is, of course, that well-known Bajoran dish which is said to be spicy enough to make your eyes water. It is mentioned several times in both Next Generation and Deep Space Nine and seems to be a loved Bajoran dish. Apparently the key to strong hasperat is the brine it is pickled in before serving.

You’ll see lots of versions of hasperat online - it is one of the easier Star Trek recipes to replicate as it is essentially vegetables rolled up in a tortilla. However, most of them derive their spiciness from the addition of hot sauce or fresh chilies - not a brine. I wanted to make a brined version to experience the full eye-watering potential of the hasperat. This means you need to start a week in advance of when you want to serve it, but I think the results make it worth the effort. 

(Read more about hasperat at Memory Alpha)

Replicate your own
(Makes 1/4 pickled cabbage, which is enough for about 6-8 wraps)

You will need to start a week in advance.

1/4 white cabbage
1 litre water
250ml vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
125g salt
3-4 hot chillies to taste, chopped fine (depends on how spicy you want it)
Juice of one lemon

Start by preparing the brine. Add the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a saucepan, and heat until boiling. Stir until the salt is dissolved and add the chiles and lemon juice. Leave to cool.

While the brine is cooling, prepare the cabbage. Remove the heart or woody stick of the cabbage, and pull the leaves apart, leaving them whole if possible. Leaving them whole will make it easier to layer them in the tortilla at the end.

Place the brine in a bowl or jar in which the cabbage leaves will fit, and add the cabbage, making sure all leaves are completely submerged in the brine. You might need to put a small plate or saucer over the cabbage to ensure it stays fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 days, up to 7 or 8 days. After 4 days, taste the cabbage. If it is not strong enough, return it to the brine. Keep tasting it until it is at your desired level of spiciness and pickled-ness.

To assemble the hasperat
6-8 flour tortillas (buy some or make your own - recipe below)
The completed pickled cabbage leaves
Baby spinach leaves
Any other additions of your choice - suggestions: shredded carrot, more chillies, avocado, capsicum.

Lay the tortilla out flat. Add a layer of baby spinach leaves on the tortilla. Take a leaf or two of the pickled cabbage and lay them flat on top of the spinach. Add any other vegetables or toppings you wish, and then roll the tortilla up by folding in the sides and rolling it up. Cut it into two pieces and experience the true tongue-searing goodness of hasperat.

Flour tortilla recipe
(Makes 6-8 tortillas)

2 cups plain flour
1 pinch of salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water

Combine the flour and the salt, and then mix in the oil. You may need to rub the flour between your hands until the oil is integrated and the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the boiling water a little bit at a time, stirring each time, until a rough ball is formed.

When the dough has come together into a ball (you may not have needed all the water), move it to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is soft and elastic.

Put the dough back in its bowl and cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6-8 balls and roll out on a floured surface until they are fairly thin (you could also use a tortilla press or similar).

Cook them one at a time in a heavy frying pan (you do not need to add any oil or butter to the frying pan). When the top starts to bubble, flip the tortilla over and cook the other side.

As each tortilla is cooked, remove it to a plate and make a stack of them. These can be covered with a clean tea towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Notes

  • The brine used for the cabbage can be used to pickle any vegetables of your choice, and you can also add whatever spices you like to flavour it
  • If your cabbage is too salty after being in the brine, soak it for a couple of hours in cold water
  • The flour tortillas could also be made using butter instead of the vegetable oil if you prefer
Klingon Octopus

I must admit I’m both intimidated and super excited about Klingon food. Much of it is quite confronting but I think it also has the potential to be delicious. Today’s recipe definitely falls under the scary-looking but delicious category!

It is worth noting that while this dish is shown on screen (in TNG: Genesis - an episode directed by none other than Gates McFadden), it is never identified by name. So while it’s been called a Klingon octopus, it could be a different type of Klingon sea creature (you can read more about it on Memory Alpha here).

Octopus needs to either be cooked for a very short or very long time - it is rubbery in the middle. For this recipe, I felt that cooking it on a low temperature was a better option for the large pieces of octopus. Warning: eating this dish may lead to the first stages of genetic de-evolution!

Replicate your own
(Serves 2 for a main course)

1kg octopus, chopped into large pieces
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Capers
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup pearl couscous
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
Olive oil for cooking

Chop the onions and garlic and sautee in olive oil until soft. Add the white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capers and bring to the boil. When boiling, add the octopus pieces, and turn down the heat and cover. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the octopus is soft and can be pierced with a fork.

When the octopus is cooked, remove from the saucepan and bring the sauce to the boil. Add the pearl couscous and stir until it is cooked, about 5 minutes. Serve in an appropriate Klingon style with lettuce or salad greens. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top for a garnish. Hope that Reg Barclay is not nearby.

Notes:

  • This recipe is definitely better with large pieces of octopus, but in a pinch you could use small octopuses instead
  • Standard couscous could replace the pearl couscous if you prefer