By Quentin H. / March 18th, 2022
“Friends are the family you choose.”
It is incredibly lonely living far away from everyone I know while here in California. My friends have been here for me since I moved to California in May 2021, even though I rarely get to see them anymore. This has been especially true since things with my now-ex fell apart and I found myself appreciating them and relying upon them more and more. Surprisingly, so many of them have been popping up over this past week all at once in so many different contexts.
It’s an overnight conversation with my best friend about our lives, even though we realized that we have little in common now except for our shared history. It’s about my former coworkers talking about us getting together in person. It’s college friends who were putting together an online March Madness bracket. It’s a close friend from high school who bought and shipped me a device to help me make hard-boiled eggs after she saw how much I struggled with making them in a prior week’s recipe. It’s a friend who is talking about an engagement and who wants me there for the wedding. It’s a woman who is living her best single life even though she got food poisoning during the past few days. It’s a person who I get excited to share my dishes with in-person. It’s a man who is on a never-ending hunt for a handheld gaming console that plays everything he wants without an issue. It’s someone who is excited about her new job and Aaron Rodgers being signing back onto the Packers, and who was sharing her new life plans as a result with me. And finally, it’s a potential new friend who opened up to me, a stranger, about why her long-term relationship fell apart and how she is coping with it while listening to me in turn.
All of these people make me feel so loved, trusted, and cared for. They make me feel like I’m not as alone as I could otherwise feel- because it would be so easy to isolate myself from everyone out there and just play video games or read books or watch television all of the time and withdraw from the world. This feeling of love (as it is shown in different ways by each person) is so, so precious to me, and it makes me feel like things will be okay in some fashion for me long term.
After all, I have a family of my own choosing to support me with Love, Eorzean Style, and what can be better than that?
If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.
Recipe of the Week
This week’s Cooking Eorzea recipe is the ‘Medium’ difficulty Sandwich Basket. This recipe, the 19th one in The Official FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook, comes from the Norvrandt region from the Shadowbringers expansion. The Sandwich Basket constitutes three different types of sandwiches – egg salad, lettuce, and roast beef and horseradish – that are assembled together in a basket.
Here is what the final dish is supposed to look like:
Featured Ingredient of the Week
Cooking Eorzea‘s Featured Ingredient of the Week for this week is roast beef. Roast beef is a meat that originates in England and it is sliced beef that is subsequently roasted. The type of roast beef I got from Wal~Mart’s deli department was preseasoned and I was able to get them to slice it fresh for me.
Personally, I love roast beef and so I was excited to see how this ingredient would work out in this week’s sandwich recipes!
My Cooking Attempt
This week’s Cooking Eorzea recipe involves me making three different types of sandwiches. I placed all of the ingredients together in a single photograph here:
Egg Salad Sandwich
The first sandwich I made for my basket was the Egg Salad Sandwich!
The first thing I did was to slice the scallions into thin-ish pieces and then I set the pieces aside.
After my repeated failure at hard-boiling eggs (I know, I know) a few weeks ago, a close friend of mine bought me a hard-boiling egg device as a gift. Luckily, it arrived a few days before I had to hard-boil eggs once more for this column! So, I opened the box, cleaned the device, and then placed the eggs and water into the device and turned it on.
While the eggs were hard-boiling, I sliced the crusts off of several pieces of white bread. I ended up having to get a couple extra pieces of bread to work with as I accidentally sliced off too much crust/bread.
As the eggs got a bit closer to being finished, I broke out a bag to make an ice bath to dunk the eggs in once they finished hard-boiling. However, the bag of ice was frozen solid and so I ended up having to whack it on the counter repeatedly to get it to somewhat break up so I could pour it into my bowl. As you can tell from the photograph, I basically poured out large ice chunks that I then topped with water.
The hard-boiled eggs finished cooking, and so I pulled them out one-by-one, ran them under cool water, and the dropped them into the ice bath. The eggs were hot! I regretted pulling them out by hand, but I didn’t exactly have a backup plan of what to do.
After waiting another 10 minutes, I pulled one egg out and gingerly started to deshell it…and it worked! I made a hard-boiled egg with only one attempt!
I then finely chopped all of the hardboiled eggs after I tossed the shells.
I placed the chopped hard-boiled eggs, the sliced scallions, and the Japanese mayo into a bowl and mixed it all together with some salt and pepper added in for seasoning.
I then carefully ladled the egg salad out onto three pieces of bread before adding a second slice on top of each one.
I wrapped each sandwich up tightly in plastic wrap afterwards, and I did my best to made sure to keep the sandwich intact as I did so.
Once all three sandwiches were wrapped up, I placed them all on a plate and placed them in the fridge to chill for a while as I turned my attention to the next sandwich I had to make.
The first thing I did for this second sandwich was to peel and pit the avocado. It turned out to be a lot easier than I expected it to be, and I ended up just breaking the avocado away from the pit and placing the edible parts in a bowl that I then mashed up.
I added in a bit of salt, blended it together, and then set it aside temporarily.
I sliced out two thick slices from the tomato and covered them both in salt on both sides.
I set both slices aside on a paper towel, so the salt had the necessary time to soak up as much moisture as possible from the tomato slices. After a while, I made sure to flip the tomatoes so that both sides rested on the paper towel.
While the tomato slices were resting, I sliced off the crusts of more white bread slices. This time, I didn’t need any extra pieces to fix a screw up!
At this point, I decided that the tomatoes were ‘done’ and so I tried to scrape as much salt as possible off each slice. The salt had actually absorbed enough water that the salt was congealing into a mess on each tomato slice, and I ended up continually trying to scrape salt off of slices repeatedly throughout the rest of this sandwich being made. I could see that I wasn’t going to be successful, however, and so I feared that I would end up with a very salty sandwich.
I then laid out all the necessary sandwich making ingredients on the counter for me to work with.
I spread out the avocado mash evenly onto two pieces of bread and then placed them back down on the plate.
I then peeled the iceberg lettuce head and added a layer of lettuce to each sandwich half.
I topped each sandwich with a tomato slice and then more lettuce.
Setting all that aside for the moment, I then spread regular mayonnaise on top of the remaining two slices of bread before placing them on top of the assembled sandwich halves.
With the lettuce sandwiches assembled, I then tightly wrapped them both up in plastic wrap and stuck them in the fridge to chill down next to the egg salad sandwiches.
Finally, it was time for me to assemble the last sandwich!
Roast Beef and Horseradish Sandwich
First, I added the sour cream, the horseradish, the regular mayonnaise, and the white wine vinegar together in an airtight container, blended it together, then added in salt and blended it all together again.
When I checked the recipe to make sure that I had all of the ingredients out to make the sandwich itself…It was then that I realized that I did not have enough iceberg lettuce on hand. I ended up having to throw the airtight container in the refrigerator and then head to the grocery store to buy a second head of lettuce.
When I got back home, I pulled out the wheat bread and sliced off the crusts for this final sandwich. I ended up having to use a couple extra pieces of bread because I had cut a little too much of the bread off.
Here are all the parts for this final sandwich:
First, I spread the horseradish mixture out on all four pieces of wheat bread.
I then divided the pieces of the roast beef between two pieces of bread, and I ended up having to fold each piece over on itself to make it fit on the sandwiches.
I then added lettuce on top, the other slice of bread on top of that, and then I wrapped each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap.
I then placed these last two sandwiches on a plate and placed them in the refrigerator to chill alongside all of the other sandwiches. The sandwiches then sat there for an hour to firm themselves up.
After an hour, I pulled them all out and sliced them in half. Here, I am slicing the lettuce sandwich in half diagonally. The time that these sandwiches spent in the refrigerator really made the sandwiches very easy to cut through.
Once the sandwiches were cut in half, I finally assembled them all together in the sandwich basket! I thought that it would be appropriate to withhold the Zodiark and Hydaelyn shakers until the final dish photo for this week’s Cooking Eorzea.
I then tried out each of the sandwiches! The egg salad sandwich was super amazing, and it was extremely creamy to eat. I have no doubt that it was due – as it was last week – to the Japanese mayonnaise. The lettuce sandwich was a completely different story, unfortunately. It was EXTREMELY salty (as I feared) due to the tomato, and I couldn’t finish even half of that sandwich. The final sandwich, the roast beef and horseradish sandwich, was amazing as well and EXTREMELY spicy due to the horseradish sauce.
These sandwiches were different than takes on those types of sandwiches that I had tried in the past. I would easily make the egg salad sandwich and the roast beef and horseradish sandwiches again just like how they are, and I would even try to serve them at an event or pack them in a lunch bag to take with me on a picnic. I didn’t care for the idea of the lettuce sandwich, and I definitely didn’t care for how I oversalted it. If I made that sandwich again, I would definitely use less salt.
Time for the weekly Cooking Eorzea thank you’s! I want to thank Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook. I also want to thank the staff over at Insight Editions for giving me permission to use the photos from their book to show how these recipes are actually supposed to look. Furthermore, I owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series on short notice. You should check him and his works out over on Twitter.
Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. Shadowbringers was an amazing expansion for this game, and the villain from that expansion is probably one of the most nuanced villains I have seen in a video game for my entire life. If you haven’t played that expansion, then you need to at some point.
There will be no Cooking Eorzea this coming Friday. Next week, I am attending and covering GDC (Game Developer’s Conference). I just don’t have the time to plan, prep, cook, and write a new installment of Cooking Eorzea while trying to arrange my own meetings, prepare for them, and then conduct them at GDC. If that wasn’t enough to do, I am also covering the rescheduled A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY performance that week. This concert will take up a significant portion of my time as well.
As a result, Cooking Eorzea will return in TWO weeks with the Steppe Salad recipe from the Othard region!
What kind of sandwiches do you like to make? Did you ever make any of the sandwiches these type of sandwiches that I made for this week’s Cooking Eorzea column?
Let us know in the comments below!
CookbookCookingCooking EorzeaFF14FFXIVFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy XIVFINAL FANTASY XIV OnlineHiromichi TanakaInsight EditionsMMORPGNaoki YoshidaPCPlayStation 4PlayStation 5SESquare EnixVictoria Rosenthal