Cooking Eorzea Week 15: Steppe Salad

Friday, April 1st, 2022

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Cooking Eorzea | Feature Image

I have a tendency to try to do too much in not enough time, and this past week has been a perfect example of that. I attended GDC both virtually and in-person last week and I realized how much I missed in person events as I attended press meetings, tried out demos, and made new media contacts. I also attended A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY on Friday night for review purposes. Of course, all of that comes with email follow ups to do and article obligations to write. In addition to that, I have my day job, kendo and curling, picking up a volunteering shift, recycling, grocery shopping, social activities, sleep, family visiting over the weekend, caring for my dog, exercising, chores, and of course…cooking with Love, Eorzean Style.

Over the past week, I had to pick and choose what things I would focus upon (and more crucially): when I would fit it in as there are only 24 hours in a day. Some things, like taking care of my dog and working my day job, are as immovable as Atlas holding up the heavens as his punishment for fighting with the Titans in the Titanomachy against the Olympians. I also have to write my GDC coverage up and follow up on media emails, and that takes time. As a result, I have to try to fit everything around that too.

This has proven more difficult than expected…and one near casualty of that was this week’s Cooking Eorzea. I ended up only buying all of the missing ingredients that I needed on Wednesday afternoon, making the final dish late that same night, and then getting up extra early on Thursday morning to write this. The alchemic equivalent exchange I made in turn was to sacrifice some sleep, some exercising, and a little bit of my sanity.

Cooking Eorzea is as much about me confronting my flaws as it is anything else. One of my flaws is that I have trouble letting an activity or event ‘go’ if I want to do it, despite feeling overwhelmed with other obligations. I shouldn’t have written this week’s column, to be honest. I should have let it go, apologized in a quick Where Is This Week’s Cooking Eorzea? column, and just left it at that because I have so much else to do this week. Even right now, I am buttressing up against the start time of my day job to finish this section up, as I can only sacrifice so much sleep in my 30s and still function to an appropriate degree.

This past week is an experience that I will learn from and take to heart. There is no point in recognizing your flaws if you don’t try to address them and make yourself a better person in the process. After all, I sincerely want to be the best version of myself possible for myself. I know that I will never be perfect or close to perfect, but that does not mean that I shouldn’t try to be the best version of myself that I can.

After all, why wouldn’t I want to be a better person to not just everyone else but to myself?

If you’ve missed an installment of Cooking Eorzea, you can check out all the prior recipes here.

Recipe of the Week

The 20th recipe in The Official FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook is for Steppe Salad, an ‘Easy’ rated recipe that hails from the Othard region. This recipe uses only plants and seeds in making the salad base: lotus root, daikon radish, scallions, carrots, cilantro, and sesame seeds. It also requires me to boil almost all of the vegetables as part of the process!

Here is what a Steppe Salad is supposed to look like:

Cooking Eorzea | Steppe Salad Professional Photograph

Photo courtesy of Insight Editions.

Featured Ingredient of the Week

Cooking Eorzea | Daikon Radish

Photo by author.

This week’s featured ingredient for Cooking Eorzea is the daikon radish!

I will be honest: I was not expecting how HUGE one of these would be. These radishes come from East Asia and are used for both food there and to help break up ground soil for planting purposes. I have never actually used one before in my cooking and it took up a LOT of space in my refrigerator. When I went to the store to pick one out for this week’s column, they definitely stuck out among the other vegetables present in the coolers.

My Cooking Attempt

Let’s take a look at all of the ingredients that I used for this week’s Cooking Eorzea recipe. Interestingly, the only way that I could find lotus root for sale in my area was to buy it presliced and prepackaged. This was not that big of an issue for me, as the recipe called for me to peel and slice the lotus root anyway before I utilize it in the recipe.

Cooking Eorzea | Ingredients for this week's recipe.

Photo by author.

First, I pulled out the carrots, peeled them, and then chopped them up. I’ve gotten much better at peeling over the past few weeks, as I managed to only lose almost only the skin off of the carrots this time.

Cooking Eorzea | Peeling carrots.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Chopped up carrots.

Once that was done, I realized that I had not started to boil a pot full of water. So, I turned around, filled a pot up with water, and started to let it heat up on the stovetop.

Cooking Eorzea | Heating up a pot full of water on the stove.

Photo by author.

While the water was warming up, I sliced up the scallions and chopped up the cilantro.

Cooking Eorzea | Scallions sliced up.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Chopped up cilantro.

Setting both the scallions aside, I got out the daikon radish and chopped it in half with my cleaver. The root was slightly tough to chop through, but it was definitely easier than I expected.

Cooking Eorzea | Chopping a daikon radish in half with a cleaver.

Photo by author.

It was at this point that the water started to really boil, and I realized that I had to get the daikon radish quickly sliced up if I was going to get it all into the pot anytime soon.

Cooking Eorzea | The boiling pot.

Photo by author.

Turning my attention back to the daikon radish, I peeled it and then sliced up one-half of it.

Cooking Eorzea | Sliced daikon radish.

Photo by author.

At this point, I added the sliced daikon radish, the sliced lotus root, and the sliced carrots into the boiling pot and I let them all sit there for two minutes. I then pulled them out with a slotted spoon and laid them out on a wire rack.

Cooking Eorzea | Carrots, lotus root, and daikon radish in a boiling pot.

Photo by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Scooping out the vegetables with a slotted spoon from the boiling pot to then place on the wire rack.

Once all of the vegetables were out of the pot, I dried them off with a paper towel.

Cooking Eorzea | Drying off vegetables with paper towels.

Photo by author.

I added all of the vegetables to a bowl, added in the sliced cilantro and sliced scallions, and added in the sesame seeds. I then tossed it all together until they were all well-mixed.

Cooking Eorzea | Adding sesame seeds into the vegetable mixture that now includes cilantro and scallions.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Tossing the vegetable mixture.

After setting it aside and washing my hands, I zested enough limes to get a tablespoon-full of lime zest. I was surprised at how much harder limes are to zest than lemons are, and I ended up using three limes to get all the zest that I needed.

Cooking Eorzea | Zesting a lime.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Three zested limes with a tablespoon full of zest.

I assembled all of the ingredients that I needed to make the dressing and poured them all into a bowl one-by-one. I then whisked all of it together until the dressing was well-blended.

Cooking Eorzea | Assembled and measured ingredients for the dressing.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Whisking the dressing ingredients together.

Once it is all thoroughly mixed, I pour it into the vegetables bowl and blend it all together again by hand until the salad is completely tossed.

Cooking Eorzea | Pouring the dressing into the vegetables.

Photos by author.

Cooking Eorzea | Tossing the salad with the dressing in it by hand.

As always, here is the final dish for this week’s Cooking Eorzea!

Cooking Eorzea | Final dish image

Photo by author.

Once I finished photographing the Steppe Salad, I tried it out! The vegetables were quite crisp and a little bland by themselves, though the dressing was AMAZING. It had a real lime citrus zing to it, and it really complimented the veggies well. I was surprised at how you don’t need lettuce to make a salad BE a salad.

Afterword

This is a unique receipt that I would probably make again, if lotus root wasn’t so darn hard for me to find locally. I ended up having to check three different Asian markets to just find the sliced variety. That said, the lime dressing was AMAZING. I seriously loved the citrusy sourness of it, and I would definitely make that again just to use on any other salad instead of ranch or Thousand Island dressing.

As we start another month of Cooking Eorzea, 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.

Next Week

Next week’s Cooking Eorzea recipe will be to complete the trilogy of grilled kabobs: Tuna Miq’abob from the La Noscea region of Eorzea. I am extremely hopeful that I won’t catch the final dish on fire this time, and I honestly am excited to work with ahi tuna!

Please come check it out next Friday!



How do you like to make your salads? Have you ever used a lime-based dressing before?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at interviews@oprainfall.com