I love music. In my early thirties, I picked up learning the piano and I fell in love with it. One of the saddest things I had to do when I moved to California was to give my weighted keyboard away (I actually donated it for children to use), because I always liked sitting down when I have had a bad day and let myself get lost in playing pieces such as Melodies of Life from FINAL FANTASY IX. Music can tell stories and everything about the composer and performers themselves through the tempo, the instruments used, and even how loud (forte) or soft (piano) it is. It is this real love for music that causes me to attend as many video game concerts as I can- especially FINAL FANTASY XIV Online ones, as I simply love Masayoshi Soken and his works with Love, Eorzean Style.
Most recently, I attended the debut of the latest NieR concert series, NieR: Orchestra Concert 12024 [the end of data] in Los Angeles on January 27, 2024. I only picked up the NieR series (along with SINoALICE!) only in the past few months in order to appreciate what I was going to be seeing. You can check my full review out here, but in short: it reminded me once again of the power of music when it comes to storytelling. While 2B, 9S, Kainé, and everyone else – up to and including the Lighthouse Lady in Seafront – are amazing in themselves, the music in the NieR games really lift everything up to another level and help shape it into something more than just the sum of the parts.
If you can attend a performance of NieR: Orchestra Concert 12024 [the end of data], then you should. If you can also attend A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY, then you definitely should do that too. But if you can’t attend either, you should instead put on your favorite video game OST and listen for a while to see if you can discover something new about a world you love- especially if that world happens to be Eorzea.
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 for Rare Roast Beef! This is the 45th recipe in The Official FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook and it has a ‘Medium’ difficulty rating. This dish requires two full days to be prepared in the refrigerator, and then several hours in the oven to cook. Hailing from the Azim Steppe in the Othard region, it is a dish that I am excited to make.
I have also never worked with (as it is a familiar refrain for long-time readers of this column!) bottom round roast before, and so it was a new adventure for me. Here is what the dish is supposed to look like in the hands of a professional!
Featured Ingredient of the Week
I have never heard of whole-grain mustard seed before this week’s Cooking Eorzea ingredient list, as I am just used to the whole paste version like yellow mustard, dijon mustard, etc. It tuns out that whole-grain mustard is mustard that is ground some, but not enough to break down the mustard seeds. It is a much rougher, more…well…seed-filled mustard than what I am used to. I tried a small sample of it too, and it was pretty good! It was somewhat spicy, and it had a bit of a crunchy texture to it too. All of this made whole-grain mustard this week’s Ingredient of the Week!
My Cooking Attempt
There were a lot of fresh vegetables that I’ve used for this week’s Cooking Eorzea!
I first made the seasoning for the round bottom roast by combining the salt, pepper, dried rosemary, and dried thyme together in a small bowl.
I then rubbed the blended seasonings into the bottom round roast. I then set the seasoned bottom round roast on top of a wire rack on a baking sheet and placed it into the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Two days later, I pulled the round roast out and let it sit for an hour to warm up to room temperature.
While the bottom round roast warmed up, I chopped the fennel bulb and celery stalks into large chunks.
I also sliced up the shallots and the carrots!
I lined a deep baking pan with the various vegetables, and I added the two sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme to the pan as well.
Once the baking pan was prepared, I moved the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheated it to 225 Fahrenheit.
While the oven was heating up, I minced both fresh garlic cloves and mint leaves.
I added the minced garlic, minced mint leaves, ground fennel, whole-grain mustard, and olive oil together in another small bowl before blending it together.
I rubbed the blended mixture all over the bottom round roast and placed the roast, fat side up, on the deep baking dish.
By now, the oven was ready and so I put the deep baking pan into the oven for three hours. Once the timer went off, I pulled it out and checked the internal temperature.
Once I was sure that the meat was properly cooked, I loosely wrapped it up in aluminum foil and set it aside for 30 minutes. I also preheated the oven again, but this time to 500 Fahrenheit.
I used a pair of tongs to remove all of the cooked vegetables from the pan, and I put them into a bowl. I ended up snacking on them, and they were really good. I tilted the pan, as you can see below, to gather together all of the drippings to use in the gravy.
I added the pan drippings to a small pot, sliced off some butter, added that as well to the pot, and then heated it all up in order to start making the gravy.
When both were melted and blended together, I added in the flour.
I whisked it all together until it was blended, and then I started to add the beef broth in by small amounts at a time before continuing to mix it together. I did it this way in order to help the gravy become thick.
When all the beef broth was blended in, I brought it up to a boil.
I then lowered the temperature, and then let it simmer until the gravy was properly thickened. Once that was done, I added in some salt and pepper for seasoning.
I whisked the gravy all together again to blend the salt and pepper in. Once that was done, I set the gravy aside.
Moving the oven rack to the top third of the oven, I unwrapped the bottom round roast and place it, fat side up, back into the oven for the fat to crisp up for eight minutes.
Pulling the bottom round roast out of the oven, I wrapped it up again in more aluminum foil for five more minutes to let it finish up.
Once the time was up, I sliced the meat. I was EXTREMELY happy that the meat was cooked properly on the inside! Finally, I topped the rare roast beef off with some of the previously made gravy.
And here is how this week’s Cooking Eorzea attempt turned out!
The Rare Roast Beef was absolutely tender and delicious. The seasonings from the outside rubs really came through on the meat, and the gravy did not overpower the meat, but instead complimented it. The roasted vegetables from earlier were about a third gone at that point, as I kept snacking on the shallots and celery. I was surprised at how, well, perfect I got the dish. This looked visually impressive while it was also relatively simple to make!
If I was to make the Rare Roast Beef again, I would definitely make it for someone else. I got the recipe absolutely right the first time around, and I was completely pleased with how it turned out. My only issue is that, well, you have to plan it a couple days in advance in order to let the meat sit and season in the refrigerator. I cannot recommend this Cooking Eorzea dish enough!
Let’s talk ‘thank you’s’! I want to open by thanking Victoria Rosenthal for writing The Ultimate FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Cookbook, as this column wouldn’t exist without it. 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 and for being willing to work with me on this project for so long. Furthermore, I additionally owe Brandon Rose a special thanks for creating the logo for this series, and you can check his works out over on X.
Finally, I want to thank both Hiromichi Tanaka and Naoki Yoshida for producing FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in both iterations of the game. Dawntrail is coming in just a few months, and I am really, really excited for it and whatever SQUARE ENIX will be showing off at PAX East!
Assuming I can find a whole duck of appropriate size, we are going to be celebrating a belated Starlight Festival by making the Starlight Dodo dish. I actually love the Starlight Festival, with it having started as gift-giving by Ishgardian Knights to orphans during the Dragonsong War, and its evolution into modern Eorzea with the Saint of Nymeia and Saint’s Little Helpers. It is a magical event, and one that I am happy to celebrate in Cooking Eorzea…even if it is a couple months late!
What is your favorite video game OST to listen to ad nauseum?
What is a dish that you cannot believe that you’ve made perfectly in the past?
Let us know in the comments below!