Monday, July 30, 2012

Chupacabra: Awkward Thank You Dinner

As another day at the Greene farm begins, the search for Sophia drags on. Daryl takes a horse to scout out the ridge at the highest point of Hershel's land; while Rick, Shane and the rest of the group divide the property into grids and make an organized search.

Carol Peletier, desperate for something to occupy her mind, persuades Lori to offer the Greene family dinner prepared by the Group, as a thank you.

In the woods alone with Rick, Shane begins his campaign to end the search and head to Fort Benning as originally planned. As he conducts his own search, Daryl Dixon is grievously injured and he staggers back to camp covered in mud and blood. Andrea, who has begun a Sarah-Connor-like transformation, mistakes him for a Walker and shoots him. He survives and returns with the first hard evidence that Sophia was nearby...her doll.

After Hershel tends to Daryl's injuries, the thank you meal begins. It quickly becomes "The-Most-Awkward-Dinner-Party-Ever." Not a single word is spoken. Even the diners at the kids' table aren't talking.

Daryl recovers in the next room and with his sacrifice on Sophia's behalf, solidifies his position with the group. Carol brings him a plate of food and kisses him to show her gratitude. She assures him that he's done more for Sophia in one afternoon, than her late husband did in his entire life.

Glenn and Maggie grow closer and he gives her a note to meet him in the barn after dinner. He discovers that the dilapidated structure is filled with Walkers. Maggie is horrified at his intrusion and the romantic moment turns out as awkward as the dinner.

The Greene's likely had many canned hams in their pantry, since they willingly sacrificed one to lure the Walker in the well. With an orange and mustard glaze and a little doctoring, canned hams are quite good. A potato casserole with herbs de provence and green beans round out the menu.

Save these recipes for when your Group has a special occasion to celebrate or for a final supper before making your Last Stand.

And when the dead rise; bring better books than Dale.

Orange Garlic Ham

3-16 oz. Canned Hams (we used DAK brand)
1 jar Orange Marmalade (we recommend Smucker's Simply Fruit)
5 Tablespoons DIjon Mustard
5 cloves crushed garlic (or 2 tablespoons garlic powder)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except canned ham. Carefully open the cans containing the hams. In a large baking dish (9" x 13") place all three hams, spacing out carefully. Brush 1/2 of the glaze mixture onto the hams. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven and slice carefully into 1/4 inch slices. Brush with a few more tablespoons of the glaze (reserving some for serving). Place under the broiler and broil until the edges of the ham slices char just slightly. Alternately, you can slice ham into 1/2 inch thick slices, brush with glaze and grill over medium coals until crisped at the edges.

Potato Casserole

5 pounds mixed potatoes (the WDSCB used Yellow and Red)
4 cups almond or soy milk
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt (kosher)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp Nutmeg
Parmesan Cheese

Mix all dry spice ingredients in a small bowl. Peel potatoes and slice VERY thinly. You can use a mandolin slicer to get them extra thin. In a 9 x 13 inch pan, layer potato slices to cover the bottom. Pour over a little milk and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of the spices and 1 Tablespoon of the Parmesan. Add more potatoes to create another layer. Sprinkle with more herbs, cheese and milk. Keep layering until all the ingredients are used up. Pour over enough milk to just cover the top layer and sprinkle with more herbs/cheese. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 1/2 hour until bubbly and golden.

Green Beans

3 pounds of green beans (ends snapped off and broken in half)
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a large saucepan, boil 2 quarts of clean water. Add beans and boil gently for 6 minutes or until lightly cooked (not mushy). Drain and toss with salt and pepper. Olive oil if you have it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Recognition of Daryl Dixon: Haymakers

Daryl Dixon's first introduction to the Atlanta Survivor Group came through his drug-addled and racist brother Merle. With Merle's disappearance, Daryl was forced to confront his own feelings and views and make his own stand in the Apocalypse.
Though surprising to some, Daryl proved himself generous and compassionate. And demonstrated that he was his own man; not a carbon-copy of his brother. Though he is not highly educated, he continually makes intelligent observations and is the most suited to survive in this harsh new world.
During his relentless search for Sophia, he revealed to Andrea moments from his neglectful and abusive childhood. Although he may be lacking in certain social graces, Daryl proves on numerous occasions, that his heart is true and his loyalty knows no limits.
When all of the others (including Carol) lose hope in finding Sophia, Daryl refuses to give up. Finding the little girl becomes his personal crusade. And through his dogged efforts, he becomes the man he was always meant to be.
It is with this same transformative spirit that the WDSCB presents Haymaker Cookies. Based on a nauseatingly sweet recipe called Haystack Cookies, these no-bake gems have been reinvented in recognition of Daryl Dixon.
The fine state of Georgia (and Daryl's birthplace) is the nation's largest grower of peanuts (2.2 billion pounds per year) and peanut butter flavors these surprisingly complex treats. Wasabi powder provides an unexpected kick. Just like Mr. Dixon himself, these cookies are a little bit fiery; a little bit sweet; and altogether uncommon.


1 (12 oz)  bag peanut butter chips
3 Tablespoons butter-flavored shortening
2-5 teaspoons wasabi powder*
1 (6 oz) can Chow Mein Noodles

In a medium saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat shortening over low heat (or low embers)  until melted. Stir in wasabi powder (start with 2 teaspoons) until blended. Taste melted mixture carefully. Add more wasabi powder, depending on how fiery you'd like your Haymakers to be. (It is very important to add a little extra shortening to moisten the wasabi powder. Otherwise, the mixture will "seize" and become grainy when the peanut butter chips are added. If this happens, simply add more shortening and stir until smooth.)

Stir in peanut butter chips and melt carefully, stirring often. Remove mixture from heat and stir in Chow Mein noodles in two additions stirring after each addition. The noodles are very easily broken so stir carefully.

Using a tablespoon, drop mixture onto a greased cookie sheet to form "haymakers." Let harden at room temperature and enjoy.

*Alternately, if you are unable to scavenge wasabi powder,  you may use cayenne. Start with 1/8 teaspoon and add more to taste if you wish.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cherokee Rose: Hobo Stew with Pepper-Parmesan Biscuits

After the rest of the Group reunites at the Greene farm, they attend the funeral of Otis. While they are relieved to learn of Carl's survival, they are eager to continue the search for Sophia.

Rick and Shane are sidelined by Hershel until Rick regains strength from donating blood and Shane's ankle heals. 

Seeing this, Daryl volunteers to comb the woods looking for Sophia alone. While he does not find the little girl, he does find a Cherokee Rose which he presents to Carol. He tells her of the legend of the famous Georgia flower and why she should not give up hope.

Dale, T-Dog, Shane, Lori and Andrea make an attempt to extract a water-logged Walker from the Greene's livestock well. Using a canned ham (and then a screaming Glenn) as bait, they fail miserably and the well is sealed off. Glenn and Maggie make a pharmacy supply run and secure more antibiotics for the Group, along with a secret request from Lori. 

With the close of another disastrous day faced by the Atlanta Survivor Group, a nutritious meal was needed. Maggie's immediate fondness for Glenn assured that they would have received fresh vegetables to supplement the pantry items they had already scavenged. 

Hobo Stew makes good use of both the pantry items and the vegetables. The WDSCB is certain that at this point in the aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse, your Group has made a stronghold at a safe farm. And has properly ingratiated yourselves to your host, so securing the required vegetables will not present a problem. 

And when the dead rise; if you should happen to run across a Walker in a well...just leave them there.

Hobo Stew

2 red or gold potatoes, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced thinly
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 envelope Knorr French Onion Soup mix
1 Tbsp. Thyme

In a large Dutch oven, heat just a little vegetable oil. Add onion and carrots. Saute lightly until onion is soft and transparent. Add potatoes and saute for another 6-8 minutes.

Stir in cabbage and just enough water to cover vegetables. Add soup mix and stir well. Simmer lightly for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add thyme and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Pepper Parmesan Biscuits

2 1/2 cups Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix
1 1/4 cup soy or almond milk
4 Tbsp butter flavored shortening
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Or, alternatively, get campfire coals glowing red hot.

Combine baking mix with shortening and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl using a fork. Mix until the texture of the mixture looks like small peas. Add soy or almond milk and garlic. Mix by hand until combined.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet or a cast iron skillet.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. The tops of the biscuits will be light brown when they are ready. If you are cooking over a campfire, cover cast iron skillet with a tight lid or use foil. Check often and rotate skillet to ensure even heat distribution. The tops of the biscuits will not  be as browned but will feel dry and spring back when lightly touched.

Mix olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper in a small bowl. Brush lightly onto the hot biscuits. Use all the mixture. Makes 12 drop biscuits.

Monday, July 16, 2012

In Recognition of Shane Walsh: Brunswick Stew and Cornbread

Shane Walsh made every attempt to rescue his partner, Rick Grimes, from the hospital during the fall of Atlanta. When invading U.S. Army troops began executing civilians, Shane panicked and fled with his own life.
He saved the life of Lori and Carl Grimes and established the camp for the Atlanta Survivor Group. With Rick's near-miraculous return, Shane was relegated to second-in-command. His pragmatic (and at times cold blooded) worldview is frequently at odd with Rick's emotion based decisions.
Shane is determined to survive (and protect Lori and Carl) at all costs. He is unconcerned with collateral damage and has proven his willingness to do whatever it takes to stay alive. 
It is with this enduring spirit that the WDSCB presents Brunswick Stew. A traditional dish from Brunswick, Georgia, this stew has been prepared in the Empire State of the South since 1898.
Much like Shane Walsh, traditional Brunswick Stew has survived; unyielding, uncompromised and unchanged.

Brunswick Stew

1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cans lima beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 can tomato sauce
1 can white meat chicken
1 tsp garlic powder OR 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
3 cups of fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) OR 1 can corn

In a large Dutch oven, heat  a little olive oil or vegetable oil over medium heat (or medium coals). Add onion and celery and saute lightly until soft (about 4 minutes). Stir in all remaining ingredients except corn. Cook over medium heat, stirring often for about 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Stir in corn kernels and cook an additional 5 minutes to lightly cook corn. Do not allow corn kernels to become mushy.

Serve with Skillet Cornbread.

Skillet Cornbread

3/4 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp baking powder

1 egg, beaten
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 Tbsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 500°. Or have medium to hot coals ready on your campfire. Grease a cast iron skillet with 2 Tbsp melted butter flavored shortening.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and soy or almond milk. Let sit a few minutes to allow the vinegar to thicken the milk. Blend in egg.

In another bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in wet ingredients and mix only until moistened. 

Pour batter into greased skillet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until top of cornbread springs back when lightly touched and the color is golden brown. Alternately, place skillet over campfire and cover tightly with foil or a tight fitting lid. Allow to bake over coals. Cornbread will not rise as much as and will likely be finished in 8 minutes or so since the heat is more direct. Check often.

Invert onto a plate and slice into wedges. Serve hot with Brunswick Stew.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Save the Last One: Zucchini Fritters with Red Pepper Jam

While the Grimes' await the return of Shane and Otis with surgical supplies; Daryl and Andrea return to the woods to search for Sophia. As Daryl expresses his belief that Sophia is alive and well, Andrea gains a new understanding of him and insight into his determination to find the little girl.

Glenn and T-Dog arrive at the Greene farm. As Patricia tends to T-Dog's injured arm, Maggie gets out leftovers for their new guests.

At this time, the WDSCB wants to stress just how critical it is for all Zombie Apocalypse Survivor Groups to make their way to rural areas. Not only will there be a lower population density (and fewer Walkers) but there will also be farmlands with fresh produce.

As canned and packaged food supplies dwindle, available farmlands will become necessary for long-term survival. Survivor Groups will want to seek out farms like the Greene Farm. Or ideally, a farm and family like The Waltons. No matter how hopped-up Grandpa Walton was on moonshine, the WDSCB is certain that he never kept a barn full of Walkers on Walton's Mountain. 

Maggie Greene likely had a vegetable side-dish leftover from the Greene's dinner for Glenn and T-Dog. This was probably the first time they had fresh food in months. Zucchini Fritters and Red Pepper Jam will keep any vitamin deficiencies away. Fresh, simple ingredients always make the best meals!

And when the dead rise; don't wipe your ass with poison oak.

Zucchini Fritters with Red Pepper Jam

2 medium (1 pound) Zucchini (grated)
Kosher Salt
1 egg
1 diced onion (or 1 bunch chopped scallions)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
Garlic Powder

Salt the grated zucchini with 1 tsp kosher salt. Let sit in a colander for 10-15 minutes and excess moisture will drain away. Blot any remaining moisture with a clean dish towel to make grated zucchini as dry as possible.

Whisk egg with minced onion and add the drained zucchini, pepper and Garlic Powder if desired. Stir in flour until blended.

Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium heat or medium coals. Drop mounds of batter (2 Tbsp for each Fritter) into the skillet. Flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook 5 minutes on each side.

Drain on clean dish towels. Serve with Red Pepper Jam.

Red Pepper Jam

2 Red Peppers, grated
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat (or medium coals) stirring OFTEN. Reduce mixture by half. Let cool slightly and serve over zucchini fritters. A little goes a long way. This jam is spicy.