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A quest to conquer an ever growing backlog of games.

Calescent-vania : Lords of Tomato

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Whether you’re running your fiery whip through monsters or wrapping your lips around this fiery brunch you can safely say that a good time is in your hands. So what are you waiting for? This Backlog Bistro is Belmont approved!

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth 

Off stream the husband and I have been playing Castlevania: Lords of Shadow together and I have to say I’m enjoying myself immensely. Patrick played through it many, many moons ago and even got all the achievements, but he thought it was one of those games that would be fun to try together. He’s a Castlevania man through and through so it wasn’t too much of a struggle for him to go back and since I’ve never played it myself we figured why the heck not?

Now, as with any game Patrick and I take on together, we start to build ridiculous backstories and make nonsense observations about all the characters pretty much immediately. Mr.Gabriel Belmont was no exception. With his muddled accent, gruff demeanor, and budding relationship with Zobek, (voiced by none other than the ever amazing Patrick Stewart. Bonus points!!) he was a shoe in for our shenaniganizing. 

Mad as a Box of Frogs

So, the deal is, as Gabriel bludgeons his way through warg and vampire infested territories in search of the Lords of Shadow he is occasionally given a helping hand by the mysterious Pan. At one point Pan shape-shifts into a giant eagle in order to whisk our dear Gabe away to his next destination and for whatever reason that struck us as funny. The Gabriel of our minds has absolutely no sense of humor, nor manners for that matter, and as soon as he jumped off the eagle Patrick in his best Gabriel voice said, “Away with you, you dirty bird!” Naturally we laughed ourselves stupid for the next 10 minutes over this and from there on out Gabriel’s insult of choice was to call things “dirty birds”.

And that weird and wonderful “you had to be there” moment my dear readers became the inspiration for today’s Backlog Bistro! I really liked the idea of making a drink and some sort of “bar food” when I did Graveyard Keeper. Plus, how much does “The Dirty Bird” already sound like a cocktail right? Again with Graveyard Keeper I had already zombified a Bloody Mary, but it just seemed to fit in with Castlevania so well. Vampires, blood, Bloody Mary…it was too perfect! But how was I going to make it different enough? I know that what makes a drink “dirty” is by changing one or more of the essential ingredients that end up giving the drink a “dirty” look. Pretty hard to do that with a thick drink like a Bloody Mary though….so what if we made it clear? Was that even possible? As it turns out…YES it is completely possible! And what better to pair with this abomination of a creation than a breakfast-ish compatriot that I’ve dubbed the Hell’s Hand Baskets. Named as such since they have been ramped up from their usual form to a spicy inferno edition. That and because, let’s face it, Gabriel’s situation consistently spirals downward to new depths with every new Lord slain.

The World is Your Oyster

Before I jump into the basics for making my dastardly concoctions, I want to say that I did my best to bear in mind the current state of the world and realize that many people are without access to a wide variety of ingredients. So, in arriving at my current choices for both food and drink I made sure to choose recipes where a plethora of substitutions could potentially be made if necessary. Don’t have fresh tomatoes? Canned should work just fine! Can’t find tortillas? Any other carb-ish medium of your choice (gluten free, Keto, or otherwise) should work just as well. Bread, rice, freezer waffles, heck I’m sure even the right kind of cheese could potentially work! The sky’s the limit my lovelies, fly free!

Get Your Ducks in a Row:

The Dirty Bird

  • 4 large beefsteak tomatoes*
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • Pickle juice (we used dill)
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 large pinch of salt 
  • 1 large pinch of white sugar
  • Vodka
  • Hot sauce (we used a smokey flavored one)
  • Celery salt
  • Pickled pearl onions and whole pitted black olives for garnish
  • Cheese cloth or some device to strain

* Any of these ingredients can be changed to your preferences or availability. Canned or different varieties of fresh tomato, a spicier variety of pepper, a red onion, different flavor of pickle juice, etc. Go nuts honestly, this is just what we used and found tasted the best for us.

Hell’s Handbaskets

  • 1 (14 oz) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (7oz) can diced green chilis
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 fajita size flour tortillas
  • 4 large eggs
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt to taste

* By all means get creative here too if you can’t find specific ingredients. Or add some in! I’ve made these with some added bacon, or garlic chili marinated tofu. Yum!

* If you decide to use bread I find the squishy store stuff works best especially if you roll it out as flat as possible first.

Let’s Talk Turkey

The Dirty Bird

  1. De-stem your tomatoes and pepper and rough chop into chunks. Take the skin off your shallot and toss those babies into a blender along with the salt, sugar, and lemon juice, and puree until smooth Prepare a colander with a nice thick layer of cheesecloth and pour in your disconcertingly colored mixture. Be sure to set the colander atop a large bowl or some other container to catch all of the juices.
  2. Let the mixture drain and chill overnight or at least a few hours. When you’re ready to make the drinks, squeeze the bejesus out of the cheesecloth to get any extra juices out. You should end up with a clear liquid with a slight reddish tint. This is called tomato water and aside from the thickness, tastes exactly like tomato juice…because it is…mind blown!
  3. Take a low ball glass and give it a celery salt rim if you like, then put some ice in it.
  4. Pour in a shot of vodka, half shot of pickle juice, and 3 shots of the tomato water.
  5. Drop in a few drops of your hot sauce and stir that bad boy up!
  6. Garnish with a pearl onion and a black olive and prepare for glory! It’s good right? Like a Bloody Mary but so much lighter tasting!

Hell’s Hand Baskets

  1. Preheat your oven to 375℉ and grease four wells of a muffin tin.
  2. Heat up a large skillet and add in your diced onion. Once it’s softened, add in your tomatoes and chilis.
  3. Sprinkle in some salt and crushed red pepper to your personal taste. I used a hefty pinch of both.
  4. Let your mixture simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce some of the liquid and let the flavors get to know each other.
  5. Fit your tortillas into the muffin wells, folding the edges as necessary, trying not to make any holes as you go.
  6. Crack an egg into each tortilla cup and give each a little sprinkle of salt.
  7. Divide up your tomato/chili mixture on top of each of the cups, making sure the eggs are covered.
  8. Pop the tin into the oven for about 25 minutes for a fully cooked yolk or 18 minutes for a more runny yolk.

Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking

Sit yourself down now, and enjoy your fiery inspired creations. While our dearest Gabriel might be on an unfortunate downward spiral, you don’t have to be. At least while you are sitting enjoying a cocktail and tasty brunch basket!