11 August 2020

Heirloom Grains

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook has been one of my favorite cookbooks to play around with for the past couple of months. The unique recipes, colorful dishes and beverages, and Black Spire backstory are all wonderful. Although, I am the first to admit that some of the recipes aren't as close to their Batuu counterparts as I would like. Authenticity aside, there are still some new favorites and fun concoctions to be found in the cookbook's pages.

Take, for instance, Kat's Kettle Corn. They don't use corn on Batuu, it is referred to as 'heirloom grains,' and Kat Saka's family have been growing, harvesting, and serving up these kernels for generations. For this sweet and savory recipe, we're going to have to make up a special batch of Saka Salt first. In case you haven't caught on, Kat Saka and I could clearly be friends as we both have a love of alliteration, but we've strayed away from the kitchen long enough.



2 Tbsps. Red Salt
2 Tsps. Garam Marsala


Put all ingredients in a food processor.
Pulse until fully combined.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

That's just about as simple as it can be, right? As it turns out, finishing up this snack is almost as easy!

Kat's Kettle Corn


1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp. Saka Salt
Yellow Food Coloring


Pour oil into a medium pan with a few drops of food coloring.
Place pan on medium high heat.
Add sugar and popcorn kernels to pot, place the lid on pot, and shake the pot a few times.
Leave pot on heat until the cork starts popping.
Shake the pot back and forth until you can no longer see the bottom of the pot through the popped corn.
Remove from heat and continue shaking to cover popcorn with sweet coating.
Once the popping has mostly stopped, pour popcorn into a large bowl.
Sprinkle with Saka Salt, tossing occasionally to coat evenly.

Kat's Kettle Corn lives up to its name, and gives your mouth a workout with sweet, salty, and spicy flavors playing back and forth constantly. The salt definitely is the strongest, almost overwhelming, flavor, but you can definitely taste all of the ingredients. It is as wild of a flavor combination as, say, Kat's Outpost Mix that is available in Galaxy's Edge, but it is a fun to make and fun to eat treat.

The recipe gave my family some ideas, and allowed us to create a shortcut snack if you don't want to make your own popcorn. We have been using microwave butter popcorn and then tossing it with Garam Marsala once we've gotten it into a large bowl. It cuts out the sweet, and levels out the saltiness, but still gives it a wonderful spiciness that we don't get everyday.

There are a ton of other recipes that have piqued our interest in the Black Spire Outpost Cookbook, so you have more recipes to look forward in the coming months. Until then, mix up a couple of Blue Milks, pop up your own batch of heirlook grains for Kat's Kettle Corn, and make it a Star Wars movie night!

10 August 2020

Evil Comes Prepared

If you’re anything like me, then board games have been a staple of your safer-at-home/quarantine/self-isolation activities as we’ve bee doing our part to stem the tide of this pandemic. In the past few years, Ravensburger has made some terrific games, especially if you’re an enthusiast of all things Disney. Villainous, its three current expansion sets, and the Jungle Cruise Adventure have all been in regular rotation of our small, but fun, game nights. With the recent release of the Marvel Villainous set, I started thinking. While there are a ton of animated Disney and Marvel comic villains to play with, wouldn’t it be great to see a set of live-action villains step up to the plate to take on the heroes in their own version of Villainous.

For starters, the base sets of each of the Villainous incarnations include 6 headlining villains, which is the same number we took on in this blue-sky daydream of for Disney Live-Action Villainous. For each, I picked a property with a villain, some well-known and some deeper cuts, and then created the mechanic, or objective, for each villain.

Let’s start with Captain Barbossa. Pirates of the Caribbean has plenty of scallywags and worse of the seven seas to consider, but Barbossa was the first rogue to engage in a battle of wits against Captain Jack Sparrow, Swann, and Turner. His objective is simple, Barbossa wins if the cursed gold is returned to the chest. As with most things in Villainous, this isn’t as simple as it sounds, for Barbossa is only able to win if he starts his turn with 20 pieces of cursed Aztec gold and he is located at Isla de Muerta.

Our second villain is Hocus Pocus’ Winifred. Oh, sure, Mary and Sarah are most definitely in the mix, but Winifred is the real deal here. Winifred’s objective is to cast the spell gives her eternal life. In order to pull this off, she must collect four ingredients (Oil of Boil, Dead Man’s Toe, Green Newt Saliva, and Dash of Pox) and have a child on her side of the board (most likely the work of Sarah).

Stepping back a bit further into the vault of live action villains, we’re calling upon Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas. His objective is quite simple, gain the trust of Professor Aronnax. Like Mother Gothel, this occurs if Nemo is able to have 10 Trust tokens at the beginning of his turn.

Neville Sinclair may be a deep cut, but to outsmart The Rocketeer and gain control of Howard Hughes’ unique invention, who could pass that up? Obviously, the objective for Sinclair is to gain control of The Rocketeer’s jetpack and helmet. To find, secure, and get both on Sinclair’s side at the same location as his zeppelin. Not so easy now, huh?

Unlike our first entry of Barbossa, I went with the most recent villain in a series for our next entry of Clu from TRON: Legacy, leaving Sark for another day and expansion pack. Clu’s objective is actually given to him from his archnemesis, Flynn, to create the perfect system. To accomplish his objective, Clu must have at least 3 programs at the Rectifer Facility and control of Flynn’s identity disk.

For our last entry, we’re digging deep with Pete’s Dragon, the 1977 version, and the over the top charlatan, Doc Terminus. Unlike our previous entries, however, we’re going to give the nefarious Doc a pair of ways to win. His objective is either to sell a bottle of his “miracle cure” at each location on the board or gain control of Elliot. For Terminus to gain control of Elliot, he must defeat the friendly dragon at the lighthouse.

I will admit, while imagining all of this up, I originally had Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in the place of Doc Terminus. The variations in game play were minor, and included collecting the deeds to the four board locations and defeating Roger or Eddie at the ACME Warehouse. However, given the convoluted legalities behind the film, I wasn’t certain it could be utilized and opted to find a little-known, but much beloved, villain to get in the game. I also had a daydream of the highly stylized Villain figures, including a Nautilus (or organ), cauldron, a skeletal figure with a feather plume hat, angular orange programesque figure, a horse-drawn wagon, and a well dressed man, but maybe I'll leave the artist aspects up to someone with more skill than me.

There you go! A little daydream, or day-scheming, for a live action rogues gallery should Disney and Ravensburger ever consider looking at such an option. As always, I offer these up with no expectation that this will come to pass, but Ravensburger is free to use my ideas! And, also as always, I’d love to help story-craft in anyway I could! But what about you, which live action-villain would you love to see in a Villainous set on your kitchen table?