We Took The New Black Spire Outpost Cookbook For A Spin With Mixed (Though Tasty) Results
Along with other tie-ins lined up for the inaugural year of Disney’s Star Wars-themed park, Insight Editions has just released a cookbook full of recipes from the immersive theme park. I took Galaxy’s Edge: The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook for a test drive to see how well the dishes translate to home cooking.
You might have guessed this from the type of things I review here: I am a sucker for fandom tie-in books. Especially Star Wars. It was my first fandom, and I’ll always have a soft spot for it. Trying out the new Black Spire cookbook seemed like it would be a blast. After some slightly hairy moments, I have to say it was a lot of fun (and I’m going to sneak some of these dishes into our regular menu).
What is The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook?
We first heard about this cookbook on the Disney blog back in August. It combines recipes by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel (who did both the Overwatch and Elder Scrolls cookbooks) and flavor text by Marc Sumerak (an Eisner-nominated comic writer, which is actually weird because this is a cookbook, guys) to create what is, if your suspension of disbelief holds, a cookbook “from Black Spire Outpost and beyond.”
Will your suspension of disbelief hold? Well… to be honest, my attention skipped pretty immediately over the stories to the recipes themselves. After a few days with the book, I realize I mostly read those flavor text stories to kill time while things cook so I don’t get distracted and wander out of the kitchen.
The recipes are the real treat here. I expected most of them to be traditional recipes fancied up a bit, and some of them are, but others have a really innovative feel. A lot are things you could work into your everyday meal rotation. There were only a couple of ingredients I had to Google. (To save you the hassle, those were Butterfly Pea tea bags, ground mace, and falernum.)
I picked one of the most colorful things in the Black Spire cookbook to try first: Huttese Slime Pods.
These Recipe Names Are Occasionally Disturbing, Guys
According to Cookie, this recipe is made from “bloated little creatures known as ‘slime pods’ that are found floatin’ in the swamps of Nal Hutta.” Bleck. Maybe don’t read the stories until after you’ve tasted this, because it’s delicious and totally vegetarian. Promise. No living creatures here. You could even make this vegan if you use coconut milk instead of the heavy cream and one of those fake cheeses instead of Parmesan.
So what is it made of if not critter? Gnocchi. Tasty little potato nuggets drenched in an avocado-spinach cream sauce. There’s some pistachios and olive oil thrown in, and you toss it with cannellini beans when you coat the gnocchi.
I love potato, I love green veggies, and I love seeing “5 minutes prep, 5 minutes cook” on a recipe.
Shopping took much longer than I expected because shelled pistachios are expensive. The whole point is to test these recipes in the real world, and your average nerd can’t be shelling out $8 for one non-meat ingredient on a fancy dish. In the end, I found pistachios in one of those little protein snack packs up by the register and shelled them myself, because $3 was a way better price point. All in all the ingredients cost me about $14.
The 5-minute cook time is unrealistic. I should have realized that from the start. Water takes a long 5 minutes to boil. If you consider the 10 minute total, though, the estimate wasn’t far off. The slime pods took me 15 minutes to prepare on a first pass. Maybe I could get it down to 10 with practice, maybe not.
“Easy” was a good description of the difficulty level, at least. The directions are basically “throw stuff in a blender, cook gnocchi, mix everything together”. Kids could make this if you help with the gnocchi.
I did wind up with a few tips for your own run-through (if you try it):
- This should be the last thing you cook before serving. The sauce doesn’t like to sit around.
- The recipe says to add salt to your sauce. If your nuts are salted, you probably don’t need that… DO salt your water.
- If you’ve never made gnocchi before, this part goes fast. Don’t turn around- the gnocchi will float to the top much sooner than you realize and it’s better not to overcook them.
- The proportions in the sauce are very forgiving. I got up in my head angsting about whether “one cup of spinach” meant “one packed cup” or “one loose cup”, and in the end, a little extra only affected the color.
- Do not remove the sauce from the blender before you cook the gnocchi. They cook fast, but the sauce doesn’t like to sit. You’re going to want to blend the sauce again for a few seconds before adding it to the pan to heat through.
- Don’t bother using more than one pan. I dumped the water and used the same pot to heat the sauce.
- Did I mention the sauce doesn’t like to sit? It really doesn’t. Be ready to serve and eat right away for full visual appeal.
I keep harping on the “serve immediately” because that was the one mistake I made. I wanted to serve this with a nerdy cocktail, so after finishing I took 10 minutes to make a Lothal Spicebrew. In the real world that’s stout mixed with condensed milk, cinnamon, and brandy. In the Star Wars world, Cookie tells us the sad story that this is the signature cocktail of an Ithorian who was executed by the Empire for helping the Resistance. (This cookbook gets a little dark sometimes.)
10 minutes made a big difference in the look of my sauce. What had been a lovely creamy green had separated just a bit, and our dinner came out a bit less visually appealing than it was at first.
Okay, so it’s not winning any beauty pageants. BUT IT IS FANTASTIC! Really, really tasty. I ate the leftover sauce from the blender with a spoon, it was that good. I’m going to be making this cream sauce for SO MANY THINGS from now on, you guys don’t even know. I bet it’d be a healthier replacement for hollandaise if I want to get pretentious with my Eggs Benedict. My other half also enjoyed it, so this ridiculous-looking thing is about to become a regular at our place.
The Spicebrew, however… neither of us was a fan of it. That may be because the only stout beer we had on hand was a bold espresso, so you’re going to want to try this for yourself. Just without the espresso. It wasn’t a graceful combination, and I felt bad for wasting good brandy.
So, Is This Book Worth It?
The cover price on The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook is $35. That’s on the higher end of average when it comes to fancy cookbooks, so I can see why some would walk by it. I’m going to lean towards a purchase recommendation just because so many of the recipes can be eaten regularly, which adds to its value as a cooking reference. There are also several cocktails other than the ill-fated Spicebrew that I liked enough to make a few times since (Cliffdweller. Amazing. Tell your friends.)
I want to strongly caveat that by saying don’t buy this just for the stories. For a lot of the Star Wars books I review I feel like there’s a ton added to the universe besides whatever the main gimmick is, but that’s not the case here. It’s a cookbook, not a stealth novel. Buy it if you want to try some recipes, or you’re planning a Star Wars rewatch party before The Last Skywalker comes out, or as a gift.
Just don’t expect the text to give you more than a few anecdotes you could toss around while Disney-bounding at Galaxy’s Edge.
Note: I received a copy of The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook for review. The opinions are my own.
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and game enthusiast. She can talk fandom in five languages, and her proudest nerd moment so far was presenting original research titled “Gender, Sex, and Werewolves” at an international anthropological conference. Her first game, None For Me, is due out from Calico Games early next year.
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