Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Live Worms and Tube Grubs

I turned 31 two weeks ago.  That's right, I'm old.  I'm absolutely not one of those people who is ashamed of admitting their age.  It's probably because, for most of my life, people have basically thought I was 5+ younger than I actually was.  It's a blessing, or so I've been told, but up until two years ago I was still getting carded at our local mall.  You have to be 17 to be there without adult supervision.  It's cool when your 30 and people think your 25.  It's not cool when your 30 and people think your 13.

(Sidebar: my dad is one of those people who is ashamed of telling his real age - although I'm sure those aren't the words he'd use.  If you know him, ask him.  He'll tell you he's 39.  From my perspective, if I'm 31 and he's 39, it's starting to get awkward. 

So to celebrate my 31st birthday, and to celebrate this summer's upcoming blockbuster release, I sat down and watched all eleven Star Trek movies.  I promise you, people think I'm five years younger than I am because of my youthful good looks - not because of my maturity level. 

I could go into my opinion of all the movies (Search for Spock and Insurrection are underrated.  Nemesis is overrated - which is hard, because I'm pretty sure it's been described as the worst movie of all time... by me... just a few weekends ago) but I am not a movie reviewer.  If you'd like to read a good movie review, please check out The Mundane Adventures of a Fan Girl.  It's worth your attention.  Seriously, I know you're just wasting time at work anyway.

I'm good at a few things: making pasta, gardening, talking myself into an extra dessert... and theme parties.

Theme parties are my jam.

So, as a huge nerd throwing a big nerdy party, you'd better believe that I made some nerdy food to go along with it.  I have been watching Star Trek since as long as I can remember, and while I never directly thought "hmm... that gagh looks delicious," once I realized this was going to be a themed food party, my mind started racing.

 (For those of you who don't know, Gagh: 

For those of you who do know, I apologize for the fact that Dr. Pulaski was in that video, and for the fact that the Gagh in this video does not appear to be fresh.)

I do actually own the official Star Trek Cookbook, and that is where I went first, but as is the case all too often with my extensive collection of cookbooks, I just couldn't find what I was looking for.  Honestly, I'm pretty sure the Star Trek Cookbook was written by TV Producers and not chefs.

Here's what I ended up with:

  • Gagh (Beet Risotto with Squid)
  • Klingon Blood Wine (Cranberry and Blood Orange Sangria) and Romulan Ale (It's illegal - thanks Chris!)

  • Klingon Blood Pie (Cherry Pie - Thanks D!)

  • Ferengi Tube Grubs (Cheesy Orzo with tomatoes and zucchini)

  • Cardassian Vole Belly Sandwiches (Italian Beef Sandwiches)
  • Build your own Bajoran Hasparat (Veggie Wraps)
  • Vulcan Plomeek Soup (Veggie Soup)

Everything turned out pretty well.  The tube grubs were probably my least favorite (Orzo is  not a good vessel for mac and cheese) but it looked right so that's important.  The gagh was my most favorite.  It looked right and tasted great.  Okay, so it didn't move... but I think it was the next best thing.

Here are my recipes.  Feel free to use them the next time YOU sit down to watch all the Star Trek movies in order.  Into Darkness comes out on May 17th, and I will be there at the Midnight showing!  In costume?  Who knows...

Thanks to everyone who came over to celebrate with me.  It really meant a lot!  To those of you who had something better to do, I totally get it.  To those of you who RSVP'd yes but didn't show, remember - revenge is a dish best served cold!!


  • 1 lb cleaned squid - as many legs as possible
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup minced onions or shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large beets, fully cooked and cut into small cubes
  • 5 1/2 cups fish or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice (8 oz)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Wash squid and pat it dry.  If you purchased any bodies (why?) cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips and quarter tentacles lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add squid strips and tentacles and sauté, stirring constantly, until opaque and curled, about 1 minute. (Do not overcook, or squid will toughen.) Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl to catch juices squid releases. 

Combine squid juices from bowl with fish stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and keep at a bare simmer. 

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onions and remaining garlic, stirring frequently, until pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine and beets and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Stir in 1 cup simmering broth mixture and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue cooking at a strong simmer and adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender but still al dente and creamy looking, 18 to 20 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)
Stir in squid and parsley and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Ferengi Tube Grubs
  • 1/2 pound orzo (about 1 1/8 cups)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated (about 3 cups)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pint jar diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 or 2 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, and add the orzo. Cook eight minutes, or until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the diced roasted pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, wide skillet. Add the zucchini and cook until the water evaporates and the zucchini starts to brown slightly.

Add the final tablespoon of oil and the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, and add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo, add the Parmesan or goat cheese, and mix everything together. Add freshly ground pepper to taste, and adjust salt. Transfer to the baking dish.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is just beginning to color. Serve hot or warm.
Vulcan Plomeek Soup
This, by the way, was about 100 times better than a regular butternut squash soup, or a regular tomato soup.  Not sure why the combination worked out to be so very good, but it was just absolutely amazing.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 head garlic 
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree (or any other winter squash)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger (I'm far too lazy to ever peel ginger, and I have no idea why recipes call for that!)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 quart jar whole peeled tomatoes and juice
  • 1 1/2 cups cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large bunch kale 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°.  Cut the top off of the garlic, and place on a large sheet of aluminum foil.  Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper.  Tightly close the aluminum around the garlic, and bake until soft.  Allow to cool.  Once cool, you can pinch the base of each clove, and the roasted garlic will pop right out.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, 2 tsp. salt, and turmeric. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add squash puree and garlic cloves and stir to coat. Add tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to allow flavors to meld, about 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, purée soup until smooth.   Add Kale, and cook an additional 20 minutes, or until kale is soft.  Season with salt and pepper.


  1. The Vulcan Plomeek Soup aka Butternut and Tomato soup was exceptionally delicious. Though every thing was great this was by far my fav! Ever used liquid ginger... I feel there maybe a different name for it. It's what I use.

  2. You are amazing and this is fabulous!