flavored smoke

I wish we would stop making fun of vaping so much

Like yeah, the dudebros who do the whole vaping culture thing are kinda ridiculous and sometimes annoying, but there are so many good things about vaping! I don’t want people to turn it into some annoying terrible thing. When in reality, it’s doing so much good for so many people. If everybody vaped instead of smoking cigarettes there would be so much less second hand smoke, you’d never have to hold your breath walking through a cloud of cig smoke again, it smells 1,000x better than cig smoke, it doesn’t cause cancer, people can slowly wean themselves off of the nicotine until they’re completely just smoking flavored water and vegetable extract vapor, and it’s generally just so much better than cigarettes. My bro has a gorgeous singing voice that started to go because of his smoking. But he’s completely given up cigarettes because of vaping, and is currently also weaning himself off of the nicotine! So yeah vape culture can be annoying but I think it’s definitely something to encourage rather than discourage.

Thedas Cuisine Project: Dalish Smoked Gavulan

Gavulan is the Dalish word for trout. Trout is a main-staple fish for many Dalish clans, as it is a fish found in both fresh and salt water, and is therefore one of the most plentiful types of fish in Thedas.

Given that the Dalish are nomadic, the vast majority of their food staples are either preserved, of quickly made from whatever ingredients they can scrounge from their current campsite. 

While most Dalish clans will utilize this recipe with some form of trout, you can also use this recipe for salmon (shetelan in Elvhen), and really any other kinds of fish that you wish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole fish, gutted and cleaned.
  • Enough wood for a long, slow burning fire to last 3 to 4 days (or a smoker if you’re doing this in modern times)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of salt (about 1/3 to ½ cup)
  • Handful of sugar or honey (about 1/3 to ½ cup)
  • Handful of borage, parsley, or other similar green herb native to the area (which herb you use will have an effect on the final flavor of the fish)
  • 1 air-tight leather pouch (Or a zip lock bag if you live in the modern world)

NOTES

In this recipe, the fish is brined before smoking. This does two things: First, it increases the preservation time of the final product. Secondly, it adds flavor, and also helps to form a skin on the outside of the fish that the flavor of the smoke will adhere to, thus resulting in the most flavor for the time invested. Without brining, this fish will last about 2 or 3 weeks, provided it’s stored correctly (such as wrapped and stored in the fridge or another similarly cold and dry place). With brining, this fish will last nearly 4 to 6 weeks (thus essentially doubling the preservation time). The reason for this, is that by brining the fish, you are eliminating bacteria and creating a very hostile environment for bacteria to dwell, thus vastly decreasing the risk that the fish will develop any bacteria further down the line. With smoking, you are removing oxygen and moisture, thus vastly decreasing the chance of any nasties like botulism. By doing both methods, you are essentially creating double protection. 

A note for modern uses: This recipe was used in medieval times for preservation, but does not meet the FDA standards for modern preservation. If you wish to actually use this to preserve fish, and not just get a tasty smoked fish, then please use this wet brine recipe instead of the dry brine:

2 quarts water
½ c salt
¼ c sugar
½ tsp pink curing salt #1 (sodium nitrite)

METHOD

  1. Mix the salt, sugar, bay leaves and green herbs together. If you are using honey, make sure to form a completely uniform paste. This will work best if you slightly heat the honey first, thus making it more liquid and pliable.
  2. Spread the dry brine over the fish, making sure to completely cover both sides of the fish.
  3. Place the fish in an air-tight bag, or container, and leave in a cold, dry place for 12 to 24 hours.
  4. After 12 to 24, remove the fish from the container, and discard any liquid that has been pulled out of it. Gently rinse the fish off, making sure to rinse off most of the salt.
  5. Next, lay the fish on top of a rack next to a slowly burning fire, making sure that the rack is above the smoke, but not above the open flame (otherwise you will roast the fish, not smoke it). Gently smoke the fish for 3 to 4 days, making sure to turn the fish regularly, adding enough wood to the fire to keep it burning just enough to produce enough smoke to envelope the fish.
  6. If you are using a modern smoker, simply place the fish in the middle rack of your smoker. Cold smoke the fish for 2 to 3 hours, making sure that the temperature of your smoke does not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 C). Then hot smoke the fish until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. 
  7. Once the fish has reached 180 degrees, allow the fish to smoke for an additional 30 minutes, and then remove from the smoker. Allow the fish to cool in a cold dry place (such as your fridge, or politely ask your Keeper to use an ice spell).

It is very important that you hot smoke the fish, because unless you have a smoker specifically designed for cold smoking, you will not be able to smoke at a temperature low enough to ward off bacterial growth. The reason that you would cold smoke the fish first, is so that you can get a nice full-bodied smoke flavor without overcooking the fish. If you do not wish to cold smoke the fish, or you simply don’t have the means, then you can simply just hot smoke the fish from the get-go until you reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees. You will simply not achieve as much of a smokey flavor as you would by cold smoking it first.

Lastly, while it is possible to cold smoke the fish entirely, without using hot smoke, please do not attempt this unless you have the assistance of a professional (or you are a professional). Cold smoking entirely can be very dangerous when done improperly. 

Properly smoked, your Dalish style smoked Gavulan will keep for about 3 weeks in a cold dry place, and for about 3 months in the freezer. For a traditional, but delicious meal, enjoy your smoked gavulan on a piece of dried flat bread, which has been spread generously with a thin smear of spiced halla cheese (or spiced goat cheese, if you aren’t blessed with access to halla). And of course, always remember to thank Andruil for helping you catch that fish in the first place.

Odd Apples

How often have you found yourself skulking through a haunted orchard? Weekly, no doubt, if not more often. When you get hungry, as one is want to do while exploring dark regions, it is important to recognize what is edible and what is lethal.

Ghoul Delicious

A yellow-green apple with a slimy skin and a putrid odor. The inside is a bright, lemon yellow color with a texture similar to cold butter. Poisonous to humans but resplendent to all forms of undead. Ghoul Delicious apples are able to be enjoyed by both the corporeal and non-corporeal because the trees are pivot points in reality.

Feyburn

Possessing the unusual ability to sustain both the undead and the living, feyburn apples have a smokey aftertaste – indeed, if you eat two or three, and practice a bit, you’ll be able to blow smoke rings from your mouth. The exact flavor of the smoke depends on the other trees in the orchard, creating fierce rivalries in the odd apple industry.

Creature Crisp

Prized by hedge witches and folk who manage monsters, creature crisp apples are an irressible treat to many forest behemoths. Deadly to humans if eaten raw, they have been used for centuries to create novel poisons.

bts as types of fire

kim seokjin is the crackling fire in a well loved hearth: the bringer of heat and heart and home; it feeds as it is fed, its smoke flavored with slow-roasted meat and fresh baked bread.

min yoongi is wildfire: intense, unyielding, all-devouring; easy to mistake as death and destruction, but in its wake comes life, stronger and fiercer and more vibrant than ever before.

jung hoseok is the hissing flame in a colorful hot air balloon: it lifts and is uplifting, it causes and is cause for buoyancy - but most of all, it is (in so many senses) vital.

kim namjoon is the fire on a torch lifted high in hope, in pride, in defiance; it may flicker on the windiest nights, but it is always the most trusted guide when all is dark.

park jimin is the mellow flame of a birthday candle, basking sometimes in chaotic cheers and sometimes in softer smiles; the silent keeper and selfless granter of unspoken wishes.

kim taehyung is the campfire at a rollicking summer camp, whose flames are greeted with laughter and shouts and songs and games; never lacking in company (or s’mores).

jeon jungkook is a humble bonfire on the beach: the golden glow lighting up the faces of close friends, but the sparks and the smoke drifting out into a fading blue sky over the muted sea.