“What new culinary adventures shall we undertake, old friend?” – Warly, Don’t Starve
I learned to cook through scavenging in the kitchen. Traffic was and still is godawful in Atlanta. Living with roommates didn’t guarantee pantry or fridge space. And the 2008 recession pretty much meant a household of young adults cycling through periods of unemployment. I learned to adapt as I pored through Allrecipes and Foodgawker to figure out what to do with the random collection of canned goods I had on hand.
So when I started to play the game, Don’t Starve, I found myself relating to these depressing hand-sketched characters. Stranded in the middle of a world trying to kill them, they only have their dwindling wits, a campfire, and MAYBE a crudely made crockpot to survive. Put things into perspective as I was much luckier than most at the time. But the game is a reminder that necessity begets creativity.
I thought I’d start playing with Don’t Starve’s recipe dictionary by creating Warly’s Asparagazpacho.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Warly’s Asparagazpacho.
The Worldly Warly
Warly, the culinary-minded character in Don’t Starve, becomes stranded in The Constant after leaving a promising career as a sous chef in Paris to take care of his mother. He has the advantage of carrying a portable crockpot and chef’s bag. But he also fusses about eating single ingredients or the same thing multiple times.
That said, he finds solace in his creating masterful dishes such as sweet potato souffle, glowberry mousse monster tartare, and today’s recipe, asparagazpacho. Made with asparagus and ice, this chilly concoction keeps Warly from overheating in the Constant’s brutal summers.
“How in Science does it taste so good?”
While sure, I could sautee some asparagus and blend it with some ice cubes, that didn’t seem fitting to Warly’s cooking skills. So I browsed through my copy of The Flavor Bible and found that a combination of low heat and liquid replacement is necessary to retain asparagus’s volatile compounds. That said, though, a flavor like that does need some balancing. That’s why I started with a base of carrot, onion, and ground allspice.
Allspice is a fantastic little spice. It combines the flavor of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper into one plant. And it’s also prominent in Caribbean cuisine, from where I’m pretty sure Warly is from – given his steel drum voice, French expressions, and culinary range.
Speaking of the Caribbean, you also need fat to carry flavors, and I can’t think of a better one than coconut milk. Coconuts also make an appearance in Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked, so there’s that. We see plenty of seeds and leaves, so I also added Thai basil and pine nuts. And finally, what better way to add acid than through some
spoiled juicy berries balsamic vinegar!
Run past some tallbird for some ice, blend, then garnish this balanced bowlful of Asparagazpacho. To quote Wilson again while answering his own question, “How in Science does it taste so good?” Science, skill, and resourcefulness are precisely what you need so you Don’t Starve.
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Asparagazpacho. Perfect on a hot day!
Equipment: Stovetop, large saucepan or pot with lid, blender or immersion blender.
- 24 spears of fresh asparagus — 20 chopped, 4 trimmed
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil or common basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts olive oil kosher salt
- Preheat a large saucepan over medium-low heat on the stovetop, then add a drizzle of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, stir in the carrots, onions, and allspice to sweat for eight minutes. Stir frequently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the chopped asparagus to the pan and sweat for another ten minutes while adding two tablespoons of water and a pinch of kosher salt every two minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and cover with a lid. Let cool for thirty minutes.
- Once cooled, pour the coconut milk into the pan and a half-cup of water, the Thai basil, six ice vibes, and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
- Pulverize the mixture in the blender or by using a stick blender until smooth. Add kosher salt to taste.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with a half-teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a half-tablespoon of pine nuts, and a trimmed asparagus spear before serving.