Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

They Knew… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:10 pm
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So I was going through some photos, making myself feel old

When I stumbled across the first pets I ever had.

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I tried to feed them Trix cereal because I felt sorry for them.

(Does anyone else remember Trix before they were fruit shapes?!?)

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Anywho.

It occurred to me that Thumper and Snowball were the prophecy of my future rabbit food lifestyle.

Talk about a revelation :p

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This salad is not exactly a revelation.

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But I’d like to think it’s just as tasty.

At work last week we had our minds on arugula.  We like arugula…  So I started thinking of something light, yet rich.  Something with personality.  The peppery bite of arugula; buttery-smooth avocado; and the nerdy-looking, often ridiculed, asparagus.  But asparagus gets to be cool here.  Because it’s shining in it’s raw form: crisp, a little bitter, but sweet, and dressed in simple spices and lemon.  And this bunch was purple.  Yeah, purple!

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Arugula, Avocado & Asparagus Salad

Ingredients:

2 big handfuls of arugula

1 1/2 cups (more or less if you’d like) of chopped raw asparagus*

1 medium avocado

1 lemon

salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste

Optional: Nuts or seeds, dried fruit, sprouts, etc.

*If you’re really against eating asparagus raw, you can lightly steam it.  Pansy.

1) Dump that arugula in a medium bowl!  Good job!

2) Now toss in the asparagus!  Yeah!

3) Okay, for serious now…  Slice the avocado in half, remove the seed, and criss-cross the flesh with your knife.  Then just scoop the cubes out with a spoon into the salad.

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4) Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika onto the mixture.  I like to be generous with the paprika for its sweet and savory touch.  Zest the lemon onto the salad and toss the mixture to distribute the spices.  Add the juice of the lemon, and toss again.

The salad is good to go at this point.  But as indicated above, you can add other tidbits.

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Such as walnuts and dried figs…  Ooh

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For serious.  This salad.  Rabbit approved.

 

Old Love, New Form April 7, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 11:05 am
Tags: , , , ,

For a long, long, long… long time…

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I’ve had an adoration of mushrooms.

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They’re my first thought for toppings when ordering pizza.

Raw, stuffed, curried, grilled…

Deep fried at my Kingshead Pub

In a quiche, in a crepe?  Oui, s’il vous plaît.

Wild mushroom risotto?  The only time I will consider ordering a bowl of rice.

Portobello sandwiches, all the way.

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Or…  Something I’ve never done…

We can caramelize them with onions in Marsala wine.

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Everyonething is better with wine.

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And then we get fancies.

Marsala Mushroom Pate

This recipe is inspired by my passion for shrooms.  And by Homestyle Vegetarian.  I veganized it, as well as incorporated the Marsala wine.  Because that’s what I do, I dunno.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Marsala wine

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 a small onion, sliced

1 lb fresh mushrooms (white button or baby portobellos), quartered

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

2-3 Tbsp sherry or balsamic vinegar

herbs/spices of your choice (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)

salt and pepper to taste

1) Pour the wine into a large pan.  Add the garlic and onion and simmer until the onion starts to become translucent.  Then add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is gone.  Allow to cool.

2) While the mushrooms are cooling, you can skin the hazelnuts if desired.  Just place them on a baking sheet lined with foil, and toast them at about 300°F for 5-10 minutes, or until the skin comes off easily.  Then immediately throw them into a dish towel, wrap them up well, and rub around to loosen the skins.  This step is probably not necessary, but it the skin may darken the color of the pate.

3) In a food processor, finely chop the hazelnuts and almonds.  Then add the caramelized mushrooms and process until smooth.  Scrape down occasionally, and add the vinegar to smooth it out.  You can also use a little extra wine, vinegar, or olive oil to help with the texture.  Then add herbs, spices, salt and pepper to your liking.

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(Yep.  Looks like cat food.)

For variation… You can use another type of dessert wine, such as sherry or port.  You can also substitute different types of nuts– walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, cashews, etc.  This pate can be used on crostini as an appetizer, an accompaniment to some grilled vegetables and tofu, stuffed into ravioli, spread on sandwiches, etc.

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But I’ve no problems just eating it with a spoon…

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My Brain vs. Reality March 27, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 7:14 am
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I wish you could see the recipe ideas I have in my noggin, the list of inspirations sitting in my laptop that have yet to be attempted.

I wish you could be there when the light bulb over my head brightens, and I start getting all food-geek on whoever’s next to me.

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It’s frustrating when you have all these sparks going off in your head…

But you lack the ingredients, time, money, energy, or motivation.

To.  Just.  Focus.

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Fortunately, other things still happen.  Everything just kinda falls into place…

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Much like other things in life.

Millet & Black Bean Stuffed Poblanos

This recipe is an impromptu result of seeing poblano peppers on sale at the farmer’s market.  The Mexican in me cannot resist.  Everything else I had on hand, but at the end of the recipe I shall offer variation depending on what you have.

Ingredients:

4 medium poblano peppers

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup millet

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 cup cooked black beans

a handful of chopped fresh cilantro

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Brush the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast until the skins become wrinkly and tender.

2) While the peppers are roasting, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the carrots, mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the millet and spices (cumin through thyme).  Stir the mixture around to toast the millet and distribute the spices.  Add 3/4 cup water, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover.  After 20-30 minutes, all the water should be absorbed and the millet fluffy.  It’s like cooking rice, don’t freak out.  Once the millet is done, remove from heat, and add the black beans, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

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3) The annoying part:  once the poblano peppers are cool enough to handle, cut out the stems, and slice the peppers almost in half lengthwise,  leaving some connection so that they resemble wings.  Use your fingers to scrape out the seeds.

4) Generously fill one half of each pepper with the millet mixture, fold over the other half, and place in a baking dish.  Repeat until all the peppers are stuffed.

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At this point, you can refrigerate the peppers until you are ready to heat and serve.  Otherwise, pop them in the oven until hot.  Any temperature between 350°F and 450°F  should be fine.

Variations: Millet is a wonderful, relatively inexpensive grain I finally tried, but rice, quinoa, barley, etc. can be substituted.  Just check the water and time requirement for cooking.  Any type of cooked bean, peas or lentils can also replace the black beans.  And if poblanos are too hot for you (though they’re fairly mild), you can use bell peppers which have no heat at all; the only issue is that bell peppers tend to be larger, so you may need to make more filling

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Ideas on how to serve…

Melted cheese.  Avocado or guacamole.  Hot sauce.  Salsa.  Sour cream…

Y’know. Whatever you got.

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Sea Monsters March 16, 2013

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In the depths of the Pacific ocean…

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There live horrifying, many-tentacled creatures

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That are just chock-full of iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc

and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K!  And fiber!

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I feel like seaweed is rather underrated, just because of its odd appearance, and the fact that it is indeed called “sea-weed“.  I think they should be called “sea-greens“.  Because nutritionally, eating seaweed is very much like eating greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, collards, turnip and mustard greens.  And depending on the type of seaweed, it can often be cooked like our better-known western greens.  Soups, salads, stir-fried or sauteed, mixed with grains, beans, and other proteins…

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Such as a multi-grain tempeh.

I’ve tried a few different types of seaweed– kombu, kelp, dulse, hijiki, laver, and of course, nori, the type that is used for sushi rolling.  When it comes to preparing seaweed at home, wakame– what you see in my photos here– is my favorite so far.  It’s got a mild flavor and melds well with different condiments and spices.  And at least with the packages I’ve found, it’s hardly salty at all.  I don’t feel like I’m eating the ocean when I eat wakame.  Many seaweeds need to be boiled, rinsed, boiled again, rinsed again…  With this stuff, I just rehydrate with cool water, and drain.  Bam.  I also like that a small amount when dried yields quite a bit once rehydrated and ready to eat.  So a few bucks for a big package means a long-lasting source of a nutritious vegetable.  Rather convenient in case of emergency budgeting, or the wrath of a hurricane.

Simple Tempeh & Wakame

Ingredients:

a handful of dried wakame (you may need scissors to cut off the desired amount from the rest of the package)

1 8-oz package of tempeh*

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 an onion, thinly sliced

about 1/4 cup rice wine (or any white cooking wine)

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Optional: Schichimi spice blend, or a dash of cayenne and ginger

*You can also use extra firm tofu, and/or a cup or two of some cooked grain or noodles

1) In a large bowl, cover the wakame with cool water and let sit for 5-6 minutes, or until soft.  Drain, and chop into bite-size pieces.  Slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces as well.  Set aside.

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2) In a large pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion, and lower the heat to medium.  When the onion begins to soften and caramelize a bit, add the wakame and tempeh.  Cook for a few minutes, until the tempeh starts to brown.

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3) Add the wine, and allow that to simmer to a reduction.  Then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and spices if using.  Taste and adjust.  If the soy sauce is too strong, add more rice vinegar.  If the flavor is dull, add more soy sauce, extra spices, or some salt and pepper.

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And people think I don’t eat seafood anymore… :p

 

She Thought It Was Chocolate Pudding… March 9, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 11:54 am
Tags: , , , ,

I can’t believe I used to dislike olives.

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I wonder when I first had a Kalamata olive…?

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Pitting olives is meditative.

Not really.

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I must tell you…  I brought the end result of this recipe to work.  I was about to dip some broccoli into it when I saw my co-worker staring over.  She looked concerned.  She’s often concerned for my sanity.

“What is that?”, she asked, like a deer in headlights.

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She thought I was about to dip my broccoli in chocolate pudding.

Hmm…  Don’t put ideas in my head now…

Kalamata Olive & Walnut Hummus

Initially I thought about doing a tapenade with the olives and walnuts.  But then I remembered some black-eyed peas waiting to be used.  Oookaaaay, I said.  Olive lovers, this hummus is for you.  If you like, but not love, olives, you can dial back the amount of olives and see how you feel with the result.  I like the walnuts in place of tahini because their rich, yet mellow flavor pairs nicely with the briny olive, but I imagine tahini would be just as awesome.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas, garbanzos, or a combination

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 cup walnuts

some fresh or dried herbs of your choice– rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.

red wine vinegar– enough to achieve the desired consistency

salt & pepper to taste

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In a food processor, combine the beans, olives, walnuts, and herbs.  Pulse everything together, then add enough red wine vinegar to smooth out the consistency.  You can also use a bit of olive oil or water to adjust the consistency so you don’t use too much vinegar.  Add salt and pepper (remember to go easy on the salt since the olives add brininess).  If the olive taste is too intense, you can drizzle in a bit of honey or agave.

 

The Colors… March 2, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 12:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

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The first artistic talents I ever displayed were visual.

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I was four years old and would draw, and draw, and draw.

And draw.

This obsessive drawing led to obsessive painting as well.  And eventually a collection of art awards in high school.  First place, Best of Show, a scholarship, and a few other awards,  but I have no idea which shows they were from…  I just remember begrudgingly attending the shows because I was the “angry artist” type…  I still am… Sorta… but I use knives instead of pencils and paint brushes now.

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Naturally, my color palette is important to me.

I’m… “drawn”… to earthy colors in particular (see what I did there?).

Various shades of dusty red, rustic orange, warm yellow

deep purples and aquas

and ESPECIALLY olive green.

I love greens.

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That’s a pun, peeps…

So I found these beautiful mustard greens at the farmer’s market.  I’ve never eaten mustard greens, and they were cheap, so I went after them.  Already knowing that mustard greens are pretty damn bitter, I still tasted a couple leaves raw.  Yeesh.   Yeah, pretty bitter, even for someone who eats packets of mustard…

So then I talked to Chef at work, and his answer was sugar.  Saute garlic, onions, add brown sugar…  I thought, “Okay, but… I’m too cool for that…”  I thought up something else, but based on the idea of sugar.

Apricots & Mustard Greens

Ingredients:

about 1 cup dried apricots, chopped in halves or quarters

half an onion, thinly sliced

1 bunch of mustard greens*

1 cup sweet wine (apricot, sherry, marsala, etc.) OR 3/4 cup vegetable broth mixed with 1/4 cup honey, maple, or agave syrup

salt & pepper to taste

*You can try this with just about any greens– turnip, collards, even kale or Swiss chard.  Remove the stems and ribs of the leaves  if you don’t want to spend a lot of time chewing ^_^

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In a large pan or pot, spread out the apricots, then the onion slices, and then the mustard greens.  Pour in the wine or broth mixture, and turn the heat to medium high.  When the liquid is simmering and the greens near the bottom begin to soften, start stirring everything around.  The greens will soon reduce greatly.  Lower the heat to medium, and stir occasionally, to ensure even cooking.  Over the next 15-20 minutes, keep lowering the heat to prevent the liquid from evaporating too fast.  While it’s cooking, the natural sugars of the apricots and wine (or broth elixir) will counteract the bitterness of the greens, which is why you want to keep the simmer going for a while.  The onions will also take on some sweetness.  Let them infuse!  When the cooking liquid is syrupy, add salt and pepper to your liking.  If the greens are still bitter, gradually add extra honey/maple/agave syrup and cook a few minutes longer.

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Sweet, peppery, lots of texture, and not at all bitter.

You can also saute everything in olive oil before you add the liquid, to really heighten the flavor.

Raisins or dried cherries are acceptable substitutes for the apricots.  (I just love dried apricots).

Serve alongside some rice, polenta, quinoa, or your grain of choice.

And topped with some chopped nuts, or crumbled cheese.

Yes.

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On the First Try! February 25, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

So, I’ve realized that I haven’t provided you all with very many sweets lately.

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My sincere apologies, people.  Really.

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You have to understand that when you bake and make sweets for a living, you tend to want to get away from them at home.

You develop a desire to put salt, vinegar, or hot sauce on everything.

You eat packets of mustard.

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What?

Am I the only one who will eat a packet of mustard?

…I just love mustard…

=(

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Whatever, I hate you all.  So anywho, I got back into a little gluten-free experimental baking.  In the past I’ve had some successes, but also many failures.  It’s one thing when you’re doing strictly vegan or strictly gluten-free, but when you want to do BOTH in one recipe…  Woof.  Without eggs or gluten, you gotta work on your method of structure.  It’s like being an architect or construction worker.  And a chemist.  Well, damn, I didn’t know I was so versatile…

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I got lucky with this one.  I pondered for a bit on how to make a successful gluten-free, vegan banana bread that tastes awesome and is not flat and dopey-looking.  I’m familiar with amaranth and tapioca flours, and find them to work very well in various recipes.  Amaranth for its protein content and sweet, nutty taste, and tapioca for its elasticity and blank flavor (like a ninja…).  Then I researched a bit on baking powder and baking soda, since there would be no eggs to help the bread rise.  I took my usual banana bread recipe, made some adjustments, and voila.  Well kids, I guess this is (one reason) why I”m the Guru Rabbit…

Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups amaranth flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

3 ripe bananas

1 cup sugar (brown, white, or a combination of both)

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free butter substitute*

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider variety)

2 tsp vanilla

Optional: a big handful (or two) of chocolate chunks, nuts, dried fruit, candied ginger, dried coconut, whatever you want.  I added chocolate chunks and chopped pecans

*I used non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening, which is stored at room temperature, and is always soft.  If you use something like Earth Balance, which is refrigerated, make sure you let it soften, or melt it slightly.

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.  (If baked in a 9×5 inch pan, it may bake faster, but will look flatter.  It will still taste awesome though.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients (all the dry stuff, amaranth flour through cinnamon).  In a medium bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, flax seed meal, and faux butter.  And in a small cup, combine the milk with the vinegar and vanilla.

2) With an electric mixer, beat the banana and sugar mixture until it’s as smooth as possible.  It may look like vomit… Just sayin’…  Add the vinegared milk and mix well.  Then fold in the dry ingredients and your optional additions until well incorporated.

3) Spread into the prepared pan and smooth the top, allowing it a bit of a dome.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.  I know, it’s a while, but it’s worth it.  Go watch a movie or something.  Test with a wooden skewer or toothpick to make sure it’s fairly dry inside (there may be a trace of moisture on the tester, but there shouldn’t be any batter).  Allow to cool until at least lukewarm before you cut into it.  This will keep just like regular banana bread– at room temperature, in the fridge, in the freezer– it all depends on how fast it’ll go.

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So here’s to tooting my own horn.

Toot. Tooot!

 

 
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