Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

Badass March 26, 2012

Filed under: Biz Stuff — rabbit @ 10:11 pm

March has gone by faster than a meth head’s heart rate.

(Henry has been watching Breaking Bad quite a bit, so I think about meth addicts more than usual lately.)

There was the Bar Mitzvah Barbara and I cooked for.  The following weekend, not only did I get to see Sir Elton-the-Mutha-Fucking-Queen-Bitch John for my dear friend Shawn’s birthday…

(I did not film this, by the way.   I simply marveled at my knight in glittery armor.)

…but then Barbara and I hosted another awesome dinner party, for which I hope to soon acquire photos so I can post on that.  When I thought I’d have some time to chill out, I ended up working all of St. Paddy’s Day weekend, then this past Saturday, the 24th,  Barbara and I were at it yet again for the Badass Business Women’s 2nd annual party.

The party took place at a venue called The Stage, in Miami.  Of course, you can’t see the actual stage, as we were designated to be set up outside.  This sucked simply because when we were putting everything together, it was still daylight, and therefore, HOT.  As a South Florida native, I know I should be used to this, but heat and humidity irritate me in some circumstances.  I think I’m cold blooded, as I have a hard time maintaining my internal temperature…  By the time the party started though, the sun had been on its way down and I was cute and cuddly again.

Stupidly, we failed to get some good photos of the food we served.  Which is the main focus of this post.  Doh.

Anywho, I made my Mushroom Carpaccio, marinated in a simple vinaigrette with a bit of Marsala wine.  I put that on top of crostini with some avocado whip.  I was pleasantly surprised at people’s reactions.  A good cook should not be surprised, I suppose, but I often worry, particularly when I make something “alternative”.  We eventually ran out of mushrooms and just served the avocado whip on crostini.  Barbara fried up some marinated tofu cubes and skewered them with green olives and a preserved lemon and cilantro sauce.  That one was an awesome combination of textures and flavor.

She also did brandied meatballs on top of mini broccoli sformato (basically an Italian souffle).  Barbara insisted I at least try the brandy sauce for the meatballs, but I just couldn’t, since it was made with beef and veal bones.  I can appreciate it from a culinary perspective, but it’s just not t kosher for Rabbit.  I did have the broccoli sformato though, which was absolute comfort food.

I took care of dessert– mini raspberry macarons, and doughnuts with three dipping sauces: spiced rum dulce de leche, chocolate with hazelnut liqueur, and wined up guava.  I actually screwed up the doughnut dough… but people seemed none the wiser.  Err…

And Tatiana helped us!  Fo realz, Tati, you were awesome.  Could not have pulled this off without you!  It’s one thing to have an extra pair of hands, but when those hands also have artistic, think-on-your-toes food capabilities, that’s a win.

Ah, yes, Absolut Vodka was one of the sponsors.  Free booze.  More win.

The aim of this gig was to market ourselves.  Which means we did not get paid.  Though I wonder what would have happened if we had a tip jar…  But it was a lot of fun, definitely a boost to our egos, and hopefully, we’ll get a few clients out of this.

Oh, and no more Redbull and vodka for Barbie.

Update!

Thanks to the Badass Business Women Facebook page, and the professional photographer they had, I was just able to hijack a few photos of our spread!

Meatballs and Broccoli Sformato

Tofu Brochettes

Mushroom Carpaccio with Avocado Whip

And Raspberry Macarons

So there!

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Beggars Can’t Be Choosers March 16, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:19 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve got a big ol’ soft spot for Irish culture.  It goes back to when I read Angela’s Ashes in high school.  One of my favorite books.  Ever.  Frank McCourt’s writing is, to choose an umbrella term, saturating– Irish and American history, culture, religion, tragedy, hilarity, humility, and grayness.  Lots of gray.  Because, well, it is Ireland, and it rains a lot there.  Which would explain my term for McCourt’s style…

His brother Malachy wrote a memoir as well, and I met him at a Borders’ where he was giving a lecture and promoting his book.  Granted, in the shadow of his brother Frank, but hey, at least he was there.  I was at the bookstore randomly when I saw the poster ad for his appearance that afternoon.  I freaked out and decided I’d stick around.  All I remember about Malachy McCourt’s speech was that Rosie O’Donnell would’ve been a more appropriate match to play his mother in the movie adaptation of Angela’s Ashes (versus Emily Watson), and the part where I raised my hand and said something in regards to the Catholic upbringing.  Whatever I said made me feel proud because Mr. McCourt remarked that I was very bright. I think I was about 17.   At the end of the very low key event, he bought me his own book since I didn’t have it.  And signed it, of course.

How often does a writer buy his own book for you?

This Irish-inspired dish has no potatoes.  No cabbage.  No beef or bacon, naturally.  Not even whiskey or Guinness.  (Well, it does have stout, but an American one.)  Because, as Angela McCourt would say to her sons Frank and Malachy, Beggars can’t be choosers. 

I didn’t have any traditional St. Paddy’s Day ingredients on hand (well, carrots and onions kinda count), but thought I should still crank something out.  What is Irish about this recipe is that it’s simple, comforting, resourceful, and Praise the Lard, it’s got beer in-it.

This is one of those non-recipe recipes.  It doesn’t require exact ingredients, measurements, or fancy technique.  So here’s the gist of it.

Vegan Irish-ish Stew

1) Take a veggie protein of your choice.  I had extra firm tofu.  Tempeh or seitan would be extra awesome.  Slice it into stew-appropriate sizes.  Then mix together some some molasses, vegan worcesteshire sauce, and apple cider vinegar.  Taste test your marinade before adding the protein.

2) Then roughly chop some other vegetables.  Whatever you got.  Potatoes (white or sweet), parsnips, beets, leeks, eggplant, butternut squash, leafy greens, etc.  As you can see in the second photo, I used carrots, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.  Beans would also be good in this stew.

3) Brown your marinated stuffs in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Don’t worry about the marinade sticking to the bottom of the pot.  If you’re using mushrooms, add these after your tofu/tempeh/seitan/whatever has browned, and let those cook.

4) Now it’s time to deglaze.  Beer is actually pretty important to this recipe.  Use a stout.  Henry’s a loser and never finished this one.  It’s a pretty big bottle, and it was about half full.  A regular 12 oz bottle should be enough.  Anywho, pour it in, and start scraping the brown bits from the bottom.  Then add your other veggies, a bay leaf, a bit of thyme, salt and pepper.  If you got some other herbs or spices you wanna use, be my guest.

Let the stew simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about half an hour to forty-five minutes.  Taste and adjust.  Perhaps it’s the work of the marinade, the beer, both, or fairies… but this broth tasted impressively beefy.

If you want to thicken things up, add some starch dissolved in a bit of cold water.  Or, after you’ve browned your protein, stir in a spoonful or two of flour before adding the beer.  If you use potatoes, that will help too.  You can also use a combination of stout and wine for a fruitier flavor.

Enjoy with an Irish beverage, some soda bread, and watch the Secret of Kells.  That movie is awesome.  It has a kitty.  (You could watch Angela’s Ashes, but then you’d get depressed).

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and don’t drink green beer.  That’s for frat boys.  Plus, it’s probably Budweiser, Coors, or Natural Ice.  Ew.

 

Bulbous March 11, 2012

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Random — rabbit @ 11:25 am
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A quickie for you today.

I found something at the supermarket that struck my fancy.

Elephant garlic.

“Dude.  The hell?  That’s not normal.”

Sure it’s normal, cat.  By the way, you got shit on your nose.  Again.  Actually, elephant garlic is not true garlic.  It’s a relative of the leek, part of the onion family, but looks and tastes much more like garlic.  It’s milder than regular garlic, so it’s more friendly to those whose taste buds are sensitive to real deal.  And, as you can see, it is gigantic in comparison.

Elephant garlic does not have as long of a shelf life, though, so if you find this jumbo baby at the grocery store or a farmer’s market, use it soon.  Treat it like you would any aromatic ingredient and just experiment- soup, stew, stir-fry, salad, etc.  I roasted mine.

Because everyone likes roasted garlic.  Especially in hummus.

I would also like to note that while this was roasting, it started to turn a greenish blue color.  I freaked out.  But I did a search, and it turns out it’s totally okay.  It’s just a chemical reaction cause by the naturally occurring sulfur, the same stuff that makes your life miserable when cutting onions.  I kept roasting and it subsided (mostly).  This apparently can also happen with onions.  So.  Don’t freak out if one day you’re cooking fresh garlic or onion and it turns greenish blue.

“Why aren’t you paying attention to me?”

 

Can’t Please Everyone… March 6, 2012

Filed under: Biz Stuff,Random — rabbit @ 7:11 pm

Let’s review last Saturday.

Lemon-Pepper Hummus, Vegetarian Mushroom Pate, and Smoked Salmon Dip…

Homemade Pickled Veggies: Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers, Lemony Cauliflower, and Dill Carrots.  A cheese plate and crudite…

Brazilian Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Red Pepper Sauce…

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Green Tea Dressing, Chicken-Cranberry Salad…

Sweet Pepper and Tomato Gratin, Gourmet Mac and Cheese…

Chicken, Blue Cheese & Fig Sandwiches, Roast Beef and Boursin Cheese Sandwiches…

all for 45 people.

PLUS

Double Chocolate Merengues, Red Velvet Cake, Doughnuts with Homemade Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Sauces, and Cake Pops…

for 80 people.

Oh yeah, and fresh brewed iced coffee and berry tea.

All of this made by three people (me, Barbara, and her friend Laura).

Rave reviews on all the dishes, from all the guests.  So rave, they needed glow sticks.

And no tip from the host because we didn’t have aaallll the food ready at the same time.

YUPPIES.

P.S. Part of the menu in this post is a small preview to this coming Saturday.  See if you can guess, especially if you’ll be in attendance…