Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

Dear 2012… December 30, 2012

Filed under: Random — rabbit @ 8:56 pm
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2012-05-17 18.56.27

It’s been… complicated.  I know we got started off on the wrong foot.  (Probably the foot on which I developed a cyst.)  And frankly, this is how I feel about you.

I mean, there was definitely some good stuff.  We had some fun, though fleeting get-togethers.

We got to see Elton John…  A certain extension of the family became official

In addition to that, there were some new, and renewed relationships.  Very important.

And I’ve been working so much that I had NO time to post more than a couple gluttonous recipes for the holidays.

And I very suddenly (though not without some sweat and tears) acquired some independence

But there was a lot of loss, 2012… And I mean that on many levels.  Like, reality-turned-upside-down.  And not just me, of course…  I was starting to think the Mayans were right, 2012.  You jerk.

I know it’s supposed to build character.  Which I’m grateful for, that’s cool.  But damn.

2012-10-15 13.09.43

No offense, 2012… But I’m glad to see you leave.

Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Oh, and tell 2011 to Bite Me.

2013, bring it.

XOXO to everyone else :)

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Determination December 8, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:03 pm
Tags: , ,

2012-12-04 22.27.49

You know what’s crazy?

This is the first year I’ve had a Christmas tree since 2004.

And this is the first time in my life I’ve had a REAL Christmas tree.

2012-12-04 22.31.35

Growing up, we always had a fake tree.  I didn’t really mind.  I enjoyed the challenge of climbing onto the washer and dryer in the garage while no one was home, and nearly killing myself as I hoisted down the boxes of “tree” and decorations.  There was fun in putting it all together; assembling the metal trunk, attaching the branches like some home improvement project.  Snow globes, the nativity scene, stockings, the wreath…  I would listen to Dad’s Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis Christmas records (on a real record player, by the way!).

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BUT.

This year my tree, with the exception of the lights, is all natural.

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For decoration, I used dried flowers, and leaves from up north, courtesy of Henry’s aunt :)

2012-12-04 22.29.27

I was hellbent on a blue blanket.  A la Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

You know what else I’ve been hellbent on?

Pumpkin Blondies.

2012-12-04 21.13.18

2012-12-04 21.35.25

Okay, it’s more specific than pumpkin blondies.  CHEWY pumpkin blondies.  See, when it comes to pumpkin cookies and bars, the water content of the beloved squash tends to keep these treats from being dense, chewy, fudgey, that kind of thing…  Rather, it makes them fluffy.  Moist, sure.  Soft, yep.  But does it produce that same sinfully satisfying bite of a rich brownie or brown-sugary snickerdoodle cookie?  NO!

And I like my blondies to be dense!

(No pun intended)

2012-12-07 19.59.05

And I figured it out!

(I’m such a genius.)

2012-11-27 17.23.47

2012-11-27 17.28.36

1) STRAINING the pumpkin!

You’d be surprised how much liquid you can get from pumpkin puree.

2) Bread flour.  It.  Just.  Makes.  Sense.

I recalled an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown, in which he demonstrated various types of chocolate chip cookies.  My favorite– the chewy– included bread flour.  Why?  Because bread flour is higher in protein and has more gluten.  Gluten and protein give elasticity and chew.  Like when you tear off a piece of French baguette, or rip into a bagel.  Mmmmm.  So  adding it to certain sweets will give them that wonderfully intense texture, a bite that says, “Oh. YEAH.”

Chewy Pumpkin Blondies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups (12 oz) butter, non-hydrogenated margarine, shortening, etc.

3 cups sugar (white, brown, a combination, whatever.  But brown will yield more fudginess)

3 Tbsp flaxseed meal

a few pinches of salt

vanilla or almond extract, up to 1 tsp

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup bread flour

optional: nuts, chocolate chunks, baby teeth, etc.

also optional: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves… y’know, holiday spices.

1) Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Prepare a 9×13 inch pan.  Strain the pumpkin puree by using a cheesecloth, muslin fabric, or a large coffee filter set over a colander.  You want  to get as much liquid out as possible.  I went to a fabric store, bought muslin cloth for just a couple dollars, and squeezed out a ton of pumpkin juice. ( Use it for soup stock.)

2) Melt your butter/ “butter”.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flaxmeal, and salt.  Add butter and whisk whisk whisk.  Add the strained pumpkin and whisk whisk whisk.

3) In a small bowl, combine the flours, and spices if using.  Fold into the wet mixture, along with any add-ins you desire.  Spread batter into your pan.  Fingers may be necessary.  Bake around 30-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.

2012-12-07 19.56.23

Now THAT is a blondie.

2012-12-04 22.29.44

And as an honorary Jew, Happy Chanukah!

2012-12-04 22.26.33
 
 

P.S.  To my faaavorite people (whoever you are)…  Hopefully you’re reading this…

Umm…  Beetwood Fleetwood Mac is touring next summer…

Tickets go on sale soon…  Just sayin’… ::coughcoughChristmaspresentcoughcough::

 

A Cilantro Solution December 3, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 6:40 pm
Tags: , ,

Hi.

2012-11-25 19.50.53

Before I start going nuts about posting recipes for the holidays, I wanted to show yous guys this little impromptu project.

You know that dilemma when you buy fresh herbs… and they come in huge bunches…

and you only need a few stems for the reason you bought them?

Yep.

Cilantro.

Cilantro happens to me a lot.  Because it’s used quite a bit in some of my favorite cuisines: Mexican, Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern…

And my co-worker asked me to make salsa.  So I did… And you can only put so much cilantro in salsa.

I mean, come on.

2012-12-02 17.28.33

So.

2012-11-25 19.28.33

Red lentils, sweet bell pepper…

red onion, lime, jalapeño, a bit of unsweetened dried coconut…

Oh yeah, garlic, salt and pepper.  Essentials, y’know.

2012-11-25 19.51.53

Red Lentil, Sweet Pepper & Cilantro Salad

This is a do-as-you-please recipe.  Because that’s what salads are about.  Adjust quantities to your liking.

Here’s the approximation of what I did:

Cooked red lentils.  About 1 cup.

1 sweet bell pepper.  Yellow or orange would be best.

Half a small red onion.

A bunch of cilantro leaves (to suit your taste).

Two to three cloves of garlic.

1 jalapeño

1 lime

1/4 to 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut (optional, but adds a touch of sweetness)

salt and pepper

Dice your bell pepper and onion.  Finely chop your cilantro, garlic and jalapeño.  Mix everything together in a bowl, and grate some lime zest in there.  Salt, pepper, and the juice of the lime to taste.  You can also drizzle in some olive or sesame oil.  Want more seasoning?  Try cumin, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon.  But tread lightly.  Don’t want to overwhelm these bright and sprightly ingredients.

2012-11-25 19.51.28

Cookies.  Soon.

I promise.

But I think you’ll like this too.