Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

Because Hello Kitty is a Fame Whore… January 29, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 5:46 pm
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One of the most difficult aspects of being super awesome and hardcore in the kitchen…

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Is storing chives in your Chococat mug while you think about cool ways to use them.

Yeah, that’s right.  I have a Chococat mug.  Suck on it.

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Suck on some garlic while you’re at it…

And cashews, salt, pepper, garbanzo beans, white wine vinegar…

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It’s hummus time.

(Hmm…  That would be a good name for my own brand of hummus…  I call it!)

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See, I was thinking about what to do with leftover chives

from this DELICIOUS Shepherd’s Pie I recently made…

Y’know, kinda like when I was all like,

“What-am-I-gonna-do-with-this-leftover-cilantro?!#%^$”

It happens.

That’s okay.  Fine by me.

Good for YOU.

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Chive Jive Hummus

Ingredients:

1/4 cup raw cashews

1-2 cloves of garlic

small bunch of fresh chives (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped)

1 15-oz can garbanzos (or 2 cups home-cooked)

a few Tbsp of white wine vinegar, to taste and to adjust consistency

salt and pepper to taste

1) Combine the cashews, garlic and chives in your food processor.  Chop and mix until the cashews are pretty much ground up, scraping the sides down one or two times.

2) Add the garbanzos and puree.  Stream in the vinegar until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

3) Give yourself a pat on the back and grab some crackers, pita chips, or fresh bread…

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Make a sammich…

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Or something.

Some notes…  If you’re not so much into garlic as I am, you should stick with one clove, and go from there.  I used 4 garlic cloves for no sane reason, and that’s a good idea if you’re trying to avoid the flu or venereal disease…  Yeah.  As far as chives, it’s difficult to go overboard with them, because they’re so much more mild than their relative, the onion.  In place of white wine vinegar, you can use lemon juice, as well as some zest if you like.  And you can use nuts other than cashews, but I like their buttery sweetness to help carry the onion-y flavor of the chives.  I imagine pistachios would be great as well, and add to the lovely green color.  Green is pretty awesome.

That is all.  Carry on.  Chococat 4 lyfe.

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Give Parsnip a Chance January 24, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 5:26 pm
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I’ve been meaning to work with parsnip.  Sort of.

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Because I see it all the time at the markets, and I know how it tastes

and the array of dishes one can make with it…

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But I feel like it it often gets pushed aside.

Is it the name?  Pars. Nip.  Par. Snip.

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I dunno.

To me, parsnip is like… if a potato and a carrot had a baby.

A nice, sweet,  but awkward child that nobody really talks to.

Probably because its name is Parsnip.

(If I ever have a kid, its name will be Parsnip.)

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And little Parsnip will make great gnocchi.

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Parsnip Gnocchi with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola

This recipe is based on my Plantain Gnocchi, but I basically swapped out the plantain for parsnip.  Parsnip yields a slightly sweeter flavor and pairs nicely with the onions and tangy Gorgonzola.  You can also try folding in a bit of the cheese into the gnocchi dough… whoa…  Also, when I made this, I was using half the ingredients as listed.  The amount I made could feed two, so these quantities should be good for four peeps.

Ingredients:

4 large parsnip roots, peeled and cut into equal sizes

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups flour*

optional: fresh or dried herbs of your choice (I used chopped fresh sage)

salt and pepper to taste

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup or more of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

*I used amaranth flour to make a gluten-free version, just because.  I think the lack of gluten also made these gnocchi really tender, even after they’ve been refrigerated (which is good if you like eating leftovers straight from the fridge).  Using wheat flour will likely make the texture a little more firm, but I don’t imagine in a bad way, since that’s what is traditionally used in gnocchi.

1) Steam or roast the parsnip until tender.  I roasted mine (350°F for about an hour, coated in olive oil, salt and pepper) because I have an obsession with roasting veggies, apparently.  Steaming might make them easier to puree later on though.

2) Once cool enough to handle, puree the parsnip in a food processor, using the eggs (and scraping down occasionally) to help achieve a smooth consistency.  I also required a few tablespoons of water, FYI.  Transfer the puree to a medium bowl, and gradually combine with the flour, until you have a dough that is easy to handle but still a bit sticky (if you need more flour, add a tablespoon or two at a time).  Fold in the salt, pepper, and herbs if using.  Set dough aside to rest.

3) Caramelize the onion by cooking over medium-low heat in a bit of olive oil.  Stir frequently, until the onion is evenly browned and smells like angel sweat.  Remove from heat and set aside.

4) Shape your gnocchi.  Flour your hands and your counter top, or a large cutting board.  As you can see, I did thumbprints (again).  You can also roll the dough into a snake and just cut equal-sized pieces from that, or if you have any special tools or techniques, go for it.  Once all the dough is shaped, bring a pot of water to a gentle boil.  In small batches, lower the gnocchi into the water, and once they float to the top, take them out and set aside.  Repeat until all the gnocchi is cooked.

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5) Combine the gnocchi with the caramelized onion, reheating if necessary on low.  Then transfer to a bowl and toss with the Gorgonzola.  Enjoy while thinking about which vegetable you would name your child after.  I also may consider Broccoli…

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Sharing is Yummy January 20, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 9:44 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I like to provide things when I can.  I try to be helpful, generous, solution-giving, etc.  I like to produce.

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So when someone asks for a recipe, because they so adored the dish when I first served it

2013-01-17 18.46.04   Damn right I’m gonna supply.

So yeah.  I made this Shepherd’s Pie for Thanksgiving.  And I kinda winged it, and didn’t record the recipe.

The “meat” portion is based on/inspired by my awesomely awesome chili.

The texture of the finely chopped veggies, legumes, and the wonderful blend of spices makes a great alternative to ground beef.

Lots of flavor going on, people.

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Then there’s mashedly mashed potatoes.

I boiled the tah-toes with their own skins, plenty of salt, and some peppercorns.

Can’t hurt to add a little extras when you boil something…

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(Can you see my reflection in the wonderful Professional Kitchenaid Mixer, Tia Malena??)

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Green things = chives.  Because everyone likes chives, right?

Yellow cube things: buttah.  Because, damnit.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

for the filling-

1 medium carrot

1 pint mushrooms

1 medium tomato

1 small onion (or half medium

1-2 garlic cloves, depending on your liking for garlic

1/2 cup red lentils (you can use other types of lentils, but they may require longer cooking time)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coriander

approx 1 cup liquid (broth, beer, water, etc.)

drizzle of soy sauce or tamari

salt and pepper to taste

for the mashed potatoes-

3 large Russet potatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper or peppercorns (optional)

1 1/4 cup sour cream (maybe a little more if necessary)

1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter

1 bunch of chives, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1) Make the filling.  Finely chop the carrot, mushrooms, tomato, onion and garlic.  Drizzle some olive oil in large pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Now throw in all the veggies and lentils.  When things start to get hot, lower the heat to medium, and cover the pot partially.  Stir occasionally as the liquid from the shrooms and tomatoes evaporates.  Meanwhile, combine the spices in a small bowl.  When the mixture has lost most of its liquid, stir in the spices, then add the broth, or whatever you’re using (I used a combination of hard cider and water).  Also add the soy sauce.  Bonus: I had some fresh thyme and sage from my new patio garden and threw that in.  Allow to cook until the mixture has a chili-like consistency and the lentils are done.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.  Spread filling into a 9-inch pie plate, or an 8×8 inch baking dish (or something equivalent).  Set aside.

2) Make the mashed potatoes.  Peel the potatoes, and combine them with their skins, salt, and pepper (if using) in a large pot.  (The skin adds a bit of flavor).  Add enough water to cover the potatoes and put to boil for about half an hour, or until they are tender.  Once done, transfer the hot potatoes to a large bowl.  Reserve the water they were boiled in.  Break them up with a knife or large fork, then start mashing with either a mixer or potato masher.  Add the butter, and mix/mash it in until it’s melted.  Now mix in the sour cream, then the reserved cooking water as necessary until it’s smooth, creamy and fluffy.  Gradually add chives, salt and pepper to taste, and more sour cream if you feel it’s needed.

3) Spread the potatoes over the filling.  Make it fluffy!!  If you’re like me, more salt and pepper over the top.  Then we’re gonna be bad… and dot some little cubes of butter all over before this baby hits the oven.  And bake at 350°F, though you can turn the temperature higher if you’re lacking patience…  Until the potatoes are lightly browned…  And that butter has melted and adorned the crevices like rivers running through mountains…

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You can serve this right away.  Maybe along a nice salad like this one.

Or this one.

And for dessert, maybe some Cranberry Orange Banana Bread?

And/or irresistible Pumpkin Blondies?

Some notes…  This recipe can be adjusted in various ways.  For one, you can use different veggies than listed.  Just keep texture in mind.  You don’t want a mushy filling, so different types of mushrooms, root veggies, lentils, corn, quinoa, etc, are good options.  Second, you can use different types of potatoes, but some are more waxy versus starchy like Russets, so do your research and see what will be good for mashing.  Third, want to make this a little healthier?  Use Greek yogurt mixed with the juice of one lemon instead of sour cream.  And olive oil instead of butter?  Totally okay.  FOURTH!  Want to make it vegan?  There are plenty of vegan substitutes for butter and sour cream.  But if you have trouble getting them near you, just ask, I’ll help you out with what you got.

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And finally… Share =)

 

How Hard Can It Be? January 15, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 9:29 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

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I consider myself lucky.

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I enjoy fruits and veggies.  And herbs and spices.  All sorts.

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And I know how to use them.

I know what they do for me.

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I know for a lot of people the sheer thought of a broccoli floret, a carrot, beans, or even a plate of spinach sauteed with garlic– is traumatizing.  Whereas to me, they’re beautiful.  Raw, cooked, paired with dressing or dips, I just love my plant food.  At work I’m offered pasta, eggs, bread.  I have cookies and cakes and icing and chocolate at my immediate disposal.  I taste some things, but that is it.  Not because I dislike these items, but because A) I don’t like to take too much food from work, and B) I know how these foods make me feel physically, as opposed to the fresh fruits and veggies I bring from home.  My biggest indulgence on the clock is spinach gnocchi when the Miss sneaks over a couple pieces.  She’s lovely.  I sometimes take home with me her sweet potato salad or jalapeno corn muffins.  But she knows the best things to give me are celery, broccoli, tomatoes, arugula in lemon dressing, or even a spoonfull of chipotle pepper!  And yes, I eat the chipotle pepper straight up (while co-workers stare in amazement).  One time she brought me all the vegetable scraps from a crudite platter she was doing.  Cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower… Best day at work.  Ever.

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      I know.  Issues.  I have them.

Well, mental issues, yes.

Health issues?  Haven’t seen one in many moons…  Haven’t had a “real” cold in years– I swat them with chili peppers, garlic and onion.  The flu and I are complete strangers.  Headaches are rare, as is indigestion.  My digestive system and I have very clear communication…  take that as you will.

But.

I wasn’t always this way.  As a kid, I pretty much despised salad.  I was down with some fruit.  Apple juice was my beverage of choice.  But it ain’t an American childhood (especially in the 90’s) if you’re not eating garbage of some sort.  Pop Tarts, sugary cereals, hydrogenated oils, Handi-Snacks, Dunkaroos… y’all know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!  My immunity wasn’t bad, but it could’ve been better.  I remember horrible stomach pains at night, asking Dad to rub my back so I could try to fall asleep.  Mom did her best to feed us a healthy diet, but when so many crappy non-foods are marketed as “health food”… it’s not easy.  You have to educate yourself.  You have to research.  You have to learn and experiment and taste and do the whole trial-and-error.  Over and over and over.

Which is what I did, starting in my late teens and early twenties.

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Mmmmm, glad I did.

So, yes, I know.  It’s not easy.  You’re not born liking carrots and beets and greens.  But just like when we’re babies, we have to try foods several times, and in different preparations, to see if those foods are really not our thang.  I hope, if you’re one of those who’s afraid of plants, that this salad piques your interest, and that you try your hand at it, or at least one of the components, or another one of my recipes.  Personally, just the roasted beets and carrots are wonderful on their own.  I ate some for breakfast… But then again, of  course I would.

Rabbit’s Delight

This salad is a winner.  Crisp, creamy, a bit of tang, natural sweetness, and nutritionally packed.  Other great additions would be some cooked chickpeas, sprouts, some teriyaki baked tempeh…  If you want to go all raw, you can just peel and grate the beet and carrots.  Now go be healthy!

Ingredients:

for the dressing-

1 cup raw cashews

a few handfuls of cilantro leaves

zest and juice of two limes

salt and pepper to taste

water to adjust consistency

for the salad-

1 medium beet, sliced (peeling is optional)

a couple of large carrots, sliced into coins (or a few medium/small carrots)

a bunch of salad greens (I used chicory, but you can use romaine, spring mix, butter lettuce, etc.)

1 avocado, sliced

1) For the dressing, combine all the ingredients, except water, in a food processor and blend, blend, blend, until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.  Add water to thin it out to your liking.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

2) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Toss the beet and carrot slices with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake until tender.  Around half an hour should do.  I think…. :)

3) When the beets and carrots are cooled, combine them with the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl.  Toss with the dressing, and serve.  Yaaaay.

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Hodgepodge January 10, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 3:31 pm
Tags: , , , ,

The feeling that part of you slept through the end of the year..

chibi nap

And though good things happened

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Those things are still too new to really grasp…

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So you take what you got, or what you’ve made from what you got…

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And layer it into the Pyrex dish you received  for Christmas :)

And bake.

You make comfort food.  You make something special out of things so ordinary,

or things that are “just there”… for whatever reason.

You make:

Rainbow Chard, Onion, and Lentil Panade

Panade is essentially a bread casserole.  It’s very versatile.  All you need is some stale or dried bread cubes, a filling of your choice, and soup stock.  Here’s my delicious version.

Ingredients:

a couple cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 lb rainbow chard, sliced into ribbons, and the stems diced

a tsp each of fennel and caraway seeds (you can use whatever herbs or spices you like, but I find this combination interesting and delicious)

about half a pound of stale or dried bread cubes (I used challah but brioche, sourdough, baguette, whole wheat, etc., should do just as well)

about 1 cup cooked lentils (any type– French, red, black, green, etc.)*

2 cups nice vegetable broth

1) Make your filling.  Over medium heat in some olive oil or butter, cook your garlic and onions until they start to soften.  Add the chard, and stir around until it’s wilted.  Add the fennel and caraway seeds, salt, pepper, and adjust flavors to your taste.

2) (If your bread cubes are not dry, you can pop them in the oven on the lowest temperature for a while.  You want them to be able to soak up the broth.)  When you have your fillings and bread ready, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Brush a medium sized baking dish (about 8×8 inches or the equivalent) with olive oil.  Spread half of the bread cubes on the bottom.  Drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Fill the gaps with half the fillings.  Repeat with the remaining bread and filling.  I had some finely ground pecans and sprinkled some of those on top, but that’s not necessary.  Top off the casserole with an extra drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and anything else you feel like.

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3) Pour the broth evenly over the panade.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top bread cubes are dry and crusty, and there’s some bubbling action on the bottom.  Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

*Cheese is often used in panade.  I had some cooked red lentils on hand and thought it a good idea to throw in something healthier than cheese, so there.  But by all means, whatever floats yer boat…

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All you need now is a fork.  Plates are stupid.