Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

They Knew… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:10 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

So I was going through some photos, making myself feel old

When I stumbled across the first pets I ever had.

2013-04-11 18.57.21
I tried to feed them Trix cereal because I felt sorry for them.

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

2013-04-15 17.52.06

Anywho.

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

Talk about a revelation :p

2013-04-15 17.58.37

This salad is not exactly a revelation.

2013-04-15 18.08.28

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!

2013-04-15 18.17.02

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.

2013-04-15 18.04.05

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.

2013-04-15 18.19.572013-04-15 18.23.44

Such as walnuts and dried figs…  Ooh

2013-04-15 18.22.54

For serious.  This salad.  Rabbit approved.

 

My Brain vs. Reality March 27, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 7:14 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

2013-03-19 18.05.43

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.

2013-03-19 18.28.08

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.

2013-03-19 18.44.12

2013-03-19 20.09.50

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

2013-03-19 20.13.59

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.

2013-03-19 18.35.22

2013-03-19 18.09.42

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.

2013-03-20 17.36.31

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

2013-03-20 19.16.59

Ideas on how to serve…

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

Y’know. Whatever you got.

2013-03-20 19.17.47

 

Give Parsnip a Chance January 24, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

2013-01-21 17.45.49

I’ve been meaning to work with parsnip.  Sort of.

2013-01-21 17.46.39

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…

2013-01-21 17.54.08

But I feel like it it often gets pushed aside.

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

2013-01-21 19.12.39

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.)

2013-01-21 19.42.11

And little Parsnip will make great gnocchi.

2013-01-21 20.01.02

2013-01-21 20.26.17

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.

2013-01-21 20.05.21

2013-01-21 20.07.41

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…

2013-01-21 20.26.46

2013-01-21 20.28.09

 

Dear 2012… December 30, 2012

Filed under: Random — rabbit @ 8:56 pm
Tags:

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 :)

 

Showing Off November 27, 2012

Filed under: Random — rabbit @ 6:57 pm

I made sure our guests knew there was no way in hell that I would cook a turkey.

But no one seemed to mind…

Vegetarian shepherd’s pie with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes.

Caramelized onion stuffing.  Recipe courtesy of Baking Bites.

Sweet potato mash done TWO ways!

One side plain with pecans, the other with mashed beets.

With an option of honeyed goat cheese or homemade marshmallow topping.

Hells yes.

Pretty sure this is the best green bean casserole ever.

Because my green beans are roasted, not steamed.

And look at those wonderful, crispy fried onions, people!

Plus:

roasted garlic and champagne gravy

cranberry sauce

biscuits, Smitten Kitchen style

and, of course, pie.

Okay.  I’m done.  Bye.

 

Marshmallows and the Plaid Chicken June 20, 2012

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 9:23 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve taken upon myself a special project for my mum.  She has about a bazillion photos from the past 60 years or so.  Most of them are of our family, of course.  Slowly but surely, I’m sorting them all out.  Each box I go through gets separated into different categories.  Once each box is empty, the different categories will be divided into subcategories.  In between all that, I have to toss the ones that are blurry or dark, irrelevant, or excessive (my mom has triple prints of some photos.  TRIPLE.).  It’s kind of a fun job, since I’ve always loved looking at the old photos.  Then again, sometimes images, nostalgia, and memory can kind of weigh down on you.

  

“Und how does zat make you feel?”

But I won’t talk about the contents of my family’s and my nut-case files.

After going through some of my baby and toddler photos, however, I’ve realized a few things about myself:

1) Feet are awesome.

“Dude.  Look at them.  They’re fuzzy.”

2) My love for fruit and all things fruity began at a very young age.

“I freakin’ love this pear, OMG!!?!?!”

3) I was secretly a member of the Beatles.

Look at that hair.  Look at it.

4) Like many children of the 80s, I was a hipster before it was cool.

That sweater rocks so hard.  Bert and Ernie were my inspiration.

And 5) I would kill to have this dress again. KILL.

There’s a freakin’ plaid chicken on that dress, people.

Alas… that dress is long gone.  I hate life.

We’ll have to make do with vegan marshmallows, lemon zest, and olive oil.

Yeah.

And melt it all down.

Add some of that crispy rice cereal stuff.  Or Cheerios, I dunno.  And press into a pan.

And then when it’s cool, cover in chocolate if desired.  Why wouldn’t you?

Cut.

Every child should make “Rice Krispies” treats.  And with the twist of lemon in here, they taste kinda like Froot Loops.  I swear.

Lemony Rice Krispies Treats

1 10-oz bag marshmallows (vegan is optional… you’re cooler if you use the vegan ones though)

zest and juice of 2 lemons

2 Tbsp olive oil (you can use butter, but I was feeling fancy, and also wanted to keep this vegan)

4-6 cups crispy rice cereal (or some other plainly flavored cereal)

dark chocolate to coat or drizzle (optional)

1) In a large saucepan, combine the marshmallows, lemon zest, juice, and olive oil.  Over low heat, melt the marshmallows while stirring to combine everything.  Remove from heat once melted.

2) Add the cereal.  Start with 4 cups, and if you feel it needs more, keep going.  Stir to coat evenly.  Press the mixture into a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Allow to cool.

If desired, melt the chocolate with a little olive oil or butter and spread or drizzle over the cereal.  Let the chocolate set before cutting (you can put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process).

Chocolate and lemon.  Almost better than that chicken dress.

 

One Girl, Two Cakes June 13, 2012

Filed under: Biz Stuff,Random — rabbit @ 3:04 pm
Tags: ,

Uuuuuhhh…

Yeah, that’s gross, don’t think things like that.

^The beginning of Swiss buttercream^

My co-worker, Carmen, wanted a small cake for her boyfriend’s birthday.  And I was all like, “Hells, yeah, I’ll do it.”  It was pretty easy.  Vanilla bean cake with vanilla frosting, for maybe six people, max.  An afternoon project.

I was a bit disappointed when my cake supply store ran out of vanilla bean paste.  So much more economical than buying whole vanilla beans.  But sometimes you gotta bite the bullet and buy the bean…  It smells damn good anyway.

I guess at some point every baker should slit open a vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.

The hardest part was painting the logo of the birthday boy’s basketball team:

…And NO, not because I’m  a Heat fan or whatever.

Frankly, I dislike sports in general.  Except soccer…  Soccer’s hot.  And rugby.  Watching rugby is like watching Brokeback Mountain.  Times ten.

I mean painting a logo with food coloring was a bit challenging.  But it reminded me that I still got some painting skills left.

The logo was entirely edible, made of rolled out marzipan, and painted with food coloring gel.  Yaaay meee.

I used this recipe for the buttercream (and dyed it robin’s egg blue, birthday boy’s favorite color).

  I always feel a little odd using Martha Stewart recipes.  Makes me feel dislocated.

But that buttercream was damn good.

(That’s gold dust on there by the way… Looks odd in the photo, pretty in person.)

And birthday boy enjoyed his cake very much.  He said it actually had flavor, as opposed to many other special-order cakes.

The following week, I was called upon for a larger project…

A cake that would feed forty people.

Yup.  A wedding cake.

At first I thought, “I can’t do a freakin’ wedding cake!”

And then I thought, “Well, actually… I am pretty boss…”

To make it easier, I used the kitchen at work, seeing as how our oven, mixer, workspace, and fridge are much larger.  I can’t imagine trying to accomplish this in my tiny kitchen at home.

Fortunately, the client wanted a rather simple, traditional cake– French vanilla with buttercream, so I actually was able to use the same recipes I made for Carmen’s boyfriend.  Felt like second nature.  Aw, hell, most baking that I do feels like second nature.  Boss.  As I worked on the cake, I would show off the progress to my co-workers and regular customers.  I gave away scraps of cake and leftover frosting.  You’d think I’d be nervous, but I felt pretty good about this.

The most daunting task?  Transportation of the cake.  Especially in 90+ degree weather.  Bleeeech.  The layers did suffer a bit of damage, but nothing I couldn’t fix onsite.  That’s why we bring back up frosting and piping bags.  My client had roses and blue orchids for the finishing touches.

Actually, I kinda find it dorkably old-fashioned.

But it’s nice to say I’ve done a wedding cake :)

BOSS.