Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

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

 

Cinco Recap May 7, 2012

Filed under: Random — rabbit @ 9:08 pm
Tags: , ,

I will tell you this: I behaved.

I even helped!

I made guacamole at Jabel’s party.  Jabel is a fellow Mexican.  Well, I can’t quite say “fellow” Mexican because I’m only half by blood, and American by birth.  But sometimes my beaner spirit comes out.  Apparently, it shows in my guacamole.  Everyone ate that shit up.  And here’s a secret (which is no longer a secret…): that was the first time I ever made guacamole!  I know!  I’ve used avocado in soup, hummus, stuffed it, and probably done some other crazy stuff you shouldn’t even know about…. that’s not true, I’ve been pretty sane with avocados up to this point.  But I’ve never made guacamole until May 5, 2012.  Where’s my diploma?  Oh, right, sitting idly on the dining room wall.  Sorry, English degree.  At least I can spell.

Then there were my spinach and mushroom tamales.  Or, if you wanna be Mexican about it, “tamales de espinaca y hongos.  Con salsa chipotle”.  With chipotle sauce.  There.  That freakin’ sauce, meng.  So yum.  The tamales dried out since I had to make them the day before, but hey, that’s what the sauce was for.  I saw that coming…

Sombrero stacking…  I’ve got a chola/chonga expression on my face.

Now I’m on crack.

Whoa.

If I get/steal more pictures, I’ll post them.  But I would like to note that the highlight of my weekend was a six year old girl calling me and my friend Shawn “sexy”.  Very awkward, and very cute.  Maybe it’s because we randomly sang a Lion King song in front of her.  I vote Little Mermaid next time.

Update:  Yup, stole more pics…

Dude with the ‘stache, Juan, did an awesome Cheech impression.

I have no explanation…

And my favorite:

I feel like Tata and Drew are always trolling us…

 

It Calls from Within… May 4, 2012

Filed under: Random — rabbit @ 9:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Hey, guys.

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo.

First of all, you need tortilla chips.  Buckets of them.  Because you’ll need something dry and bland to soak up the tequila.

You will also need them to accompany the salsa and guacamole.  This ain’t just common sense.  It’s just sense.

Then, you need to get this stuff:

It’s a blend of dehydrated chili, lime, and salt.

Wait, what…?  Right.

Where do you get it?  The Mexican/Latin grocery store.

What do you put it on?

EVERYTHING.

roasted corn

pineapple

mango

watermelon

tomatoes

grilled zucchini

potatoes

sandwiches

mac and cheese

pizza

rice

tacos

enchiladas

beans and bean dips

guacamole (for something extra)

banana and peanut butter (couldn’t help it)

your grumpy cat

your food-hopeful dog

your creepy boyfriend/girlfriend

your creepy best friend

and babies, of course.

Then, you could make a nice, earthy, spicy vegetarian chili.  Maybe some mango bars for dessert.  Y’know, my dad (who is Mexican) might’ve become a priest, except he got kicked out of seminary school for stealing mangoes from the yard next door.  True story.

Good thing he didn’t become a priest.  Because then I wouldn’t be here.  And you like me, right?  Eerrr…

You could also learn how to make tamales.  It’s not that hard, really.  This guy pretty much knows what it’s all about.

Then you could stew some coarsely chopped tomatoes…  (not hard: just chop up several big, fat tomatoes, and put them over medium-high heat)

Along with some spices like cumin, coriander, cloves, allspice, maybe same cocoa… worcteshestire sauce (vegan or not),  sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.  *Edit: And a couple chipotle chiles in adobo sauce.  I can’t believe I forgot that part… Duh.

Puree, and you have a bold and spicy sauce for tamales.  Or whatever.  Kittens and such.

I’ll let you know what happens for my Cinco de Mayo.  In the meantime, don’t drink Corona.  I mean… c’mon.  Negra Modelo’s nice…  And I’ll only give you Dos Equis because of the commercials…

P.S. I bought a sombrero!

 

Chili of the Gods February 5, 2012

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 2:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hey.

Hey, guys…

I have to tell you about this chili.

 

I mean, it just looks like a bunch of funky stuff.  Which it is.  But it’s an awesome bunch of funky stuff… tomatoes, onion, and garlic, naturally.  Cumin, cayenne powder, AND chili paste.  Yesss.  Black lentils and red quinoa, for heartiness and protein, but also because they are the perfect color for chili (thanks again, Tiiinnnaaa).  Cinnamon, cocoa powder, and peanut butter… wait!  Don’t make faces at me!  I know those last three are more like dessert ingredients, but trust me…

This chili is largely inspired by ancient Mesoamerican culture (damn you, inner Mexican).  If you are familiar with mole sauce in Mexican cuisine and how it’s made, the array of spices in this chili should not surprise you.  There are many versions of mole sauces, but the most accessible types are general mash-ups of chili peppers, sweet and savory spices, herbs, nuts, seeds, and unsweetened chocolate or cocoa.  The chocolate/cocoa adds a unique depth to mole, as well as this chili.  In fact, you may find that many chili afficionados support the addition of chocolate or cocoa.  Then there’s the quinoa, the “mother of all grains”, according to the Incas.  Although most associated with Peru in origin, various types of quinoa have been grown throughout South and North America, and is therefore, totally appropriate combined with Mexican flavors.  And I’m not gonna lie, black lentils just sounded cool to use in combination with red quinoa.

 

Amiright??

Vegan Aztec Chili

Ingredients:

(Long list, yes, but easy to make.  You can use other veggies if you’d like– bell peppers, sweet potato, greens, summer squash, etc.  But definitely keep the onion, garlic and tomatoes.  Quinoa and lentils of any color will do, also.)

2 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup black lentils
1 cup red quinoa
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
2-3 Tbsp peanut butter (almond or cashew butter would probably work nicely as well)
2-3 Tbsp chili paste
2-4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-4 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tsp vegan worcesteshire sauce

Seriously, this is the most laborious part.  If you have a food processor though…

1) In a large soup pot, combine the carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and tomatoes.  Bring to medium-high heat, and cook until reduced.

2) Add the quinoa, lentils, and EVERYTHING ELSE.  Oh, and six cups of water.  Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This should be enough time for the lentils and quinoa to cook thoroughly.

3) Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust seasonings if need be.  If it’s not rich enough for you, add some olive oil or extra peanut butter (but be careful, you don’t want too much peanut flavor).  If you like it more saucy, add some plain tomato juice (or dark beer… that would be good… but let the alcohol cook out).  For ultimate awesomeness, let it sit for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can party together.  You can serve this with some avocado, corn chips, tortillas, pico de gallo, or if you’re not doing the vegan thing, some sour cream or farmer’s cheese.

Why, yes, you CAN eat chili from a mug!

But don’t eat the dried chili pepper…  You’ll die.

 

Start Your Ovens… November 18, 2011

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 11:59 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Have you looked at the calendar?  Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  Are you freaking out?  There’s a lot to freak out about.

Family… Travel… Cooking… Holiday Weight Gain… Black Friday… Working on Black Friday

I feel worst for the Black Friday employees.

But last night, I realized: you guys need Guru Rabbit Thanksgiving recipes!  Oh Em Geez.

So I’m on a mission to post something every day until next Thursday.

Let’s start with a starter.

This is one of the easiest soups you will ever make.  It’s also quite healthy, and not too filling, so you’ll have plenty of room left for sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and although I HIGHLY DISAPPROVE, turkey.

Sweet & Spicy Miso Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup agave nectar or honey

3 Tbsp dark miso paste

a few dashes of powdered ginger

2-3 tsp shichimi (you remember shichimi, right?)*

1-2 Tbsp mirin (optional)**

salt and pepper to finish

1) In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin and vegetable broth.  Turn the heat onto medium.

2) Place the miso paste in a small bowl or cup.  When the pumpkin mixture starts to heat up, ladle a small amount into the miso and mix until it’s a smooth paste.  I recommend doing this any time you add miso to something.

3) Whisk the miso paste back into the saucepan.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Let it heat and blend together for a few minutes, and taste.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.  The soup will taste best if it sits for a while before serving, just reheat it if need be.

And voila.  I drizzled a bit of black sesame oil on here, but garnish as you please.  You can also see the black sesame seeds from the shichimi blend.  I love this soup– sweet, spicy, savory, and perfect for fall.  The miso, fyi, has probiotic properties, so it’s good for your digestive system, another plus if you serve this with a holiday meal…

This recipe should serve 4-5 people.  Multiply as necessary.

*If you don’t have shichimi or can’t find it near you, no big deal.  The soup without it is still good, but you can make up for its absence with some orange zest, a little extra ginger and a bit of cayenne pepper.

**Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine.  You can also try using sake if you have some on hand.

 

Zen Hummus September 5, 2011

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 10:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes, I feel an impending need to make hummus.  If you keep up here, that may come as no surprise.  If it does, you’re missing out.

I think my hummus urges are a sign that I need more beans in my life.

I was looking at my list of hummus ideas, thinking about what crazy flavor I would make.  It had to be quick and easy, because I reeaaallllly needed some hummus. 

Matcha.  Yes.  Matcha would be fun.  I hope you know what matcha is.  If not, it’s a very high grade of powdered Japanese green tea.  Traditionally, it is drank during tea ceremonies, and great care is taken in its preparation.  Nowadays, matcha has a place in mainstream cuisine, being used to flavor noodles, ice cream, cakes, and all sorts of delights.  Maybe you’ve seen Starbucks’ green tea latte and Frappuccino.  But of course, like everything else Starschmucks sells, their matcha powder is loaded with sugar.  I’m pretty sure it’s mostly sugar, actually.  I’m allowed to criticize them because I used to work at one.  I used to work at one because I’m an English major.  I’m an English major because I don’t intend to use my degree.

…And that’s what matcha is all about.  I also remembered a Japanese spice blend that I bought a while ago from The Spice and Tea Exchange.  That means it was expensive.  No, wait, I think I got it as a bonus.  The other thing I bought was expensive.  Anyway, the spice blend is called Togarashi Pepper.  It includes sesame seeds, orange zest, ginger, seaweed, and of course, chili pepper.  After Googling togarashi, I found the blend, in Japan, is known as shichimi togarashi, which means “seven flavor chili pepper”.  Although the recipe can have variations, the ingredients I mentioned are pretty typical.  The blend is often used for soups, noodles, and rice products.  But it’s quite delicious and I believe you can use it in just about anything.  Except your eye.  That would probably hurt.

Pretty, yes?  Pretty and spicy.

You should be able to find shichimi at any Asian or Japanese grocery store.  While you’re there, you may also find matcha powder.  And lots of cute candy packages because that’s how the Japanese roll.

I used 3 teaspoons of shichimi, and 1 teaspoon of matcha.  Matcha’s pretty strong, so be careful if you decide to add more.

If you’re not too good with spicy stuff, use less shichimi.  You won’t be as cool though.

Then you just blend with a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, a couple tablespoons of tahini, about a third of a cup of lemon juice, a squirt of honey or agave, and salt to taste.  Adjust ingredients to your preferred taste and texture.

How does it taste?  Refreshing.  Zesty.  A lingering sensation of heat.  The matcha is unintrusive, and provides a bit of smooth, herbal undertone.  It makes me happy.  I ate half the batch.  Enjoy with rice crackers next to a koi pond.

 

Flowers, Watermelon and Cheese August 3, 2011

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 12:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

I totally experimented today.  Which reminds me, last week I ate a peach with Dijon mustard and I liked it.

But this experiment is more complex.  It begins with the fact that I found freakin’ dried hibiscus flowers at the ghetto Latin grocery store.  Win!

Yes, hibiscus.  You know that Tazo Passion tea they sell at Starbucks (as well as the tea bags in grocery stores)?  The main ingredient that makes it so wonderfully fruity and tart and lip-smackery is hibiscus flower.  In Mexico it’s called flor de Jamaica, while in Jamaica, they call it sorrel.  Hibiscus tea is consumed all over the world, actually; India, Cambodia, West Africa, Egypt, Sudan, Brazil, etc.  Mostly places where climate is warm enough for the flowers to grow, I assume.  I’m a HUGE fan of the stuff.  Hibiscus tea is naturally caffeine-free, although very refreshing when iced, and when served hot, I find it energizing.  It’s a natural diuretic, and is definitely a good addition to your diet when you need a detox.  Lots of vitamin C too.  And for people like me who have a hard time making themselves drink enough water, iced hibiscus tea is a nice alternative.

Because of its fruity tang, I often ponder over what I can create with hibiscus.  Today, I decided to do a sweet and spicy reduction.  I combined a quarter cup each of the flowers and sugar in a saucepan.  Dashed in some cayenne pepper, ground cloves, coriander, cinnamon, basil, thyme, and black pepper.

Added a cup of water and set it to boil.  I let that bubble until most of the liquid was evaporated and it had a syrupy consistency.  I was tempted to use some wine in addition to the water, but decided to see what this would taste like as is.  It came out nice.  Sweet, spicy, not too much heat, and a floral hint.  I do think it needs more tang, so maybe I’ll replace some of the water with lime juice next time.  It smells kinda like barbecue sauce.  ^_^

So that’s the first part of the experiment.  The second part is inspired by all the watermelon and feta salads I’ve been seeing on other food blogs.  I even tried to order it last night at a wine bar but they were taking it off the menu because not enough people ask for it.  Sca-rumph.  I wanna try cheese and watermeloooon.

So I did it myself.  Jerks.

This is actually a watermelon and goat cheese salad, accompanied by tomatoes and drizzled with the hibiscus reduction.  All the watermelon and feta salads I’ve seen are often dressed with lime, mint, basil, or cilantro.  I had to be a little different.  The goat cheese part is just because it was the only cheese in the fridge.  And who doesn’t like goat cheese?  C’mon.

The verdict?  I was kinda whatever about the watermelon being in the mix, but otherwise totally loving the hibiscus with the goat cheese.  Really liked it with the tomato.  I think instead of watermelon, pineapple and/or strawberries would be awesome.  Or various tomatoes.  Or sweet potato!  Aaaahhh…  I’m so Mexican.