Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

They Knew… April 17, 2013

Filed under: Random,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:10 pm
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So I was going through some photos, making myself feel old

When I stumbled across the first pets I ever had.

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I tried to feed them Trix cereal because I felt sorry for them.

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

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Anywho.

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

Talk about a revelation :p

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This salad is not exactly a revelation.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Such as walnuts and dried figs…  Ooh

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For serious.  This salad.  Rabbit approved.

 

Old Love, New Form April 7, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 11:05 am
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For a long, long, long… long time…

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I’ve had an adoration of mushrooms.

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They’re my first thought for toppings when ordering pizza.

Raw, stuffed, curried, grilled…

Deep fried at my Kingshead Pub

In a quiche, in a crepe?  Oui, s’il vous plaît.

Wild mushroom risotto?  The only time I will consider ordering a bowl of rice.

Portobello sandwiches, all the way.

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Or…  Something I’ve never done…

We can caramelize them with onions in Marsala wine.

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Everyonething is better with wine.

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And then we get fancies.

Marsala Mushroom Pate

This recipe is inspired by my passion for shrooms.  And by Homestyle Vegetarian.  I veganized it, as well as incorporated the Marsala wine.  Because that’s what I do, I dunno.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Marsala wine

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 a small onion, sliced

1 lb fresh mushrooms (white button or baby portobellos), quartered

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 cup raw almonds

2-3 Tbsp sherry or balsamic vinegar

herbs/spices of your choice (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)

salt and pepper to taste

1) Pour the wine into a large pan.  Add the garlic and onion and simmer until the onion starts to become translucent.  Then add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is gone.  Allow to cool.

2) While the mushrooms are cooling, you can skin the hazelnuts if desired.  Just place them on a baking sheet lined with foil, and toast them at about 300°F for 5-10 minutes, or until the skin comes off easily.  Then immediately throw them into a dish towel, wrap them up well, and rub around to loosen the skins.  This step is probably not necessary, but it the skin may darken the color of the pate.

3) In a food processor, finely chop the hazelnuts and almonds.  Then add the caramelized mushrooms and process until smooth.  Scrape down occasionally, and add the vinegar to smooth it out.  You can also use a little extra wine, vinegar, or olive oil to help with the texture.  Then add herbs, spices, salt and pepper to your liking.

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(Yep.  Looks like cat food.)

For variation… You can use another type of dessert wine, such as sherry or port.  You can also substitute different types of nuts– walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, cashews, etc.  This pate can be used on crostini as an appetizer, an accompaniment to some grilled vegetables and tofu, stuffed into ravioli, spread on sandwiches, etc.

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But I’ve no problems just eating it with a spoon…

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Sea Monsters March 16, 2013

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In the depths of the Pacific ocean…

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There live horrifying, many-tentacled creatures

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That are just chock-full of iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc

and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K!  And fiber!

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I feel like seaweed is rather underrated, just because of its odd appearance, and the fact that it is indeed called “sea-weed“.  I think they should be called “sea-greens“.  Because nutritionally, eating seaweed is very much like eating greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, collards, turnip and mustard greens.  And depending on the type of seaweed, it can often be cooked like our better-known western greens.  Soups, salads, stir-fried or sauteed, mixed with grains, beans, and other proteins…

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Such as a multi-grain tempeh.

I’ve tried a few different types of seaweed– kombu, kelp, dulse, hijiki, laver, and of course, nori, the type that is used for sushi rolling.  When it comes to preparing seaweed at home, wakame– what you see in my photos here– is my favorite so far.  It’s got a mild flavor and melds well with different condiments and spices.  And at least with the packages I’ve found, it’s hardly salty at all.  I don’t feel like I’m eating the ocean when I eat wakame.  Many seaweeds need to be boiled, rinsed, boiled again, rinsed again…  With this stuff, I just rehydrate with cool water, and drain.  Bam.  I also like that a small amount when dried yields quite a bit once rehydrated and ready to eat.  So a few bucks for a big package means a long-lasting source of a nutritious vegetable.  Rather convenient in case of emergency budgeting, or the wrath of a hurricane.

Simple Tempeh & Wakame

Ingredients:

a handful of dried wakame (you may need scissors to cut off the desired amount from the rest of the package)

1 8-oz package of tempeh*

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 an onion, thinly sliced

about 1/4 cup rice wine (or any white cooking wine)

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Optional: Schichimi spice blend, or a dash of cayenne and ginger

*You can also use extra firm tofu, and/or a cup or two of some cooked grain or noodles

1) In a large bowl, cover the wakame with cool water and let sit for 5-6 minutes, or until soft.  Drain, and chop into bite-size pieces.  Slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces as well.  Set aside.

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2) In a large pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion, and lower the heat to medium.  When the onion begins to soften and caramelize a bit, add the wakame and tempeh.  Cook for a few minutes, until the tempeh starts to brown.

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3) Add the wine, and allow that to simmer to a reduction.  Then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and spices if using.  Taste and adjust.  If the soy sauce is too strong, add more rice vinegar.  If the flavor is dull, add more soy sauce, extra spices, or some salt and pepper.

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And people think I don’t eat seafood anymore… :p

 

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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Dear 2012… December 30, 2012

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

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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.

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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 :)

 

Never Too Late November 4, 2012

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info,Recipes — rabbit @ 4:58 pm
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Ideally, I would’ve posted this two or three days ago, when the timing was more appropriate.  But y’know, stuff gets in the way.  I’m sure he won’t mind…

So I realized the cusp of October and November will from now on be particularly special.  Dad’s birthday is October 31st (Halloween!).  And the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) takes place November 1st and 2nd.  (Um, duh, Dad was Mexican.)

Among a bazillion other things (including but not limited to: how to drive, how to get achieve a good credit score, how to give an obviously homeless person something to eat, how to break someone’s nose should they attempt to molest me, etc.), Dad taught me how to make tamales.

It starts with love.  Like the immediate love one feels for a rescue puppy…

Okay, sort of.  And no, that’s not my puppy…  But for reals, it starts with a very finely ground cornmeal known as masa.  And traditionally, it is mixed with some kind of soup broth and… LARD.  Ugh.  Well, I don’t really mean that.  When it comes to old-time standards, one would raise a happy pig, kill it (hopefully as quickly as possible), and use all parts of its body– meat, organs, fat,and bones.  Food chain ethics, y’ know?  That ain’t the case today :(

But I find non-hydrogenated palm shortening works.  Try Spectrum.  Or if you have an ethical source of lard…?  I dunno, I eat lettuce for lunch, I’m not really the person to ask about this…

Anywho.  Then the masa dough gets spread into soaked corn husks, and filled.

I filled the masa dough with roasted butternut squash and Mexican farmer’s cheese.

(In the last couple of years, Dad would frequently buy buy butternut squash for his rabbit girl.)

Then you wrap it up so the dough seals itself around the filling:

And tie it up, and steam it up.

Tequila shot, optional.

Basic Tamale Recipe

3 cups masa harina*

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening

3 cups vegetable broth

25-30 dried corn husks, soaked in water for a couple of hours*

heatproof, food-safe twine or string (or if you want to deal with tying corn husk strings, be my guest)

filling of your choice, but nothing too runny

*You’ll probably have to go to a Latin or Mexican grocery store to find the masa harina and corn husks.  If you want to try tying the tamales with the husk itself, once you’ve soaked them, take a few and just tear them into strips.  It takes a little practice to efficiently tie a corn husk string, which is why I suggest twine.  But whatever floats your boat.

1) In a small bowl, whisk together the masa and baking powder.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat the shortening until fluffy.  With a rubber or silicone spatula, start mixing in the masa.  Once it’s getting too dry and difficult to mix, start mixing in the broth.  You want to end up with a soft, kinda pasty dough, so add the broth gradually, until you have a good consistency.

2) Place a steamer basket at the bottom of a large, deep pot.  The higher you can place the basket, the better, so if you want, put some kind of heavy objects that will survive being boiled underneath.  Fill with water to just below the bottom of the basket.

3) Assemble the tamales.  Spread a few tablespoons of dough onto the center of a corn husk.  Your husks might be large enough to put more dough.  Just make sure you stay in the center so the husk can fully wrap around.  Leave enough empty husk at the bottom to be able to fold it up and tie.  Place a bit your filling on the dough, just enough so that the dough will still be able to encase it.  Wrap up the corn husk so the dough covers the filling.  Fold the bottom tail up and tie it securely.  You can leave the top open.  Set aside and repeat until all your tamales are ready for steaming.

4) Place the tamales in the steamer basket, standing on their bottom.  Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and steam for about an hour, adding more water as necessary.  They’re ready when the dough is firm.

Serve with sauces and sides of your choice– salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.  For fillings, you can try spinach, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, different types of cheese, etc.  Whatever you use, make sure it’s cooked already.  You don’t want liquid seeping out the dough while the tamales steam.

This recipe makes enough to feed four people, maybe more, depending on appetites.  You can store leftovers in the fridge or freezer, and heat in the oven.  So it makes a good weekend project to be able to have tamales at your disposal.  Awesome?  Yes.

Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday, Dad.

P.S.  These are by far the hottest chipotles I’ve ever tasted:

La Morena indeed…

 

Brothers, Part II October 9, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — rabbit @ 7:48 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Then there’s Steven.  He’s the one who got married earlier this year.  Steven’s the younger older brother.  (Yep, I’m the baby girl.)

Steven knows better than to eat a raw plantain… (lolz).  But he has his… quirks…  Tina, his wife/my sister(-in-law), can attest.  Using a fork to scrape peanut butter out of the jar, for example.  No one knows why.  Pretty sure Steven doesn’t know either.  It’s just always been like that.  Grab a banana.  Peel it.  Break it in half.  Scrape pb out of the jar with a fork and onto the banana.  Chomp, chew, repeat process.

Wherever Steven lives, there are fork tracks in the peanut butter.

So for his birthday this year, I thought to make him a cake comprising of a few of his mindless addictions…

A banana cake, made with vanilla bean paste to give it that wonderful, ethereal vanilla flavor.

Marshmallow frosting… because Steven loves sweets that are light and fluffy.

(Tina’s light, but not fluffy.  I would know, she’s sat on me before…  Hi Tina!)

And between each layer, peanut butter honey icing, sliced bananas,

and some of that marshmallow frosting.

I put a little jar of peanut butter on top.  And made sure it had fork tracks in it ;)

Oh.  And a marzipan fork.

Then there was a little party at Tina’s brother’s house.

The family puppies were there…

Steven swears Oliver likes being smothered like this.

Then there’s Goldie, the lighter, more sprightly counterpart to Oliver.

Okay, so they’re not puppies, chronologically.  But y’know.

Steven got spoiled.  All his favorite desserts.

And a My Little Pony card from me :D

Banana Fluffernutter Cake

Ingredients:

for cake (adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen)-

3 overly ripe bananas

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, margarine, or butter (at room temperature)

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or 1-2 tsp vanilla extract (depending on how much vanilla flavor you want)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk (almond, soy, dairy, whatever), mixed with 1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

for the marshmallow frosting-

the recipe for this can be found here, since I’m lazy, and she presents it in such a special manner :)

for the peanut butter icing-

this is so easy, I’ll tell you after the cake.

1)  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease 2 6-inch round pans.  You can also use a single 8 or 9 inch round pan, a 8×8 square pan or 8×4 inch loaf pan.  Depends on how you’re serving this, since it doesn’t have to be assembled exactly as I did.

2)In a large bowl, with your mixer, beat up the bananas, getting them as smooth as you can.  Add in the sugar and shortening, and beat, again, until as smooth as you can get it.

3) Mix in your salt, vanilla, and the soured milk.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking soda, and fold into the banana mixture with a rubber spatula.

4) Scrape the batter into your pan(s). Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Using two smaller pans may result in faster baking time, so just keep an eye on your baby.

The peanut butter icing is kind of an ad-lib.  I just threw together some peanut butter, honey, powdered sugar, and non-hydrogenated shortening.  If you have a favorite peanut butter icing or frosting recipe, go for it.  For me, the point was to be able to pipe the decoration around the cake.  If you’re not worried about that, just some plain peanut butter and honey or maple syrup will do for the filling.

Once the cake is cooled, slice the tops and edges to flatten and smooth out the layers.  I sliced each cake into two, so as to have four layers.  That’s up to you.  You can just have two layers.  Between layers, spread some peanut butter icing/filling.  Top with thinly sliced banana, and make a thick ring around the edges with marshmallow frosting.  Frost the entire cake in marshmallow frosting.  Decorate as desired.  I don’t recommend the miniature jar of forked up peanut butter on top unless you also have a friend or family member who eats their peanut butter with a fork…

Right, Goldie?

Aaaw.  Pooped.