Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Return of the Native...

Well, peeps, it's been nearly a year since my last Edible Rabbit entry. Sorry bout that.

So much has happened in the last year, it's been a busy time of learning and growth, of challenges, of heartache and also of pure, golden, unadulterated joy as well. (A not-so-subtle nod to King Solomon's "season for everything"...I'm such hack...)

On another "Proverbial" note, there is nothin' new under the sun. I'm still running. I'm still cooking (see image of last night's apple pie for evidence).

Keep reading, friends, my blog juices are simmering and I feel more pics/recipes bubbling to the surface very soon.

The Edible Rabbit

Thursday, February 4, 2010

...Tonight's gonna be a good night...i.e. breaking in my King Tut racing shoes

Well, peeps, I'm still counting down to the Frostbite 1/2 Marathon next weekend so I guess that means tonight is going to be another running night.

I'm trying to eat sensibly but it's so hard to be good! :(

I've got a new pair of racing flats that I need to break in before the marathon, so I might wear them on the treadmill tonight for a couple of miles. The ultra-lightweight Nike racing shoes are fantastic. They're made with this incredible material called Flywire. I'm not sure exactly what Flywire is but I do know the substance was developed by NASA and it makes the shoes UBER light and strong. This will be my first experience racing/training in the Sister One+ series. Will keep you posted on comfort, flexibility, speed, responsiveness, durability, etc.

Check 'em out and tell me what you think! Pretty spiffy, huh?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why can't my Kitchen Aid "whip" me into shape?

Nine days left until the Frostbite half marathon so until then, my friends, it's the straight and narrow for the Edible Rabbit. No more late night snacking! No more wine! No more Oreos! No more macaroni and cheese! And for all of you out there who are familiar with my pitfalls (you know who you are), please feel free to send a word of encouragement, good cheer, chastisement, derision, or whatever you feel is appropriate. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Midwinter's dinner

I've been feeling a bit blue all weekend (compliments of the icy weather/cabin fever) and so I decided to make a nice dinner tonight.

There has been a frozen rack of lamb in my freezer for weeks now. The mutton sighting took place @ Trader Joe's in Nashville. Due to a healthy combination of its insanely good price and my inordinate love of lamb, it found its way into my cart, my freezer and now, on my counter top thawing out. I've never cooked an entire rack of lamb before. This one has been Frenched and seasoned and everything, so it seems like it's good to go. Probably just going to get the oven good and hot and pop it in there for about 25 minutes.

Before the lamb goes in, however, I've got to bake the rolls I made to accompany it. There's nothing like fresh, homemade bread on a cold, cheerless day.

The Edible Rabbit's Basic Bread Recipe

1 packet yeast
4 cups flour (I use a mixture of half 'n half, half white, half whole wheat)
2 tablespoons butter (or oil. Any kind of fat/shortening will do)
4 tablespoons sugar (white, brown or honey)
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups water

Make sure your water is around 110 degrees (or a little warmer when the weather is cold). Place water in the bowl of your electric mixer with the yeast packet and one tablespoon of your sweetener of choice. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the yeast can come to life. Your next step is to add the flour. Put the mixer on low speed and add one cup at a time, adding no more than 3 cups. Add the butter, salt and the rest of the sugar. Mix until the dough forms at very sticky ball at the bottom of your mixer. Dump onto a well floured counter top and slowly begin adding the last cup of flour. Let the dough remain as wet as you can possibly stand. Remember: you can always add more flour, you can't take it out. Be especially careful when you are working with whole wheat flour. You may yield to the temptation to dump quite a bit in at once, but being a whole grain, it can soak up a LOT of liquid, leaving you with dry, hard dough. So just be patient.

Knead your dough for about five minutes. Place the ball of dough into a well greased bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until it has doubled in size, probably about and hour to an hour and a half. Punch the dough down again, knead until all air bubbled disappear. Place in a loaf pan, shape into rolls...whatever your little heart desires. Let rise for a second time.

Hey, be patient. No one said this was a quick process. Good things come to those who wait.

Bake until golden brown and delicious!

Ice Cubes

It's been a rough weekend outside the Rabbit Warren, peeps. The roads have been solid sheets of ice. The town has been little more than a scared, shivering frozen tumbleweed of a ghost town.

I do not own an ice scraper. I got inventive and used my kitchen spatula instead.

Life is hard in the snow. We Southerners just aren't used to it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A tart from the heart

I'm sharing my easy-peesy-lemon-squeesy, never fail, always triumphant pie crust with you, peeps. Hang onto it. Treasure it. In your dark days, it will serve you well. When faced with the craving for buttery flakiness sans hair pulling, Biblically-popularized ash wallowing, wailing and gnashing of teeth, then hunker down and mix yourself up some of my pastry.

Perfection in a patty-pan:
The Edible Rabbit's Pie crust
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking (I couldn't steal all of the credit, could I?)

Two cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of salted butter plus 2 1/2 tablespoons
4 tablespoons of water

Put flour in electric mixer and shave in the butter (a paring knife works well for this) at a low speed. Try to cut the butter in quickly, having the least amount of contact with it as possible. This will keep the butter cool and make the dough easier to work with later on.

I know this is going to sound strange, but I favor cheap, salted butter when making my pie crust. Firstly, it's less expensive, which is always a good thing and secondly, it has a tendency to have a higher water content, which makes the dough easier to work with.

Continue to mix flour and butter mixture on low speed until crumbly, the consistency of cornmeal. Add the salt.

Prepare a glass of ice water and let it sit for a minute...the water needs to be really cold!

...Think arctic, North Pole, penguins, seals, polar bears, snow cone, ice cream sandwich, polar bear plunge, lemmings, Eskimos, sorbet, steering wheel in wintertime, Amy falling through the frozen pond in Little Women, To Build a Fire, Jack London, sled dog, gold rush, Klondike (which, in turn, brings us back to the ice-cream sandwich notion/Klondike bar), frostbite, Mt. Everest, base camp, Shangri La, Himalayas, Sherpa, yak, Amundsen, hell freezing over (bet that one made you think).

What can I say, peeps? My mind is a weird jumble of stuff.

OKAY, water should be cold enough by now. (Don't you just love my interactive recipes?) Add the water to the mixture one tablespoon at a time, mixing only until the dough forms a ball at the bottom of the mixer. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT add more water. I know it's tempting but just trust me on this one.

You can either dump the dough onto a floured surface (don't forget to flour your rolling pin also) or else split in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a few minutes. This will make enough for for two crusts plus what I refer to as the Cook's Treat. More on the Cook's Treat later.

Here's my spiel: if you've got somewhat cool hands and have the confidence to work with the dough quickly, then I say go for it. Try to work the dough as little as possible because the more it is worked, the tougher and warmer it gets.

This dough is excellent for pies and tarts of all kinds, just insert your desired filling and enjoy!

Tonight feels like an apple night but instead of pie, I'm going to try one of those tart things where the apples are fanned out in those awesome designs...so fran├žais.

And so we progress to the Cook's Treat, which is simply my name for those leftover, perhaps somewhat soft and overworked scraps of pie dough. Don't throw these bits away! Remember, you've invested more than an entire stick of butter in this cause. You can't cure world hunger but hey, no need to contribute to it by throwing away those useful scraps.

Cook's Treat

Gather the bits of the pie dough together and:

Fill with the bodies of family/friends/pets/general trespassers that have gotten under foot during your delicate cooking process! Just kidding.

Fill with butter and cinnamon sugar.

Spread with your favorite jam, jelly or preserves.

Work citrus peel into the dough and fill with lemon or lime curd.

The possibilities are endless! Just use your imagination and enjoy the results.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

...The sun'll come out, tomorrow...

Good morning, peeps, it's another wet, rainy, and gloomy day here in the Deep South. Time for some indoor fun!

Yesterday was a day full of adventures. I woke up early to go for a run with a local church running group. The weather was nippy but with a promise of sunshine; the trail, however, was still incredibly muddy from the unremitting rains we have been experiencing. Check out my dirty Brooks Ghosts. They had themselves a bath after that run.

The run was good, 10 miles along our Greenway. Everything was going smoothly until I ran smack-dab into a skunk on a bridge...what do skunks do on bridges in the early morning, anyway? Commune with fellow rabid skunks? Luckily, I got away without getting sprayed. Thank goodness!

I thought I had gotten off easy until I got home, started feeling twinges of pain that quickly developed to searing cramps. I've come to the conclusion I've strained my abs. Don't do this at home, children.