Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Rest of Thanksgiving Weekend

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to bake some rosemary focaccia this year to use for Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Sandwiches. It turns out this is one of the easiest breads I've ever made. Twenty minutes in the KitchenAid:
Four hours rising,
a couple 10 minute rises, another hour, 12 minutes in the oven,and you have a beautiful loaf of focaccia:
Look at all the pretty air bubbles inside:
Combine this with leftover turkey and cranberries, some brie, and some arugula, you have the perfect post-Thanksgiving sandwich:
The rest of the leftover turkey and the turkey stock became a big batch of Turkey Posole. It's pretty kick-ass. (There are no pictures because, as with all brothy soups, the good stuff sinks to the bottom and it just looks like a bowl of broth...) For lunch on the day after Thanksgiving I decided to make a trial version of a salad I'm pondering for an upcoming dinner party. I crusted rounds of chevre in panko and thyme, then baked them off until they were crispy on the outside and melty on the inside. I added toasted pinenuts and dried cranberries to the arugula salad, and there you have it:
It was pretty darn tasty, and I'm not really sure what I would tweak next time. I'll have to keep thinking on it... In bunny news, I put down carpet in the hallway so Charley could have his own space. He enjoys sitting on things:
With Charley out of the kitchen, Rico and Pedro can get back to business as usual... Lounging together in the cage
and Pedro burying himself in the hay, as he does:
Off to watch football this afternoon, then back to work tomorrow... Sigh.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Emmo's First Thanksgiving

OK. So, I've obviously had Thanksgivings before, and have even had quite a few Thanksgivings on my own before... but this was the first Thanksgiving where I actually cooked traditional food. A couple hiccups aside (the beauty of cooking just for yourself is that nobody else really has to know the details of such hiccups), it went pretty well. There were two things I had in mind for this meal. First, I had to prep all of the ingredients to be able to do The Sandwich afterward. Second, I needed both stuffing (because it's the best non-sandwich part of Thanksgiving) and straight-from-a-can Green Bean Casserole. It's far from sophisticated and goes against everything I feel strongly about in terms of food, and I know you could easily make a fresh version, but damned if I don't crave the barely-homemade canned version when Thanksgiving rolls around. The first step, of course, when cooking a large, complicated meal involving lifting heavy containers with your bad back, is to first create a large obstruction in the middle of the kitchen (for a good reason, of course):I'll probably resurrect my recipe blog later to post the approximate recipes (so that I can have an easy on-line reference for myself next year), but here are some pics in the meantime. Cranberries as they start cooking:Brussels sprouts (blanched, then tossed in sautéed shallots and bacon). Here they are finished:
as components cooking:and looking all gorgeous pre-dressing with shallots and bacon:Stuffing (like my mom taught me), with fresh cornbread:and fresh herbs:combined with the rest of the classic ingredients to be just what I was craving:Pan gravy for the turkey and stuffing:That non-gourmet staple, Green Bean Casserole:
And, finally, the turkey. There was a gap in the skin, so I used metal skewers to "sew" it together:and it came out pretty darn well:Here's the final spread (minus that embarrassing casserole):
and a plated version:Honestly, by the time I finished all of the work I was barely hungry enough to make a dent in that plate, but what I could eat was mighty tasty. This year I'm making the sandwich (turkey, cranberry sauce, brie, and arugula) on fresh-baked rosemary focaccia like god intended. My dough is rising right now, but I'll post pictures of that (hopefully awesome) reward for all this work tomorrow.

Epic Bunny Post (Now with 50% More Bunny!)

So, there's a new bunny in town. His name is Charley and he is pretty much the most awesome little guy ever (but don't let Rico and Pedro hear me say that). He came to the House Rabbit Network with some serious teeth issues:but they got him fixed up and he is now a happy little toothless bunny (like Pedro, only less grouchy). When he first came home with me, I gave him half of the kitchen. My guys never come over to that half anyway, and I thought sharing a fence line might be a good way to get used to each other. Here he is in assorted styles of cuteness:Rico seemed curious but cautious about the new rabbit in his kitchen. He would come up to the fence and touch noses with Charley or rub his chin on the fence near where Charley was lounging. Pedro? Not so friendly. It was almost funny how he kept trying to bite at Charley, forgetting (apparently) that he doesn't have any teeth. I never knew Pedro had this aggressive side to him. Before we go to outdoor pictures and videos, here are some nice ones of Rico and Pedro hanging out together inside. Together in the cave:
Rico helping Pedro clean his nose:Showing off cute hind legs:And just being fat and handsome on a rug:
The thinking behind our trip outside (aside from the fact that it wasn't raining and I was allowed to lift the fence) was that it wasn't anybody's territory yet. Even though it wasn't raining, the grass was wet, and Pedro found that extremely upsetting. Here's poor, wet Pedro with his tongue out, trying to clean his dirty paws:
Looking at Rico and Pedro, you would barely know there was another rabbit in the picture:Until he wandered into the frame, that is:
Before I get to ridiculous videos, here are many many pictures of the best part of outdoor playtime: Bunnies running!!! First there's Pedro in both graceful:and less-than-graceful poses:then Rico:and finally Charley:On to videos. Charley initially tried to assert his dominance over Pedro in a not very nice way, and after Pedro made it clear that he wasn't cool with such things, Charley got a bit jumpy around him:

Charley had a fun (to him) game of leaping over Rico and Pedro. The issue was that they both found this extremely annoying (because they are old and grouchy) and that he would occasionally miss and land on their head or kick them in the face. Here are a few instances of playing the game with Rico. The last one is the best:

Charley lives in all of the rooms of the apartment that aren't the kitchen now, and Rico and Pedro have the kitchen back to themselves. I think this is better for everyone. Hopefully over time everyone can learn to get along, because I already sort of love Charley so I don't want him to go anywhere...