Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Going On

Well, things have been a little quiet around Casa Bunny the past few weeks. Just more of the same old, same old. But there have been a few bright spots. Here is a short list of some of those stellar moments from the past few weeks.

Have you seen the new Kraft Fresh Takes? It is panko/bread crumbs, cheeses and herbs all mixed up which you use to coat chicken, pork, or fish. They have been on sale at the Publix for FREE with coupons. I would not have bought them unless they were free (because they are not cheapy), but the one I have used (Italian Herb) was really good and I look forward to using (and will report back on) the other options.

Here are some of my recent culinary purchases. The two tiny colanders are GREAT. The tiny red one I bought at Williams-Sonoma and it is perfect for draining/rinsing just one can of something. The small yellow colander I bought at Target on clearance and it actually will hold (barely) a whole box of pasta. These are both so much easier to store than a big colander.

The tool "on top" is my muddler which works awesome when muddling the things I need to muddle for my cocktails. The tool in the front is an avocado pitter/slicer which I bought on clearance at Target. EPIC FAIL. The avocado won't come out of the slicer. Ugg. This one may go in the trash.
My new makeup passion is Pixi's Endless Silky Eye Pencil. I have been searching for a pencil that will NOT RUN. And this one is great. It goes on smoothly and stays put all day. I have been very impressed. Best of all, they are moderately priced ($14 at Target) which is great.

Finally, last Friday, I went to my nephews' school family day. The above is a picture my nephew drew of me. Wow. I have a damn melon head. Actually, I DO have a damn melon head. The hair, however, should be bigger. Much bigger. But I loves it.

Well, I am off like a herd of turtles. Hope you all are getting on like peas and carrots. XO, Bun.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Very Good Daughter

Well, peeps, I did it and am reporting back, as promised! I made me a Farmer's Daughter cocktail and, I have to say, it was pretty damn good.

I followed the You Tube recipe exactly, however, there was no guide on the amount of ginger beer to add so I added about 6-8 oz. It was very tasty, but I think just a TAD heavy on the ginger beer. Or the ginger beer I have may be just a TAD more potent than the one they used at Woodfire because it was a little more gingery than I remember.

I will say, however, that anything you make yourself never tastes the same as the original. Like dishes my mom and Grandmother made. Maybe it's the little extra this or that. Maybe it is a different brand ingredient that's a little more or less intense. Maybe it's the love (esp. when it is a family dish). It's just never QUITE the same. But my version was quite good, and I think this drink will be quite the refresher on a hot summer's eve. It's sorta like a gingery Mojito. PS, the little green specks floating in it? Crushed mint leaves.

In other news, it may be March 17 today but it's more like May 5 up in my house! We have been on a Mexican kick this week and are having Mexican again tonight. Last night, we had the BEST nachos:

I roasted a can of whole kernel corn in a little olive oil then added a can of rinsed black beans to warm in the pan. On the sidelines, I diced up three small tomatoes, 1/3 a ginormous red onion (why does it seem red onions are always ginormous?!?!) and a handful of cilantro then mixed it all with a generous squeeze of lime (about half a lime), a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I mixed in the corn and beans then GENTLY folded in two diced avocados. I did use cheese on the chips, but the hubs and I agreed we didn't need it because the other topping was SO. GOOD.

I had started marinating some chicken for these same nachos, then decided I didn't need it, so tonight we are going to have chicken tacos and I will probably make some more of the corn-bean-tomato mixture, as well.

In other news, I am craving EGGS for some reasons--omelets, frittatas, egg salad, poached eggs--but, alas, my hubs does no longer love eggs which greatly impacts my culinary egg creations. He also does not like olives (craziness!). I, on the other hand, could (and may have) eat(en) a whole jar of olives. It's the only reason to order martinis. Tapanade with fresh brushchetta in the summer makes me want to live. Guess I will have to get a sister hubs who loves egg and olive dishes.

Well, I am off to start that dinner soon. Hope you all are having a great weekend. Poured like mad here this morning; now it's sunny and beautiful. Crazy spring weather. Later! B.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Lesson in Shrubbing

I is **SO** excited. Today, I received my box full of shrubs in the mail. No, not the green things you plant in the ground but the culinary shrubs that you can use as drink mixers and for other foodie delights.

Specifically, I purchased ginger shrub, which is grated ginger that has been steeped in apple cider vinegar. You can make it yourself but the thought of grating ginger made my head hurt. And I found it online for a great price. But, let me back the story up to the beginning.

When we went to Woodfire Grill, you may remember I had THE. BEST. cocktail called The Farmer's Daughter. The bartender at Woodfire created it--and has won numerous awards for it. It is a sublime mix of muddled cukes and mint with vodka and ginger beer with a secret ingredient--ginger shrub. And the BEST part?? There is a video on YouTube where the bartender shows how to make. the. drink. Seriously. So, bitches, it in on like Donkey Kong. I have my shrub, my muddler is in the mail and I WILL be mastering that bitch.

BUT, when I first saw the video, I was like "W.T.F. is GINGER SHRUB?!?!" So I started searching on the Internets and read up on fruit shrubs and their uses. Then I found Tait Farm Foods who has a whole line of fruit shrubs!! BOO-YA!! I ordered three bottles of the ginger. That's how sure I am I will LOVES it.

Apparently, you can add shrubs to tea, sparking water, wine, and a whole host of drinks and dishes. You can basically make your own ginger ale with ginger shrub. And (read here LMSS!) the ginger, at least, is low in sugar. BOO-YA!

So, this weekend, I will be setting up shrub shop and making me up a Farmer's Daughter. Of course, I will be reporting back on how it goes. If it goes well, it's a spring cocktail party at Casa Bunny for all! You bitches bring the appetizers, I will supply a bathtub full of booze. Cheers! B.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Looks Like We Made It

Whew! I made it to the weekend peeps. And there are no bodies. Nor was there any alcohol poisoning. But I will admit that I had a drink every. single. night. last week. Not drunk. But a smooth-the-edges-of-my-frayed-nerves cocktail. And it was lovely. And kept me sane.

I also did a wee bit of new cooking this past week. The following meal contains two recipes I found on Pinterest: Slow Cooker Cube Steak with Gravy and Butter Dip Biscuits.

Let me just say upfront that both of these dishes were a semi-fail, but only because I did not follow the recipe. First, the steak, while very tender, was slightly overcooked and salty. I could not find the low-salt versions she calls for in the recipe and I amped up the Crock Pot because I gots a late start, but apparently I didn't need to because it gots all dark crusty around the edges. As far as the biscuits, I did not have buttermilk but proceeded without it which made the biscuits a wee bit dense. But they were tasty-ish. I will be remaking both of these recipes, properly, and will report back about what happens when you follow the recipe rules.

Today, since it was Daylight Savings Sunday, and I thought we could use a treat for losing a WHOLE HOUR of sleep (ridiculous! the whole thing is ridiculous!), I made cream cheese stuffed French toast, which I made up in my head. First, I bought some of this at the Publix recently:

It is Philadelphia Cream Cheese's new Indulgence line which is chocolate cream cheese. They have dark, milk and white chocolate flavors. It was on sale at the Publix and I had a coupon so I thought I would give it a whirl. Folks (no, I don't know who, just folks) are saying it is the "American Nutella." So, anyways, I had a shit ton of loaf bread, so I pulled out a few pieces and schmered one side fairly heavily with Milk Chocolate Indulgence and I schmered the other half with whipped (read: spreadable) regular cream cheese and smooshed the pieces together.

Next, I melted a few tablespoons of butter in my All Clad skillet, and whipped three eggs, two tablespoons of sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of milk in a pie plate. I soaked the cream cheese sandwich in the egg mixture, both sides, and placed in the hot skillet, cooking on both sides until golden brown.

Here it is plated, topped with sugared strawberries, and it was DEE-LISH-US. If you don't know what sugared strawberries are, basically you dice up fresh strawberries, toss them with granulated sugar, and let them sit. The sugar draws out the juice, and makes a syrupy liquid. Great over waffles, French toast, angel food cake, pound cake, ice cream, etc.

Other than that, this week was mostly about keeping my sanity so not a whole lot else to report. I am off to try to get the rest of my chores done so I can head to bed early and make back up some of that lost sleep. Hope you all are doing super-duper. Love and kisses, B.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Whiskey. Tango. Tuesday.

Good, Lord, you know what a BITCH of a day this was. I mean a we-overbooked-spay-neuters-and-didn't-finish-and-lost-a-public-dog-and-our-vet-tech-quit kinda bitch of a day. A my-boss-wasn't-there-so-I-had-to-handle-it-and-I-didn't-get-home-until-7-pm kind day. And I-am-on-my-second-but-not-last-cocktail kinda day.

Luckily, I am still clinging with both hands to the great memory of Saturday night when my wonderful hubs treated me to my Valentine's Day gift of dinner at Woodfire Grill in the ATL. I have been wanting to go to Woodfire every since Top Chef 2009 when Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire's executive chef, was on the show. He was wonderful. A big ol' ginger-beard, bacon loving, teddy bear.

2009, you may remember if you have been visiting BGR for a while, was the unfortunate year I was unemployed. Always a home cook, Kevin inspired me to up my game to home chef of sorts. Cooking classes. Better equipment. Trying new recipes and techniques. Not that I would even BEGIN to compare myself to KG, but he showed me that good cooking did not have to be fancy, just flavorful. It was about putting your heart into it.

So my hubs gave me the best gift because I have been wanting to go to Woodfire for 2+ years. And I was not disappointed. First, the signature cocktail....the Farmer's Daughter, a sublime mix of muddled cukes and mint with vodka and ginger beer. Must figure out how to duplicate. Then, the brussell sprout salad with prosciutto and pork belly. The salad was great; the pork belly I was glad I tried, but it was just like fancy, fatty bacon.

For entree, I chose the pork tenderloin, which was from happy, free-roaming piggies, served over smoked collards (slap your mother, good!) and grits. The hubs had fish which was cooked perfectly and served on a fennel-celery root slaw. Also fabulous. For dessert, we had the make-your-toes-curl Toffee Sticky Pudding. SO GOOD. 

Though the meal was not cheap, and I felt a wee bit guilty, I realized it's not about the meal itself, but the memory, which will be with me a long time. A good meal with a wonderful husband who choose an extremely thoughtful gift he knew I would love. And I did. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to meet KG proper.

PS, I took photos, but they were on my phone and not terribly good, so sorry I can't share those with you. For now, I am off to bed, and hope I will have good dreams after a bad day. Hope you all are well. XO, B.