Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Labbits Like: Eggplant Thai Curry

When the labbits get a nice, big, gorgeous eggplant, they tend to make eggplant lasagna - basically a lasagna where the noodles are replaced by slices of eggplant. When they got their CSA order from Deep Meadow Farm this week, they wound up with these cute little wee eggplants. From their appearance they look like Sicilian, or "zebra" eggplant, but the labbits wonder, are these mini zebra eggplants? Or, are they always this small?

Too small to slice up into lasagna "noodles", Pipkin decided to go for a red Thai Curry dish that he found in an old issue of Vegetarian Times. He exchanged the frozen peas for sugar snap peas, and decided that the "eggplant" called for in the recipe never specified variety, so he's going with these wee zebras.

The labbits suggest serving this with a bed of hot, fragrant basmati rice. It helps cut down on the spiciness, but the labbits still got quite a sweat going. Print out the recipe here.

Eggplant Thai Red Curry

Not pictured: curry paste!
14 oz eggplant, cut into 1" pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
8 oz sugar snap peas
14 oz package of firm or very firm tofu
2 14 oz cans of lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp red curry paste
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp Tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt

Wrap tofu in paper towels and set in a colander with a bowl or plate on top, and a heavy can for weight (such as a can of tomatoes). Allow to drain for at least 20 minutes.

There's the red curry paste!

Shake the cans of coconut milk well. Pour half a can into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in curry paste until well blended.

Add eggplant, onion, bell pepper and snap peas and stir gently.

Add remaining coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Slice the tofu into bite sized cubes and add to curry mixture. Heat thoroughly, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot on its own or poured over top basmati rice.

Serves: 6 - 8 labbits

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Labbit Uprising

Clover checks out a silkscreen edition of Kozyndan's infamous "Uprisings" painting. The Los Angeles artist duo (Kozy and Dan) created this painting as a play on the famous "Great Wave off Kanagawa" by Hokusai.

Hokusai's "Great Wave Off Kanagawa"
Clover takes a closer look.

If you look closely, you see the waves in Kozyndan's "Uprisings" are made up by hundreds of rabbits. It reminds Clover of the scene in the movie "The Last Unicorn" where the unicorns fruitlessly try to escape their watery prison every night.

So pretty, and so sad.

This silkscreen was produced in limited number, and was screened with 5 metallic inks. "Uprisings" has become a part of a 4 part series of paintings called "Seasons of the Bunny". Each season is represented with cleverly hidden bunnies. Visit Kozyndan's website to view more of their spectacular art.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodnight, Irene!

Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time she blew through Bellows Falls VT. A lot of flooding occurred in southern Vermont towns with all the rainwater causing otherwise serene brooks and rivers to overflow.

At a calm point in the storm, Pipkin hopped through town to see how Bellows Falls fared. Luckily the town did not suffer any major damage. There were some branches and trees down, but even with high water levels, there was no flooding.

The rain started to pick up again as Pipkin hopped by the Vilas Bridge. The rain and wind is supposed to continue through the evening, so Pipkin's going to head back home and hunker down for the rest of the night. Goodnight, Irene!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Labbits Like: Black Bean Burgers

Ted wanted cheezburgers, so Clover put together this black bean veggie burger. There's a couple of slices of Cabot Racer's Edge Cheese on the side along with some baked potato wedges from Deep Meadow Farm. This recipe is quick and easy, and you can easily add things to this basic recipe to change it up: corn kernals, finely chopped mushroom, wild rice...

It's not just cats who can has cheezburger. You can too, by printing the recipe here. :)

Basic Black Bean Burger

1 15 oz can of black bean, rinsed and drained
1 small or half a large bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 small onion, cut into wedges
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped in half
1 egg
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
S+P to taste
1/2 - 3/4 cup bread crumbs

In a mixing bowl, mash beans until the texture is a thick paste. Stir in chili powder, cumin and worcestershire sauce.

Finely chop the peppers, onion and garlic in a food processor. Drain any excess liquid by pressing the chopped peppers, onion and garlic through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Add mixture to beans and mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk egg and pour into bean mixture. Add the bread crumbs a little at a time and mix together, adding more bread crumbs until the mixture holds together but is still moist.

Divide mixture into 4 parts and pat into burger patty shape.

Grill till browned on both sides or bake on a baking sheet in an oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes each side.

Serve on a bun with greens, tomato, onions, and your other favorite fixin's. And don't forget the cheese!

Yields: 4 burger patties

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can Labbits Has Cheezburger?

Ted has a hankering for cheezburgers...vegetarian, of course. Clover thinks she can whip up a batch of homemade black bean burgers no problem. Look for the recipe tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Labbits Like: Blueberry Lemon Corn Muffins

You may remember that Clover went blueberry picking at Green Mountain Orchards in Putney VT not too long ago. Well, she froze quite a number of blueberries and brought some out of the freezer to bake these delicious corn muffins. The recipe is courtesy of Green Mountain Orchard, although Clover is watching her weight and has made notes where she reduced both sugar and butter. They're still a fantastically tasty treat with Clover's reduced sugar and fat variation, since the berries provide lots of sweetness and the lemon zest adds lots of flavor. Whip up a quick batch for your next Sunday breakfast and find out for yourself! Print the recipe here.

That's a lot of blueberries you've got there, Clover.

Blueberry Lemon Corn Muffins

8 Tbsp butter (Clover used 6 Tbsp unsalted butter)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Pinch of salt
1 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar (Clover used about 2/3 cup sugar)
2 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup whole milk (Clover used almond milk)
2 large eggs
1 cup blueberries (Clover used 1 1/2 cups - be generous with the blueberries!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease or line the cups of a muffin pan.

Melt butter and cool slightly. Into a large bowl sift together flour and baking powder and whisk in cornmeal, sugar, lemon zest and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together melted butter, milk and eggs. Add to flour mixture with half of blueberries, gently stirring until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among cups (batter will fill cups) and press remaining blueberries into tops of muffins. Sprinkle tops of muffins evenly with remaining tablespoon of sugar (Clover left this step out).

Bake muffins in middle of oven about 15 minutes or until tops are golden and a test comes out clean. Remove muffins from cups and cool on a rack. Muffins keep in an airtight container at room temperature 2 days.

Yields: One dozen muffins or a half dozen 1/3 cup giant muffins.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pipkin Goes Paddlin'

Pipkin just loves water lilies.
Pipkin was out hopping around Herrick's Cove yesterday morning when he came across a group of people ready to head out canoeing and kayaking. Someone asked if he'd like to go along and he was just all smiles.

A couple with a canoe scooped Pipkin up and placed him in the "Princess Seat" (no paddling required). The skies were blue, the water was calm, and there were no other paddlers on the water that morning.

As the canoe glided quietly through the cove, Pipkin took in the plant life, bugs, fish and birds, including four friendly mallards and a green heron.

The group stopped off at a sandbar for snacks and shared pecans and dried pineapple rings with the happy labbit before heading back.  Pipkin enjoyed his time out on the water with the sun on his back, and can't wait to go paddlin' again. Thank you friends!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taking In Some Culture

Pipkin strolled around downtown Fredericton, NB to check out the Artists in Residence in the Barracks. Different fibre, ceramic, visual and photographic artists, silversmiths, writers and musicians take up a studio space in one of the old officer's barracks for the summer. They can showcase their work and also sell to the public.

Pipkin's friend Katherine Moller was fiddling in one of the barracks while also playing muse to a painter who was creating a portrait.  The music was bright and uplifting and filled the barracks with light on an otherwise cloudy day. You can visit Katherine's site to hear samples of her music and learn more about this New Brunswick musician.

If you find yourself in Fredericton, don't miss out on the summer Artists in Residence in the Barracks hosted by the Fredericton Arts Alliance.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Chillin'

Pipkin's burnt out from traveling. This is what he's been up to these days. Mostly.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Pipkin!

Pipkin is 1! The best way to celebrate a birthday is with your closest friends and a slice of your favorite cake. For the labbits, that means carrot cake. Happy Birthday Pip!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Neither Here Nor There

Or is Pipkin here and there at the same time?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Labbit Ears!

Pipkin doesn't think this is funny.

But it is!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pipkin Mange Chez Cora

One of the few "chains" that Pipkin will eat at is Cora's, a Canadian breakfast and lunch restaurant that serves up lots of fresh fruit and veggie dishes. Founder Cora Tsouflidou wanted her restaurant to promote the importance of breakfast in a friendly dining environment. You can watch the kitchen prepare your meal and smell the crepes and waffles cooked up hot and fresh. Pipkin opted for a waffle topped with custard and a mountain of strawberries with whipped cream. A little pot of strawberry coulis is on the side in case it's just not strawberry-y enough.

Domo doesn't really get the importance of breakfast, but he does know the importance of caffeine.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Labbit Travels: Tim Horton's, Toronto, Canada

A trip to Canada isn't complete without a stop at Tim Horton's, Canada's largest nationwide coffee and donuts chain.  Joel admits to an addiction to the coffee at Timmy's (as it is affectionately known), and he drinks it doubledouble (that's double creme, double sugar). He usually gets it in the largest size possible, but today he's being a calm mau5 and going with a small.

Domo loves this place for its Timbits, which are small donut hole bits of goodness. He got a variety pack of 10 which should be enough for him since Pipkin's not interested. Not much in the way of labbit food here, although they do serve yummy sandwiches, bagels and muffins. Pipkin misses Vermont and wants to be back where the good leafy stuff is. So, after Joel's coffee and Domo's Timbits, they're hitting the road and heading home!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Labbit Travels: Toronto, Canada, Day 2

For their second day in Toronto, Joel took Pipkin and Domo to the St. Lawrence Market for fresh food and people watching. From here you can look west into the downtown core with its skyscrapers and the famous CN Tower, a communications and observation tower, and the tallest free-standing structure
in the western hemisphere.

Inside the market there are numerous vendors: bread, desserts, sushi, fresh fruit and veggies, fish mongers, butchers, cheese shops, maple syrup, candy, flowers and the list goes on! It's a wonderful place to stop for a nice lunch and eat out on the patio under the summer sun.

Domo thinks Toronto has a bit of a problem with directions, at least where underground parking lots are concerned. A couple of days ago in a parking garage, he found himself in a very topsy turvy emergency. Today it seems he'll have to take the stairs to the second level underground lot, since the elevator clearly only goes in one direction.

The trio also visited the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, but the CNE (or simply, "The Ex") doesn't open until mid August. They wandered the grounds taking a look at the buildings, like the beautiful Liberty Grand ballroom.

Pipkin's favorite structure at the fairgrounds was the The ExPlace wind turbine, the first urban sited wind turbine in North America. He thinks it's quite graceful, and likes that it is a clean, renewable source of energy for the city.

Finally the trio wrapped up their day by laying out on the beach at the Sunnyside Beach Bathing Pavilion.  You can see the CN Tower in the background and get a sense of just how much taller it is than the city's skyscrapers. Joel is also happy to report that efforts to clean Lake Ontario have paid off and beaches are open to swimming again. The water certainly looks far more blue than it has in the past half decade, but Pip preferred staying on land.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Labbit Travels: Mississauga City Hall

Pipkin took a break from Toronto and visited the neighbouring suburb of Mississauga. Here, he compares his 'stache to a blue gentleman in an urban style mural surrounding a mini skate park at the city's Town Hall. He also posed by the round council chamber building, built to resemble a futuristic farm silo.

It sort of looks like a silo. The rest of the City Hall building is supposed to reflect a futuristic farm, with the clock tower representing a windmill, the main building as the farmhouse, and another building in front representing a barn. Unfortunately today was a civic holiday so Pipkin couldn't explore more of City Hall. He may try again tomorrow!