Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pipkin About Town

Pipkin hangs out on Island St. outside the old Robertson Paper Company building.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Labbits Like: A Bowl Full o' Sunshine

The recent sunny days in southern Vermont have inspired the creation of a yellow soup. Pipkin had yellow bell peppers, a yellow summer squash, and some frozen corn and thought, what would be better than a soup of roasted yellow veggies? With a swirl of yogurt on top it'd be like sunshine in a bowl!

Your kitchen will smell amazing while making this soup. Roasting the veggies enhances their sweetness, the crushed chili peppers add spice, and the lime juice adds tang while the yogurt brings coolness. Garnished with cilantro and roasted corn, this sunshiny kinda soup will put a smile on your face. Enjoy, and print out the recipe here!

Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, Summer Squash & Corn Soup

2 yellow bell peppers, halved and de-seeded
1 summer squash, sliced evenly into 1/4" slices
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/2 tsp crushed chili pepper
S+P to taste

Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Smells so good your 'stache'll twitch with joy
Position an oven rack 6" beneath broiler and heat broiler.

Place halved bell peppers on a baking sheet, skin side up and broil until skins are blackened, about 10 minutes. Place immediately into a sealed container and set aside for 10 minutes. The steam will loosen the skin, making it easy to peel. Once they have cooled, slide the blackened skin off the peppers and discard. Chop the peppers.

Turn broiler off and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread the squash slices and corn kernels evenly on a baking sheet and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 20 - 25 minutes, turning veggies after 10 - 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp of EVOO. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they become clear. Add the broth, chopped peppers, squash and 3/4 of the corn, reserving 1/4 cup for garnish. Add crushed chili pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool for 5 minutes. In small batches, puree the soup until smooth, adding more broth or water if you desire a thinner consistency.

Prepare the garnish: squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lime and whisk with yogurt until smooth and creamy. Chop cilantro.

Serve immediately, with a generous drizzle of lime yogurt, and a sprinkle of roasted corn and cilantro. A warm slice of buttered crusty bread is always welcome on the side or for dipping!

Serves: 4 labbits as a starter, 2 hungry labbits as a main.

The First Blooms of Spring!

The crocuses are blooming! The crocuses are blooming! Ah, a much needed injection of pretty color into this very brown Vermont mud season. Theodore enjoys being amongst the crocuses in the sunshine while he can - the forecast calls for 6 - 10 inches of snow in a couple days. Ted hopes that's just an April Fool's Joke. He's so ready for spring...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Beech, No Creek, No Bananas, No Sense.

Pipkin would like to point out that he is on Island Street, and that he doesn't see any beech trees or creeks from where he's standing. It reminds him of the time he went to Banana Republic only to find they do not actually sell any bananas. Good thing he brought his own.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Green

Ted de Coste gets some fresh air and checks out the growth of the tulips growing in the garden. In only a few days, they've been getting tall enough for Ted to get lost in them. Come on spring!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pop Goes the Labbit

"Channeling Andy" by Clover Juneau 2011
Clover played around with self portraiture again, creating this Warhol inspired pop art piece.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Labbits Like: Curried Split Pea and Potato Soup

Pipkin just loves making soup, especially when it's thick, like this hearty split pea and potato soup. Pureeing only a small portion of the soup adds thickness but keeps some texture and stops it from resembling unappealing green goop. The curry gives this soup a warm spiciness, and served with a dollop of plain Greek style yogurt or sour cream and a side of sliced baguette and you've got a meal that will leave you feeling full. This soup also freezes well so you can make lots and have some in the freezer for those lazy nights you don't feel like cooking. Print the recipe here.

Curried Split Pea Soup
10 cups veggie broth
1 lb dried green split peas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
S+P to taste
1 lb potatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced

In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook the onion for a couple minutes, then add garlic and cook for another couple minutes, stirring occasionally and not letting the garlic or onions brown. Increase heat to high and add broth, split peas, spices and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for one hour.

Add in potatoes, carrots and celery. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until soup becomes thick and vegetables are tender.

Remove the bay leaf, and puree 2 cups of soup in a food processor until smooth (this should resemble thick baby food).  Return mixture to pot and mix well with the soup.

Serve warm with a drop of plain non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Serves: 6 - 8 labbits

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Labbits Like: 5 Grain Cranberry Raisin Cookies

Pipkin's feeling a lot better and his energy is back, so it's back to the kitchen to make his favourite 5 Grain Cranberry Raisin Cookies, a recipe he's adapted from a recipe on a package of Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Cereal.

Pipkin mixes 5 Grain Cereal with whole wheat flour, eggs, butter, brown sugar and a healthy dose of cranberries, dark and golden raisins. The 5 Grain Cereal is blend of whole grain oats, wheat, rye, barley and flaxseed. These cookies are practically healthy.

He's left out the coconut flakes and the nuts, wanting a sweeter, more moist cookie. If you'd like the original recipe, pick up a package of 5 Grain Cereal from Bob's Red Mill. It's great for making these cookies, but it's also tasty as a hot cereal for breakfast. To print the recipe below, click here.

5 Grain Cranberry Raisin Cookies

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, then blend in water and vanilla. Beat eggs and add to butter mixture.

Stir flour mixture into the egg and butter mixture. Add cereal, cranberries and raisins. Mix well.

Drop rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. When done, edges should be lightly brown.

Yields: 24 cookies

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Labbits Are Not Fond of Baths

Pipkin is not fond of baths, but he has to get them once in a while. He's not fastidious like his warren mates, and he's the one out and about most often, so he does get quite dirty. After being sick for a few days he also needs to make sure his paws are clean for cooking. No germ spreading here!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sick Days

Poor Pipkin is still sick. Today Clover has brought Pipkin a stuffed sheep to snuggle with while she reads from Patrick McDonnell's The Mutts Little Big Book. The labbits assure Pipkin he's not missing much; in fact, it's been sleeting, raining and grey for the last two days. When Pipkin's back on his feet, surely spring will be in the air.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Poor Pipkin

Poor Pipkin has a cold, so he's snuggled into a warm down blanket and down pillow. His temperature seems to be fine (labbits normally have a body temperature between 101 - 103 degrees Fahrenheit) but he's feeling really run down and sniffy and has a sore throat. Surely the rest will do him good, as will lots of fluids. Get better soon, Pipkin!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Labbits Like: Broccoli Feta Quiche With Brown Rice Crust

Is it still quiche if the crust is not pastry? Brown rice? That sounds weird, and yet still...quite tasty! Tonight, Pipkin took cooked brown rice, mixed it with grated gruyere and one egg and pressed it into a deep pie dish. He baked it for 7 minutes, then filled the rice crust with a mixture of eggs, chopped broccoli, garlic, herbs, almond milk and a generous amount of feta.

Serve this quiche with a nice side salad and you have a meal fit for a whole warren of labbits! Print the recipe here.

Broccoli Feta Quiche With Brown Rice Crust

1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 egg
1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese

1 Tbsp EVOO
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 small onion, diced, or 2 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs: parsley, basil, dill
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup almond milk (or regular milk milk)
4 eggs
S+P to taste

Pipkin loves one button rice cookin'. So simple!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rinse rice well and drain. Cook in a rice cooker with 2 1/2 cups of water, or on a stovetop, bring rice and water to a boil over high heat in a pot, then cover pot tightly and allow to simmer on low until water is all absorbed, about 30 - 35 minutes. Yields 2 cups cooked rice.

Remember to wash your paws before pressing.

Mix cooked rice in a bowl with 1 egg and Gruyere. Spread mixture evenly to bottom and walls of a 9" pie dish. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown. Remove from oven and turn heat down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, heat EVOO in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook garlic, onions (but not green onions if using instead of regular onions) and broccoli until broccoli is tender but bright. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with chopped herbs, feta, milk, eggs and salt and pepper to taste. 

Pour broccoli mixture into pie crust and spread evenly. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until center is set and top is golden brown, about 30 - 35 minutes.

Serves: 4 - 6 labbits

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Naughty Mau5!

There's a mau5 in the piano! Watch out Zim! Corpsman Labbit's gonna fux you up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Labbit Under Moonlight

Labbits love almost-full-moon moonlight.  It's hard to see, but Pipkin's ears frame the bottom of this shot. He'll have to fiddle around with the camera some more to get a nicer shot tomorrow when the moon is completely full. Nighty night for now!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Labbits Like: Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Taking more liberties with tradition, Clover has decided to share with you a vegetarian version of Shepherd's Pie. Instead of lamb, she's used a ground soy meat substitute and it's easy to cook up and tastes great, too! Print the recipe here.

Whether you celebrate St. Patrick's Day or not, you're sure to enjoy these (somewhat) traditional Irish dishes!

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (optional, labbits like potato skins!) and quartered
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 purple turnips, peeled, quartered, then sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups veggie broth (optional - can use reserved potato cooking liquid)
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1 14 oz package of Gimme Lean Ground "Beef"
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 - 4 Tbsp butter
1/2 - 1/3 cup of almond milk/rice milk/milk milk
S+P to taste
Shredded Irish Cheddar (optional garnish)


Preheat the broiler.

Put potatoes in a pot with enough lightly salted water to cover them. Cover pot and boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, (reserving cooking liquid if desired for veggies) and mash with 2 - 3 Tbsp of the butter and the milk, adding more liquid to desired texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat EVOO in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, carrots, celery, turnips and garlic until the vegetables brown, about 8 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of veggie broth or liquid from cooking potatoes. Cover pot and simmer until veggies are tender, another 8 minutes. Add in meat substitute, Worcestershire sauce and 1 Tbsp of the butter. With a wooden spoon break up the meat substitute into crumbles resembling ground beef. Lower to medium heat and heat another 5 minutes. Add chopped parsley.

Transfer veggie mix to a casserole dish and spread mashed potatoes evenly over top. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar if desired. Broil briefly until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes.

Serves: 6 labbits

Labbits Like: Spotted Dog

Clover Juneau's not Irish in the least (she's from the midwest), but her name being Clover, she thought she'd be the one to share tonight's St. Patty's day flavors: a popular twist on traditional Irish Soda Bread and a vegetarian Shepherd's Pie.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread in its strictest sense is made up of four ingredients: flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. That's it. Nothing Martha Stewart about it at all. Modern day bakers have come up with several variations of this bread which may include raisins, caraway seeds, butter, eggs, shortening, sugar, nuts, cheese, chocolate, orange zest, whiskey...the list goes on. Purists will scoff and declare it NOT traditional soda bread, even though all those options may be tasty.

Soda bread with raisins is a very common variation and it's known by the names "Spotted Dog" or "Railway Cake". There's no shortage of raisins in the labbits' pantry, so they voted for the "Spotted Dog". The addition of an egg and a little sugar (again, making it non-traditional Soda Bread!) gives the bread a more contrasted crust - a little darker, a little crunchier. Serve this up with jam, butter, or a nice aged Irish cheddar. Print the recipe here.

Spotted Dog

3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (not self rising)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 egg
3-4 oz dark and/or golden raisins
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking soda, then add salt, sugar and raisins. Mix together with clean hands, (paws?) allowing mixture to fall back into the bowl through open fingers (okay, not paws). This allows your dough to get more air and result in a lighter bread.

Make a well in the mixture. Crack an egg into a measuring cup and add buttermilk until it reaches the 1 1/2 cup line. Gently mix together. Pour most of the liquid mixture into the well and mix gently with hands. Add up to 1/4 more buttermilk if dough is dry and not sticking. Do not overmix the dough. Once the dough comes together, place onto a well floured working surface.

Wash and dry hands thoroughly. Flour your hands and quickly tidy and shape the dough into a round about 2 1/2 inches high. Transfer to a floured baking sheet and score the bread into quarters with a sharp knife. Place in oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. To check that the bread is done, tap the bottom of the bread. It should sound hollow.

Serve freshly baked, with butter, jam or Irish cheddar. Keep wrapped in tin foil or under a moist tea towel to keep the bread moist.

Yields: one loaf
Recipe:  Adapted from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Labbits Like: Colcannon

St. Patrick's Day is in one more day, but the labbits couldn't wait to whip up this simple tasty  dish.  Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with potatoes and kale (or cabbage). The best part is the dollop of butter dropped into a little well carved out of the kale laced mashed potatoes. Many variations on this dish exist, including: cabbage instead of kale; garlic; mixing in cooked Irish ham or bacon; adding nutmeg and browning under broiler for 5 minutes; using onion instead of leeks; using heavy cream or whole milk instead of almond milk, etc. The labbits kept it pretty simple, opting to keep the potato skins because they provide fiber, potassium, vitamin C, copper, magnesium and a bunch of phytonutrients - all good for a healthy diet. The labbits encourage you to buy organically grown potatoes, especially if you use the skins. You wouldn't want to be eating a bunch of pesticides, would you? Print the recipe here.


1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled (optional - labbits love potato skin) and cut into 1.5" pieces
1 lb kale, tough stalks removed, roughly chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 cup milk
3 - 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
S+P to taste

Place potatoes in a pot of water with enough lightly salted water to cover them. Boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Mash with a potato masher, then cover pot with a lid to keep potatoes warm.

On medium heat, cook leeks with milk and 2 tbsp of the butter in a covered saucepan until leeks are are soft but not browned, about 12-15 minutes. Add to potatoes and mash with a potato masher.

Meanwhile, place chopped kale in a pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cover and cook until kale is tender but retains its bright green color, about 3-5 minutes. Drain well and use the back of a large spoon to press excess water from the greens.

Add kale to potatoes and leeks and mix well with a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl. Create a small well in the center of the potatoes and drop in 1 - 2 Tbsp of butter. Serve immediately, spooning melted butter over servings.

Serves: 4 -6 labbits

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Pipkin shows the world what he thinks of "labels". Not a toy? Of course not. He's more than a toy. Like the rabbit in The Velveteen Rabbit, Pipkin knows he's a REAL labbit, because he is loved. He's happy to have dirty spots from all his labbity adventures. His labbit ears have heard comments like, "'s a collectible! What about resale value? It's all dirty, it's not worth anything now. It's worth less out of the box."

Where's the joy in sitting on a shelf? In a box? Collectible item? Pfffffff. He'll endure kitchen sink baths and zero resale value for all the fun he can have frolicking in the grass (eventually, spring will come!) and going out to eat with his best friend Domo. From the photo above you can see his face is dirtied with flecks of flour from baking cookies. So what? Sift happens.

His new mau5 friend Zim suffers the same:

He's been told he's "fragile and meant for display purposes only." What kind of life is that? No wonder Zim likes to chew apart boxes. Labbits and Mau5e5 just arn't meant for boxed life.

Pipkin would like to share the following with you, from Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit. In this excerpt, the old Skin Horse in the children's nursery explains to the rabbit what it's like to not be a toy, not be a collectible, but to be Real:
"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
So you can say what you will about collectible items - these guys will be out playing and too busy to listen. Below are some photos of Pipkin's own adventures with his best friend Domo. Domo himself rescued Pipkin from boxed life in Port Townsend, WA. They can't wait to be out traveling again!

Pipkin stretches his legs after all that box life. Olympic National Park, WA.
Domo and Pipkin see America. Astoria, OR.

Pipkin tastes food outside box life. Bridgewater Bistro, Astoria, OR.

Domo & Pipkin out for Pho. Silk, Portland, OR.
NO! It are my birthday!! Voodoo Donut, Portland OR
The Kennedy School, Portland, OR.
Getting cultured. Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pantry Raid!

Zim Mau5 makes an attempt to raid the pantry. He can't help it, it's in his mau5ie nature. Instead of finding boxes to nom apart, he's met with heightened security: Captain Holly, Goldie and Sno are guarding the goods and Clover has been busy putting the dried beans, grains and rice into tough, bite proof containers. Zim's a little embarrassed by his behaviour but the labbits go easy on him. They want to share all that they have, but they don't want their boxes chewed through. Clover and Pipkin compromise, giving Zim a small box of raisins and telling him he can chew to his heart's content - as long as he uses the bits of chewed up box in his nest or puts them in the recycling bin. Reduce, reuse, recycle. That's how the labbits like it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Labbits Like: Cardamom Spiced Maple Cookies

Hedgehog, moose, pine tree, bear cub, fox, snail and squirrels!
Rising daytime temperatures mixed with cold nights mean something very special in Vermont: maple sugaring season! The labbits see more and more snow melting and patches of ground appearing, which makes them anxious for spring. This prompted the labbits to come up with a cookie especially for this time of year: Cardamom Spiced Maple Cookies! They combine the warm spices associated with winter soups and stews, and the sweetness of Vermont Maple Syrup all in a cute woodland creature shaped package, decorated to look like any Vermont animal during mud season.

Did you know that Vermont is the biggest US producer of maple syrup? Vermont produced 890,000 US gallons (3,369,016 litres) of maple syrup in 2010, according to the USDA. The labbits' new mau5 friends were quick to point out that Canada is the world's biggest producer of maple syrup, but why let things get competitive? The labbits and mau5e5 let the friendly rivalry go, and got together to bake these delicious cookies. You can print out the recipe here.

Above, Joel Mau5 points "oot" some of the uses for maple syrup, but like many Canadians (and Vermonters), he'll tell you it goes on just "aboot" anything!

By the way, if you like these woodland creature cookie cutters you can buy them at IKEA. (That's right, you have to head to the city to get woodland creature cookie cutters.)

Cardamom Spiced Maple Cookies aka Hurry Up Spring Cookies

NOTE: The dough for these cookies requires overnight refrigeration, so plan ahead!
5 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp coarse salt
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

For Frosting:
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for decoration
3 Tbsp maple syrup

In a large saucepan, bring sugars, maple syrup and water to almost a boil, stirring until sugars dissolve to a syrupy consistency.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, allspice, cloves and pepper.

Place softened butter in a mixing bowl.  

In a small bowl, beat cream, egg and vanilla, then add to butter. Beat on medium speed until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and alternate adding dry mixture and syrup mixture in small batches to the butter mixture. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. This produces a thick, moist dough, so you may want to use a dough blade on your food processor/stand mixer/hand mixer, because the whisk blades may not handle the 5 3/4 cups of flour very well.

Divide dough into thirds or fourths and flatten into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Have some friends help if you can't reach the dials.

Joel is Canadian and uses the metric system: 3 mm

Lightly flour a clean work surface, parchment or wax paper and roll out one disk of dough to 1/8" thickness. Press cookie cutter firmly into dough, creating shapes close to one another to conserve dough. Combine scraps from all disks, re-roll and cut shapes once more. 

Transfer cookies to parchment lined cookie sheets, baking similarly sized cookies together, spaced 1" apart. Rotate sheets halfway through baking, until edges of cookies are slightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

For the frosting: place 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar in a small bowl. Add 3 Tbsp of maple sugar and whisk until icing is smooth and opaque. Taste, and adjust with more confectioner's sugar or maple syrup, as desired.

Using a small basting brush, brush a little icing on the bottoms of the cookies. Sift a little confectioner's sugar on the bottom 1/3 of the cookie. Set aside until icing hardens.

If you don't eat all the cookies right away, store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks, with a layer of wax paper between layers. But really, will they go uneaten that long?

Yields: About 5 - 6 dozen cookies, depending on size of cookie shapes.
Cookie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2008, and icing recipe from