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eG Foodblog: Alcuin (2011) - In the middle: Eating and Drinking on the


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This is the first step of my bread baking process. I take a tablespoon or two of starter that I keep in the fridge, and combine it with 200g AP flour and 100ml water. Work just enough to combine and this is what you get.

bread.JPG

Tomorrow I'll make it into bread dough. My only fear is that it will ripen a bit too much while I visit a rabbit farm tomorrow to stock up on my depleted rabbit supply. I think it will work out though; there's a decent amount of breathing room in my bread making process, by design.

I'll leave this out overnight and get back to it tomorrow morning/early afternoon.

nunc est bibendum...

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One thing that sets them apart, however, is the fact that every pint glass is chilled.

dottys 1.JPG

This is not a trivial detail. It makes for some very refreshingly cold beer that stays nice and cold for a while. And they have a good beer list. But more importantly for today, they have Sprecher's Root Beer, the best root beer in the world, on tap. Notice how the chilled glass actually freezes the head of the rootbeer. There's no ice in this glass, but it stayed nice and cold the whole time.

I wish all places would do this. I hate ice in drinks but often it's not enough to just tip something out of a fridge into a glass - the should already be cold.

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My only fear is that it will ripen a bit too much while I visit a rabbit farm tomorrow to stock up on my depleted rabbit supply. I think it will work out though; there's a decent amount of breathing room in my bread making process, by design.

I'll leave this out overnight and get back to it tomorrow morning/early afternoon.

You have really got me hooked if you are cooking rabbit! Lots of rabbit stew and pie in my childhood.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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My only fear is that it will ripen a bit too much while I visit a rabbit farm tomorrow to stock up on my depleted rabbit supply. I think it will work out though; there's a decent amount of breathing room in my bread making process, by design.

I'll leave this out overnight and get back to it tomorrow morning/early afternoon.

You have really got me hooked if you are cooking rabbit! Lots of rabbit stew and pie in my childhood.

I'm thinking I'll do a simple rabbit saute with some vegetable garnishes (maybe carrot, mushroom, and something green), and parsleyed potatoes. It's getting chilly and Fall is definitely here. Time for some braises and roasts!

nunc est bibendum...

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I wish all places would do this. I hate ice in drinks but often it's not enough to just tip something out of a fridge into a glass - the should already be cold.

My favorite Korean joint serves up their pitchers of beer along side frosty mugs fresh from the freezer. One reason the place is great.

It's the little things a lot of the time...

Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

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My only fear is that it will ripen a bit too much while I visit a rabbit farm tomorrow to stock up on my depleted rabbit supply. I think it will work out though; there's a decent amount of breathing room in my bread making process, by design.

I'll leave this out overnight and get back to it tomorrow morning/early afternoon.

You have really got me hooked if you are cooking rabbit! Lots of rabbit stew and pie in my childhood.

I have a rabbit (cut-up) in the freezer my neighbor gave me and I've been wondering what the best way to cook it is - so this will help. Been thinking I'd braise it with onions and root vegetables, but open to anything.

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My only fear is that it will ripen a bit too much while I visit a rabbit farm tomorrow to stock up on my depleted rabbit supply. I think it will work out though; there's a decent amount of breathing room in my bread making process, by design.

I'll leave this out overnight and get back to it tomorrow morning/early afternoon.

You have really got me hooked if you are cooking rabbit! Lots of rabbit stew and pie in my childhood.

I have a rabbit (cut-up) in the freezer my neighbor gave me and I've been wondering what the best way to cook it is - so this will help. Been thinking I'd braise it with onions and root vegetables, but open to anything.

That's essentially what I'm going to do, but I'll document much of the process to show what I do. Rabbit is also very good alla cacciatora and makes great sausages and pates too.

nunc est bibendum...

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Just got back from Larson Rabbitry, where I picked up four fryer rabbits. It's about a 45 minute drive north of Madison. They were $3.49/lb for whole fryers, complete with offal.

I was going to take pictures, but Pete, the owner of the rabbitry was reluctant because he was butchering at the time and didn't want me taking pictures of that, which of course you've got to respect. He's not at all shy about showing the place off. In fact, he likes to talk too and we had a decently lengthy conversation in the room he butchers in, surrounded by rabbit pelts, severed heads, rabbits about to be butchered, etc. I understand not wanting to show that off though: it's not exactly pretty.

Larson Rabbitry supplies excellent rabbits too. I've always been happy with them. They are a small operation, and most of Pete's business is actually for pets that are on a raw food diet. He says he sells about fifty fryers a month, which is not enough for him to buy a wholesaler's license and sell more widely or participate in farmer's markets.

I like to buy rabbits here because they're available whenever I want to drive up there to get them (provided Pete's there of course). It's possible to buy them at the Dane County farmer's market, but sometimes they won't be available and they're definitely more expensive.

It's just easier to drive to the farm and pick them up. That's one of the general benefits of living in a town like Madison too. A 30 minute drive and you're in farm country, and it's easy to visit farms and pick things up if you want to. You don't have to, of course, because there are so many farmer's markets (eleven by my count) in town. I'll be visiting the biggest of them, the Dane County Farmer's Market, to pick up a special order of pork. I'm hoping to get some good fatback too so I can make some sausage, but we'll have to keep our fingers crossed for that.

nunc est bibendum...

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I continued the bread process just now. This is what the first build that I started last night looked like after about 12 hours

bread 1.JPG

It's a little less active than I've become used to over the summer, because it's colder out. Here's what the underside looked like

bread 2.JPG

You can see a little honeycomb pattern, indicating there was some activity going on. It's much less than my last dough had though, because it was about twenty degrees warmer out. Things just might take a little longer, though probably not.

So from this point, I mix my final dough. On top of the first build I add 375g AP flour, 50g whole wheat, 14g salt, and 350ml water. That makes for a total hydration of 72% with the first build factored in (200g flour, 100ml water).

I had to buy some more flour today, and when I got to the store I saw they only had 10lb bags of King Arthur. I usually use Gold Medal AP flour, but I bought the KA instead. It was $6.99 so I figured why not give it a shot. I wasn't sure how much more or less water it would absorb, and I'm unsure how much stronger/softer it might be. So on top of the weather, that's another thing to factor in to the process.

When I mix this dough, I'm just mixing it together. I don't need the dough except for two short bursts as the total dough ferments. So after mixing it just to combine, it looks like this

bread 3.JPG

It seemed to absorb more water than I thought it would, and was actually a bit drier than normal (but not too much, so I'm not sweating it). I thought because of the humidity I'd have to add some more flour, but I didn't. I'm going to be interested to see if there's a noticeable difference in the loaf once it's baked.

From this point, I let it sit for an hour. I'll come back and knead it for 10-15 seconds then, and put it away for another hour. I'm going to hit the co-op for some stuff for dinner and some lunch. Hopefully I can be back in less than an hour!

nunc est bibendum...

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Had lunch at the co-op while picking up a few things. I had a salad of greens, canned artichokes, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumber, chick peas, bean sprouts, with Annie's Goddess dressing.

I also had a hard boiled egg (properly cooked too), and two salads. One was a shredded butternut squash and fennel salad with walnuts, the other was a garlicky and lightly creamy pasta salad with spinach and tomatoes.

lunch.JPG

To drink, I had a boysenberry spritzer.

lunch 2.JPG

nunc est bibendum...

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When I got back from lunch, the dough looked like this

bread 4.JPG

I took it out and kneaded it by grabbing one end of it flipping the other end up into the air and slapping it down on the board. Then I double it over and repeat. What I'm looking for in these short bursts of kneading is for the initially slack dough to come together into a fairly tight ball as I'm kneading it. Then I look for it to begin to loosen up again. When it starts to loosen up again, I stop. This takes about 10-15 seconds. Then it looks like this

bread 5.JPG

You can see that its not a tight little ball, but its slackening. It would have been tighter had I stopped a few seconds earlier and took a picture of it then. The idea here is to give the gluten a quick and intense workout so that it can build more structure over the time I have it fermenting. Now we wait another hour.

nunc est bibendum...

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I was recently given a bottle of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters to try out, and while I've used them in some things I'm looking for some more suggestions on what to do with them. I've found that they pair well with rum and Carpano Antica Formula, but I'm not sure where to go next. Any ideas?

Edited by Alcuin (log)

nunc est bibendum...

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Another hour went by, and the dough looked like this

bread 6.JPG

Notice that compared to what it was an before kneading an hour ago, it's smoother looking and you can see a pocket of air forming right where the bowl makes a shadow crescent over it. I roughed it up a bit and it looked like this

bread 7.JPG

You can see how it's maintaining a rounder shape. The dough is forming some good structure. I put a thin film of oil in the bowl this time, because in an hour I'll be shaping it and I want to be able to turn it out onto the board as gently as possible to maintain the network of bubbles built up in the dough.

nunc est bibendum...

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Here it is, all balled up and ready to proof.

bread 8.JPG

I'll cover it with a towel and at this point I can wait about an hour and a half to two hours and bake it, or I can put it in the refrigerator and let it proof more slowly. I'm going the refrigerator route today, so I can bake the bread after dinner. I don't want to let it go too long in there, or it might over proof.

nunc est bibendum...

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I was recently given a bottle of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters to try out, and while I've used them in some things I'm looking for some more suggestions on what to do with them. I've found that they pair well with rum and Carpano Antica Formula, but I'm not sure where to go next. Any ideas?

I think they work well with whiskey in classic drinks like old fashioneds or manhattans.

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I very much like Peter's Rabbitry, thanks. I had zero rabbit growing up and now regard it as healthy, delicious and environmentally sound protein. Their website products are impressive -- what would one do with a pound of frozen rabbit ears?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Tonight's dinner was maccheroni alla chitarra with lamb ragu and a green salad.

I use the Kitchenaid pasta attachments. They are great for me especially since I have no counterspace to speak of (literally) and I don't need to clamp anything down. It's also great because I have two hands to work with and the rollers make the thinnest pasta I've ever seen. I've never made better pasta before getting this; it was a dramatic increase in quality and consistency.

This time, I was (at least in part) kickin it old school using the chitarra

pasta alla chitarra.JPG

There's a real technique to having the right moisture in the pasta. Too dry and it won't press through the wires; too wet and the pasta will stick back together again after being cut. I'd say that figuring out how to gauge the proper wetness of dough for the chitarra has made me a better maker of pasta in general.

pasta.JPG

I forgot that I only like to take it to setting 3 on the rollers, but this was taken to 4. It has slightly less of a square shape than I like, but the unique texture of the chitarra made pasta is still there. It's got a very toothsome feel to it (no other way to describe it) and, because of the relatively limited surface area compared to interior volume of most fresh pastas, it tastes strongly and pleasantly of wheat.

Here's how it looked, dressed with the ragu, before the application of cheese.

pasta uncheesed.JPG

Here's how it looked with a generous sprinkling of pecorino. This is the traditional cheese to serve with the lamb ragu, and I have to say thinking of using anything else just doesn't make sense to me. The sharp saltiness of the cheese marries perfectly with the sweet richness of the lamb and peppers.

pasta cheesed.JPG

I love ragus like this. The sauce is not tomato based (the tomatoes are only there to add a bit of acidity and their juices); it's based on the fat that renders out of the meat and marries with the peppers and tomatoes to become a pleasantly orange condiment to the pasta. Delicious.

Oh, man this looks really good. Have you ever tried making the ragu with chunks of lamb rather than ground? Might take a little more time but the flavor should be even better. This is the perfect thing to cure my recent lamb desires.

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I very much like Peter's Rabbitry, thanks. I had zero rabbit growing up and now regard it as healthy, delicious and environmentally sound protein. Their website products are impressive -- what would one do with a pound of frozen rabbit ears?

Crispy rabbit ears? Pressed terrine of rabbit ears?

Actually they probably aren't for sale to eat. His methods for butchering for human and for animal consumption are quite different. So I'm guessing that he doesn't have a very big market for ears for human consumption.

Too bad though. They should be all collagen, and might be good after a braise like with pigs' ears. I seem to recall reading something about Ferran Adria cooking them. I've never eaten them though. Has anybody had rabbit ear?

nunc est bibendum...

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Have you ever tried making the ragu with chunks of lamb rather than ground? Might take a little more time but the flavor should be even better. This is the perfect thing to cure my recent lamb desires.

I haven't but I bet it would be good. Maybe with olives and artichokes. I think I'd do something like pappardelle with something that chunky. I'm going to have to try that soon. Maybe I'll post it on the dinner thread-that would be a first I think.

nunc est bibendum...

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Here's the rabbit, cut up.

rabbit 2.JPG

I cut the saddle in two. The ribcage section and the belly will go into the freezer to be made into stock. If I have enough rabbit bones, I'll make rabbit stock. If not, I'll cook it with chicken bones too. I probably will have enough though, since I'm thinking of making a rabbit terrine.

The heart, kidneys, and liver I will add to the braise at the end. Rabbit liver is one of the most delicious of livers. They really taste like rabbit.

Here it is seared and about to be covered.

rabbit 1.JPG

nunc est bibendum...

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I was recently given a bottle of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters to try out, and while I've used them in some things I'm looking for some more suggestions on what to do with them. I've found that they pair well with rum and Carpano Antica Formula, but I'm not sure where to go next. Any ideas?

I think they work well with whiskey in classic drinks like old fashioneds or manhattans.

I figured I'd give an Old Fashioned a shot. I was going to use Old Grandad bonded, but I wanted something more. So I used 2oz William Larue Weller, 1/2 t rich simple, 2 dashes Xocolatl Mole bitters, garnished with 11 drops of Bittercube cherry bark bitters and a swatch of orange peel.

drink.JPG

The verdict: it's good. But that was a bit of a foregone conclusion. I do like these bitters.

Thanks for the recommendation. There's hardly a better way to test out bitters than in an OF.

nunc est bibendum...

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Here's a shot of dinner

dinner.JPG

It's a very straightforward braise. I cut up an onion, a carrot, a stalk of celery. After the rabbit was browned I removed it and softened those vegetables. I added about a teaspoon of fresh time. Then I added a cup of wine and reduced it by half, added the rabbit back in, and added stock to come halfway up. I braised it in the oven at 300F. While that was happening, I cooked some kohlrabi, carrot, and leeks. Those I tossed in butter. I sauteed some mushrooms in butter. When the rabbit was coming off the bone cleanly (but not falling off) I took it out and finished the sauce. I reduced it by about half, added some butter, and thickened with cornstarch slurry. I also added some more fresh time at this point. Et voila. Simple rabbit braised in wine with vegetables. We had parsleyed potatoes on the side.

For the wine, I splurged a bit and bought a macon-fuisse instead of a simpler macon-villages. I was thinking I'd give the rabbit the full burgundy treatment (lardons, shrooms, pearl onions) but in the end I ended up not doing that. I do think that a white burgundy is my favorite wine to have with rabbit though.

nunc est bibendum...

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I preheated the oven to 500F with a dutch oven inside it (specially dedicated to breadmaking). I slashed it an turned it out into the preheated dutch oven. Twenty minutes covered, then reduced to 450F and twenty minutes uncovered.

Here's the bread out of the oven

bread.JPG

You can see some tearing on at the seams of the slashes. Those could be improved upon. The oven spring I got this time was more than I expected; typically when it gets colder the bread seems a bit more sluggish. Not this time though! I'll try to get a crumb shot tomorrow.

nunc est bibendum...

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. . . .

It's a very straightforward braise. I cut up an onion, a carrot, a stalk of celery. After the rabbit was browned I removed it and softened those vegetables. I added about a teaspoon of fresh time. Then I added a cup of wine and reduced it by half, added the rabbit back in, and added stock to come halfway up. I braised it in the oven at 300F. While that was happening, I cooked some kohlrabi, carrot, and leeks. Those I tossed in butter. I sauteed some mushrooms in butter. When the rabbit was coming off the bone cleanly (but not falling off) I took it out and finished the sauce. I reduced it by about half, added some butter, and thickened with cornstarch slurry. I also added some more fresh time at this point. Et voila. Simple rabbit braised in wine with vegetables. We had parsleyed potatoes on the side.

For the wine, I splurged a bit and bought a macon-fuisse instead of a simpler macon-villages. I was thinking I'd give the rabbit the full burgundy treatment (lardons, shrooms, pearl onions) but in the end I ended up not doing that. I do think that a white burgundy is my favorite wine to have with rabbit though.

At what point did you add the heart, liver, and kidneys, and how did you prep them before adding them to the braise? This looks delicious, and has inspired me to bite the bullet and shell out for a bunny (wish the ones they sold here were as robust as yours).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
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