Saturday, February 28, 2009
Be vewy quiet... We're hunting wabbits... and Wecipes!
My, what a month February has been. I've continued on my crusade to eat (mostly) at locally owned restaurants and what fun it has been! I've tried out some new places (well, new to me anyway) and found some gems at some of my old favorites. I popped into Finch's on my lunch break a couple of weeks ago, and at the encouragement of my stellar server and foodie partner in crime, Sarah (blogmistress at IU Eats), I ordered the rabbit pasta to go with a glass of my favorite Cote du Rhone wine. It was a surprising lunch. I say surprising because as a general rule, I don't like rabbit. The rabbit that I've had before was gamey, stringy, and unappetizing, and it was prepared by one of the best chefs in Bloomington! So I figured if I didn't like it under those circumstances, rabbit and I were just never going to be friends. But I was so deliciously wrong about this pasta. The big, wide noodles were amusingly difficult to keep on my fork but provided an excellent base for the vibrantly colored carrots and spinach, the velvety mushrooms, and the tender, delicately flavored, wonderfully delicious chunks of rabbit, all complimented by a rich but unobtrusive wine sauce. YUM. Thanks to Sarah and Chef Jeff for changing my mind about this particular critter, and for providing a fabulously French lunch (all too appropriate since I was celebrating my mastery of the French object pronoun that day).
While at Finch's, I also had the opportunity to sample a beer that's been getting a lot of buzz in the local food world lately. It's Brugge Beer of Terre Haute's Tripel de Ripple. Now, I know nothing about beer so I won't even pretend, I'll just provide this link if you'd like to know more. I enjoyed the beer; it was slightly bitter but in the good way that beer should be bitter, and not offputtingly so, either. And that's about all I can say, because as I mentioned, I know nothing about beer. But go to Finch's on a Wednesday ($2.50 pints and buy one get one half off flatbread pizzas), and try it yourself.
I've also had some kitchen adventures of my own lately. As those of you who are friends with me know (and let's face it, no one but my friends reads this blog), I have a petite obsession with the Vegan Decadence Cookies at Soma. I've been on the hunt for a recipe that would allow me to make them at home and probably save me a whole lot of money since I wouldn't have to stop at Soma at least once a day to buy one. So I found a vegan, gluten-free recipe online that looked like it would yield a similar chocolatey goodness to what I was seeking. The problem: it called for several expensive, hard to find ingredients in order to make the recipe vegan and GF. At this point I thought to myself, "Sara, you are neither vegan nor allergic to gluten, surely you can find a nonvegan recipe that will produce an equally, if not more delicious cookie." And I did! I used the Triple Chocolate Esspresso Bean cookies recipe from 101 Cookbooks as a jumping-off point, and made a few substitutions to create the best cookies. Ever. You can pretty much follow Heidi's recipe, but I left out the espresso beans and added a pinch more espresso powder, used dark chocolate cocoa, and chopped up a 65% cacao chocolate bar and threw it in in place of the semisweet chips. I also only ended up baking them for about 8 mins, and at 350, not 375, because my oven runs a little hot. You've got to watch and smell them closely, because the dark batter makes it hard to tell if they're burning. Also, make sure to store them in an air-tight container, because they dry out very quickly. But trust me, these cookies are SO GOOD.
Alright, that's all from me for now... it's almost 2pm on this lovely Saturday afternoon... time to get out of bed :).