Springtime Scampi

Joy is mine! The sun is shining for more hours every day, my garden is in various stages of being planted and growing, the rabbits are breeding…. well, like rabbits and fresh veggies are once again mine for the buying at the local farmer’s market! I happily drove to town this past Wednesday with the promise of fresh, organic produce to be had at the Corvallis Farmer’s Market on 1st street. I found some gems, had some great catch-up conversations with some of my favorite vendors and whipped up a delicious dinner featuring some springtime veggies with my homegrown meat and herbs. Inspired by ‘shrimp scampi’ this recipe is a definite keeper and would be great with chicken or fish in lieu of rabbit.

Rabbit Scampi with Spring Vegetables

Rabbit Scampi with Spring Vegetables

Makes 2 large portions

Ingredients:

  • Sliced loin and belly from 1 rabbit
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and cut into 2-4 inch pieces
  • handful or so snap peas, washed, de-strung and chopped coarsely
  • 3 dried hot peppers, crushed
  • 1 Pint chicken, vegetable or rabbit stock
  • 1/4 cup or so lemon juice (more or less to taste)
  • salt, pepper, dried lemon basil (or sweet if you don’t have lemon) to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Heat generous drizzle olive oil in a pan, add onions and salt and cook until just softening. Add rabbit slices, half of garlic, pepper and lemon basil. Cook meat over medium heat, stirring until mostly cooked. Add stock and lemon juice, rest of garlic and hot peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until liquid has cooked down until sauce has reached your desired thickness. Taste sauce and add more stock or lemon juice depending on your palette: you want this to be refreshingly tangy/zesty, not cheek puckering. Add veggies, stir in and cover with lid to steam veggies. Steam just past al-dente but before over-cooked.  Serve over angel hair with a bit of shredded parmesan for a delicious spring-celebrating meal!

*This meal could also be made vegetarian with mushrooms and more veggies,  or with fish. If using fish, i would recommend steaming or grilling the fish separately and serving with the scampi sauce.

 

What’s your favorite recipe for utilizing those first vegetables of Springtime?

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Filed under Cooking, Easy, Rabbit

Commemorative Lockets: Cherish Your Pet’s Memory

I am so blessed to have such wonderful clients: They love their pets as much as i cherish my Pocket girl and they invest in my artwork as a tribute to their fur-babies. I just love getting to ‘meet’ so many cute dogs, cats and horses via my email box, but also dread the all too frequent message that begins with “I recently lost my best friend of 15 years and hope you can create a commemorative portrait of her.”

Miranda and Pocket: Best Friends

Losing a pet is losing a family member, best friend and loyal partner. The void left where your fur-baby once played and snuggled can never be filled, but his/her memory will be cherished by you forever. Custom Fiber Friends pet portraits and Nubbins are a wonderful tribute to your best pal and are an adorable reminder to help keep your memory fresh. Now Fiber Friends can be even more personalized for those with pets already passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Tiny lockets help you remember your pet after they've travelled over the Rainbow Bridge Fiber Friends lockets: A tribute to your deceased pet

Commemorative Lockets come on a beautiful chain, just the right size for your pet’s portrait and can hold a small pinch of your pet’s ashes or a lock of her fur. Want to keep your pet close to YOUR heart? I’m happy to create a second locket for you to wear.

Tiny lockets hold your pet's ashes or a lock of fur

I hope i never hear from you with bad news. I hope your fur-baby lives a full and happy life by your side. But when the time does come for her to make that last romp over the Rainbow Bridge: I’ll be here for you and ready to create a truly one of a kind tribute to her or you to cherish or years to come. Hug those pets close, y’all!

- Miranda & Pocket – www.FiberFriendsOnline.com

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Filed under About, Fiber Fridays, Fiber Friends, Fibers, Me

Un-chicken Strips – Real Food, Fast

I love chicken strips. I’m talking LOVE. When i was a tween/teenager i would order ONLY chicken strips when we went out to eat…. to the point that i had to make myself a hard and fast rule to ‘not order chicken strips even once and try new things!’ when my mom and i took a vacation to Scotland. That really expanded my horizons….. but i still really love chicken strips. You CAN use this recipe to make real chicken strips, but my version uses something special: rabbit belly!

"Un-chicken strips" with rabbit belly! Real food, fast!

Did i just trip you up a little bit? Never heard of rabbit belly as an ingredient? Well, let me tell you: on the entire 3.5 pounds of a young rabbit fryer the belly is my very favorite part. And to think some people discard it! (Are you still hung up on rabbit as ‘meat’? If so, you’re probably an American and not alone in your opinion. But in many other parts of the world rabbit is celebrated as the sustainable, nutritious, delicious meat that it is. I am proud to raise rabbits as meat-livestock and to serve them to my family and guests, and i hope you’ll give rabbit a try!) OK, enough hopping around the bush – let’s get that recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Rabbit bellies, 3 per person
  • Flour mixture: half flour, half fine cornmeal (about a handful each for 2 servings.)
  • Seasonings: Your favorite! Cajan seasoning is great, or just salt and pepper. About a teaspoon of your favorite blend.
  • 2 eggs, scrambled and salted

Rabbit belly, flour mixture, farm fresh eggs: Making bun-strips. How to make "un-chicken strips" using rabbit belly

Rabbit ‘belly’ i usually found as two flaps behind the ribs and along the loins. The belly may be in tact and un-sliced along the center and appear as a thin membrane behind the ribs. When you quarter a whole rabbit you usually leave them attached to serve the loin as ‘saddles’. But i always cut them off and save them up in the freezer to make a big batch of delicious rabbit jerky or as “bun-strips” for dinner. Since trying out this recipe once, it has become a family favorite. We just can’t get enough! Serve with some oven fries, steamed veggies and some dipping sauce: Who needs a fast food restaurant? We’ve got real food, fast!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Grease a cookie sheet with a thin layer of grapeseed oil or lard.
  2. Scramble your eggs, mix up your flour mixture, and check over your rabbit bellies removing any fat by pulling it off with your fingers.
  3. Pick up a belly by the  pointy end and dip into egg, getting both sides. Pat into flour, turn and coat each side. Dip into egg again. Pat into flour again. Sprinkle some flour on any exposed areas and place in cookie sheet. Your fingers will get all floury/eggy, but deal with it. If you have tiny little sugar cube tongs use those! I don’t.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and flip. Bake for another 10-12 minutes. Check doneness by poking in the center of the largest strip – juice should run clear.

Egg battered "un-chicken strips"Oven fried rabbit or chicken strips - fast food made at home!

This recipe can be used for chicken tenders instead of rabbit bellies. To substitute chicken: Cut breast off of a whole chicken, remove skin. Cut off double breast and slice remaining larger breast into similarly sized strips. (Or just buy chicken tenders if you’re not a whole chicken purchaser/grower such as myself.) Follow recipe above.

Perhaps you want to try rabbit but aren’t sure how to cook the whole thing? Maybe you have a guest who’se leery about eating rabbit… This is a great recipe for trying this versatile meat and if you’re sneaky you can serve it to a friend without them knowing it’s rabbit. I would NEVER do that, though. Ever. I’m totally honest in the kitchen. ;) This recipe is sure to become a family favorite in YOUR house as well! And if you live nearby, i hope you’ll consider buying your locally raised rabbit from me. :) Enjoy!

 

What’s the most ‘exotic’ animal/meat you’ve eaten? Where you afraid to try it, and how did you like it?

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Filed under Baked, Birdsong Farm, Cooking, Easy, Rabbit

Use That Old Spice Rack: Display Your Collection

I love spice racks. I cannot NOT buy old spice racks when i find them at the thrift store. And yet: i keep my spices in a cabinet and have no real need for a spice rack….. for spices. In lieu of quitting my addiction, i simply found an alternative use for all those vintage, retro and elegant spice racks that have accumulated in my home. Enter my other addiction: tiny, vintage figurines!

Up-cycle your old spice rack

Spice racks are the PERFECT size for displaying small figurines and even more perfect for displaying Fiber Friends Nubbins. Perhaps you’re a little obsessed with these adorable felt critters and want to amass your own collection (please, do!) but aren’t sure how to display them. Head to your favorite thrift store or grandma’s closet and you’re sure to find some unused spice racks looking for homes. Give them a little cleaning, hang on a wall you enjoy looking at and voila: display shelves!

Display your Fiber Friends collection

Check out the Fiber Friends holiday shop to find corgis, beagles, labs and more garbed in seasonal finery from shamrocks or bunny ears to scarves and Santa hats or order custom Nubbins to match your favorite fur-babies and make your collection complete!

 

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Filed under Felting, Fiber Fridays, Fiber Friends, Fibers