Goodbye rabbit food rocks...

That was a mean trick i just played.  I just needed to get your attention.  rabbit food rocks is not really disappearing...just moving.  I just really needed y'all to click on the email to open and read this email notification.

I moved to:  www.rabbitfoodrocks.com

I bet you couldn't have guessed that.

I gotta a domain 'n stuff.

And i know what a domain is.

I'm all sorts of h-t-m-l smartness up in here now.

Come on over and see how I look.

Like a real grown up now.

rabbit food is about to get real, yo.

(special thanks and all credit to Sam @ http://www.simplewebdesign.net/)


Pumpkin Rice Pudding (Pumpkin Kheer)

Today is Diwali - the Indian Festival of Lights.  Our Christmas celebrations in America don't hold a candle to the spectacular Diwali celebrations overseas.  It's simply HUGE!  It's all about lighting candles and wearing your best and blingy-est clothes and eating sweets and celebrating with friends and family.  Lights are the Diwali's signature.  Growing up, when my sister and I would leave the lights on in the house as kids often do, our parents would scold us saying "Why are all the lights on? It's not Diwali."

Here in the US, Diwali has a way of creeping up on us, largely because (a) it's on a lunar calendar  (b) you don't see Diwali-themed anything anywhere and (c) we don't have holidays here for Diwali.  If you see Pumpkin, Thanksgiving, or Halloween, that's supposed to send you subliminal messages that Diwali is near.  But still, it's easy to miss it.

So if you're in the mood to celebrate Diwali and didn't plan for it, here's a quick dessert your can put together for your family: Part Indian, Part American, just like many of us who are immigrants or offspring of immigrants, straddling two cultures.

Happy Diwali to all of my readers.

Pumpkin Rice Pudding (Pumpkin Kheer)


1-1/4 cups 1% or 2% milk
15 threads saffron
1 Tbsp + 2 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/3 cup basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
a dash of ground cloves or ground allspice (optional)
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
slivered almonds for garnish


1.  In a saucepan, combine the milk, saffron, sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Heat this mixture in the saucepan over medium high heat.  You shouldn't bring it to a boil; you should just see tiny bubbles form around the sides and proceed with the next step.
2.  Add 1/3 cup rice and immediately cover and lower heat to Low (lowest setting).   Cook for about 20 minutes until rice is cooked all the way through.  Stir often (every few minutes).  If needed, add a few tablespoons of milk or water to the pot if it looks like there is not enough cooking liquid.
3.  Once the rice is cooked completely, remove from heat and add the remaining spices and pumpkin puree.  Stir well.  Serve warm or cold and garnish with sliced almonds and a cinnamon stick.


Green Slime Martini (and other Halloween ideas)

I don't really celebrate Halloween.  I'm never creative or timely with costume planning.  I probably subconsciously avoid Halloween because of the unflattering suggestions I get from others in reference to tall skinny aliens.  "You should be that girl Avatar!" or "You should be Olive Oyl!"
Instead, I stay at home to be subservient to expected trick or treaters.  That itself is an experience.  The first two hours are great because these are the itty bitty cutesy trick or treaters ushered by parents.  These toddlers are just exercising their motor skills and coordination for the first time and maneuvering in their itchy uncomfortable costumes.  When you combine tulle, plastic, and polyester, I expect tears but instead they smile with teeny square teeth and barely utter "twick oh tweet".
Then you have the 4 and five year olds.  They approach with confidence and determination while their parents stand at curbside while texting their bff.  Um, hey iMom, wanna pay attention?  I might confiscate your son and Siri won't tell you where he is.
The rest of the kids usually wear oversized plastic masks over their face containing a nice thick humid atmosphere of what I suspect is a combination of milky breath and cheetos particles.
Finally, as the hour approaches 8 or 9, the adolescent zombies arrive 98% inexplicably confident and 2% mildly embarrassed that I might actually ask them "What are you dressed as?"  If you drove to my house to trick or treat, you shouldn't be here.  This year I'm thinking of posting a sign that says "Must be this short to trick or treat."  And young lady, that is not a costume.  That's red underwear pulled over fishnet stockings.  A 16 year old girl dressed as a prostitute.  Now, that IS scary.  I guess you're at least adhering to the theme of Halloween.  Now I need to drink so I can ponder and reconsider procreating.
Frieda's sent me a big box of spooky Halloween-themed and their products are readily available.  I can find all of these items at my Kroger store, but you can find their products almost anywhere!   I used a Kiwano melon for my Halloween-themed martini.
It's super spiky and capable of mild injury, so don't hug it!  Isn't it cool!?!?
You can buy these just about anywhere in season during Sept/Oct/Nov
Green Slime Martini
A kiwano melon has a mild lime and cucumber flavor - perfect for a Halloween cocktail!  This drink tastes really really good!

1 ripe kiwano melon
3 oz ginger root beer
1 oz vodka
1 peeled rambutan for garnish

1.  Cut the kiwano melon in half and give it a gentle squeeze to release the pulp.  I must stress gentle because the outer shell of a kiwano is very spiky!  Don't puncture yourself!
2.  Put 1 ounce of pulp in a martini glass.  Put the root beer and vodka over ice in a small shaker.  Give it a gentle shake, occasionally opening to release air from the root beer carbonation.
3.  When chilled, add to martini glass.  Add a rambutan for "eyeball" garnish.

The Hellraiser of fruits: Rambutan.   The meat of the fruit tastes like a mix between a grape and a lychee
Garlicky Halloween Orange Cauliflower Rice
Also - I have a $1 coupon for you that you can use towards any of Frieda's products! Click here


Meyer Lemon and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

I never told you about my summer trip with my co-workers.  We went to a resort in Cabo, Mexico which was beautiful and luxurious and lazy.  It was sooooo awesome.  I've never had a lazy vacation - our are usually packed with hiking and perspiration and unflattering convertible pants.

On the plane my co-workers expressed "oh crap, you're going to have to eat like guacamole the whole time.  There's nothing for you to eat."  I think I will manage. I think I'm okay with guacamole for 3 days.  However, I'm sure they have salsa too.  Duh.  And chips.  And margaritas.  Hey, this is starting to sound like a balanced meal to me.

My biggest concern was showing up in a bathing suit in front of my coworkers. Who are DUDES.  That is really really weird.  It's like going to work in your underwear.  How about we leave some things to mystery?  The first day, we're at the pool and while I was tempted in immerse myself in the pool with my cover up on, I had to take a moment to be brave.  At that moment I wanted to scream "everybody close your eyes so I can get into the pool without being self conscious!"  Any of my possible ideas to avoid bathing suit exposure would just attract more attention and not the good kind, so there's really only one avenue to take.  Take off the cover up, walk to the pool using my chopstick legs as fast as possible trying to achieve a "good walk" , and submerge oneself.  Then drink heavily to forget about the exit plan for the pool.

I survived.  My ego survived too. And I'm back at work and everything is normal.  Except now they know what I look like in underwear.  Now they know.

Summer is ending and fall is beginning, which means we can finally go outside now without the risk of dying.  I made this Meyer Lemon and Candied Ginger Ice Cream which has hints of Rosemary in it.  It's the perfect transition from summer to fall.  A much easier transition than publicly going from work attire to a bathing suit.

Meyer Lemon and Candied Ginger Ice Cream
adapted from Lemon Ice Cream Recipe Epicurious
(my notes in Italics)


1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half (1 cup whole milk + 1 cup cream)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger


In a saucepan whisk together the zest, the lemon juice, the sugar, and the eggs, whisk in 1 cup of the half-and-half cream and the vanilla, and cook the mixture over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to a simmer. Whisk in the rosemary, and then immediately remove from heat.  Let it sit for 2 minutes. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the zest, and chill it, covered with plastic wrap, until it is cold. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup half-and-half 1 cup whole milk and freeze the mixture in an ice-cream freezer (maker) according to the manufacturer's instructions. In the last minute of freezing, add the chopped candied ginger. Makes about 1 quart.

Note - I added the rosemary as an afterthought, after straining the custard, so then I had to re-strain it before adding it into the freezer bowl of the ice cream maker.  I've changed the directions so that you can add the rosemary upfront and avoid the extra work I had to do.  Enjoy!


Restaurant Review: Tanoshii in Deep Ellum

Take one simple bite of ramen at a restaurant, close your eyes, and you're suddenly transported to a dormatory study lounge at 2 am.

The last time I had Ramen noodles, I was 19.

Okay -- that's totally a lie.  I was 29, in the breakroom of a previous job.  It was 2pm, and I still had tons of work to do so I found Ramen to the rescue.  An admin walks in with her lunch and a novel and she said "Ramen?  I didn't think anyone past the age of 20 had ramen anymore."  Yikes.  Not only will I have a crappy lunch but now I get to feel embarrassed about it too.  Meanie.  :(  

Five years later, I find myself in line for the grand opening of Tanoshii ramen.  Why?  I don't know.  I'm really trying to understand the ramen craze.  

For vegetarian diners, there are a few options - they aren't great.

You can really tell when a restaurant is burdened by vegetarians or is up for the challenge.  

I don't expect "above and beyond" for vegetarian items, but I can tell that less thought went into the vegetarian/vegan dishes.

To start, we ordered the shishito peppers, but it's seasonal, as mentioned on the menu, so they didn't have those.  That's a minus for me, if you KNOW your opening day and you put it on the menu and then say "oh we don't have that because it's seasonal".  I think it's better to have a seasonal menu.  When you write "seasonal", the patron doesn't know if it's available or not.

The menu was riveted together at the top which makes it very awkward to page through it.  You can get a crick in your neck OR crease the pages of their brand new menus.  I chose my neck.

Our server, Kenneth, was outstanding.  Very polite and had a nice smile and didn't let on at all that opening day was ridiculously crazy and/or stressful.  He gave us some recommendations.  Just a really nice guy.  I tested him and asked him what Tanoshii means, and he passed, so Kenneth is definitely paying attention and doing his job well.

We ordered sweet potato dumplings, which were tasty and flavorful.  The size of the dumplings were really small and quantity was low (6 pcs).  I think that dish should be  at LEAST 8 pcs/order.  But again, very flavorful, just gone in 3 seconds.

Then I ordered edamame just because we were famished and needed something to hold us over until our food arrived.  The edamame was perfect.

We ordered a curry noodle dish with the vegan option (topped with specialty mushrooms).  Are ramen noodles vegan?  I wasn't sure, but I'm not vegan. The curry sauce was spicy but very tasty.  There were some grape tomatoes and microgreens, but not much visible other than that.

We also ordered a beautiful soupy dish with Tofu (the only vegetarian broth item on the menu) which was equally flavorful but a bit on the salty side.  I don't mind though - i thought it was good.  The tofu was panko crusted, but then buried in a bowl of soup, hence loosing the intended texture.  What's the point?  And why only 5 cubes of tofu?  Am i 6 years old? 

The ambiance on opening night was very...young.  I guess Ramen has a way of attracting 20 something student types.  Nothing wrong with that  - looks like a lot of singles hanging out in groups having a good time. 

The mood of the place is confusing - the decor is fresh modern and clean.  The clientele is more casual young singles and the prices were in between. Bright, well-lit lighting.  It's hard to know what this place is trying to be?  

Seating was a horrible experience.  On opening night, the wait was 1.5 hrs - which we agreed to and hung out at other places in Deep Ellum until seating time.  Then 1.5 hrs passed and I hadn't heard back.  We went back to the restaurant and the inexperienced hostesses said "oh we aren't seating anymore" and I said "our name is on the list since 8 pm - just wondering when we might get seated"  She said well we probably aren't going to seat anymore.  It's almost 10 pm and well, it's opening night"  Wow.  Then she decided to emphasize one more time that it's opening night.  If she told me at 8pm, that's acceptable. But I don't want to wait 1.5 hrs to find out that you aren't seating me?   Then a lot of people finished their meals at once so some tables cleared up, and we were able to sit down.  But what a sour way to start the night.

We didn't have dessert.  Instead, we chose to go home and knock out a row of Oreos...you know, staying with the "college diet" ramen theme.

SUMMARY: Flavor of dishes were good but not for the price point.  Selection, eh.  Service, excellent.  Atmosphere, huh?

I must remind myself however, that it WAS opening night, and it is simply, RAMEN.

A big understated and underrated plus is that Tanoshii is open until 3am on weekends.  At 2 am, this might be what Dallas needs, compared to Mai's in Houston, which is always packed in the wee hours of the morning.  Secondly, maybe Tanoshii will assist in keeping drunk drivers off of the road and into a bowl of noodles instead.


Entertaining: Breaking Bad Party Menu (No Spoilers)

I cannot wait to see what happens!!

I know that many of you are loyal fans to the show and for the season finale, you MUST have a Breaking Bad Theme Party!

Let's Cook.

Here's the [vegetarian] menu:

Jesse's Blue Skyy Cocktail
1 part Skyy Vodka; 1 part peach schnapps; 3 parts 7-up

Gus' Paella (Ricin Tomatoes)
Mark Bittman's Paella recipe

Skylar's Birthday Eggs & Bacon
(we used morningstar imitation bacon and omg I couldn't even eat it because it was sooooo close to the smell and taste of the real deal)

Marie's Purple Cauliflower
(I had to serve SOMETHING purple, and Michael Natkin's roasted purple cauliflower was a perfect choice)

Mini Veggie Heisenburgers
(you can use any storebought burgers you like; we chose Ciabatta rolls)

Hank's Schraderbrau Beer
(just a little copy and paste action)

Los Pollos Hermanos Chicken Tenders
(we bought Trader Joe's Veggie Chicken Tender strips)

Better-Call-Saul...ted Caramel and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tofu Tutorial

Most people hope to find their calling by age 25.  There's usually a big difference between one's profession and one's calling, unless you were astute enough at a young age to listen to the faint and almost silent beat of the drum inside you.  But it's hard to hear the rhythm of the drum over the whispers of convention, the suggestions by family, or the chorus of duty.  Your calling is exclusively yours.  No one else can hear that drum but you.  People may predict your calling but the acoustics are programmed for YOU and only you can hear it.

I have a lot of interests and I have a profession that is a completely separate entity from my interests and I probably have a calling, maybe, but the sound of the drum is still muffled. 

Why are we so concerned about finding our calling?  What is at the finish line that we are so thirsty for?  Is it self-fulfillment?  Is it the fear of being ordinary and forgotten?  Do we want to leave a big footprint on the Earth when we go?  Do we want to be in a textbook or a Lifetime movie?

I haven't found my calling, but a lot of that might be because I'm not looking for it.  And I don't plan to find it.  It's probably a really terrible thing to say.  You definitely don't want your budding intellectual 17 year old son reading this post.  I haven't found my calling and it's definitely not cooking or blogging or mechanical engineering. 

I've never been ambitious.  I'm perfectly fine working my job, being a wife, maybe being a mom someday, blogging when time permits, and surrounding myself with people I love.  Laugh and live and argue and then laugh some more.  Eat cookies.  Watch addicting TV series.  Take 45 minute walks in the neighborhood.  Buy sunflowers for no reason.  Play board games.  Read the news.  Complain about chores.  Decorate the house for Christmas.  Drink coffee.  Hug people.

There's nothing wrong with being ordinary.  I love ordinary.

I'm not going to leave a footprint when I go.  I just hope to leave some broad brushstrokes of watercolor on the memories of the people who surrounded me. 

Tofu Tutorial
 Tofu is pretty ordinary, but that's to your advantage.  You can make Tofu taste like anything.  When it's made right, you'll see grown carnivore men devour it.  No lie.

Types of Tofu
  • Soft or Silken:  This is a good addition to smoothies, sauces, and even pies!  I've blended it with a rich tomato sauce for a "creamy" tomato sauce.
  • Firm or Extra Firm: I use this kind the most.  Drain the water well and it will be very easy to work with.  Add it to marinades and then pan fry.
  • Medium Firm:  I've never used Medium firm.  Maybe I'm an extremist.
  • Pressed Tofu:  This is the super-dense tofu available in Asian grocery stores.  It's also the same kind of tofu used by major Chinese food chains like PF Changs and Pei Wei.  Pressed tofu is great choice when texture is more important than flavor.  It's the best tofu for grilling (I recently learned).  Just remember that the flavor will be one top, but not inside - it's too dense to absorb flavors.  I'll be sharing a great recipe with you soon using pressed tofu.

This is how pressed tofu is sold.  Vacuum sealed.
The following is my process for preparing Extra Firm tofu, since I use that the most.
1.  Remove tofu block from package and drain.  On a cutting board, cut the tofu into 1/2" thick slices.  You can size them the way you like, but just make sure the thickness is consistent so that the cooking and browning will be consistent.  I don't recommend cubes because it takes longer to pan-fry, and requires more patience.
2.  Now for my exclusive tofu tip.  Tofu is a sponge, and when you remove it from the package, it's a sponge completely saturated with water.  In order to put flavor IN, you have to get the water OUT.  Until now, you might have heard people use paper towels to absorb the extra water/moisture, but forget that.  The paper towels don't absorb enough moisture, so there's still way too much water in the tofu and when you go to pan-fry it in oil, your kitchen will freak out.  I mean, really FREAK OUT, because oil and water are NOT friends.  You need two dish towels to absorb the right amount of water.  You should reserve and use these towels for tofu only, henceforth.  Only wash them with the rest of your kitchen towels.  Fold the towels length wise.  Arrange the tofu on one of the folded towels.  Cover them with the other towel.  Then place a weight, such as a cookbook on top.
3.  Wait for at least 20 minutes.  If the towels are completely soaked, then you might get another pair of towels and repeat the same procedure for another 10 mins.  For one block, I can get by with 2 towels.  For 2 blocks, I need 4 towels.
Putting my cookbooks to use.  hehehe.
4.  Now you can choose from the following:
  • pan-fry tofu in vegetable oil and then add to a saucy dish or make Thai satay peanut sauce for dipping
  • add the tofu to a marinade
  • apply a dry rub to the tofu and cook on a skillet
  • dice the tofu to smaller cubes and add to a miso soup
  • If you are new to tasting and cooking tofu, I recommend this recipe:  Here's a video tutorial.
A wok or a wide, deep skillet is best for tofu cooking.
How do you like your tofu?  What recipes or restaurant dishes have you loved?  Do you have any tips to share?