Tis the Season for Gingerbunnies!

Gingerbread is one of my favorite desserts. Last year around this time I found a recipe on epicurious for gingerbread pancakes and meant to make them. Went to the store and bought everything I needed. And every weekend I meant to make them, and every weekend went by without gingerbread pancakes. Then around Easter I bought some bunny muffin tins. Again intending to make muffins. And yet I never made muffins.

So when I saw the snow today I knew it was time to finally make some gingerbread cakes in the bunny tin. Sure I should be writing or grading or cleaning the apartment or finalizing my Christmas list. But it was time to finally make some gingerbread. The gingerbread recipe I used is pretty simple and is also from epicurious. My plan was to test this recipe for my birthday party. And it had, indeed, past the test.

Cute, spicy, and hot, they are, just like the Bunni herself.

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Baby It's Cold Outside
This post is a repost from February 19, 2006. This Saturday I hosted a surprise birthday party for Bakerina. Of course I made my signature minestrone. I am reprinting the recipe here because it is the perfect for this time of year. (Ice rain, anyone?) It makes a huge amount. (the original recipe claims to make 8 servings-maybe if you come from a family of binge eaters-I think it 's far closer to over 12 servings.) What makes this soup awesome is you can make a big huge batch and then freeze the majority of it, dethawing it when it needed. I make it at least twice a winter.

It is not a well known fact that I am an accomplished cook. In the past, I have even made a fine roast beef with a horseradish cream sauce for Christmas dinner. But of the many things I've lost over the last five years, the drive to cook is one of them.

But occassionally, my urge to cook comes out of hibernation. At least twice a winter I make the Bunni's signature minestrone. The original version of this recipe appears in the New York Times Bread and Soup cookbook, but I've changed it so much that I don't feel like I'm violating any intellectual property laws by posting my version here. Also the book is now out of print, so this is the only way that you all can enjoy this fabulous recipe. I've been making this soup since I was about fourteen years old when I asked my mother to teach me how to cook and she just told me to learn it like I learned everything else, from books. So I went into her cookbook library and found this recipe which was one of the first things I made and became one of my signature dishes. One of the first things I changed about this recipe was to eliminate the lard. I also cut the butter in half and added olive oil. In order to keep the flavor rich, I quadrupled the garlic. Of course, most of the time when I make this recipe there is a lot of "winging it" going on. If the celery stalks are long and healthy, then I might use two or three, if small then four. Let the soup sit overnight as it is better the next day. Also salt is your friend. This soup needs a HUGE amount of salt, so be sure to taste it often during the simmer.

Because I couldn't sleep, at night I would often start this soup at about eleven o'clock. It takes about three hours to make so while I I slowly simmering my soup, I would watch whatever travesty was on Sci Fi channel or, if I was lucky, Joe Bob Briggs on Monstervision. So for me this is a great soup to make late at night and then curl up with my netflix.

Lest I be the one with all the fun, I give you Minestrone A La Lapin.

1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of large garlic (if the garlic is smaller 8)
1 onion
4 stalks of celery
4 carrots
2 leeks
1 small can tomato paste
2 tablespoon flat parsley minced
2 large potatoes
1 cup lentils
1 can peas
1 can cannelli beans
1 tablespoon salt
pepper to taste
2 beef bouillion cubes
3 quarts of water
1/4 cup pastina
parmesan cheese

Heat butter and oil over low to moderate heat. While the butter melts, mince garlic and chop onion, leeks, carrots, and celery. Add to the pot. Once the onions are golden, add the tomato paste and parsley. Stir and cook for five minutes. While these are cooking, peel and cut potatoes. Throw in the potatoes, lentils, peas, and cannelli beans. Simmer for twenty minutes. Add water, bouillion cubes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat stirring occassionally for one hour and half. Add pastina. Simmer for another half hour. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and ground pepper. Resist the urge to eat a bowl immediately. Fail to resist and have a bowl, but remember it will taste even better tomorrow. Fall asleep on the couch with a warm purring cat on your lap and tummy full of butter rich goodness.

My Newest Hobby

While I was sitting with my grandmother in the hospital on Christmas Eve, I had her teach me how to crochet. Actually she taught me once when I was seven, but I made a few potholders and forgot about it. Part of it was I had some very domestic friends, and I wanted show them that I am not the bloodless academic or the complete hedonist that some asume that I am. So I took to crocheting. I bought a book in January, and now I give y0u the signature Sunny Bunny scarf. Designed to keep even the most wallowing depressive upbeat during the darker months.

I finished this scarf this morning while I was listening to Drowning Pool. As my friend coffeeslave said, "Only you." I told her this is one of the rites of freakdom. Looking like I do, people stare anyway. What are they going to stare less? They expect me to do freaky things. So I'm not going to deprive myself of the pleasure of crocheting to whatever music I want.

Incidentally did y0u know there is a knitting curse? I asked the lovely Snow to find a crochet pattern for a hat and she was all fire and brimstone, that I couldn't make it for a man. It's the knitter's curse she said. Make something for a man and he'll leave ya. So I asked her if I could comission Bakerina to make a hat and then give it as as gift. That is apparently is ok. Somehow having a friend being frighteningly domestic is ok as long as it isn't you. But the lovely teacher at Knit NY assured me that the knitters curse is only for sweaters, something as easy to make as a scarf or a hat is acceptable. Of course, now the inspiration for to make a hat has passed and now I'm plotting to make a handbag and a wrap. Still it's good to know. (The curse is real. And DOES effect scarves and hats. Basically don't make anything for your boyfriend until your married. Period.)

The Salvatore Dali Magic Eight Ball

If only I had the Salvatore Dali Magic 8 Ball AKA the Hills Have Eyes Stress Ball (I'm going to pretend not to be depressed about my favorite two lines being cut from the remake), I could have asked it "Is it ok to make him a hat? What is that? A nose? What the hell does that mean? I think I'll just go watch Saw II then." (Ah the nose knows, as they say. I shouldn't have made him the hat or the scarf. I actually should have crocheted him a straitjacket. On the other hand, he did give me hours of scientology matieral and can you really place a price on that? Oh wait I think they have-20% of your income and permanent enslavement to Tom Cruise.)

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