So this year I have been plagued by a problem I did not have last year, rabbits, huge rabbits.  That eat pepper and tomato plants, I didn’t believe it at first but after they ate half my crop of pepper (hot) plants completely off and were working on my tomatoes.  I had not had this problem previously so it took my by surprise.  After some quick looking online I surmised that rabbits don’t like garlic, hot pepper (go figure) and rotten egg.  Well I don’t like rotten egg either so I whipped up a potent mixture of the other two and let it stew.

I put 5 whole heads of garlic chopped finely in a quart jar with 3 tablespoons of cayenne and a bottle of tabasco.  I then filled the rest of the jar with water, covered and let it sit out and stew at room temperature for two days.  Then I uncapped it and it smelled like garlic and hot pepper, it almost smelled good enough to try it.

I then diluted it 1/4 cup of the mix to a quart of water, strained it and put it the spray bottle and applied it liberally to my remaining peppers and tomatoes.  So far it seems to be working, my sprayer is a little clogged but next time I will use a coffee filter or something else to get the chunks out when loading up the spray bottle.

Until I get somewhere where rabbits can be shot at will or trapped and released into the yards of unsuspecting victims, I will have to stick to the dragons milk until the rabbits change their taste.

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If you haven’t heard the iPad is a new device from Apple due out in March that is like a giant iPhone or iPod touch, on steroids.  Its like a laptop with no keyboard or mouse, just a touch screen.  You can look at it here.

The iPad looks great, in fact, I want one and will be buying one as soon as it is feasible.  In the mean time I am left to wonder, as a foodie-geek or geek-foodie or food nerd or whatever I am, how will this work as a cookbook?  Will the screen stand up to some abuse?  Can I wipe it off with a rag when I get oil, grease and juices on it?

Starting at $499 it is a rather expensive toy and an even more expensive cookbook but it holds promise if it will stand up to the abuse of living in a kitchen.  In the mean time I have downloaded the SDK and hope to begin plugging away shortly to hook the iPad into my existing recipe database.

Time will tell whether or not the iPad will catch on but with Apple’s cult following surely they will sell millions of these devices in its first year of availability, however, with a  built in stand by battery time of a month it seems that Apple has already counted on these devices not being used daily.  Perhaps CraigsList will end up flooded the used iPads for cheap.

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It has been nearly a month since I last posted and for that I am to blame, we have been on a diet and no matter how much you like chicken it just seems that after a couple days of chicken breasts it gets kinda boring.  Well we have been eating chicken breasts about 5 out of every 7 days since the first of the year and we have found some pretty creative ways to prepare and season them.  I recently also discovered we are not the only one who have been eating chicken day after day, week after week this year, so this shall be post one of an ongoing series on the ways we eat chicken in the Elston household.

Tonight we had Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry over white rice.  The first time we made this dish we did not have any soy sauce and so we had substituted Dale’s Marinade for soy sauce, Dale’s imparts quite a different flavor to the dish than does straight soy sauce, you should try it both ways.

Chicken and Broccoli over White Rice

The recipe we used to create our chicken and broccoli stir fry was derived from several recipes online for chicken and pork stir fry and is as follows:

1 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 c beef broth
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp cornstarch
6 c broccoli florets
1 c water
1 tbsp canola oil, divided
3 large cloves garlic, pressed

In a medium bowl toss chicken with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and red wine vinegar until evenly coated.  Set aside.  In another bowl combine remaining soy sauce, beef broth, sugar, ginger and cornstarch.

Place broccoli in a large skillet over high heat with water.  Cover and steam until tender.  Drain and transfer to a plate, set aside.

Heat oil in same skillet over high heat until it sends up wisps of smoke.  Add chicken, stir-fry until cooked through.

Return broccoli to skillet and add garlic.  Stir-fry until garlic is fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Pour in broth mixture and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.  Serve immediately over white rice.

In order to the consistently great rice I use a Cuisinart 4 Cup rice cooker with a touch of canola oil in the bottom of the pan and use a 1 to 2 ratio of rice to water and a pinch of salt.  Great stir fry should be accompanied by great rice, every time.

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Rarely to I find Dutch food a treat, I am Dutch and the closest thing that I find that is Dutch that I purposely plan to consume is Rusk and I am not sure why that is, I am usually not a fan of bland food.  However, this Christmas I was asked to make Pigs in a Blanket, to bring to Christmas brunch and so I have.  Using a recipe found online and then confirmed against a family recipe to create a truly Dutch treat, it is possible.

Homemade Pig in the Blanket

For the dough
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1 egg beaten
1/2 c milk

For the filling
1 lbs pork sausage
1/2 lbs ground beef
1/4 c bread crumbs, made from bread dried in the oven and crumbled
2 tbsp cream
salt and pepper to taste

Sift together dry ingredients, cut in shortening.  Mix in beaten egg and milk.  Turn out onto a floured surface, knead dough about 10 times until uniform.  Divide into two sections, roll each to 1/4 inch thick and cut out 15 2″x3″ rectangles from each, set aside.

For filling, blend all ingredients together by hand, until uniform.  Roll into 30 rolls of meat, think sausage links.  Wrap dough around each “link”.

Place on brown paper bag on cookie sheets with sides, bake 40 minutes at 350°F

If you are afraid it is going to be too bland, spice it up with some hot and spicy whole grain mustard.  This will become a Christmas, and most likely year around favorite for me.  What are you favorite Christmas time dishes?

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