(Coastal View, April 2017 http://www.coastalview.com/
Growing up an only child I got into a fair bit of mischief. It was all generally innocent, but my high level of curiosity often annoyed my family a great deal. Just for curiosities sake I tended to second guess everything I was told, especially on the eve of a large holiday when I had to leave baked goods out. Here’s the thing … if you tell a five-year-old that they must give up cookies to Santa on Christmas eve, carrot cake for the Easter Bunny and then a candy bar for the tooth fairy we eventually begin to grow suspicious. Many of my friends were told by THEIR parents to leave a raw carrot out, because carrots were the Easter Bunny’s favorite snack – but not my mom! Many of my friends were also instructed to leave only their freshly pulled tooth beneath their pillow so that the tooth fairy would leave them a quarter. My mom told me to include a candy bar beside my tooth because that sweetens the dollar amount the tooth fairy could be bribed to leave behind. I believed mom only because I woke up to find a five dollar bill the next morning, as well as an empty candy bar wrapper. The economic response each holiday showed that the more I left for said holiday figure, the larger the present, basket or dollar amount I would receive in return.
Because of this each year I left a larger piece of carrot cake for the Easter bunny, until I eventually left him an entire carrot cake with a glass of carrot juice on the side to sweeten the deal. To wake up and see that I was only left a single Easter basket left me feeling both entitled and downright gipped! This occurred when I was the mature age of ten and I thought it best to discuss this with my mother Easter morning. She encouraged me to write a detailed letter of complaint to the Easter bunny so that he could see where I was coming from and why his cake portions would be cut down the following year. I sat down that very morning and in my best hand-writing wrote the Easter bunny my objections, signed sealed and then delivered to my mom who let me know she would make sure he received it. Years later I came to see who had really been lying and snacking on all the desserts I had thoughtfully left out! Though therapy was considered to help me get over such parental hypocrisy, I decided instead to be the bigger person and get past it on my own.
This year I’m in charge of the Easter feast and have decided to cook up some delicious braised rabbit for dinner. I’ll bake up some carrot cake for mom also, but will probably cut her a thin slice this time around as payback. Happy Easter & springtime everyone! Big hugs, Nikki
Braised Rabbit with Spring Vegetables
Cook Time: 1 hr. 20 minutes
· 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
· One 3-pound rabbit—cut into 2 whole legs, 2 front quarters and 1 whole loin all on the bone
· Salt and freshly ground pepper
· 2 tablespoons canola oil
· 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
· 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
· 2 thyme sprigs
· 1 rosemary sprig
· 4 sage leaves
· 1/4 cup dry white wine
· 2 cups rabbit or chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1. In a bowl, blend the Dijon mustard and mustard seeds. Season the rabbit parts with salt and pepper. Spread the mustard all over the rabbit pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the rabbit pieces and cook over moderate heat until richly browned, about 2 minutes per side; turn the pieces carefully to keep as much mustard crust on the rabbit as possible. Transfer the rabbit to a plate.
3. Add the onion, fennel, thyme, rosemary and sage to the skillet. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Place the rabbit pieces in the vegetables.
4. Cover the skillet and braise the rabbit in the upper third of the oven for about 50 minutes, until is tender. Uncover and braise for 10 minutes longer, until the rabbit pieces are glazed.
5. Transfer the rabbit to a plate. Discard the herbs. Boil the sauce over high heat until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and return the rabbit pieces to the sauce to heat through.