Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's Up, Doc?

I have a long and somewhat complicated history with rabbits.

I cannot distinctly recall if I asked for this costume or if this was a result of a late trip to the Ben Franklin meaning the cool costumes were already sold out in my size.This photo was obviously taken before we left and I was determined to make the most of what I had. I mean, look at those perky ears! They almost overshadow the slightly wan smile, right? Right?

I do remember that I got a lot of lame, falsely bright "Oooh- would you rather have a carrot!?" comments the year I wore this trick or treating. As opposed to keeping and playing dress-up in the Bugs costume for weeks after Halloween as I usually did, I am pretty certain I disgustedly tossed this one in the trash as soon as I got home.

That would be scar enough but then there was my first experience with a live specimen.

A good childhood friend had a rabbit for a pet and I was allowed to feed and water this oh so desirable to me creature while they were on vacation one weekend. As instructed, I dutifully folded and placed lettuce leaves, Rabbit Chow, and filled and refilled the water bowl all without ever opening the cage. My reward, upon their return, was to get to hold said bunny in my lap.

The rabbit peed on me and then scraped near-lethal holes in both my thighs as it attempted to jump into the next county. I was impressed, but not in that good way.

Fast forward, um, years. Lots of them. I'd grown up with limited protein options. My Mom was not an adventurous cook or eater either one and frankly, there were not that many choices available at the local grocer's back in the day.

All by way of which to explain that yesterday, I cooked my first ever rabbit. To eat. For dinner.ChefSon was around and helped demonstrate the lay of the land, or carcass rather, and as I'd been more in a dither about it than I needed to be, it was sort of anti-climatic once I got it plated up and served.Don't get me wrong - the rabbit was tasty enough. I decided, since I'd had it holding frozen for longer than I meant to, to brown the meat, braise it, shred it, and serve it over pasta.Easy peasy, right?

I'd unfortunately purchased a fresh pasta that was not thoughtfully made. It purported to be a jalapeƱo fettucine that would take 3-4 minutes to cook, but was actually ropy and gluey and did not cook well after twice that long.

It was way way too thick, monstrously so, and that really dragged the dish down. Also I bought an organic parmesan to sprinkle over, which as you can see by the photo, looked extruded. It tasted equally uninspiring. That is a big ol' "no thank you!".Fortunately I saved most of the meat and the braise sauce separately and will try it again in some other format.

My point being, and I am pretty sure I had one, don't wait to try rabbit. Don't be leery. It is tasty, it is similar to preparing poultry in terms of cutting up and serving, and the flavor is its own, true, but not at all overwhelming or gamy.Rabbit is not particularly expensive, and I think it will become more readily available as small local food producers hit their stride in a flailing economy. It would be a shame to skip trying rabbit just because you didn't grow up eating any. I didn't have lamb, goat, fresh seafood or artichokes growing up either, and I once I'd tried them I was SOLD.

I am checking "rabbit" off my "I'd cook and eat that but haven't yet" list. How about you? Anything you think you'd be fine trying out but haven't yet? Anything you tried and thought, "whoa - that is not for me!"? What is off limits for you? Fess up!


Mayberry Magpie said...

Mr. Mom has hunted rabbit and cooked it for me (fried it up like chicken) and I thought it was tasty. But I've never made it.

I'd like to try duck. I eat it rather frequently at catered dinners and would like to learn to prepare it. Unfortunately, Mr. Mom claims not to like it (which is weird because he eats EVERYTHING else, including, yes, squirrel).

TexasDeb said...

That is weird. Maybe he'd let you try it once just to see. Could be it was the way the duck was prepared he didn't like?

I think squirrel would be OK. Minus the head part - I know that is part of a mystique thing but with a hub who operates on people brains eating squirrel brains is off the table. So to speak. Caff!