Many years ago I inherited a rabbit from a friend moving out to the West Coast. He was a three-foot American Checkered named Sebastian. He was the singular greatest animal I’ve ever owned. He was house trained – spent most of his time standing and walking on his hind legs… ate out of a swanky cat bowl… sat on the sofa with me and watched tv… entertained anyone that came over for dinner with clever tricks… prowled the house at night and squealed like a banshee when strangers came to the door.
I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t have rabbits.
12 years or so ago, I decided to have another go with a rabbit, a Black Silkie – Feijoada. She was a horror. I was bitten repeatedly (read that as daily… multiple times) , she chewed through every electrical – speaker – charger cord in the house – ate through 3 pairs of jeans – and took to stealing potatoes from the kitchen and hiding them under the sofa… where I’d find them months later when they began to rot. So I banished her to a large cage, gave her to Luc, my then roommate… and tried again.
Coxinha, the Broken Rex, came next. The only time she wanted to be out of her cage was to poop on the furniture and chew on the table legs. She carried a permanent scowl and grunted like a pig if you tried to touch her.
Several truths soon became very clear:
1. Sebastian was one of a kind. There’s a reason everybody doesn’t have one.
2. Rabbits are generally not loving, dog-like companions
3. Rabbits will bite anything that vaguely looks like a root… or a carrot.
I should have known better than to use rabbits for the photo shoot…. continue below the recipes for the debacle that occurred….
|Mocha Torte with Butterscotch Filling|
Although I planned for the Mocha Torte to be something else entirely – sometimes malfunctions turn out to be the greatest surprises.
This dense walnut and chocolate base, rich, fudge-y center and luscious creamy butterscotch custard made me forget all about making Hot Cross Buns this year.
2 – 4 1/2 Ounce Bars of Bittersweet Chocolate – Broken
1 Stick Butter
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Turbinado Sugar
1/4 Cup Strong Coffee – or Espresso
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chips
2 Cups Chopped Walnuts
Medium Metal Bowl
Large Sauce Pan
Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment
8″ Spring Form Pan
- Preheat the oven to 350
- In a metal bowl set over a simmering pot of water, combine the broken bittersweet chocolate with the butter.
- Heat the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently, just until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool the melted chocolate to just warm.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs.
- With the mixer still running, gradually add in the sugar and beat until they are light, fluffy and lemony in color
- Continuing to mix, add in the melted chocolate and espresso
- Add the flour and mix just until combined.
- Gently fold in the semi-sweet chips and walnuts
- Pour the mix into a greased 8″ spring-form pan and top with the turbinado sugar
- Bake at 350 for 18 minutes – until the edges are raised and the center is set and a light crackle appears.
- Remove and cool completely on a rack
- Place the sugar, flour and salt in a saucepan on medium heat
- Add the milk and stir until everything is smooth
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil – bloi for 1 minute
- Remove from the heat and set aside
- Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and add about 1/4 cup of the milk mixture into the yolks
- Beat rapidly to prevent lumping
- Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the egg mixture to the main pot – whisking constantly
- Continue to stir and cook on low until the mix thickens considerably – you want it ropey where it will puddle back on itself
- Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla
- Pour into the center of the prepared torte and smooth with a spatula
- Chill until completely cooled – about 4 hours.
|The rabbits were unhappy being in the background|
|I left the room for a call and heard an ominous crunch|
|Things got a little out of hand|
|Then went from bad…|
|… to worse|