Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Idea Of The Perfect Bockfest Evening

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For the next week my post will talk heavily about Bockfest. Please know this post is coming from the owner of Arnold's. Hopefully every bar/restaurant owner in OTR will feel the same way about their bar for the evening. This is a celebration for all and way bigger than Arnold's. It is a time to shine a light from Arnold's to Bockfest Hall. Me and many others have spent months for this to be a success. Please come, enjoy, behave and feel what you are partaking in.

My Idea Of The Perfect Evening...
If you are driving, park in the lot across the street from Arnold‘s. Remember to pay the machine! Show up at Arnold’s around 4pm to have a beer. Or 2. But pace yourself. They are strong and you have a long night ahead of you. We have 6 Bocks on tap so plenty to choose from. Pick up a Bockfest Shirt and throw it on. You do want to be fashionable. Also eat a Bock sausage so you have something in your stomach. There is another bar added this year and two port a potties. Watch the parade kick off and either follow it (my suggestion) or jump on a shuttle to Bockfest Hall for the ceremony. Grab a beer at Bockfest Hall. Or 2. But pace yourself, it is still going to be early. Buy a poster from Jim Effler. Take the shuttle and try to stop at every bar along the way. Pace yourself and everywhere that sells food, eat some. When you are ready to go home return to Arnold’s. If it is before 11 you can order off the regular menu or the game menu. If it is after 11 you can eat a simple and cheap and good breakfast (more on this later) at Arnold’s before returning home. If you do need to get a cab then you can leave your car in the lot, take a cab and come back for brunch. We open at 10am on Saturday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Game Menu For Bockfest Dinner

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CAMEL RAGOUT... Spicy ragout of camel sausages, wild mushrooms, bock beer, garlic, onions, red wine, and cream. Served

over grilled garlic bruschetta. Drizzled with a spicy dijon sauce. 7.95

SPICY FROG LEGS... Six legs tossed in seasonings and deep fried. Covered in Arnold's spicy sauce. Served on a bed of

garlic french fries. 9.95


BUFFALO SLIDERS... Two Sliders of buffalo meat, sauteed onions, bacon and smoked gouda cheese. Served with spicy mayo,

french fries and spring mix salad. 8.95

SMOKIN RABBIT... Smoked rabbit slow simmered in a sauce of dried cherries, bock beer, thyme and garlic. Then Grilled!

Served with cheesy pearl barley and caramelized carrots and red onions. 14.95

BOCK STEW... Goat, mushrooms, garlic and onions slow simmered in a rich stock of bock beer. Finished with sour cream.

Served over wide noodles. 13.95

PASTA BOCKDROSKI... Sorry had to do it. Signature dish of roasted red peppers, wild mushrooms, artichokes, red onion,

sundried tomatoes and fresh spinach. Flash cooked with bock beer and garlic sauce. Served over a bed of seasoned white

beans and grits. 13.95

BOCK HOT BROWN... Bock Sausage from Kroeger Bros. served on a grilled french loaf stuffed with fries, cheese sauce,

sauerkraut, raw onions and bock mustard sauce. 8.95

SAUSAGE SAMPLER PLATE... Assorted sausages served with braised red cabbage, mashed potatoes, spicy mustards and homemade

chunky applesauce. 12.95

SOUTHWESTERN BOCK LAMB KABOBS... Leg of lamb chunks marinated in a sauce of bock beer, lime, cumin, cilantro, jalapenos and garlic then grilled on a stick with onions and peppers. Served with brown rice and seasoned black beans. 13.95

The Tree In The Couryard

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There was a weed in the courtyard once. It was called the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima). They are suppose to live for about 10 years. This one was over 20 years old. Every season it would stink or drop little pollen buds all over, in drinks, in food. People swore we had cats in the courtyard. It was very weak. We never watered it so I am not sure how it even lived. Every year when we put the roof up we had to cut around the tree and duct tape the air holes. Then the tree started dropping big branches so it had to go. It was just too dangerous for our guest.

That was about 5 years ago. We put up a Cleveland Pear tree. Charlotte, a long time employee waters this tree once a week in the winter and twice a week in the summer. When we took the old tree out we couldn't get the roots out. The guys that took it out made a big bowl out of the roots. So this tree is actually growing in the roots of the old tree. We are still waiting for it to bloom. Maybe this year.

There are several old pictures of the tree hanging on the walls at Arnold's if you want to see what it looked like. I will try to see if I have some to post here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good Bye To Javier's

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I knew it had been bad for Javier and I got word today that Javier’s will be closing for good this Friday. This saddens me, as we are friends. Javier has worked hard and many hours to try to make a go of his restaurant. His story is much like mine, from a worker to an owner. Others in our neighbor are struggling too. I have been friends with Javier’s, Sports Page, Donato’s, Cianciola’s and Sophia’s for many years. During the riots we stuck it out by each doing what we needed to do and leaning on each other when we needed to whine. Over the years businesses have moved or gone out of business making it harder to make ends meet at lunch.

Thanks for reading my blog today. I know for Javier it’s not over but a stepping stone to where he is going next.


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Arnold’s offers four soups/stews daily. Please ask your server what is available for the day.

SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS… Bowl of pasta served with Toni’s sauce and meatballs. Dusted with Romano cheese. Served with grilled garlic crustini.

SPAGHETTI AND SAUSAGE… Bowl of pasta served with Toni’s sauce and grilled spicy Italian sausage. Dusted with Romano cheese. Served with grilled garlic crustini.

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE... In house roasted. Served with boiled cabbage, mashed potatoes and cornbread.

IRISH STEW… Arnold’s traditional Irish stew of beef, lamb, carrots, onions, celery, spices and Dijon mustard. Served over calcannon (mashed potatoes with greens).

BLACKENED TILAPIA… Tilapia fillet coated in Arnold’s homemade blackening seasonings and skillet fried. Served with black beans, rice and salsa. Garnished with taco chips.

CINCINNATI VEGGIE 4 - WAY… Ronda’s homemade Cincinnati Style lentils served over pasta with diced onions, cheddar cheese and oyster crackers.

BLACK BEANS AND RICE (Kathy's Favorite)... Seasoned black beans, brown rice, salsa, cheddar cheese and avocado.

Any meat can be paired with black beans for no extra cost!
Tortilla stuffed with rice, shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa.

Blackened Tilapia served on flour tortillas with spicy slaw, smoked Gouda cheese and lime ranch dressing.

Grilled chicken served on flour tortillas with buffalo sauce, bleu cheese dressing, celery and shredded cabbabe.

PULLED PORK… Spiced pulled pork served on flour tortillas with shredded lettuce, smoky BBQ ranch sauce, black bean and corn relish

All grilled cheese are served with a cup of tomato basil soup. They come on a crispy Italian loaf.

THE ARNOLD… Pepper jack, sun dried tomatoes and pesto

Served on a grilled bakery bun with American cheese, mayo, lettuce and onion. Tomato available upon request. Served with a side of fries.
KEITH’S WAY… bacon
ANDROSKI… Artichoke, roasted red peppers, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, portabella and fresh spinach.
GREEN EGGS and Ham… Topped with a fried egg, pesto and ham
BRET’S WAY… Sauteed onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese

GREEK SALAD… Lettuce, olives, feta, red onions and house vinaigrette dressing. Served with crackers.

CAESAR SALAD… Traditional Caesar of romaine, Romano, croutons and dressing.

TOSSED SALAD… Large tossed salad with lettuce, carrots, craisins and red onions. Served with your choice of dressing.


Fries 1.50
Slaw 1.50j
Potato Salad 1.50
Cup of Soup 3.00
Chicken Added 2.00
Bacon Added 2.00
Small Tossed Salad with Entrée 2.00

A few of Arnold's favorites will be available for 7.95. Cod Fish, Greek Spaghetti or Tab Salad. Turkey Feast will still be available on Thursday's.

Time For A Change

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Dear Customers,

Monday March 1st Arnold’s will come out with a $4.99 lunch menu. I have attached the link to it on my blog page above so you can view it there. I am open for comments and hope you let me know if you have them. I am very excited to offer this new lunch menu. This menu will change with the seasoned. For now, the dinner menu will not be changing.

During the riots I didn’t know what to do because ALL my business was in the tank. As most know, people were not coming downtown. I came up with a $3.95 lunch menu that was lesser quality than I wanted to serve. I did the best I could do for $3.95 and people came and supported us. Please note that is not the case with the new menu. Hopefully everyone will love it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bathtub Gin, and An Arnold's Moment

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If you been to Arnold's you can't miss the bathtub. We have one outside on Wheels and the actual one in a dining room on the second floor. I always pictured people during Prohibition filling the bathtub with homemade gin. Why did I think that? What a silly thought. They called it bathtub gin because they would fill the bottles with the water from the tub. The faucets in the sinks were too low to get the bottles under them to fill.
A few years back Bret and I traveled to New York City. We were visiting Trinity Church by ground zero and a lady tapped me on the back. I had an Arnold's tee on and she noticed it. She was a nun from the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati. We got to talking and she told me during prohibition every day nuns would walk up from the hospital on Eggleston Ave. (now gone) to Arnold's and Mr. Arnold would give them illegal alcohol to take back to their patients.
The above is what we call an "Arnold's Moment". We have them from time to time and they usually give me goosebumps.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Crazy Week and A Cheezy Grits Recipe

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Wow what at week! It seems like Valentines Day was a month ago. Two seatings sold out for that event. Cooked on Monday. 71 out of 80 seats sold for the fundraiser and Mardi Gras in the same night. Exhausted on Wednesday when I got a call Spepard Fairey had bombed Arnold's. What a rush. I was tripping over myself getting down there. Bret had went to the Dr.'s and I was waiting for him. Then I realized I had my car! The excitement was amazing and it never stopped all day. 1st it was Shepard Fairey and his crew then it was people coming by all day. And Twitter went crazy. It was a VERY exciting day. Thursday came the Bockfest Queen. What a wacky show that was. I always have trouble with it because it is just not what we do at Arnold's. But, sometimes it is good to go outside that box. Right? Friday I had a guy off until Noon so up and at the cooking early. I set the line, made the mac and cheese, fried the cod, baked the cod, made my gravy for Lamb Osso Bucco, cooked smoked oyster stew, Sicilian Artichoke and Turkey Pot Pie. I was one busy lady and that was before 11am! Oh and I made Swiss Cheese Grits. A recipe for the grits are below. I am serving them this weekend with Blackened Shrimp and collard greens.

You will need to follow the directions on the packet per servings you want. But, you have to pack as much flavor in the grits as you can. I am serving them with Shrimp this weekend and because of Lent I didn't want to put any meat product in them. I used clam juice instead of water. I also sauteed off onions, added cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic and Swiss Cheese. If you are cooking for 4 people your would add 1/4 onion, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp cayenne, salt and pepper to taste and about 1/4 pound of Swiss Cheese. I know that sounds like a lot of Swiss Cheese but it will be Delicious. I also sauteed the onions and garlic in Arnold's garlic sauce (butter/olive oil).
I made a roux and added blackening seasonings. Then I just use a bit of that to sauteed off my shrimp. Then I lay my shrimp on top with the sauce from the skillet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shepard Fairey's Visit To Arnold's

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Shepard Fairey and his crew put up a mural on Arnold's alley wall today. Chris (my son and marketing director) has been working on this for some time. This past summer Chris went to Boston to see Shepard's works. He then found out Shepard was coming to Cincinnati and started emailing some of Shepard's people. That is how we started the ball rolling. They then did some kind of submission process. We had to sign a release form about a week ago but still didn't know if we were chosen. Today we found out when they came and started putting the mural up. They are putting up 20 works of art around the city. They had lunch and gave us some artwork. I feel honored
Chris and Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey in Arnold's Alley

Finished Photo (Thanks Thadd)

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Snow Storm and A Beignet Recipe

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We are always closed on President's Day. Monday holidays are great days to get things done we can't do when the restaurant is open. So it wasn't the snow, it was the holiday and the plans I already had for Arnold's. Snow days are big days for us and very fun. We get the neighbors and the regulars. It is just homey and fun.

Yesterday wasn't filled with repairs, it was filled with prepping for today's big fundraiser. Mind you the restaurant will go on as usual but add a fundraiser and Mardi Gras to that. Lamb, camel, duck and rabbit for the fundraiser. As of yesterday we had about 60 people attending. That should pay for the parade and the buses to shuttle people from place to place on Friday night. I am excited the snow didn't scare anyone away.
Mardi Gras food was done on Sunday and will be finished up today.

Here is the recipe I am using for tonight's beignets. It is yeast-free and delicious. Maybe a bit more eggy than Cafe du Monde and not as square. It is Arnold's version. We will be selling them with a cup of chicory coffee and steamed milk tonight.
Beignet Recipe
Have all your ingredients ready to go because you have to move a bit quick once things heat up

Melt 1/2 cup butter in pan

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup water and 1 cup all purpose flour. Stir fast until smooth and balling up on you. Remove from heat to stir. Add 4 eggs stirring until mixed well. I used an electric mixer to add the eggs and it worked great.

Heat some oil in a pot to 375 and spoon drop (this is why my beignets are not square). Cook until golden brown. Pull out onto a towel and sprinkle with a lot of powered sugar. Have your coffee ready because you need to eat these as soon as they come out of the fryer.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ramblings and My First Restaurant Opinion

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I listed ramblings first on the title of my blog because I have to get some stuff out of the way. You might wonder what I am doing writing an opinion of another restaurant. Well, I'm not really sure at this point but if you want to read it, it's below. Also, I support local restaurants.

This is my first restaurant opinion. I actually looked up the word review to make sure that was going to be in the guidelines of what I want to do. Review means to give opinion on something, consider something again, or look at something critically. Then I had to look critically up. Well critically sounded much better than critic. Critically meant giving judgement, not approving or crucial. So a critic is suppose to find fault, judge something or write a review. I went full circle and just decided to use the word opinion. I wish more people would use the words "my opinion".

I am honored enough to own a restaurant downtown that supports itself, my family and 30 other people. I have owned it eleven years and there has been many changes made. I have tried my best to stay true to what I do best and to make others happy with the food and service we provide. Sometimes with some people that falls short. When that happens we change things to make it better and we take care of that customer. Our world is not perfect as the same for other business, persons or situations on this planet. People make mistakes everyday and it depends on the mistake and how it is handle. Arnold's has relished in many great reviews and has cringed at the few bad ones out there. That is the part of owning this business I hate the most. No matter how thick my skin is or how "seasoned" I become it is very hard for me to read a bad review. That is one reason this blog was created. To tell my side of the story. To tell you I would never want to serve something someone doesn't want. That I am sorry if you don't like the way I fry my green tomatoes but 50 other customers a week love them. There is a difference between bad and personal taste.

So today I write my first opinion of another restaurant. I will never write a bad review. I praise almost anywhere I go to eat because I don't get to do it very often. I try my best to find the best in where I am. Today Here is my trip to Iris Bookstore.

Bret (hubby) and I tried once again to eat at Mayberry and once again we missed it. The bad part of us trying to go there is they are open the hours I work or they are closed when Arnold's is closed. I also try to go to places when they are not busy. So, I can't wait to eat at Mayberry and hope to do that soon.

Iris is owned by my friend Julie Fay. She also owns a wonderful shop down a few doors called Urban Eden. It is a great store full of local artist things. It's hours are limited so if you want to go you might want to call first.

Iris is a coffee shop and bookstore. They serve minimal food, smoothies and of course coffee. It is a very laid back shop and great for a day you don't want to hurry. We went in at 3pm. 4 of the 5 tables were full so we decided to go in the back. Of course I walk in the back and Jim Tarbell is sitting at a table with another gentleman. I love Jim but I had just seen him two nights in a row! Bret and I decide to sit at the only table left up front and leave him to his company.

You order at the counter. Iris gets their soup from Myra's up the hill in Clifton so you know you are not going to go wrong with any soup. I order a salami and smoked provolone, a cup of Thai Pumpkin and the herbal tea of the day. Bret orders the same soup and a turkey and cheddar sandwich. We loved our sandwiches. Whole grain bread from Shadeau Bread fill with meat and cheese, lettuce and tomato. It isn't a sandwich piled high but more of one that is just tasty. The thing that makes the sandwiches so good is the simplicity.

There were three people working when we got there. I am always happy to see that. There was local art on the walls for sale. All the books on the shelves are for sale.

I love that Iris is there. It is leisurely but not slow and dreadful. There is plenty to do while waiting on your food or coffee. Bret and I read while we were there and swapped stories. It was fun to watch the other people reading, talking or on their computers. If you want a nice simple lunch try Iris. It is all things Cincinnati in my book. The total bill was 19.00. I don't think that is too high or too cheap. It was just right. To me, that is Iris. Just right.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Concert Sold Out and Fried Ravioli

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Valentine's Day is sold out. New Years Eve was a success but I think I went a bit too far out of my box with it. I had things that were more pricey so I had to charge more money. So, this National Arnold's Holiday (Valentine's Day) I decided to make things very affordable. For 14.95 people are having a nice 4 course meal with a glass of wine and a Frank Sinatra impersonator. Check him out at www.petewagnerband/snow . I am excited. I hope I get to spend some time on the floor. I don't know why but I love lounge music. I own a bar that has great great music that I love but give me Bill Murray from Saturday Night Live and I am entertained! So much thanks goes out to all the people celebrating Valentine's Day with us. The staff especially thanks you because we are closed Monday for Presidents Day and it gives them all extra hours.

I have a new lap top since my desktop crashed. I have a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse I am using so it looks funny on my desk with all these keyboards. People say once I get use to using the laptop I will forget the keyboard and mouse. We shall see, I am old school.

Here is a recipe I got out of a very old Cajun cookbook. It didn't have the chutney going over ravioli but I thought it would be a good mix. This is a special appetizer this week and I love it!

I use 4 jumbo cheese ravioli per order. I am frying it in Arnold's Garlic Sauce. You can use olive oil infused with garlic. Your ravioli should already be boiled. When boiling never add more than you can keep your eye on or they will break. I have a big shallow pot at Arnold's that will hold about 20 at a time but if you are making them at home do about 5 at a time for 3 minutes. Sit them down in an ice bath to cool then strain. We put ours on wax paper sheets and refrigerate. Take a skillet and add the oil. Once the oil is hot put your ravioli in the oil puff side down first. Once nicely browned turn over and brown the other side. Remove from skillet and place on plate. You will top each ravioli with about 1/2 tablespoon of chutney. The chutney is very rich so you don't want to over do it. Also don't sprinkle with cheese. Arnold's employees want to sprinkle Romano cheese on everything and it just doesn't work for this dish.

Orange Zest and Sun Dried Cherry Chutney

First take 1/4 cup sun dried cherries and soak with 1/8 cup sweet vermouth.

With a sharp knife cut the skin of a washed orange. Try your best not to get the pith but if you get some it will be okay. Take the orange rind and put in robocoup with 1 jalapeno seeds and all, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic 1 tsp salt and 2 shallots (you can use 1/4 small red onion) and grind until fine. Add the cherries to your other items and the juice from the orange and simmer for about 15 minutes. Most of your juice will be gone.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Weekly Newsletter 02-11-2010

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This is the email I sent to my email list this week. There is a special for ballet tickets. If you are reading this blog and would like a pair of tickets you can email me at

Hi Everyone,

I am on my way out the door to the Bockfest Poster Signing at Mr. Pitiful's. I hope it is a great success for Jim Effler. This event runs from 6 - 9 pm.

Tomorrow night is the Bockfest Blow starting at 6:30 PM at the River City Works, 532 East. 12Th St. This is an Arnold's sponsored event and there will be food there from Arnold's. This is going to be awesome as it is also a "Stein Off". Three colleges (Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Louisville) will go head to head to see who can make the best stein. The best stein will be given to Bockfest for the best parade float.

Valentine's Day is almost sold out if not already sold out. I think we have about 10 seats open for both seatings. We will be calling back to confirm our reservations so there might be more space open if some people cancel. Thanks to everyone that wants to join us Sunday!

All weekend and next Tuesday we are running Mardi gras drink specials and Louisiana food specials. I made my roux today and am ready to start simmering and stewing first thing in the morning. Please join us for our celebrations. Also on Tuesday we will be celebrating Fat Tuesday with music starting at 9pm. Hurricanes and beads galore!

My fundraiser for Tuesday is selling pretty good but there are still plenty of seats available. Please check out for more details. This is going to be an amazing evening.

I have a few tickets to the ballet (Cinderella) that I would like to give away. I am late at giving them out. If you would like to go I will give them to the first 4 people that email me. I am honestly running out the door so I will check emails later tonight. They are vouchers for 2 people on each ticket. You can use them for any shows this weekend.

See You Soon,

Ronda Androski/Proprietor

Arnold's Bar and Grill

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Beach, Snow, the Commish, Bockfest and Rabbit Soup

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It's interesting going from walking on a beach barefoot with sunscreen to riding home from the airport in a cab, going too fast in a snow storm all in a matter of twelve hours. Five days of no less than ten hours sleep a day, three sit down meals a day and a server serving you fufu drinks on the beach. A person can get use to that!

Saturday I was awakened by the Commish (Jim Tarbell) asking me if I would open Arnold’s up to a film crew for a project some local Cincinnatians were doing. That was a no brainer but also not the way I want to start my day. I had made a commitment to not work so hard (while sipping Margaritas in the sunshine). So into Arnold’s I go at 10:30 AM. Out I go at 11:00 PM. My plan might not work until after Bockfest.

Bockfest has begun. This Thursday is the poster signing at Mr. Pitiful’s, which is where I met Carla and Tom last year. I really enjoy them, every time I see them. Then next Tuesday (the 16th) is my fundraiser for OTR Foundation that I will worry non-stop about until it has begun. I put way to much pressure on myself by having such a special event. Everything about that night is going to be special. The tours, the food, the beer, the talking. It will be a great night where things important in my life come together. Cincinnati and its connection to Arnold’s, beer, OTR, and The Brewery District. If you are reading this and interested in coming this is a fundraiser and $80.00 of your $95.00 ticket is tax deductible. You can visit to purchase your tickets. As other events get closer I will be letting you know about them.

Here is the recipe for Roasted Rabbit Soup I will be serving at the fundraiser.

1 whole rabbit from Findlay Market
In a blender or food processor combine ¼ white onion, 1 jalapeño pepper, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1 tsp salt. Slather mixture on rabbit. Add 1 cup of coffee to pan and bake (uncovered) at 350 degrees until rabbit is done (165 degrees). About ½ hour.
When cool enough remove meat from bones. Take bones and juices from roasting pan and add 6 cups of water. Simmer for about 1 hour or reduced by half.
Strain off your both, add 1 TBS of vanilla and set aside. If your both is not spicy enough add a pinch of cayenne. I really mean a pinch. The cayenne grows stronger as it sits. You might want to add a bit more salt also.

Make pearl barely for 4 people per package directions. You are making the barley then adding it to your soup when ready to serve so it doesn’t get all mushy like oatmeal. I hope this recipe is making sense to you.

Now you need to shred 1/2 carrot and 1/2 cucumber and 4 radishes. You should take the seeds out of the cucumber but leave the peeling on. You are using these raw but at room temperature.

Assembling the soup… Place the barley on the bottom of four bowls. In the center of the bowls add your rabbit meat (add as much as you want and you will have some left over for rabbit hash or rabbit salad). Then top with the carrots, cucumber and radishes. Slowly pour the boiling hot stock over your ingredients. You can even put the broth in a gravy pourer and pour at table, just make sure your both is boiling hot so it will heat up the veggies. This soup is SO good! Serve with some Shadeau Bread.