While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I couldn't resist posting this photo. Great!

Photo note:

"Turkey cake made for Thanksgiving. www.KakeBakery.com"

How Do You Like To Cook Your Turkey?

Well, here we are. It's less than 24 hrs. before the big day. Do you have your turkey yet?

It's an away-day for us tomorrow. We're heading to my sister-in-law's place for Thanksgiving, and are now making plans for what to bring. They provide the turkey, and it is always good. Sometimes, feeling deprived by not having turkey left-overs here at home, I will make another dinner a day or two after the fact. And when I do, I have to think about what I'm going to do with it.

My usual method is to bake the turkey breast-side-down. Something I learned many years ago from a friend who cooks her chicken that way. During the last 30 minutes or so, turn the bird again, breast-side-up this time, to brown. This method, while far from looking like the cover of Saturday Evening Post, ensures moist white meat, for those like me who love that best. Throughout, I'll baste with a combo of butter and olive oil.

So, I'm curious - what is your favorite tried-and-true method for cooking your Thanksgiving turkey? Let me know, and I'll share it here~

Thank you for visiting, and enjoy your day!

4 Thanksgiving Turkeys by Mother and Son!

Photo note:

"This was a total thrill for me. I cooked this turkey (bottom left corner) per my son's directions. He cooked the other three at his mother-in-law's home where we all met for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Since my oldest son is a gourmet chef (and an executive manager as well) I was happy to have this opportunity to to have HIS guidance, ha ha!

I used to be a "brown paper bag" person for roasting my turkeys, since I wanted to make sure they stayed juicy. But I'm sold on his method. He slathers his turkey with a mix of softened butter mixed with mayonaise and you roast it uncovered. The picture at the top left is his smoked turkey, freshly drained from the brine. The turkey at the top right is being checked for a perfect temperature before he decided this one and the one below it were done.

If you really like to see cooking photos, you may enjoy seeing the original size version uploaded. There are notes added to this image, for those who really want details. And yes, it was a very happy Thanksgiving for our family this year!"

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey, originally uploaded by amkhosla.

Photo note:

"Bill and I spent a fruitless day yesterday taking bad pictures of great birds (black-headed grosbeak, pacific slope flycatcher, missing wilsons warbler). So this turkey and his one female mate gave us a respite from chasing birds that were 100 feet directly above moving every 3 seconds.

Got to love turkeys. They just sit there and look magnificent."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

sweet potato balls

sweet potato balls, originally uploaded by boo_licious.

Fried sweet potato balls

"Taste like getuk ubi but crunchy on the outside. i sprinkled with oat to add crunchiness."

sweet potato balls

sweet potato balls, originally uploaded by celestialkiddy.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Twilight Cake

Twilight Cake, originally uploaded by ❀ℓєтιzια❀.

Just one more!

Twilight Cake

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vampire & Werewolf cupcakes

Vampire & Werewolf cupcakes, originally uploaded by Sevenmarie.

Photo note

"Made for snacks for tonight's bible study because a couple of us are ridiculously excited for New Moon. We don't really understand why we are, we just ARE!

24 white and chocolate cupcakes (white for vampire, chocolate for werewolf) made from a white cake mix--box of chocolate pudding mix was added to make the chocolate ones.

Vampire cupcakes have pureed cherry pie filling and butter cream frosting. Idea is from bakingbites.com/2007/10/vampire-cupcakes

Werewolves have butter cream filling and milk chocolate frosting (canned) and marshmallows for snouts. Idea is from the book "Hello Cupcake!"

New Moon Trailer - Bella´s Cake

New Moon Trailer - Bella´s Cake, originally uploaded by pao25.

Twilight Cake - Cullen Crest

Twilight Cake, originally uploaded by leightorres.


"The Cullen Crest, as featured in New Moon. All edible! In honor of Twilight the movie, and New Moon. Check out my other cakes at melissacakeytime.blogspot.com."

Moon Cake with a slice out

Moon Cake with a slice out, originally uploaded by madhatrk.

Ooh, this looks very good!

Photo note:

"It's time for Mid Autumn Festival and moon cakes abound! From a Western point of view -- they are neither moon like nor cake like.
The traditional Moon Cakes, they are not sweet and have two whole eggs (yolks in tact) in them as shown above in the slice. Each time I'm served a moon cake I try a piece...but I have yet to develope a taste for it.

The "New" Moon Cakes, which come in flavors like Green Tea and Mango, these, although still very Eastern in texture and flavor, are easier for me to snack upon.

September 23, 2007
At the factory.
Dongguan, China"

New Moon Cake

New Moon Cake, originally uploaded by leightorres.

Photo note:

"In honor of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon and the awesome movie coming out in November, yay! Vanilla cake with chocolate cinnamon buttercream. Check out my other cakes at melissacakeytime.blogspot.com!"

Roast Duck @ New Moon Restaurant - WOW!

This is because of the New Moon movie coming out. Am I seeing it? I haven't even read the books.

Photo note:

"Holy crap, this was an incredible roast duck. I am not srue it can get better then this.

You know how sometimes you think you love duck, and in your mind it tastes so damn good, but once you actually get some duck, it tastes a lot less good in reality?

The duck here tastes as good as it has ever tasted in my mind.

Big ups to Pierre for welcoming me into the city by giving me an awesome awesome meal my third day here.

New Moon Restaurant - 1247 Stockton, San Francisco"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New From Cookus Interruptus - Brown Sugar Apple Pie


Nothing hits the spot like a freshly-made homemade

Brown Sugar Apple Pie
(Cynthia considers gas)

Listen to Steve groan with pleasure as he takes a bite. Get with the program and pledge to eat local for Thanksgiving. See our new Cookus/Amazon Store where we have about 50 carefully selected books and cookware items. Maybe early gift-shopping?

Folks have been leaving us some kind and supportive comments. We eat them up like apple pie. Keep interrupting us with more!

Wednesday Bread Spread, and a Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

Bread Spread, originally uploaded by isolatediguana.

Photo note:

"Selection of Artisan Breads"

* * *

Fairy Bread by Robert Louis Stevenson
Come up here, O dusty feet!
Here is fairy ready to eat.
Here in my retiring room,
Children, you may dine
On the golden smell of broom
And the shade of pine;
And when you have eaten well,
Fairy stories hear and tell.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Poem of Soup

Günter Grass, written in 1977 about when he was wounded as a tank gunner of the German Wehrmacht sent to meet the Red Army in 1945:

I was standing at the edge
of the road to Spremberg
and eating peas with a spoon
with my seventeen years
and a mess tin in my hand
similar to the one my granddaughter L has on a trip with the Scouts
a grenade exploded
the soup spilt
but I got away
only a little scratched
but happy.

Tuesday Soup - Hōtō

This is a beautiful bowl. Here's what the photographer tells us:


Hōtō (flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso soup)

hōtō noodles, hōtō miso soup base, carrot, pumpkin, taro (satoimo), burdock, white long green onion, shimeji mushrooms, field peas

Quick lunch for year-end holiday

About Hōtō (wiki) "


Monday Cup, a day late

short latte at Victrola, originally uploaded by tonx.

short latte at Victrola

an 8 oz latte by Kyle at Victrola Coffee, about an hour ago.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Poem A Day 16 - Clouds

Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer

Those of you doing the Poem A Day challenge, here is Robert Brewer's new prompt. Click on the link to go to his site, Poetic Asides.

Have fun, and write a poem today~

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Biscuits and Gravy

Got these this morning at Pine State Biscuits. Very worth the half + hour wait outside. We got lucky, and got a table at which to enjoy our breakfast. More later. . .


by Jane Kenyon
The dog has cleaned his bowl
and his reward is a biscuit,
which I put in his mouth
like a priest offering the host.

I can't bear that trusting face!
He asks for bread, expects
bread, and I in my power
might have given him a stone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday - Japanese Dessert

Japanese Dessert, originally uploaded by Vincent Ma.

Photo note:

"Margaret just came back from a week-long whirlwind tour of Japan. She brought us back some Japanese dessert!"

A Loaf of Bread for Wednesday

A Loaf of Bread, originally uploaded by Harald Schmid.

Gorgeous image~ I can just taste this loaf.

Baker's note:

"Bread, born out of the fire. Made in my neighbourhood and already eaten. [sorry]."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Soup - French Onion

French onion soup, originally uploaded by ilmungo.

This cook says:

"French onion soup

French onion soup is so easy to make, and exceedingly delicious. Here's what you do:

Put a big pot (cast iron enameled french cookware works best) on medium high, and melt some butter and oil in it. Start slicing 6 medium onions, adding them to the pot as you slice them. Then let them get soft and brown, stirring them often. This will take about 20 minutes.

At this point, add salt, pepper and a little bit of thyme, then add about 1/2 a cup of dry Sherry. Deglaze the pot with it, let it evaporate. Pour in 6 cups of beef broth. Bring to a boil, and turn off, let steep for however long you want. It's soup, so it'll taste better the longer it stays in the pot.

When you're ready to eat, ladle soup into a bowl, add a few croutons on top, sprinkle with gruyere cheese and some more thyme, and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Enjoy deliciousness.

I was fresh out of thyme, so in a pinch I substituted rosemary for it. You know what?, it actually works..."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Soup by Carl Sandburg

Soup by Carl Sandburg


User Rating:

5.5 /10
(2 votes)

I saw a famous man eating soup.
I say he was lifting a fat broth
Into his mouth with a spoon.
His name was in the newspapers that day
Spelled out in tall black headlines
And thousands of people were talking about him.

When I saw him,
He sat bending his head over a plate
Putting soup in his mouth with a spoon.

Carl Sandburg

The Morning Baking by Carolyn Forché

The Morning Baking by Carolyn Forché

The Morning Baking

Grandma, come back, I forgot
How much lard for these rolls

Think you can put yourself in the ground
Like plain potatoes and grow in Ohio?
I am damn sick of getting fat like you

Think you can lie through your Slovak?
Tell filthy stories about the blood sausage?
Pish-pish nights at the virgin in Detroit?

I blame your raising me up for my Slav tongue
You beat me up out back, taught me to dance

I'll tell you I don't remember any kind of bread
Your wavy loaves of flesh
Stink through my sleep
The stars on your silk robes

But I'm glad I'll look when I'm old
Like a gypsy dusha hauling milk

Carolyn Forché

Monday Cup

IMG_7434, originally uploaded by 胖胖&肥肥&腫腫.

Thinking about Hazelnut liqueur, or Frangelico, I came across this image, and decided to feature a Monday Cup.

Here's the first one. Enjoy!


Frangelico, originally uploaded by Kaptain Kobold.

This is the next cordial/liqueur I want to try making. I love the flavor of Hazelnut. When I get to it, I'll let you know.

4 Cordial, again

Here's another note, and link, from another cordial maker:

"After forty-four days, our 44 Cordial is finally finished. Hm...well, the site doesn't explain it like the magazine did, but, basically it's a drink made in Madagascar; if I'd put cloves in instead of coffee beans, I gather that would be the 'quarante-quatre,' a French drink.

It's really...warming. Basically tastes like a rich essence of coffee with a hint of chocolate orange."

44 cordial

44 cordial, originally uploaded by tangobiker.

Photo note:

"special liqueur made at Lincoln Restaurant in North Portland with white rum and an orange sliced 44 times (originated in Madagascar)"

44 Cordial

44, originally uploaded by Willrad.

I just made this, too, but I did add the 44 tsp. sugar (44 sugar cubes). If you read on, you'll find that this person used rum in the recipe, and I think that could be a good addition, more flavorful. That's not to say this isn't flavorful, but I'm intrigued with using rum instead of the vodka I used.

Other that that difference, the rest of the recipe is the same.

I wonder how it would be if cloves were used, instead of the coffee. . . anyone ever tried?

Here are the notes that go with the photo:


750mL white rum, one orange with 44 holes, one coffee bean in each hole, aged 44 days.

Discard the orange (although it seems a shame to waste that much juice and whatever rum has soaked into it - I might try squeezing it into the jar first next time).

Filter the liquid and add sugar - the traditional recipe says to use 44tsp in the beginning, but the jar didn't have room. I just added simple syrup to taste. It turned out tasting best with about 200mL syrup, and 44tsp is about 200g of sugar, so I think it turned out right.

There was a little liquid lost in the process (spillage / absorption) so it ended up being about 550-600mL liquid after filtering. This fit nicely back into a 750mL bottle after doing some taste testing and adding syrup.

And the tasting: Smells mostly like oranges. The flavor starts off like sweet, mild coffee and then turns strongly orangy, which fades and leaves a nice combination of the two aftertastes. In short it's friggin' delicious. I'll definitely be making this again."

* * *

(Actually, I did squeeze as much liquid as I could from the orange into the remaining liquor.)

And I still think the rum might be better than vodka.

Friday, November 6, 2009

pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup, originally uploaded by denkschema.

Mmm. . .

Photo note:

"color explosion - pumpkin soup (hokkaido pumpkin, potatos, onions, red lentils, ginger) with chives and freshly fried bacon bits"

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Roast Pumpkin Soup, originally uploaded by HelenPalsson.

Soup for the soul~

Photo note and links:

"When we are at the fruit shop the other day they had a large bin of Butternuts for $1 each, so I grabbed one though in retrospect I should have grabbed a couple more.
I had planned to use the Pumpkin Soup recipe I have used before but to play with it a bit more. However, then I got thinking about the fantastic Roasted(?) Pumpkin Soup that Mary had had when we went to the Chocolate Buffet so I googled Roast Pumpkin Soup and lo and behold the first result up is from the ABC :) The various ABC radio stations all feature various recipes and then the recipes from all across the country are placed in the one index - Backyard Recipe Index.
So seeing that the first result up was an ABC recipe I thought why the hell not, I'll use this one, sure I made a few changes but it was so good, even Mum was chowing into it!

Roast Pumpkin Soup
adapted from a recipe by Elaine Wilson

1 butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced into medium sized cubes (3.5cmish)
4, 5, 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled (I would say use a clove per serving, it just enhances the flavour a bit)
a couple of tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1 large onion chopped
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 carrot chopped
1 stick of celery chopped
4 cups chicken stock

natural yoghurt, butter milk or sour cream, to serve
chopped fresh herbs, to serve
rye bread, to serve

Preheat oven 180C. Place the pumpkin and garlic on a well oiled tray and sprinkle with the brown sugar (to caramelise the pumpkin and just enhance the flavour more. Roast for 30 minutes or so until the pumpkin is cooked through

Whilst the pumpkin is roasting, add a little oil to a large pot and fry the vegetables until the onion is soft. Add the cumin. Add the chicken stock to the pot, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add the pumpkin to the pot, peel the garlic and then add to the pot. Remove the pot from the heat.

In batches puree the mixture until smooth. If you are making this in advance and have time to allow the mixture to cool before pureeing do, or if like me and the clock is fast approaching dinner time before pureeing, pour the mixture into a separate container and then after each batch pour the pureed soup back into the original pot over a low heat to warm it up.

Serve with sour cream or natural yoghurt or butter milk, fresh chives or parsley if you have them and some hearty rye bread to dip with."

Pumpkin, sweet potato, leek and coconut milk soup 4/5

Photo note and link:

"Recipe at Imagelicious"

Pumpkin soup with cinnamon creme fraiche

Intriguiing! Follow the link for more:

"Spiced pumpkin soup, topped with cinnamon creme fraiche and toasted pumpkin seeds. More information at saraskitchen.blogspot.com"

copenhagen, thursday lunch, pumpkin soup

Photographer's note:

"i have been craving pumpkin soup ever since i enjoyed peter’s version of it last week at charlotte and peter’s.

so, today, i made my own.

this one is made with slow-roasted hokkaido pumpkins, which are afterwards boiled in a ginger-garlic-red curry broth... all of the ingredients are then puréed, pumpkin skin and all, together with coconut milk... the seeds are then roasted and later used for garnish. to the purée, i have added sautéed chanterelles, steamed then flash-roasted cauliflower that have been marinated in tamari, as well as pan-seared tofu... final touches include cilantro leaves (coriander), a touch of creme fraiche, the aforementioned pumpkin seeds, a bit of austrian pumpkin oil and vietnamese chili sauce... f*ckin-a, it was good."

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Pumpkin Toast

Photographer's note:

"Pumpkin soup in adorable pumpkin soup bowls, served with pumpkin toast.

Check out the full recipe here "

Pumpkin Soup

I've been looking around for various pumpkin soup recipes, and came across this one while on Flickr. Click on the link to visit the Vegalicious website:


Gorgeous! So pretty, and served in bread bowls. There is also a link to the recipe for the bowls, from the Vegalicious site.

Friday Soup

What happens when you add

the last 1/4 can of organic black beans,
last tablespoon or two of pasta sauce in the jar,
cup of chopped roast from when a friend was over,
pork roast from two days ago,
peas that went with,
and the slices of onion the roast roasted in,
bit of pizza sauce not doing anything but taking up room in the fridge,
a couple of heaping soup spoonfuls of cooked pumpkin
and some water to last night's dregs of
rice, still in the pot?

Left-over Pumpkin Soup

Pan de Muertos, Next Day

That loaf of Pan de Muertos made it through a class of eighth graders, who had all just had lunch. But when it got into the vicinity of the band members, this is all that was left.

So what does one do with a shell of bread? Make more orange glaze!

And oh was it good. . . amazing what a little sugar and fresh squeezed orange will do for dry bones, I mean bread.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pan de Muerto

Friday night I was told we needed to make Pan de Muerto for DS's school for a Monday party. Fair enough - I actually got more than one day's notice on that one. Never mind that Saturday was Halloween, and yesterday All Saints Day at church. We started mid-afternoon yesterday.

What we had to go by was a few pages in graphic novel format, with the characters in each frame telling us how to make it. For example, "We don't have much to work with, but we can still prepare some kind of ofrenda. Get me 1/2 cup of butter, 2 pkgs of dry yeast, 1 tablespoon of whole anise seed. . ." Meanwhile, all sorts of ghoulish things are creeping into the room. The baker appears to be a zombie of sorts. But they all seem to know what they're doing.

So, at 4:30 pm DS and I began to make our bread. Here is a little excerpt from the recipe we used:

". . . heat milk, butter, and water until warm but not boiling.

Uh. Measure out a cup and a half of the flour, saving the rest for later. Mix that cup and a half with the saly, yeast, anise seed and sugar.

Take your warm liquid and beat it well into your solids mixture until they're all combined. Add all your eggs and beat in another cup of flour. Keep adding flour until you have a dough that's soft without being sticky. Knead until smooth (about 10 minutes should do.)"

All was going well, and we got a nice dough going - easy to knead, and smooth. The scent was nice, too, with all those anise seeds and the sugar. We formed our dough into the usual ball, and set it into our "rising bowl."

An hour and a half later, it really hadn't risen. I tried an old trick of kneading more yeast into it, but to no avail. At 7:30 it became apparent I needed to start a new dough. I'm wondering if adding the warm liquids to the yeast killed it the first time around? Not sure. This is not normally how I make bread. Though, I was willing to give it a try.

Recipe #2: What I used, loosely:

Pan de Muerto: Bread of the Dead

This time, I sprinkled the yeast over the warm water, and separately softened the butter in the milk in a pan - but only just, because I didn't want that liquid to be so warm it might kill the activated yeast. I then added a half cup of flour to the yeast and water mixture, then added the milk/butter mixture. To this I added the anise seeds, sugar, salt, and added more flour until I had a decent dough. Not too stiff, but not glued to the sides of the mixing bowl.

It worked. My dough was rising nicely.

So what did we do with the first dough? Used it. I cut it into four pieces, shaped two larger ones into skull shapes (wish I'd taken a photo!), and two smaller pieces I shaped into bones, complete with knobbly ends. The first skull rose a bit, the second skull and two bones didn't rise as much. I think the reason for that was I had rolled the first bit of dough in my usual way: punch it down, and fold the edges into the center like a flower. Turn the dough over, and continued to coax the dough inward until the ball is nice and tight. Then I poked two eye holes with my fingers, a nose cavity, and four fingers for the teeth. Like I said, it didn't stay that way; most of the face filled in.

I put those in the oven after letting them rise another hour.

The second dough responded beautifully. After punching it down, I cut off portion of it (about 1/3) and set it aside. The larger portion I formed into a ball. Now for the bone decorations. I divided the smaller portion into about eight pieces, formed one into a ball for the center, and make bones out of the other seven pieces, radiating them out from the center ball, or tear. Let that rise an hour.
This I baked for about 45 minutes. Near the time it was ready to come out of the oven, I made the glaze: 1/2 C. sugar and 2 Tb. grated orange rind mixed with 1/3 C. squeezed orange juice. (I basically grated one orange for the zest, then squeezed the orange and used most of the juice I got from it.) Boil two minutes.

When the bread came out, I coated it with the glaze.

At 11:20, I was done, and headed to bed, the smell of anise in the air, and sweet taste and scent of orange on my fingers.

This is a photo of one of the first (skull) loaves:

The main bread, second dough, photographed this morning.

By the way, why is the top knob off center? It rose so well in the oven, the top element was in the way, and "rearranged" it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day of the Dead table

Day of the Dead table, originally uploaded by Ryan Greenberg.


Ofrendas, originally uploaded by alykat.

Day of the Dead demonstrations and displays at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Food Offerings

Food Offerings, originally uploaded by seaotter22.

This is just beautiful. I love the celebration.

Foods to Love, Words to Savor

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