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Nika's Culinaria - Eat With Your Eyes: September 2006

Nika's Culinaria - Eat With Your Eyes

Culinary Photography

Eggstra Eggstra - A heads up


(Zygote © 2006 Nika)

That time is almost nigh, the baby is almost done, his appearance is just around the corner. I may not be able to keep up on this blog as much as I have in recent times but its not because I bored with this, its just tiring to just sit at the keyboard! Photo shoots are also a bit more tiring than usual so its harder to get those going as well.

I am hoping to pace myself through the next few weeks to a couple of postings a week on both my blogs.

Dont go away! :-) I know you wont.

Eggs hold great potential and they hide special treasures.

Challah Project: Baking with your kids - 4

(Challah eggs © 2006 Nika)

Early gestation is a quiet hopefully calm thing.

egg - soft lighting

(Eggland's Best © 2006 Nika)

Sometimes gestation can make you batty

Easter Eggs 9

(Screaming eggs © 2006 Nika)

If you open yourself to it, it can be a transcendant inward spiraling journey

My Batik Egg - 1 best viewed large

(Spiral egg © 2006 Nika)

Or it can make you feel like we are in the End Times (sic)

HEAT egg

(Sidewalk egg © 2006 Nika)

All of a sudden, its all over and then other types of fun start!

cascarone: step 1

(Post labor © 2006 Nika)

Hopefully one ends up with a well cooked outcome

A study of an egg

(Heart o' Gold © 2006 Nika)

And not scrambled brains!

soft scrambled eggs

(A perfect scramble © 2006 Nika)

Another harvest

thumbelina carrots harvest in a jar

(Thumbelina carrots © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Ages ago we planted some thumbelina carrots (Daucus carota sativus) and a variety of eggplants in small containers on the deck. I thought this would be lots of fun for my oldest, Q, to grow, pick, and eat.

new-garden - thumbelina carrots

(Sprouting thumbelina carrots © 2006 Nika Boyce)

carrots 7-23-06

(Thumbelina carrot tops © 2006 Nika Boyce)

At one point we had these wild mushrooms growing around the carrots

Identify this mushroom please! - 2

(Mushrooms from the planter of the thumbelina carrots © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Yesterday Q decided it was time to harvest the little guys and has been enjoying their sweet flavor and cute look.

thumbelina carrots harvest

(Thumbelina carrots © 2006 Nika Boyce)

thumbelina carrots and eggplant

(Thumbelinas and one white eggplant © 2006 Nika Boyce)

A fading garden


(Bumper crop of jalapenos © 2006 Nika Boyce)

As some of you know I did container gardening this year. It was a mixed success because I have been so tired growing other things (inside me) that I have not been out on the deck much. We did get TONS of tomatoes and lettuce.. perfect for our needs.

Late in the spring I planted some jalapenos that took FOREVER to sprout but they are now the star of the deck garden! There must be something like 25 jalapeno peppers on the plant now and lots of blossoms still coming up!

A rogue pumpkin plant is growing under our deck. It decided it would grow up and over the weeds under the deck and has been putting out TONS of blossoms. There doesnt seem to be any pumpkins tho. I think the bunnies are helping themselves to the pumpkin and squash blossoms and baby fruits.

Hmm.. I wonder if blossom-fed rabbit is tasty... :-)

spent pumpkin blossoms

(Fading pumpkin blossoms © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Some of our flower boxes are STILL growing with colorful flowers. Here you see some johnny jump ups (ID courtesy of B at the Culinary Fool!).

purple flowers

(Window boxes still have some blooms © 2006 Nika Boyce)

The marigolds that I planted with my lettuce garden container are all thats left in that container. They have really loved this shallow plastic thing.. massive blooming.

Here is what it looked like at planting.

lettuce plot 7

(Just planted lettuce container © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Here is what one of those marigolds looks like now.

wet marigold

(Marigolds are still quite vibrant © 2006 Nika Boyce)

OT: How the "war" effects our lives, and yours

We got some bad news yesterday and I had to say something tho it feels like just p*ssing into the wind.

My husband worked for a tenured prof (deputy head of his department) at a university for almost 8 long very productive years. Their mission was (and is) to disseminate the hard work and interesting projects happening in the academic and private supercomputing communities as educational initiatives for K-12 and undergraduate kids.

This is big synthesist thinking that had a DIRECT impact on many teachers and kids across the USA (you and your neighbors). It leveraged already funded projects, extending their reach even further, well beyond that envisioned by the review boards on the original grants. It created synergies between academia and industry, it created excitement. This work was deeply appreciated by these communities.

This work has been killed because several grants, that bouyed this work, have been rejected by our government after YEARS of support.

You may ask why, and I will tell you. This has happened for the very same reason that so many other people are having to fire postdocs and lab techs or outright shut down their labs across the USA - the money is being shunted to the war.

Its very simple, its also not something most of you would know, its being kept very quiet outside of the science communities.

I do not work in science anymore (even tho I have a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology and had an excellent publication record including two Nature articles) because my field has been strangled by this administration (I worked in the nuclear transfer, stem cells, and reproductive biology world).

Every lab I worked in since I finished grad school had to be shut down or severely curtailed due to non-refunding of critical grants.

I am not certain what we are going to do. This means that my husband's job is coming to an end soon (just in time for the delivery of this baby).

What I would like to say to those who have gotten this far in an all-text no-food photo that has nothing to do with food post (other than perhaps wondering how we will get enough) is this:
- vote democrat in this fall's midterms
- push your congresscritter (very hard) to impeach Bush
- push the critter to bring war-crimes charges against this administration
- push same critter to investigate the massive fraud perpetrated by this admin
- further push for the reinstatement of what has been lost in this country - a return to educational and scientific excellence
Without direct action by we the citizens of this republican-ravaged country, they will get away with murder and larceny and the genocide of the American Way.

Thanks for reading. Its a beautiful day, I think I will try to get out and take a few deep breaths.

Dear Flickr Friend has passed

Rest In Peace sweetheart Tino

We have never held or seen this kitty in person but we fell in love with him on flickr (and his wonderful dad Kenny who we send our thoughts and love today).

He may have lived and died in far away Kuala Lumpur but we could see through his lovely photos that he was a sweet soul.

Rest In Peace little Tino

Well Fed Network Article - Virginal Sangria

Here is my latest article on The Spirit World blog at The Well Fed Network. Enjoy!

non-alcoholic sangria

(Sangria Still Life © 2006 Nika Boyce)

A good sangria is like an attentive partner on your journey into an agreeable evening. The first sips are scintillating, the fruit sings and delights. Soon it is time for tapas or other favorite snacks, priming the appetite for what is to come or to buffer the insides for an evening of bar hopping.

A good sangria can be deceptively mild in its intoxicating abilities. For those of us who are the designated teetotaler (as I usually am), a virginal sangria will have to suffice. I like the following recipe because it skirts somewhat closely to the "spirit" of a sangria, but is non-alcoholic.

To me, this means that I miss out on the truly amazing Spanish wine one should use in an alcoholic sangria, but it also means I can enjoy a very refreshing sangria all night long.

non-alcoholic sangria close

(Sangria up close © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Your favorite fruits (I used red delicious apples, oranges, plums, and peaches), sliced artistically
3/4 C homemade grenadine (Pomegranate syrup)
4 C 100% Cranberry Juice
4 C Ginger Ale, cold

The day before you wish to serve this sangria do the following:
In a large bowl place sliced fruits, cover with the cranberry juice and the pomegranate syrup.

Refrigerate overnight. Also have the ginger ale cooling in the fridge.

At service:
In an attractive serving pitcher add ice and the 4 cups of ginger ale.

To this add fruit chunks and the soaking liquid. Serve and enjoy.

You may wish to nibble on some quality olives, a strong sausage, and a favorite cheese. This snack would be a good culinary venue to buy some Spanish imports for experimentation. Don't buy a lot and if you don't like a certain product, you have given it a try but not spent the farm on it.

snack plate

(Tapas of a vague sort © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Sangrias have been discussed previously here on the Well Fed Network, check out these links too:

Cucumber, Ginger and Sake Sangria & Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls

Sparkling Sangria and Seared Shrimp

White Wine Strawberry Sangria (aka Mom Juice)

Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes

Sangria & Ribs


(Image source: LC Corp. - India)

Alton Brown is the patron saint of the multifunction or repurposed tool. If a newfangled gadget is single-use, no matter how nifty it is, he pitches it.

I can totally get behind that. Why? Not because I am cheap (tho I am) or on a crusade to optimize all potential or even remotely theoretical efficiencies of a tool in my kitchen (I am defintely not, that sounds exhausting) but I just do not have the room for lots of gadgets!

I have this whole thought process that happens with a gadget (online or in the store)

1) Questioning: "What in the heck does THAT do?"
2) Discovery: "Oh jeez I NEED one of those things to make pina coladas without breaking the coconut shell!"
3) Evaluation: "$50 isnt THAT much for a tool that makes it easy to puree coconuts inside the shell!"
4) Realization:: "Oh, I just dont have the energy to clean the darn thing"
5) Acceptance: "I dont even LIKE coconuts"
Even if I had a state of the art high tech automated fuzzy logic gadget archiving system that hid away all the mess of many gadgets and made it all accessible at the touch of a button, I would STILL not likely use it all because of the "clean up" factor.

Food gadgets are meant to appeal to one's desire to be more effective at food prep . As I usually am not prepping 50 pounds of any food, a knife is usually enough. Lord knows I have too many knives too! But they are EASY to clean kids!

Knives, just what the chef ordered.

Bush's failure is his legacy


Wedding cake goodness

Enjoy some delicious wedding cake. I didnt make it, I shot it.

3 tier white wedding cake 9-3-06 - 3

(Three tier chocolate and white cake with raspberry highlights enrobed in buttercream frosting © 2006 Nika Boyce All Rights Reserved)

3 tier white wedding cake 9-3-06 - 1

(Delicate Details - Three tier chocolate and white cake with raspberry highlights enrobed in buttercream frosting © 2006 Nika Boyce All Rights Reserved)

3 tier white wedding cake 9-3-06 - 2

(Closer in - Three tier chocolate and white cake with raspberry highlights enrobed in buttercream frosting © 2006 Nika Boyce All Rights Reserved)

Whats for lunch!

Boston Brats

(Boston Brats, sauted eggplant with gorgonzola, and home-fried tortilla chips © 2006 Nika Boyce)

This was our lunch yesterday. Boston bratwurst with chunky deli mustard, New England style hotdog buns, homemade tortilla chips, and sauted eggplant with gorgonzola cheese.

Want to see other people's lunchs throughout the world?

Try these Flickr lunch groups.

LapTop Lunches


Show Me Your Lunch!

Mr. Bento Porn

bento boxes

FOOD: I Cooked/ Made this!


(Boston Brats, sauted eggplant with gorgonzola, and home-fried tortilla chips © 2006 Nika Boyce)

In Memory of Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin

Food for thought

On a lazy Sunday, thought I would post up some recent images using my new 50mm lens (inexpensive one!).

dragon fruit marshmallow dessert

(Dragonfruit dessert © 2006 Nika Boyce)

small black tea pot

(Moody tea pot © 2006 Nika Boyce)

© 2005-2007 Nika's Culinaria - Eat With Your Eyes

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