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

Nika's Culinaria - Eat With Your Eyes

Culinary Photography

A low key Halloween birthday party

magic candles - best viewed large

(Wild lighting effects from relighting candles © 2006 Nika)

Our oldest daughter Q celebrated 10 years on this earth so we had a bit of a bash. It was pretty low key, just family.

Since the birthday is near Halloween the party takes up that theme.

We made birthday cupcakes with cute scary decorations.


(© 2006 Nika)

testing without levels

(© 2006 Nika)

And then we sat down to Q's requested dinner, lobstah (and shrimp and scallops!) :-)


(Lobster, panko shrimp, garlic shrimp, and butter sauted sea scallops © 2006 Nika)

lobster upclose

(Close up on the lobster © 2006 Nika)

WellFed Network Article - Sparkling Cadaver Cider Cocktails

This is my latest article on The Spirit World blog, part of The WellFed Network.

Sparkling Cadaver Cider Cocktails

cadaver cider cocktail - 1

(Drink with Witch Finger cookies © 2006 Nika)

What wiggles, jiggles, and tickles the nose?

Without exploring all THAT could describe (this IS a site rated for all audiences), here I am talking about a gruesome cadaveric drink, floating jello fingers with veins included, that is actually composed of a delightful sparkling apple cider. Something about the jello with Twizzlers makes the cider turn a toxic yellow that will surely delight any child.

By letting the kids participate in the making of the jello fingers (or hand or foot or eyeballs or whatever floats their boats) as well as the suggested witches finger cookies (see below), they get to expand on the Halloween fun beyond one night of romping in the dark.

Sparkling Cadaver Cider Cocktails


Sparkling apple cider (can substitute with apple cider and soda water or ginger ale)
Desired body part (we constructed jello fingers, do what makes you all gross out maximally)

cadaver cider cocktail - 2

(Sparkling Cadaver Cider Cocktail © 2006 Nika)

Witch Fingers


1 roll of prefab white sugar cookie dough from the dairy case
red fruit leather (for the nails)
extra all purpose flour


Work some extra flour into the cookie dough to stiffen it so that it doesn't flatten much during cooking.

Form into small finger sized logs and then shape them with knuckles and such. You can add food coloring to make them look even more disgusting if you feel the need.

Cut out nail shaped bits of fruit leather and apply to the fingers, where appropriate.

Bake as per directions on the dough package, until cookies are done.

Serve with the cadaver drinks above.

witch fingers

(Witch Finger cookies © 2006 Nika)

Kawaisa: Tiny Food

re-ment stew - 2

(Re-ment Tuna Stew © 2006 Nika)

Kawaisa or Kawaii - When being cute becomes a meta-cultural and political phenomenon. It is such a huge concept in Japanese popular culture that I refer you to the following links for further academic study of this odd but fascinating cultural mania:

Kawaii wiki entry
All Things Kawaii
Onatoko - Japanese street fashion - Kawaii stationary and more - online store

Kawaii is a term used, as I have seen in practice on Flickr, in appraising exclamation for something that is unbearably cute.

Americans tend to have this visceral response to baby animals. If you would like to get in touch with that feeling surf over to Cute Overload and you find yourself bent over in paroxysms of cute-agony, wailing "No, dammit, that is too cute".

(Baby seal - borrowed from CO)

One of many types of intentional kawaii products or product types that are starting to filter into the American experience is anything made by Re-Ment, a Japanese company that makes extremely small and very realistic household items like collanders and serving dishes and whole kitchens!

The Re-Ment I have been seduced by is the food items they make such as little sushi trays and bento boxes and other types of food that are alien to the American home kitchen.

(Sushi Re-Ment - borrowed)

(A Re-Ment picnic - borrowed)

I bought one (from Japan through a group called J-List - surf the under-18 section. Japanese culture is not sexually repressed when it comes to female nudity, especially if its anime and kawaii) that was cute but I had NO idea what it was. My friends at Flickr who read Japanese were able to tell me that it is a Tuna Stew. The little ladle comes out of the stew, ths stew comes out of the little red pot, the little bits of stew and rice come out of the little tupperware containers, etc. Its fascinating. It also collects dust in my funky cabinet so I thought I would take a few shots and share them here. Voila!

Enjoy Re-Ment, enjoy Kawaii, enjoy tiny food.

re-ment beef stew

(Re-Ment Tuna Stew © 2006 Nika)

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A meditation on sushi - with a twist

Candy Sushi - 4

(Plate of sugarful sushi © 2006 Nika)

Sometimes it is fun to play with food and the idea of food. I was in that sort of mood when I set out to approximate sushi as closely as I could with grocery store candy.

How To:

You can do this in so many ways, I chose the following methods.

Some of the basic materials included: fruit leathers, marshmallows, red hots, coconut shavings and an Xacto knife.

Candy Sushi - 1

(Basic building blocks - fruit leather, coconut, red hots, marshmallows © 2006 Nika)

I used white marshmallows as an inner white base to lend stability and structure to the rolls.

Candy Sushi - 2

(Construction © 2006 Nika)

On some of the rolls I topped off the marshmallow with coconut for a plain roll. On others I added red hots to imitate red tobiko.

Candy Sushi - 3

(Red Hot Tobiko © 2006 Nika)


Candy Sushi - 5

(Another view of the sushi © 2006 Nika)

Our baby has arrived

New Baby O - 1

Its hard to get online these days so here is a quikie update.

Our little boy, Baby O, was born 10/7/06 at 7:20 pm (EST).

8 lbs 8 oz. 22 inches long 15 inches head circumference.

We went in on Saturday because I thought my water had broken (had not). They could not get a good heart tracing in the usual spots, only up high on the tummy.

Turns out that our little guy was frank breech. Sitting yoga style, like a little zen master, full lotus.

I knew it was time but the cervix wasnt filling the medical criteria.. they were going to send me home to do a c-section later next week.

As I am a hypnobirthing mom.. I concentrated on the cervix and then before we knew it we fit the criteria (dilation). So I was being prepped for a c-section.. all the lovely needles and scary ideas.

I continued to lay there with more and more labor, doing my hypnobirthing, thinking about how I had seen a video of a mom who turned her breech baby by hypnosis..

Docs came to check and, against all odds, the baby had flipped and we avoided a c-section! The docs were blown away.. I was in labor so I didnt care if they were impressed, I wanted pain relief at this point.

NEVER got it!

I had two epidurals and neither worked at all.. so it was a "natural" birth for me and it was hard-fought I tell you. Delivery was fine for the little one, I was thanking dieties it was over, the doc's ears were burning from my indelicate language that came out of no where! (I never expected to do that, ever, but I survived!)

All apgars were 9s, he is a professional eater, very calm. All that interuterine zazen helped make him my second meditative hypnobirthed baby. So glad its the last labor!


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

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