Danger in Paradise

June 9, 2011 in Behind the Scenes, Food Porn

(one of our neighbors down the street)

We had a VERY close call here at Nika’s Culinaria.

(NASA satellite image of the track of this tornado through our area)

We were missed being hit by the Massachusetts EF-4 1/2 mile wide tornado by only a 1/2 a mile – living near a climate induced disaster zone REALLLLY brings home climate change in a way thats almost down to the cells of the body.

Before, in some ways, climate change was academic – charts, presentations, news about far away Pakistan or Moscow, Joplin, MO.

But now the battle has been engaged. We chose this area to build a home and a homestead because its NOT the south or tornado ally or midwest etc and that its supposed to be “cooler” and wetter than the intense droughts in the works for much of the US – well – with this tornado – what i knew – that nothing is safe or sure – is something i know for certain. one can dig an earth home – create a sustainable self sufficient eden in their backyard but mother earth can easily simply wipe it clean.

The real work is inside our heads – and the goal is resilience and hope in the face of chaos.

Here are photos from the apocalyptic devastation just down our street.

Other things we do

May 22, 2010 in Behind the Scenes, Food Porn, Humble Garden


I thought I would share a video with you that shows a little of what happens here, when I am NOT food blogging.

If you are a longer term reader, you know I “homestead” or have a little farm here on our property. We eat local (backyard) eggs from our own chickens and diary from our herd of LaMancha dairy goats (20 of them).

To get milk from an animal you have to breed them and then separate their babies (bottle feed them until weanable).

The video below shows you this year’s 2010 class of baby goats!


The Right Equipment

April 27, 2010 in Behind the Scenes, Food Porn


I have been utterly submerged in the process of milking our newly freshened dairy goat herd. We are milking 7 goats now, twice a day, whew. We use a machine that requires washing etc so there is still quite a lot of work to do.

Humble Garden Goats: whole set up

Since the kids are not all weaned yet, some of them get some of this milk by bottle, the rest goes to making cheese!

Kids nursing

Kids nursing

After each milking, I stand at our sink and rinse and scrub to get the milking lines and container clean.

Cleanliness is next to cheesemaking.

Until recently, we had this expensive residential faucet that malfunctioned almost from day one (anger).

newly installed delta faucet up close

The leakage got so bad we had to invest in a NEW faucet and I didnt want to experience anything but simple reliable water delivery. For this reason we bought the commercial pre-rinse faucet you see above and below.

faucet detail

I use that hose to direct high velocity hot water through my milking lines and into the stainless steel milk container. Things have never been cleaner!

New faucet - pre-rinse


April 3, 2009 in Behind the Scenes, cookbook, Food Porn


(Looks like a “tough guy” but he isnt! You should have seen the massive number of people trying to get his photo, overwhelming)

In the middle of March, I had the opportunity to go see Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto give the keynote speech at the International Boston Seafood Show.

The room was packed to the gills with people who were eagerly awaiting the start of his talk.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

One minute we were waiting for him to come and chatting with each other and the next, Morimoto is walking down the center isle, greeting everyone.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

The relatively dry and humorless guy who was interviewing Morimoto (a great shame) had to stop his odd monologue at the beginning as Morimoto had to reconfigure his traditional Japanese outfit.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

The interviewer proceeded to try to ask questions that were less than scintillating and asked with too much complexity.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

At times, thankfully, Morimoto’s interpreter would get up and help him understand the question and help formulate an answer.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

Despite the fact that Morimoto has lived in the US for some 20 odd years, his english is not yet perfectly polished. Even though, you can see his charisma and spark. He seems like a genuine authentic person.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

After the keynote session, Morimoto had a book signing out in front of the lecture hall but there were WAY too many people in line for the number of available books so I went down to the show floor where he would continue the signing with more books.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

Morimoto: Masaharu Morimoto

He is promoting his new and fantastically beautiful book –

Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking

I waited in that line, chatting with new friends from Chicago and Michigan, for more than an hour! When he came down to the booth, there was this enormous rush of people that surrounded us, standing there in line.

He walked up and got ready for this next hour of signing.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

I was second in line and a bit freaked out by the crush of the paparazzi behind me. Morimoto was as cool as a clam as he got settled in.

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

International Boston Seafood Show 2009

He was extremely kind when I came up. I had asked him during the questions after the keynote to consider doing a project with kids – teaching them about bento boxes. He and his interpreter recognized me from that question and smiled and laughed. I smiled and mostly remember still tweaking about the crush of people behind me and the security guys on their radios asking for more back up.

He wrote a lovely note to me in my copy of the book, in Japanese too.

Morimoto: Masaharu Morimoto

As I walked away, grown men (two asian fellows) asked to see my signed copy. I did and asked them to translate it. I vaguely remember that it says something like “Follow your big dreams” or something like that.

This book is simply stunning in it’s beauty. I shot a few pages for you to sample.

Morimoto: Masaharu Morimoto

Here is a page that shows what he did at the beginning of the talk!

Morimoto: Masaharu Morimoto

Morimoto: Masaharu Morimoto

It was totally worth the wait, I enjoyed my time there that day immensely!

Here are all the shots relating to Morimoto that I took that day.