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Showing posts from May 21, 2012


Using a vanilla bean infuses the cake with a round, sweet flavor

IngredientscakeNonstick vegetable oil spray1 teaspoon bourbon1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise1 1/2 cups all purpose flour2 teaspoons baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), room temperature3/4 cup sugar1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar2 large eggs1 large egg yolk1/2 cup buttermilk glaze2/3 cup powdered sugar4 teaspoons (or more) whole milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract strawberries1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced3 tablespoons sugar special equipmentStandard Bundt pan (10-inch-diameter Bundt pan with 33/4-inch-high sides) PreparationcakePosition rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter and flour standard Bundt pan, then spray pan with nonstick spray. Pour bourbon into small bowl. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into bourbon; stir to blend well (reserve scraped vanilla bean for another use). Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bo…


Masked Halloween Mystery

Decked out for Halloween, a masked woman on roller skates—most likely a random addition to her costume—poses in 1910.

    Masquerade parties in the United States were much more common a hundred years ago, when people dressed up not just for Halloween but also for several other holidays, including Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve, according to Lesley Bannatyne, author of the forthcoming book Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night.
    Private social clubs often threw Halloween parties for their members, as it was the first major holiday after most people had returned from their summer homes.
That said, it's "not like Halloween [in the early 1900s] was an East Coast phenomenon or a high-society phenomenon"—people of all classes donned costumes across the country, even in small Western mining towns, she said.
    The "early 20th century also was the beginning of a real democratic movement, a push toward a po…


    Lag BaOmer (Hebrew: ל"ג בעומר‎), also known as Lag LaOmer amongst Sephardi Jews, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the thirty-third day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of Iyar.
    Lag BaOmer is Hebrew for "33rd [day] in the Omer". The Hebrew letter ל (lamed) or "L" represents "30" and ג (gimmel) or "G" represents "3". A vowel sound is conventionally added for pronunciation purposes.
    Some Jews call this holiday Lag LaOmer, which means "33rd [day] of the Omer", as opposed to Lag BaOmer, "33rd [day] in the Omer." Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson writes in his Likkutei Sichos that the reason why the day should be called Lag BaOmer and not Lag LaOmer is because the Hebrew words Lag BaOmer (ל"ג בעמר), spelled without the "vav", have the same gematria as Moshe (משה), and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was mystically a spark of the soul of Moses.

   The biblical mandate to cou…


Freezing the berries before adding them to the batter prevents them from sinking to the bottom and from discoloring the cupcakes.

IngredientsCupcakes3 1/4 cupsall purpose flour1 1/4 cupssugar1tablespoonbaking powder1/2teaspooncoarse kosher salt1/4teaspoonbaking soda6tablespoons(3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted1/4cupcanola oil2large eggs1cupbuttermilk or low-fat yogurt1cupwhole milk1teaspoonvanilla extract1teaspoongrated lemon peel1 1/4cupsfresh blueberries, frozen for 4 hours Frosting2 1/4cupspowdered sugar10tablespoons(1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature1/2cupplus 2 tablespoons maple sugar1/2teaspooncoarse kosher salt1 1/4teaspoonsvanilla extract4teaspoons(or more) whole milk1cupchilled fresh blueberriesFresh mint sprigs (optional) PreparationPreheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Sift flour and next 4 ingredients into large bowl. Whisk melted butter and oil in medium bowl. Add eggs; whisk to blend. Whisk in buttermilk, milk…


The Canadian Tulip Festival, now in its 59th year, has grown to become the largest Tulip Festival in the world. It preserves the local heritage of Canada’s role in freeing the Dutch during World War II, and the symbolic tulip; a gift in perpetuity to the Canadian people for providing a safe harbour to the Dutch Royal Family at that time. The festival’s mandate is to preserve this heritage and celebrate the tulip as a symbol of international friendship by engaging local organizers, volunteers, artists, performers, tourists and festival-goers in what has become an annual ritual of spring and one of Canada’s best loved and well-known cultural events.

    In the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. The gift was given in appreciation of the safe haven that members of Holland’s exiled royal family received during the World War II in Ottawa and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.  …


Everyone gets the chills when they walk through a cemetery, especially at night but mostly it is all in our heads. How could walking through hundreds of deceased people that are buried six feet under, get you thinking that there's ghost in that thar graveyard? Come and take a walk through some of America's most haunted cemeteries and read about the ghosts that choose to hand around them.

    This secluded cemetery located in Chicago is said to be the most haunted graveyard in America. Bachelor's Grove has had numerous paranormal investigators that have investigated this cemetery and it has been reported that it has had over 160 cases of documented paranormal occurrences, which include everything from floating "orbs" to light and full body apparitions.

    Located in New Orleans, La. Is said to be one of the most haunted. Hundreds of sightings are reported in this historic cemetery. Witnesses have experienced a woman dressed in white who flags down taxi c…