Friday, March 26, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Bohemian Easter Eggs

Fishbone (Symbol Of Christianity)


Crown Of Thorns 4

Crown of Thorns

Crown Of Thorns

Crown of Thorns

Crown Of Thorns 2

Crown of Thorns

Crown Of Thorns 3

Crown of Thorns



Palm Branch

Palm Branch

Pussy Willow

Pussy Willow







Wheat And Grapes (Bread And Wine)

Wheat and Grapes (Bread and Wine)

World Without End

World Without End

Bohemian Easter Eggs

(This recipe is approximated by inspecting Nana's Easter eggs and observations from long ago. If you have suggestions, please let me know.)

Ingredients / Supplies
  • A bag full of yellow (Spanish) onion skins - One or two days take of skins from the local grocery store will be enough. Most stores will stock the onions once a day at a particular time. Whenever stocking them, they always end up with a lot of loose skins that they throw away. Just ask the produce manager what time they stock onions so you can drop by and pick them up or if they can save them for you. It might take a couple of trips to coordinate, so plan early.
  • Bee's wax - I ran across some at a farmer's market. Any honey producer will have bee's wax. Bee's wax candles can be obtained from a specialty store. They used to be pretty common in the Catholic church, so you could try there.
  • shallow metal container - Nana used an aluminum margarine container. Try a tuna can or soda can cut in half.
  • Large kitchen matchsticks - Light the match and extinguish immediately. The larger black end is used for application of the wax.
  • Eggs - white ones are a good idea so there is a contrast.

Prepare the dye - In a large (6-8 quart) pot bring water and onion skins to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, continuing to reduce the liquid and adding more water as needed for 3 hours or so. You will want enough liquid to cover all of your eggs completely. Strain removing the onion skins, saving the reddish-brown liquid. Be careful to remove all onion skin residue from the liquid. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature.

Decorate the eggs - Place the bee's wax in a small metal container on very low heat. The wax should be liquid, but should be prevented from boiling. Decorate the raw eggs by dipping the burnt end of the kitchen match into the liquid wax and quickly dragging the end of the match across the egg. There's only one way to learn the timing and strokes necessary to leave the right amount of wax on the egg. Practice makes perfect.

Boil the eggs -

Follow standard recipe for hard-boiled eggs.

History -

As far as I know, there are courses in "craslice" making in the Czech republic..."Eugene Svoboda" <> [could not find hits on "crasilce" on the web -pjk]

Tips -

  • At first, use vinegar to clean the eggs, wipe off the oily spots on the shell (and finger marks); they would show up because the dye wouldn't cover these places.
  • Try using the round end of a pin (inserted in a shaft of wood) instead of matchstick. "Eugene Svoboda"
  • Try using a "pen" made of goose feather" Eugene Svoboda"
  • No need to use bee wax, use normal candle wax "Eugene Svoboda"

Bessie (Bozena Kuchynka) Koktavy

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Manliest moments of 2009

Manliest moments of 2009:

4) Driving 6 hours twice == 12 hours to deliver just the right sofa to the girls. Black <> Brown.

3) Crawling around in the attic balancing on joists, not quite fitting under rigid ducts, itchy with rock wool, scared of wasps, shuffling tools, almost passing out.

2) Jackhammering for two days.

1) 5:30am YMCA Boot Camp three days a week - can not complete ANYTHING. Again, almost passing out and knees on fire, dead last doing everything. Signed up for January.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2008-2009 Projects

2nd floor before

2nd floor before (2)

2nd floor before (3)

2nd floor before (4)

2nd floor family bathroom / baby room - during

2nd floor baby room - after

2nd floor family bath after

2nd floor master bath - during

2nd floor master bath - during

2nd floor master bath after

2nd floor master bath after (2)

Back yard - before (1)

Backyard - during

Backyard - during

Back yard - after

Back yard stairs - during

Back yard stairs - during

Basement Den - before

Den - after (1)

Den - after

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

I'm attempting to wean myself of Cincinnati Chili seasoning envelopes that I need to have friends and family mail me from Ohio. At first glance, this recipe found on-line looked pretty close, so I'm making some adjustments to match how I normally make Cincinnati Chili. We'll see how it goes.

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

1 large onion chopped 1 large
onion peeled and scored
1 pound extra-lean ground beef or venison
1 clove garlic,
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 1 8 oz can of
tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water 3 cups water
1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried
Toppings (see below)

We usually double this recipe and freeze leftovers in small 1-2 serving containers.

a large frying pan pot or Dutch oven over
medium-high heat, combine all ingredients except
for beef and the scored onion.
saute onion, ground beef, garlic, and
chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked. Add allspice, cinnamon,
cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa or chocolate, tomato sauce,
Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water.
to a boil and add beef to the liquid separating beef as finely as possible.
Make sure all is combined finely and evenly with a whisk or a fork. Add scored
Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove
from heat.

spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving
plates (small oval plates are traditional).

chili over spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice. Oyster crackers
are served in a separate container on the side.

Oyster Crackers
Shredded Cheddar Cheese Chopped Onion
Kidney Beans (16-ounce) can I prefer Black Beans

6 to 8 servings.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Audio Palindrome

I was following one of the tbtl topics and decided to look into working audio palindromes. I came across this one, "You're pretty." from Statler & Waldorf of The Muppets. Luke read it on the show and the reverse didn't turn out but the original actually works. I had to generate some silence at the end of the reverse copy for it to play properly in Audacity.

Try it here:


This is an audio palindrome I found while working on a lipsync animation one
time. It sounds the same whether you play it forwards or backwards. Download
the MP3 and give it a try. The sound files is a clip of Statler and Waldorf
from the Muppets.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe (shortcut)

Pork shoulder is a tough cut of meat that is undesirable to most people other than barbecue cooks. At roughly $1 per pound, typically a shoulder cut in half is sold in a 12-16 pound package. The proper way to smoke pork can take up to 24 hours and requires smoking experience and the right equipment.

My shortcut recipe takes about 10 hours of low maintenance time using a regular Weber grill and a crock pot -- a dish we serve two or three times a year typically for large gatherings. This shortcut does not achieve the balance of crispy and moist that a well smoked shoulder would, but is nonetheless a great dish and introduction to smoking without delving into the time and equipment necessary to maintain a steady 200 degrees F for up to 24 hours.

Ingredients and equipment:
  • 1 Pork shoulder
  • 1 jar mustard powder
  • charcoal
  • chunk hardwood (I use mesquite or our native pecan wood.)
  • charcoal grill
  • foil double loaf pan
  • crock pot
  • instant read thermometer
  • BBQ sauce & buns
Typically I coat and rub the shoulder with mustard powder the night before. Doing so just before smoking will work fine. The purpose of the rub is to help form a "bark" which will seal the moisture in the meat while it's on the grill. There is no noticeable mustard flavor in the final product.

Indirect grilling - Prepare the grill with charcoal. When the coals are ready, place a foil double loaf pan in the center of the grill, surround with coals, and lay the wood chunks over the top of the charcoal.

Place the shoulder fat side up over the pan. Place cover on with vents open and heavily smoke the meat for 2-3 hours. Additional wood need not be added.

Transfer the meat to a large crock pot and cook on high for approximately 7 hours. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. The temperature should reach 175 degrees F and the meat should fall off the bone and be easy to "pull" with two forks. Remove bone, turn crock to low and serve when desired.

Serve on buns with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Labels: , , , ,