Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 2010 DMBLGIT? - The Winners

Yummy: your foods, your photos, and the fun I had pulling this competition together. So many lovely entries meant so many tough decisions. I thank you all for contributing your talents; the judges for their time, discernment, and commentaries; Andrew, for the brainchild of DMBLGIT?; Shari for updating the badges; and Matt for the original design of the badges. While I'm busy sending out those badges to the winners, do take a scroll down to savor the delights of their works. Julia of Mélanger will be hosting April's edition of DMBLGIT?, providing a fresh opportunity to exhibit your images created during the month of March.


First Place Overall

Monika - Sweet Sensation
Zagreb, Croatia
Pentax K10D

"The focus, the color of the lavender shirt and nail polish, the
newspaper wrapping. It's sweet, charming and delightful."


Second Place Overall
Haalo - Cook Almost Anything at Least Once
Melbourne, Australia
Nikon D80

"Had to Google it! Sounded good, looked juicy, and I wanted
to taste it. Really original subject, beautiful image, and
floating in a black space also gave it an aura of mystery.


Third Place Overall

Life after Coffee
Nidhi - Snacksgiving
Zurich, Switzerland
Canon 40D

"Wonderful capture. Personally I find steam to be very difficult to capture.
Very warm and inviting, makes me want to wrap my fingers around
the mug and breathe in the aroma of the coffee and the beans."


Winner - Edibility

Alicia - Amiloquemegustaescocinar
Milan, Italy
Canon EOS 400D

"Minimalist but very appealing. Love the calm shades with
the slight hint of the green and the red. The little crumbs makes the
picture look natural; not like it is set up for a photo session."


Winner - Originality

Julia - Mélanger
Brisbane, Australia
Nikon D40

"Circles in circles lined with circles on top of circles - deliciously dizzying circles."


Winners - Aesthetics

Three-Way Tie

Citrus Family
Shinta - A Perspicuous Mind: Musing About Food
Canon EOS 30D

"Bright and fresh, a painstakingly arranged asymmetrical composition
that is nonetheless balanced and very pleasurable for the eye to wander over."


Tea and Marmer Cake
Ema - My Explorations
Canon 450D

"The lighting, composition and color - of black chair and white
table cloth and flowered teapot. It looks like a positively heavenly
way to start the day. A pleasurable setting indeed."


Kris - Bake in Paris
Bangkok, Thailand
Canon - EOS 1000D

"Soothing reminder of spring and good times to come. The
kind of photo that I would want to enlarge and keep in my home."


Host's Award

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondant
Karen - Citrus and Candy
Sydney, Australia
Canon EOS 1000D

"A minimalist bull's eye - nothing to distract you
from diving in and devouring the dark, sweet lava."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pretty in Pink - Cherry Blossom Tea

Cherry Blossom Tea
Sakura Blossom Tea - Teased from their envelop, the collapsed blossoms
unfold and float like butterfly wings in the warm water.

I'd like to claim bragging rights, that I did more than tear open foiled and frilled packets of the most delicate and careful constructions to protect the most delicate and careful constructions held inside them. My little victory, however, is confined to the luck of living close to a Japanese megamarket, which not only has an astonishing selection of teas, including preserved wet cherry blossoms, but a separate concession exclusively for the formal display and purchase of wagashi, the most precious, and often seasonally available, confectionery, known for their exquisite, fragile beauty. Happy, happy spring, everyone!

Flowering Cherry Tree
Though ahead of 2009's schedule, our local blossoms are
still barely in bud. This is one of last year's models.

Sakuranbo (Japanese Cherry Jelly)
Sakuranbo - Cherry Jelly, available only during springtime.

This post is for Graziana of Erbe in Cucina, hosting the Kalyn-created Weekend Herb Blogging (#226) for Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once.

Been There, Done That ~
Lavender Chocolate Pots de Crème
Violet Granita
Ice in Heaven (Rose Rice Pudding)

Other People's Eats ~
Cherry Blossom Rice
Salted Cherry Blossoms

Ending on an especially nice note, I've been honored with the One Lovely Blog Award by Ambika of Ambika's Kitchen, and with The Sunshine Award by Kiran of SUMADHURA. Thanks to you both for being so sweet. I haven't played any awards forward in quite some time, so I will highlight a few of the scores of bloggers who make my day, everyday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

DMBLGIT? March 2010 - Meet the Judges

It gives me enormous pleasure to introduce everyone to the panel of judges who will be scoring the March competition. I have selected this group for their highly diverse talents, styles, and tastes. Please stop by their sites so you can get a flavor for them on your own beyond the image* teasers I have included in each of their profiles.

In alphabetical order:

Lucinda Dodds - An Australian artist, book critic, and co-author of the delectable and nutritionally savvy An Honest Kitchen, Lucy is an avid film and digital photographer, enamored of shadows as well as light. Her blog, Nourish Me, is a testament to her love of language, nature, and seasonal cooking. You can find more of Lucy's photography on Flickr.


Soma Rathore - Hailing from India and residing in the American Southwest, Soma prolifically blogs on eCurry about her international culinary exploits while juggling motherhood, mixing cocktails, and comparing photography notes with her husband. A two-time winner of DMBLGIT?, she has also been cited by Saveur Magazine as one of the Sites We Love. Soma's photography can also be enjoyed on Flickr.


Patianne Stevenson - Based in the Pacific Northwest, Patianne is an accomplished painter and sculptor, specializing in all things kitchen. Her portfolio, art on the menu, is a deliciously comprehensive sampling of works available through Etsy or by commission. Her blog, art on the menu, takes you behind the scenes of her still lifes, to the nuts and bolts of preparing comestibles you really wish you could sink your teeth into. Patianne is also a member of the Flickr community.


Lori Lynn Hirsch Stokoe - San Pedro, California's hostess with the mostest, Lori Lynn makes entertaining look oh, so effortless. Recognized by Foodbuzz, among other A-list online culinary venues, her blog, Taste with the Eyes, has been recently remodeled to reflect the elegant and frequent dinner parties we all wish she would invite us to. An accomplished and adventurous cook, LL (as she is known to her many friends), somehow finds time to also blog about her meanderings in the lovely community where she resides.


I thank the judges for accepting my invitation to participate in DMBLGIT? March 2010, as well as all the fine photographers who have already submitted their entries to the competition. The gallery reflects all candidates received at time of this posting. Please stop by again throughout the week; photos are being added daily until the event closes on March 20. The winners will be announced by me on March 31.

*N.B. - All images are protected by the copyrights of the owners.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekend Herb Blogging #223 - The Round-Up

This is getting to be a habit. I have hosted Weekend Herb Blogging several times over the last few years and have re-upped again. It's always been one of my favorite food blogging events, a pleasure to participate in and host. Thanks to Haalo for her leadership, Kalyn for her brainchild, and all of you for your wonderful contributions every week. If there's anything I need to correct or add, please let me know so that I can make amends right away. See you soon!


A few sprigs of curry leaves are all you need for a scent
you can smell around the world as well as the kitchen.

Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets
Maninas - Maninas: Food Matters


A splash of lemon makes its own splash in a recipe
known for its spices as well as its key ingredient.

Bhendi Masala (Okra with Spices)
Kiran - Sumadhura
Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Beet tops are the leaf to beat for super nutrition
that reads like a bottle of multivitamins.

Carrot-Beet Greens Fry/Sauté
Preeti - Relishing Recipes
Arkansas, U.S.A.


A careful method and scant ingredients ensure that
the most delicate greens don't tough it out on your tongue.

Sweet Pea Shoots
Tigerfish - Teczcape
California, U.S.A.


Sicilian simplicity shines with a handful of herb-spiked
breadcrumbs to cover thin cutlets of pork.

Cotolette Alla Palermitana (Aromatic Tenderloin)
Graziana - Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs)


A classic American writer knows the difference between
cabbage and cauliflower. You "Mark" his words.

Curried Cauliflower Stalks
Sra - When My Soup Came Alive
Chennai, India


When you live on the girdle of the Earth, let your long,
cold glasses of infused ice tea do the sweating for you.

Lemongrass Ice Tea
Aqua - Served with Love


Leaving the peel on tomatoes for a slow-roasted passata
makes the resulting flavor that much more appealing.

Cooking with Fruit: Tomatoes
Ozoz - Kitchen Butterfly
The Netherlands


Thick coins of sweet potatoes are worth their weight in health
gold when roasted for maximum flavor with minimal fat.

Rosemary Sweet Potatoes
Katie - Eat This
Michigan, U.S.A.


The luck of Chinese New Year lasts a little longer
when leftover fruit becomes a tray of fresh muffins.

Mandarin Orange Muffins with Walnuts
Huan - Eat.Live.Recipes


An invitation to a potluck picnic invites a baker to
innovate a dessert recipe for vegan, gluten-free eaters.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
Johanna - Green Gourmet Giraffe
Melbourne, Australia


A Mexican fruit travels far south of its borders in a hot
and lively crushed sauce prepared Down Under.
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Haalo - Cook Almost Anything at Least Once
Melbourne, Australia


Grains and greens get dressed up for the camera
when tossed with a mix of glistening ingredients.

Wheat Berry Salad with Almonds & Spinach in a Citrus Dressing
Janet (Saveur) - The Taste Space
Toronto, Canada


A bumper crop of allium rewards a casual gardener
with a loaf of fragrant bread baked for a busy day.

Erba Cipollina (Chives)
Simona - Briciole
California, U.S.A.


Natural disasters may slow the Earth's rotation, but
it shouldn't take more than a millionth of a second
to decide to bake a batch of buttery bar cookies.

Cinnamon Butterscotch Bars
Joanne - Eats Well with Others
New York, U.S.A.


Hastily gathered greens quickly dipped in boiling water
make for a broth worth savoring very slowly.

Wet Vegetables
Christine - Kit's Chow
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Gently fried fennel enriches the simplest stock into a
stand-alone soup to enrich the blood on cold winter days.

Creamy Fennel Soup
Cinzia - Cindystar
Lake Garda, Italy


If at first you don't succeed, bake, bake again.

Please join Huan of Cook.Eat.Live who is hosting the current edition of Weekend Herb Blogging #224.

Announcing - March 2010 DMBLGIT?

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the March 2010 edition of DMBLGIT? (Does My Blog Look Good in This?) is being hosted here at The Well-Seasoned Cook. The judges have been selected (to be announced in a separate post), and the gallery is awaiting your very best food photos posted to your blogs in February 2010. Special thanks to Andrew of Spittoon and Spittoon Extra for administering this long-running and popular event, as well as allowing me the opportunity to take the reins this month.

While I encourage you to consult the complete details here, the gist of Judging, Rules, and Submission Requirements is as follows:


Six winners are determined by a panel of five judges on the following scoring merits:

1st Place Overall Winner
2nd Place Overall Winner
3rd Place Overall Winner

Overall Winners are determined by the top three scores in Aesthetics, Edibility, and Originality combined.


* Only one entry per person (a single photograph, no diptychs)
* The photograph must have been taken by you.
* The photograph must have appeared on your blog in February 2010
* All pictures must be text free.
* Entries must be received by the 20th of March

Submission Requirements (please email to thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com with DMBLGIT? in the subject line)

* Name
* Blog Name and URL
* Your Photo Title
* URL of original February 2010 post that photo was taken from
* Make and model of camera used, lens optional
* Your location

Please attach your photo to the email in jpeg format. Photos must be no larger than 500 pixels wide.

By submitting a photo, entrants agree to their photo being redisplayed and altered in size on The Well-Seasoned Cook and on the Spittoon Extra DMBLGIT? page.

I'm really looking forward to receiving and exhibiting your fine photos. Please enjoy the gallery often for viewing new entrants, as well as to make sure your photo has been added. If you do not see it within three days of submission, please follow up with me so that I can track it down.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An Unseasonable Sweet - Blackberry Lime Cake for Weekend Herb Blogging #223

Blackberry Lime Cake

The last of the filthy snow piles are still melting into the gutters, and until they're gone, now is still the winter of our discontent. Can you tell I've been watching Richard III?

I don't have much in common with the jaundiced, wretched, miserable soul Shakespeare portrayed Richard to be, but we're both tired of winter. Personally, I sure wouldn't mind a fast forward five months to the season of sunburned shoulders and fingers made bloody, caught on thorny bramble bushes while plucking them clean of their succulent, baubbled fruit.

That yearning for warmer weather is what made me try this cake, from Nigel Slater, which is both homey and homely. I am just waiting now for the third one to brown in the oven. Third? you say. Yup, you read me right. Third. My third attempt to bake this cake "pretty" in the same day. It ain't happenin', and that is not easing my discontent. I am very far behind and a wee bit cranky. Even so, I do heartily recommend it for its extraordinary ease, buttery moist crumb, and crackly sugar crust. It won't win any awards for its looks, but it's a beauty nonetheless. Be back in the morning with a shot to prove it.
[Update Monday morning: A photo above, finally, of my last attempt.]

Blackberry Lime Cake - Adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe, found here

Serves 6 - 8.


5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar (a.k.a. caster or bartender sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted.
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of 1 lime
3 cups blackberries, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes; the sugar will be slow to incorporate). Beat in vanilla extract until fluffy and light (about 15 seconds). Add egg, then milk, beating well between additions. It will be a thin batter.

In a smaller bowl, combined flour and baking powder with a wire whisk. Add dry ingredients into batter in quarters, mixing quickly with the whisk after each addition. Stir in lime zest.

Pour batter into well-greased 13 X 9-inch cake pan. Distribute half the blackberries on batter. Top with granulated sugar. Position pan on center rack of oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. The blackberries will have sunken and disappeared. Top with remaining blueberries, and return to over. Bake another 10-15 minutes, or until center of cake tests clean with a skewer. Let cool before cutting into rectangles. Remove servings with spatula. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve as is or with lime curd and/or clotted cream. --

This recipe is for Weekend Herb Blogging #223 which I am hosting for Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once. Every week for over four years, food bloggers from around the world have cooked and baked up all sorts of amazing recipes to join the popular event created way back when by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Please say tuned for the round-up late tomorrow night, New York time, when I will showcase some very fine dishes. Thanks to all who have contributed!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It's that time again. Please join me as I assume another fun and informative stint as host of Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging, the long-running weekly food blogging event, founded by Kalyn over four years ago. The rules are easy, the qualifying ingredients endless, and the lipsmacking can be heard around the world. Thanks to those who have already sent me their recipes. Special thanks to Haalo for allowing me another turn to set the table. I'll be baking up a treat using plump and juicy blackberries. I look forward to what you will be preparing for the round-up, scheduled for the evening of Monday, March 8, New York time. See you then!