Black bear eating from my apple tree, August night, 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Gopher" A New Experience: Underground Hotels

Here's a quick share/post for Christmas Eve Eve. I love reading about unusual inns, hotels, and bed & Breakfasts. Ones reported to have ghosts, for example, or those located in strange or remote places. Well, here's an article from Gadling (Huffington Post blog) about 10 underground hotels. They look pretty cozy to me. Here's an example from the piece:

Woodlyn Park
Waitomo, New Zealand

Lord of the Rings fans will love this hobbit-inspired accommodation. Woodlyn Park includes 4 types of motels, including a plane motel, train motel, boat motel, and the underground hobbit motels that have circular windows poking up out of the ground. The rooms include a kitchen, bathroom, furnishings, and decor. While this is by no means a luxury hotel, it is a fun and unique accommodation option.

While I don't plan on visiting many of the countries listed in the article anytime soon, it's fun to think these quirky accommodations are out there.

Happy holidays to all, no matter what you celebrate--off to make pie crusts for the upcoming weekend of eating. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Springerle Cookies--A Huge Success

Last month I blogged about the arduous task of making holiday springerle--ornate tea biscuits that date back to the 15th century. You may (or may not) recall that the recipe suggest keeping the baked cookies (which hold detailed relief designs from a special wooden mold) in a tin for at least three weeks so that the cookies can "cure." I promised I'd write after that time had passed to let people know how they turned out. Well, they are fabulous. Crunchy yet weirdly chewy, with that subtle lemon and anise flavor. Perfect with Earl Grey tea, and they're gorgeous. Some pics of the finished product:

Blogspot has been giving me some problems posting, but I think I have the bugs worked out now, so hopefully I'll be able to post the springerle recipe I used (I invented a recipe by combining 3 different ones) on soon, and share the link to it here.

Happy holiday baking to everyone. I think I just surpassed the 300th cookie baked in our house last week.