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Michael Baker
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Ahh, glad you liked it! I found it years ago as a VHS from the History Channel (back when they actually had shows about history). I converted my tape to DVD so I wouldn't eventually lose it, but was glad when I found the full program on You Tube.

It's informative, entertaining and nostalgic!
~michael baker
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Wizard of Oz
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Michael...no Christmas recipes for us to drool over? Are you slacking over the holidays?
I have parties to go to and food to bring ... where's our favorite magic chef's recommendations?
Signed,
Sad and Hungry in Cleveland
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Michael Baker
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Ha-ha!!

My family isn't doing dinner until Sunday, but here is one of the recipes I'll be making...

Chocolate Chip-Bourbon Pecan Pie

1 9" unbaked pie shell
2 cups pecan halves
3 large eggs, beaten
3 TBSP Butter, melted
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
2 TBSP good quality Bourbon
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Cover bottom of pie crust with pecans. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and melted butter slowly. Add corn syrup, sugar, bourbon and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Pour mixture over pecans and place pie on heavy duty cookie sheet. bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350F and continue to bake for 25 minutes, until set.

I will also be making some Tom & Jerry batter for my own indulgence... maybe later tonight. I'll follow up with that recipe, too.
~michael baker
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Merry Christmas, Michael.
Tim Silver - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Magic-Woodshop/122578214436546

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Visualize Whirled Peas!
Michael Baker
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Merry Christmas, Tim!!

OK, as promised... Here is a recipe (with photos) for Tom & Jerrys.

First, a bit of history...

The Legend of the Tom & Jerry

Jerry Thomas was America's first celebrity bartender. During his career, he exhibited his mixing skills around the globe. Thomas's shtick included the Blue Blazer, a mixture of water and Scotch lit aflame and poured between two mugs. He even had his own brand of bitters.

Fame bred a level of eccentricity in Thomas that might have kept him off television were he alive today. In Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail, author William Grimes describes an 1882 article in the New York Sun, for which Thomas gave an interview while "two white rats pretty enough to be guinea pigs cut capers upon his shoulders, caressed him at the corners of his mustache, and mounted occasionally to the top of his derby hat." In comparison, Mario Batali's trademark bright orange clogs seem utterly inconspicuous.

In 1862, Thomas published How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant's Companion, the world's first bartending guide and one that modern mixologists reviving classic cocktails look to for inspiration. Case in point: the sweet, eggy Tom and Jerry, once known as the Jerry Thomas. bIn the original recipe, beaten eggs, rum, and hot milk are combined into an ideal cold-weather treat. Thomas was so adamant about it being a winter drink that he refused to serve it at his own bar until after the season's first snowfall. Celebrity bartenders, it seems, do as they please.

The following recipe was taught to me by my dad, who made them at Christmastime. Even before I was old enough to drink, I was allowed "a little taste". I'm sure it helped insure that I would be sound asleep when Santa came to my house! Smile

Separate 6 large eggs...
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With an electric mixer, beat the whites until they form stiff peaks...
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Beat the yolks in a separate bowl until light in color. Then incorporate powdered sugar, about a cup at a time. Beat slowly at first, then increase the speed as you can. You will add about 1 pound or a little more of powdered sugar in all.

Notice that I changed over to larger bowls for both whites and yolks.. You'll need them.

Eventually, the yolk/sugar mixture will be quite stiff, almost like taffy. You can do this with a decent hand mixer, but a stand mixer is better.
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Now, combine the two mixtures, folding together. You will end up with a light but thick batter, about the consistency of pancake batter.
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OK... time for the fun part!

Put a few spoonfuls of the batter in a mug. You can adjust the amount to satisfy your own tastes.

Add 1 1/2 - 2 ounces of rum, bourbon, brandy, or any combination of those.

Fill the mug the rest of the way with boiling water, stir gently and top with a dash of nutmeg.
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Drink several of these on a cold night (It's about 0 degrees F here right now), then take a selfie to document your progress...
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Warning: Wear suitable eye protection because spoons don't care who they poke. Stay away from your power tools, too. Smile

This quantity will make enough Tom & Jerrys for several people. You can adjust quantities if you like. This is best when first made and usually the next day. After that, the batter will begin to separate and go flat. You can still stir it back together, and it will be OK, but it's better to make a new batch if you can.
~michael baker
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Beautiful work on the magic effects, also on the recipes! Love the vampire block!!



Chuck Caputo
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Great work on the Tom and Jerry. Another great construction.
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That looks delicious Michael. I knew you wouldn't let us down!
Happy holidays everyone!!!
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AGMagic
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If it were only cold enough in So. Calif. to whip up a batch. Thanks for the recipe.
Tim Silver - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Magic-Woodshop/122578214436546

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Visualize Whirled Peas!
Michael Baker
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Here's something in the food category... perhaps too late for your Christmas eats, but it's a tasty appetizer... maybe for your New Year's Eve party.

Sausage Cheese Balls

This is super easy...

Gather your ingredients:

1 pound of pork sausage
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups of baking mix (like Pioneer or Bisquick)

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Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Work this into a stiff dough until everything is well-incorporated.

Form into small balls, a little larger than an inch, but smaller than a golf ball. Arrange them on a cookie sheet.

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Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes.

Serve warm. After baking, you can refrigerate or freeze for later use. Just heat and eat!

Image
~michael baker
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Michael, seeing that it's Christmas Eve and all, it would be very un-PC of me to thank you for sharing your balls with us. But thank you anyway.
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Michael Baker
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Ha-ha!!! Something like that SNL skit??
~michael baker
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Yes indeed Michael...a fine segue into Schweddy balls...
http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi886046745
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Michael Baker
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M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S ! ! !
~michael baker
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Back at ya!
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Michael Baker
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Back to magic...

After a series of unfortunate recent events, I have finally been able to finish the first of three of this latest project.

I bet you don't have one of these! Smile

I call this, "The Orb of Time".

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The large red cabinet has a door on the front, and all 4 walls are hinged to open down.

The smaller green and orange box is actually tube-like, no top or bottom. It also has a slide-up "peek" door in the front. There is a separate base for it to sit on, as seen.

The tube/box (minus the base) can also fit inside the large cabinet.

The ball is 4.5" diameter.

It is shown how the parts fit together and how the ball passes through the tube. Ultimately, the ball resides inside the red cabinet and the tube is set aside on its base.

The door of the cabinet is opened to clearly show the ball inside, while the slide-up panel on the tube verifies that it is empty.

The ball vanishes from the red cabinet as all the walls are opened out to reveal nothing inside.

The ball is found in the tube.

The mechanics on this are VERY cool! The illusion is perfect. Based upon an obscure Eric Lewis idea with my embellishments.

~michael
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Michael, I want some of what you (or Mr. Lewis) are smoking. This is awesome!
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Michael Baker
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One of my latest releases, this is Card Dice. Six cube dice are shown. They each have potions of playing cards on their faces. The dice are stacked so that they show a random display of those card parts. The stack can be shown on all sides. The faces are indeed scrambled with a variety of playing card parts depicted. The stack is then covered with a handkerchief.

Two playing cards are then selected from a deck and their faces kept unknown for the moment. Upon disclosing the stacked dice again, one side has transformed to match the first selected card. The stack is then covered again to accommodate the other selected card, and when revealed a second later, it shows a scrambled display of random card parts. This is an apparent failure on the part of the magician, but when the second selection is show, it matches the scrambled card display perfectly! Magic with a comedy kicker!

I will very soon be adding these to my website. The box shown in the photo is a display/carry case for the cubes.

Image

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~michael baker
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Michael Baker
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Here is something for a Sunday morning to go with your coffee... Cherry Danish. These are quick and easy. All the goodness of fresh baked, with a fraction of the work of scratch-made.

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1 can Jumbo Crescent Rolls
1/2 can cherry pie filling

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons of milk

Open the canned rolls but leave the dough in its rolled condition. Slice the log into 4 rounds. Turning flat side up, press each round into a flatter, wider round, pressing down the center more to create a well.

Put a spoonful or two of cherry pie filling in the center of the well of each dough round.

Bake at 350F for about 17 minutes, or until golden brown. I set my oven timer to 15 minutes, but left them in for a few minutes beyond that.

When they come out, let them cool for a bit while you make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, just mix the last three ingredients from the list above. It should be somewhat thick, but you can adjust by adding a few drops more of milk if too thick, or a little more powdered sugar if it seems too runny.

After the danish have cooled for a bit, spread them with the glaze, or as I did:

Take a small size Ziplock storage bag and put it into a coffee mug, as you would a can liner, folding the opening's edges out and around the rim. Scoop the glaze from your mixing bowl into the bag. Remove the bag from the mug and cut off the very tip from one of the bottom corners. Use this as a disposable pastry bag to get a better control of the glaze while you are squeezing it onto the danish.

Of course you can use other fillings, such as apple, peach, blueberry, etc.
~michael baker
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Michael Baker
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Skeleton/Zombie in the Coffin

This is basically the Skeleton in the Cupboard (Closet) with a couple of added embellishments. The tube has a dilapidated coffin facade. The blocks are reversible, with skeleton on one side and zombie on the other. Use one or the other. The blocks are slightly larger than the other models generally available. This make the usual vanish of the head block less apt to be palmed, so the small tombstone device is used to vanish that block... kind of my own creation, but based on other principles.

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Silk Cabby - This is my newest design for 2014. I have also added tiny bushings to the pivots which drastically improve the action.

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~michael baker
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