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The Hungry Mouse is a Boston-based food blog packed with recipes, articles on cooking, product and restaurant reviews, and shopping.

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Pillow Maki

I have two words for you: sushi pillow.

You heard me. (Sushi pillow!) Now you can have your fish, and cuddle up with it, too.

As someone who counts sushi among her five basic food groups, you can imagine how excited I was to discover these. The Original Sushi Pillow is a product of the brilliantly creative Cindy Tomm and Mel Maghuyop, two actors turned pillow-makers extraordinaires.

They have a 3-minute commercial. I defy you not to dance along, at least a little bit.

Here are some of my favorite sushi pillows. I'm particularly fond of the nigiri. Like all sushi, each pillow is handmade. Go order yours today.

Ebi Nigiri, $45

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Coconut Cake for Old Man Richard

The first time I made this cake, we were up visiting an old friend who rents a cottage every summer up in Gloucester, Mass.

We spent the greater part of the evening out on the deck, catching up and listening to the waves wash up on the rocks. The drinks were cold. The dogs were running around. The grill was sizzling. It was the perfect thing to round out our seaside barbecue.

This cake is sweet, but not too sweet. And it's not overly heavy, even though it's packed with flaky coconut.

Serve it by itself as a mid-afternoon treat, or dress it up for dinnertime with a drizzle of warm chocolate sauce. (I will admit, it's also an amazingly decadent breakfast.)

Coconut Cake for Old Man Richard

2 cups flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 10-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, cut to fit your pan. Set aside.
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Old-School Diner Pancakes

Put the Bisquick down and walk away. You can do it.

These are the kind of pancakes you used to be able to get at roadside diners—or your grandmother's house.

They're great in the morning, or late at night, which seems to be our favorite time to hunker down with a tall stack.

Make them on the heaviest griddle or pan you have.

Old-School Diner Pancakes

1 egg
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp. baking soda
half a lemon
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbls. butter, melted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
spray oil for the griddle

Make the batter
Put the milk in a measuring cup and add a good squeeze of lemon to it. Give it a quick swirl with a spoon and set it aside.
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Shake It Up!

I admit it: I'm a fairly thirsty person.

Normally I'm a red wine drinker. I love the good—and even some of the bad. Give me a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Brunello, a Bandol, and I couldn't be happier. In the summer, I love sangria, and hardly even flinch if offered juice out of a jug. (Granted, it needs to be a *really* hot day for that last bit.)

That said, there's a time and a place for a good cocktail. And, as with most things gastronomical, I love the equipment part almost as much as I love the food part. I think there's a Gear Geek hiding inside almost everyone who loves to cook.

Here are some of the spiffier bar accessories I've seen in a while.

Lately, we've been using a miniature rolling pin as a muddler (you know, the kind you roll use to roll out pancakes for moo shu). It's fairly effective, but I may change my ways. This little beast is the Rosle Fruit Muddler. Its polycarbonate paw is specially shaped to stomp the last bits of juice out of any fruit you toss into your glass. Get yours from Cooking.com for about $18.
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Buttery Greek Apple Tart

Fall is coming. Boston's been on the cold side. The stores are starting to fill up with back-to-school supplies. This means one thing to me: Apple-picking season is on its way. And I couldn't be happier.

I have a handful of apple recipes I love. Here's one of my favorites. It's amazingly simple to make—and incredibly impressive looking when it comes out of the oven.

Your finished tart will be a layer of gooey, apple-y goodness sandwiched between crisp layers of golden, buttery phyllo dough. A pinch of ginger rounds out the flavor with just the right amount of bite.

For the fruit, use any kind of apple you like (or a mix of a few different kinds) that will hold up when baked. I like Cortlands or Granny Smiths. Not sure which apples bake well? Check out this comparison chart, from Ohio's Bauman Orchards.

For more information on how to handle phyllo dough, see my phyllo dough primer.

Buttery Greek Apple Tart

5 medium-sized apples
1 package fresh phyllo dough (frozen is OK...just be sure to thaw it completely in the fridge)
1 stick butter, melted
2 Tbls. Calvados
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup sugar (for sprinkling on the phyllo dough)
1 Tbls. sugar (for mixing with the apples)
1/2 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
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A Phyllo Dough Primer

I just posted my Buttery Greek Apple Tart recipe. As I started to write the notes on how to deal with phyllo dough at the end of the recipe, I realized that it probably merits its own discussion, since phyllo can be really easy to work with if you know how to handle it—and completely unforgiving if you don't.

So, what is phyllo dough and where do you find it?
Phyllo (also seen as "fillo" of "filo") is a staple of Turkish and Greek cooking, as well as a handful of other cuisines. The paper-thin sheets of dough are used to create all manners of sweet and savory dishes.

It's one of the simplest doughs in the world, made from just flour, water, and a little oil. Add butter, a handful of embellishments, and slide it into the oven, and it transforms into some of the most sumptuous stuff you can possibly eat.

Not to be overly dramatic, but it's kind of like magic.
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Midsummer Harvest

Despite being plagued by the dreaded Tomato Horn Worm (if you've ever grown tomatoes, you know how horrifying these beasts are), this summer has been a remarkably good one for my vegetable garden.

Like a lot of the country, Boston's had a silly amount of rain this season. In fact, as I sat down to write just now, the sky darkened and it started to thunder.

My herbs (except the mint) aren't looking too hot, but the veggies are positively thriving. I'll definitely expand my veggie patch next year. I'd like to see if I could grow some heirloom varieties from seed.

Here's what we picked this weekend.

These are Health Kick Tomatoes, which seem to be a cross between a plum tomato and something rounder, like a beefsteak. I'll report in when they ripen and we taste them.

Health Kick Tomatoes

Here's the rest of the produce. From left to right: Kentucky mint (awesome for mint juleps), Husky Cherry Tomatoes and Health Kick Tomatoes, hot peppers (green and red), and eggplant-colored bell peppers.

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Hot Chocolate Pots

A few days ago, I posted my version of Mayan Hot Chocolate. It occurred to me that there are all sorts of fabulous hot chocolate-y accessories out there—specifically, hot chocolate pots.

Most hot chocolate pots tend to look like long, tall teapots. Many sit on three or four little feet. Lots include some kind of device to froth your chocolate. If you want to see some excellent vintage and antique versions, take a look at what's for sale at Ruby Lane.

Here's the one that I have, as well as a few others you'll find on the market today.

I picked up my hot chocolate pot, at Williams-Sonoma a few years ago. It was one of those things that I stalked in the store for a month or two, then broke down and bought it. I've scoured the Internet, but it looks like they don't sell it anymore.

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Drunken Chocolate Pound Cake

Boston has been cold and rainy the last few days, and it's making me want to bake. Here's one of my favorite pound cakes. It's ridiculously rich and bourbon-y.

A note on the coffee and booze in the recipe: It doesn't matter what kind you use, but it should be something you wouldn't mind drinking.

Drunken Chocolate Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee or espresso, cold
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 lb. butter
6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
2 eggs
1 Tbls. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 Tbls. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Before you start
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
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Give That Buffalo Some Wings

Meat in the mail. I know. It just sounds wrong. But if you write it off, you might just be missing out on some of the most succulent—and hard-to-find—cuts available these days.

I think most everyone knows Omaha Steaks. The catalogs start showing up in September for holiday gift-giving. (Or, if you're like me and get every catalog known to man, they come year-round.)

Omaha Steaks has been around since 1917 and have been shipping their meat all over the country since 1952. They offer everything from fancy filets and burgers to chicken and pork—as well as appetizers, sides, and desserts. I'd actually classify them as a more of a mail-order steakhouse, since you seem to be able to get the full restaurant experience—minus the coat check and valet, of course.

There are a lot of other, lesser-known companies, however, that'll ship quality meats right to your door, too. Here are a few, along with some of their prettiest (and admittedly, most expensive) cuts.
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