sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 13, 2007


huh… they got it right…
posted by soe 12:09 pm

You Are a Fruitcake


People pretend you’re sweet and precious, but they know how weird you really are!
What Holiday Food Are You?

(Not that I want to eat it mind you…)

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suzanne’s vegan cupcakes
posted by soe 4:01 am

Last Friday, our office held a belated shower and vegan potluck lunch to celebrate my friend Suzanne‘s recent wedding. My friend Sarah and I had oohed and aahed over the knitting-themed cupcakes that made the rounds of the blogosphere over the summer and decided this was a perfect chance for us to try them out.

I admit, I totally had the easy end of things: I was in charge of making the cupcakes and the frosting. Sarah is artsy and has delicate hands and she offered to play with the marzipan. All in all, we estimated that it probably took us about the same amount of time to complete our tasks.

My first challenge ended up being the easier of the two. What recipe did I want to use for the cupcakes. We were limited by the fact that I didn’t start the process until after midnight, so it was definitely preferable that I have all ingredients on hand. And I knew I wanted chocolate. Finally, after an exhaustive web search, I decided on Joss’ Vegan Cupcakes, which I tripled. The batter tasted good and I felt very optimistic for the next day. I finished baking the last batch and let them cool overnight.

In the morning, I still needed to find a frosting. I wasn’t thrilled with any that I found, but eventually started to run out of time and opted for Very Chocolatey Frosting. The problem? When I mixed it all up, it dripped from the beaters. Clearly that wasn’t going to work.

Now, I admit, I don’t usually make chocolate frosting. In fact, I really only use Mum’s buttercream recipe. So I wasn’t positive what I should add to fix the problem. Clearly solids. But which ones? First I tried a tablespoon or so of powdered sugar. Not enough. But I feared making it too sweet, especially since Earth Balance shortening already has a tendency to make baked goods taste negatively sweet. So I poured in more cocoa. And I kept pouring. By the time the frosting reached a consistency I was happy with, it was probably nearly 3/4 cup more. This allowed me to frost the cake, but did add a granular texture to the frosting that I wasn’t thrilled with. But it was fine, so I was happy enough.

Sarah decorates the cupcakesI took them into the office, where Sarah performed her magic, adding tiny marzipan scarves (both finished and in progress) and yarn balls to the baked goods. WIPs were on tiny toothpick needles. Some of the scarves were multi-colored.

Sarah had spent hours the night before playing with almond paste and food coloring, rolling and notching and arranging. You could see immediately how lovely and delicate the decorations were — and people flipped over them. Really they were magnificent.

Here is a closer look at Sarah’s handicraft:

knit cupcakes

(All photography is Suzanne’s. After all that work and that little sleep, I forgot my camera at home…)

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December 12, 2007


contrast
posted by soe 2:15 am

We spent tonight watching the 1973 version of Miracle on 34th Street, which featured such character actors as the guy who played Bosley in Charlie’s Angels, Mr. Cunningham from Happy Days, and Thurston Howell the Third.

And we ate latkes to celebrate the final night of Hanukkah. Rudi made them with potatoes Mum sent down after Thanksgiving and we combined them with a caramelized applesauce I made last month. (It was only caramelized because I kept not milling the cooked apples. So every 6-12 hours for three days, I’d reheat it. It may be the sweetest applesauce ever made.)

I love December for combinations like these.

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December 8, 2007


christmas prep — a saturday in
posted by soe 10:44 pm

While Rudi went out to fulfill our final beer brewing for the year this morning, I stayed home to get some seasonal tasks done.

I’ve been working on card writing today while listening to Christmas cds. I’m nearly done with the cards and have listened to the following discs:

  • Let It Be Christmas, Dad’s 2004 holiday compilation. (Favorite song: “Let It Be Christmas” by Alan Jackson)
  • Once in a Year, Dad’s Christmas mix from … Dad? (Favorite songs: “I Believe in Santa’s Cause” by the Statler Brothers and “Light One Candle” by Peter, Paul, and Mary)
  • Cold Blow These Winter Winds: A Celtic Celebration of Christmas. Recorded live at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh and bought used for three pounds at a cd shop on Notting Hill in London in 2005. (Favorite song: “Christmas in Prison” featuring Rory McLeod)
  • Christmas like a Lullaby, by John Denver. (Favorite songs: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Noel — Christmas Eve”)
  • Yules of Yore: TV Land Tunes from Christmas Past (Favorite song: “My Christmas Room” by Jimmy Dean (I don’t think it’s the sausage guy))
  • Singers and Songwriters: Christmas Songs. (Favorite songs: “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way” by Jim Croce and “Cherry Tree Carol” by Judy Collins)
  • Blue Christmas, a release by Mojo magazine (Favorite song: “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Ed Harcourt)
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December 7, 2007


downtown dc sight
posted by soe 11:21 pm

If you work in downtown D.C., it isn’t uncommon to see workers from local restaurants wheeling trolleys down the sidewalk to deliver catering orders to local offices.

It is uncommon to see what I did one morning last week when I was walking from the Metro Center station to my office: A woman carrying a tray of wrapped sandwiches on her head.

People in the city don’t often take note of who else is sharing the sidewalk with them (unless it’s someone to avoid), but every single person who passed her did a double-take. I even saw some people on the other side of the road, turning to verify what they thought they had seen.

At one point, she and I passed a store window at about the same time. I kept walking and she stopped to look inside. I like to think that she wasn’t window shopping, but instead was admiring her balance and poise.

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christopher moore has a list
posted by soe 3:17 pm

A big, important list. Of things he’d like Santa to deliver on Christmas Day. I’m definitely hoping Santa can deliver at least some of it.

Chris’ post from Powell’s today

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