sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 13, 2007

clique, comfort listening, and new vocabulary
posted by soe 11:59 pm

Sorry for the tardiness; I dozed off there. But better late than never, right? Here are my three beautiful things from the last week:

1. I meet Rudi’s cycling friends for the first time en masse Sunday evening at a party. They all seem like really nice people who genuinely like Rudi. They share his crazy “let’s cheerily ride 100 miles in a day” mentality, which I fail to understand. But I’m glad that he has people who do.

2. A few weeks ago, one of the classic radio podcasts I subscribe to on iTunes posted Miracle of the Bells, a mostly-forgotten movie starring Fred McMurray, Valli, and Frank Sinatra in a non-singing role. The radio show, presented by Lux Radio Theater, is a personal classic, though, because every year Dad used to take the taped copy out of the library for us to listen to. I listen to it late at night as I knit curled up on the couch. (As a side note, I realize that this show may have defined Western Pennsylvania for me growing up and probably is responsible for my misgiving that Pittsburgh would be a dirty coal mining city.)

3. Anxiolytic: anxiety-relieving. It means the exact opposite of what I guessed it would and, as such, is so much more useful. It’s my favorite word of the week.

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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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