Archive for August, 2009

good recipes deserve to be shared, and you deserve a cupcake.

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

STRAWBERRY LEMON DROP CUPCAKES (OH YOU HEARD ME)

strawberrycupcake2

Thanks Elena and bakingbites.com …for bringing this into my life.

A lemon drop is a cocktail that is made with vodka, lemon juice and sugar. They are bright and refreshing, and since the acidity of the lemon takes the edge off of the vodka, they’re very easy to drink. These cupcakes are inspired in part by lemon drop cocktails and in part by summer strawberries – making them a sort of adult strawberry lemonade cupcake. There are lots of fresh strawberries in the cupcakes and quite a bit of vodka, too. I really like these as a bit of a grown-up alternative to classic cupcakes and cocktail-inspired cupcakes are usually a big hit at parties.

The cupcakes themselves are very moist and fairly sturdy, as cupcakes go. This means that the strawberries remain suspended in the cupcake batter and don’t all sink to the bottom. The cakes actually look gorgeous when they’re unfrosted and you can see bits of berry sticking out all over. The cupcakes are also not too sweet, thanks to the fact that they don’t include an excessive amount of sugar and because the vodka doesn’t lend any additional sweetness. This gives the berries another chance to stand out. Only a bit of lemon zest is included in the cupcakes and it doesn’t make a big impression on its own, although it does allow the cupcakes to tie in very well with the frosting.

The buttercream frosting has lemon zest, lemon juice and a bit of vodka. I’d say that you can get a hint of the vodka even with the lemon in the frosting, but it is very subtle. In fact, you don’t get more than a hint of the vodka in the cupcakes themselves even though there is about a 1/2 cup in the recipe. If it is necessary for you to leave it out, you can replace it with milk if you have to, but I don’t think that anyone at the party will get tipsy from these, even if they eat the whole batch. I used Ciroc vodka for these cupcakes, but feel free to use any brand that you like.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 cup vodka
2 cups fresh, chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and lemon zest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vodka.
Working in three or four additions, alternate adding the flour mixture and the vodka/milk mixture, ending with an addition of dry ingredients. Only mix until no streaks of flour remain visible. Stir in strawberries by hand.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes on a wire rack before frosting.

Lemon Drop Frosting
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vodka
2 tsp lemon zest
approx 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
sliced strawberries, for garnish

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, lemon juice, vodka, lemon zest and about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar. With the mixer at medium-high speed, add in additional confectioners’ sugar (using even more than 3 total cups, if necessary) until frosting is thick , fluffy and spreadable.
Spread onto the tops of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with strawberry slices, if desired.

Makes 18 cupcakes

it’s knowledge time friends!!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

what-i-am-thinking-about…I’m just kidding, I don’t like diet soda …change that to coffee.  Plus I don’t think about cars, I just think about having one that I can trust will make it from point A to point B and not make embarrassing sounds that make me yell at staring pedestrians: “Stop looking at me, it’s fine!  I get it, my car is sad! Shut up!”  But the above diagram does not include everything on my mind.  I have the misfortune of often having WAY too much in going on up above.  Arbitrary thoughts, stuff I read, life’s little blunders, I-wants, I-needs, observations, etc etc etc…  There just isn’t enough room in the diagram so sticking to basics is a good start.  I thought I’d share some of the things I learned today.  Some are silly, some are on the more profound reminders, but I’ll keep them all simplified for the sake of attention spans.

  • Ah, the cycle of life …it’s the one true constant thing out there.  There were some famous deaths today, as well as countless others.  Loss.  On the other hand, one of the women I am closest to in the universe is having a baby girl at this very moment.  If there is anybody I know in this world that should be a mother, it’s her.  As lives end, another life starts, and I think it’s going to be a beautiful one…
  • Danny Glover, Jimmy Smits, David Mamet and Larry David all used to be taxi drivers …Larry David was also once a bra salesman.
  • You need to remember to put coffee in a filter into the coffee machine before turning it on …not just water.  Okay, I already knew that one, but I hadn’t had my coffee yet!
  • The song “Lola” written by The Kinks’ Davies was written about a transvestite. But the question is, which one? According to Rolling Stone, “Lola” was inspired by Candy Darling, a member of Andy Warhol’s entourage, whom Ray Davies briefly (and cluelessly) dated. If that’s the case, then “Lola” is just another notch on Darling’s song belt—she’s also referred to in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” (”Candy came from out on the Island/ In the backroom she was everybody’s darlin’.”)  But, in the Kinks’ official biography, Davies tells a different story. He says “Lola” was written after the band’s manager spent a very drunken night dancing with a woman whose five o’clock shadow was apparently obvious to everyone but him.
  • Megan Fox was just officially cast as Catwoman in the next Christopher Nolan film.  Poor Halle Berry …she had to be in the stupid one.  I don’t respect Fox as an actress whatsoever, but I suppose she can work the costume and perhaps they can just keep her lines to a minimum.  Until she proves otherwise, this woman is to be seen and not heard.
  • According to the website wikistics, this year’s most viewed Wikipedia article was actually wiki!  Copy and paste the addy provided below if you wish to see the entire list of the 50 most viewed articles on Wikipedia this year.  I think it’s funny that Adolf Hitler was searched more than Twilight and apparently people were in mass need of researching “vagina” (#36) …it was enlightening to see how people choose to use the site.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/wikipedia/6043534/The-50-most-viewed-Wikipedia-articles-in-2009-and-2008.html

  • Literary fans can visit Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home, where he lived from 1931 to 1939 and wrote A Farewell to Arms, is now overrun with polydactyl felines, supposedly the descendants of cats originally owned by Hemingway (a claim refuted by his surviving family). Cats aside, Hemingway did live and write there, did reclaim a urinal from Sloppy Joe’s and turn it into a water fountain, and did set up a boxing ring in the front yard. The place is also home to the first swimming pool in Key West, installed by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline.  But truly, the main attraction at this National Historic Landmark is the cats – it’s like crazy cat lady colony heaven. There are about 60 cats living at the house, and many of them have either six or seven toes on each foot. They sport names like Spencer Tracy, Archibald MacLeish, Simone de Beauvoir, Emily Dickinson, and Gertrude Stein.

I think I’ll leave it at that.

…in other news

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

wenn1803133ellie__oPtAs we all know, Teddy Kennedy died today.  It’s incredibly sad and a true loss.  I could go on quite the memorial rant on the gentleman and what he stood for …but you can go to any news source in the universe and get that.  A lesser known death occurred today.  Famed songwriter Ellie Greenwich passed on today at the not ripe enough age of 68.  Greenwich died of a heart attack at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York, where she had been in the hospital fighting pneumonia.

Ellie penned the songs for the Tony-nominated musical Leader of the Pack as well as being responsible for the classics Be My Baby, Da Doo Ron Ron and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).  Ms. Greenwich had worked with some huge names in the business in her career, among them:  Neil Diamond, Cyndi Lauper, Phil Spector (say what you want about his personal life, he thrived in his professional life) and Frank Sinatra.

I just wanted to give this woman who made her contributions to pop culture some recognition.  It may not be as detrimental as losing a major political figure who was easily one of the best we’ve had …but that’s relative.  May she rest in peace and her loved ones heal.  Thanks for some fun classic music Ellie.

scary on so many levels

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

halloweendollset So there I was, there I was …just flipping through my new Disneyland annual passport holder newsletter that comes around every quarter reading up on the Fall attractions. There are going to be some pretty great things in the works.  The COOLEST fireworks to date …the Summer ones have been my favorite to date but this time they’re also going to create Disney villain ghosts that are in the sky and Jack Skellington will be the Master of Scare-Omonies!  Play-on words, they’re off to an excellent start.  So there’s that as well as all the other good big budget music/pyro/lighting stuff that makes them the best.  The haunted mansion of course will be “Nightmare Before Christmas” themed, but it also happens to be the haunted mansion’s 40th anniversary!  Space Mountain will have some pretty cool holograms added to the night sky fixture, I’m assuming the music will be spookier.  Then there’s the standard candy corn and pumpkin decor that maxes the park out with a festive ambiance.  When the park turns into the “merriest place on earth” at the end of the year is when I am really in heaven decoration wise, but the rides will be at their coolest in Sept/Oct.

I wasn’t really going to share the upcoming Disney calendar, but I’m excited about it.  What I am here to share is the truly frightening stuff Disney has to offer.  Marie Osmond to be specific.  There was this offer complete with a photograph of her Halloween edition Disney dolls.  She has a slew of other lines under her name, but for some reason Disney told her it was cool to creep everyone out with their brand.  I understand that tons of people buy these things, hence, they exist in such mass ….but people also buy hideous sweaters, it doesn’t make it right.  The people in the ugly sweaters are on QVC buying these dolls.  I know it.  The picture I provided above isn’t the exact version I originally saw.  Yes, there are more than one out there for Halloween alone.  I just went with this picture because the purple made me think of it as Scary-Ass Minnie Marie and Mickey Donnie the Gay Magician.  I hope it isn’t supposed to be their likeness as they are siblings and they are in the ears and shoes of a hot item.  Um.  Moving on.

A lot of people like to scare themselves, it’s a thrill factor.  I went ahead out of morbid curiosity and checked out the gist of her collection.  I didn’t make it very far.  I saw some Disney stuff, moved on to other themes …when I got to the ones posed like clowns in cupcake tins I was out.  As much as I hate to encourage this monstrosity with further hits to this site, far be it from me to withhold laughter or a cheap scare …or both.  There’s a link below.

http://www.mariedolls.net/

Okay, one more for the road …they’re just too delightfully awful in that charming children of the corn sort of way!

adoramousebittyset

poor form.

Monday, August 24th, 2009

mia_one

I love M.I.A.

I really do.  So it bummed me out big time when I read her reaction to a show she was to perform later this month.  Maya is scheduled to perform at the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, taking place in San Francisco on August 30th, but only booked the show because she thought the Beastie Boys would be performing.  As most of us already know, they have canceled all their shows due to MCA’s cancer recovery.  Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D stepped in to replace the vacated slot.  To say M.I.A. did not react gracefully is putting it mildly.

Behold, her official Twitter entry on the matter:

I ORIGINALLY BOOKED ON SHOWS COZ BEASTIES WERE HEADLINERS , BUT NOW THEY AINT DOING IT AND I JUS WANNA SAY , WE HAVE TO GO HARD!!!

CANT BELIEVE THEY REPLACED BEASTIES WITH TENACIOUS D ??????????????????????AND IF I PULL OUT THEY SUE! SO REALLY? TENACIOUS D AFTER ME ?

SO ME AND JACK BLACK ARE BACK TO BACK, BEASTIES GET WELL SOON!

YOUR ALL WELCOME ON STAGE FROM THE GET GO, FUCK IT! IM TAKIN BIRD FLU OUT OF THE SET ! JUS TO MAKE A POINT!

Wow.  I happen to like Tenacious D a great deal.  But if I were in her shoes I would have kept my mouth closed, regardless of my feelings on the swap.  It was so rude and unprofessional …to the other acts, the promoters and worst of all (and most importantly) her fans.  If I were psyched to go out and see her (and if I were up there, I would be!)  I would be let down to hear her sour attitude that she was only coming for another act and would drop out without a second thought of disappointing the people that wanted to see her perform if it weren’t for her getting sued.  Not to mention she’s “punishing” the situation by withholding songs people want to hear.  She’s only punishing the fans that brought her up.  That sort of thing just rubs me the wrong way.  I get being unhappy she doesn’t get to meet a great act, but seriously, grow up and appreciate that you’re even in the position to go.

I still love what she has to bring to the table as an entertainer but a serious demerit for her otherwise.  Don’t even get me started that she’s complaining about Tenacious D…