Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thrifted Thursday (and Cooking!) - Cut Glass (Crystal?) Punch Bowl

These pictures disguise the true monstrosity that is this punch bowl. It appears cute and tiny in the photo, but it's actually the size of a large globe (but way heavier)!

I found this punchbowl at Goodwill back in December while scavenging and prepping for our New Year's/apartment-warming/Paige-is-cancer-free party. Some may find it a bit dated, but I thought it would work for the occasion (I also really liked its perfectly scalloped edging).

It has held various beverages at different events, such as Martha Stewart's Southern Comfort Punch and Poor Girl Eats Well's Sweet & Fruity White Wine Sangria (with mango, berry, and pineapple chunks - perfect for transitioning into summer!). Hmm, I just realized I'm sounding like a bit of a lush... My friends would laugh because I'm always the most sober at parties. I guess I just like making new concoctions.

For example, I have been wanting to make ginger cupcakes for quite some time now but haven't had the proper ingredients. I would always get the urge to bake when it was simply too late in the evening to run to the grocery store (read: I was simply too tired and/or lazy). Last weekend I purchased Molly Wizenberg's (the lovely author of the cooking blog, Orangette), A Homemade Life, and have been savoring every delicious word, determined to try some new recipes and expand my culinary horizons.

That book whipped me into shape, and last night I made my little long-awaited ginger cakes with honey-ginger buttercream frosting.

Unfrosted... A little muffin-like, I think...

There were a few mistakes here and there: I used baking soda instead of baking powder, so I just threw the powder in after the soda anyway; I grabbed the almond extract without looking, thinking it was the vanilla until it came out of the bottle clear instead of brown (so I used both of those, too); I realized I didn't have ground ginger so I went about smelling my spices and decided nutmeg would be a fine substitute; and the sugar I used for the frosting was granulated instead of confectioner's so the frosting was a little... sand-like, I guess...

They also weren't particularly pretty (see photo below), but even after all of my mistakes, they still tasted absolutely delicious (although maybe a little on the too-sweet side...), and I was perfectly happy crunching through the little sugar grains in the frosting. They were actually fairly well-disguised by the little candied ginger chunks in the cake.

Frosted! With a hint of nutmeg sprinklings...

I guess the next step, now that I'm getting more adventurous with my cooking/baking (and accepting the mishaps), is to work on my food styling skills. Next time I will have some beautiful foodie photos, I promise!

Thrifting and cooking may not seem like they have much to do with each other; but when you think about it, both often come down to making do with what's available to you. It's a real skill to be a master of improvisation, to make chaos appear flawless, like you knew what was happening all along.

How have you pulled off looking like a pro when you didn't actually know what you were doing?


EDIT 5/3/09: I am very proud to say I received calls and emails from co-workers who said the mini cupcake leftovers I brought to work were delicious! *grin* Thanks, guys!


  1. These look so good! I've found that frosting can be a great way to cover your mistakes :)

    Also, that sangria sounds amazing, I've got to make some this weekend

  2. Mmm, sound lovely!