Absinthe Secret Guacamole Rustico
It was pointed out to us that there are few things more Steampunk than guacamole. Think of it: You take a rich, ripe thing which is a paradox in and of itself (for it’s technically a fruit, but we treat it as a vegetable – how can one thing be both? And yet it is!) – and you pull off its outer shell, revealing something luscious inside. You then take that lusciousness and transform it by simultaneously smashing it with heavy implements and adding spice. Finally, you douse it in absinthe, set it on fire, and serve it. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT LAST THING, WE’RE JUST KIDDING ABOUT THAT.
What you CAN do is this other amazing trick:
- Take about a half a shot glass of Tequila – we recommend something of a higher quality, with a purer flavor.
- Take a little bit of your preferred green food coloring.
- Mix the two. You’ll get something that LOOK rather like absinthe, as long as no-one sniffs it. If you’re dining with serious absinthe experts, let them in on the secret in advance.
- Right before you finish mashing up the guacamole, preferably in front of an audience, add the tequila. If you make the guacamole BEFORE serving it, try this trick: Fill the WHOLE shot glass with your pre-greened tequila, then, just before you invite people to consume your treat, carefully splash half into the dish, mix it up a bunch, and theatrically finish off the remainder of the shot.
- This isn’t just for show! The tequila will REALLY bring out the lime and the salt and the contrasting flavors. And people will think you’re some kind of genius who managed to make absinthe go with guacamole. It’s up to you whether or not you let them in on the secret.
Yield: 2 cups
Skill Level: 1
- 4 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and diced
- 1 cup finely diced red onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos, halved lengthwise, seeded and finely diced
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Coarse salt to taste
- Tequila! (Masquerading as Absinthe)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the red onion, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, and cilantro. Stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mash one portion of avocado. Add it to the medium-sized bowl and stir gently to combine.
- Repeat with the rest of the avocado, and then add the lemon juice and salt.
- Throw in the tequila!
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.
From The Steampunk Cookbook, by Jeff Mach
Or, if I’m honest, also for the lazy and the artistically-deficient. And by that, I mean dead simple, and still looks fantastic! I used to think that not everyone has the time, inclination, or (eh hem, like me) the talent to make jaw-dropping Steampunk desserts. Or maybe we do! Here’s a quick list of decoration tools and products you can get to turn that every-day cupcake into a clockwork cupcake masterpiece:
Gears, Cogs, & Clockwork
Gears are probably the most universally-recognized Steampunk shape, so we’ll start with those. The easiest way to make soft food items like fondant, cookie dough, and sandwich bread look like a gear is to use a cutter of some sort. I have a few you can take a peak at below:
||This cutter is 3D printed and technically made for fondant cutting, but works well for any soft food. They are made to order for a very good price and currently on sale at JB Cookie Cutters. They offer a couple styles of gears which you can see at the bottom of the page as well, and you can order them in whichever diameter you wish.
||Another great place to find cutters with Steampunk flare is Etsy! Just check out this one by TheCookieCutterLady, which has sharp edges and comes in a variety of sizes. (She also sells cutters in the shape of swords, plaques, and vintage keys, so check her store out!)
Edible paper (called wafer paper) is a great way to make your iced cookies and cakes look literally hand-painted and come in an incredible array of styles (including custom!) I’ve found a couple excellent examples for your next Steampunk tea party:
||Which of us could ever say “No!” to a Mad Hatter Tea Party? None, I dare say! These edible wafer paper designs are not just for children and come in 8.5 x 11″ sheets with 25 assorted images. They’re available from Fancy Flours, who also carries hundreds of other designs as well.
||Here comes Etsy to the rescue again! QueenofTartsWafers has a delightful array of edible art suitable for your splendiferous needs. The best part? They’re made with potato starch, water, vegetable oil, and food coloring, so they won’t taste strange, but they will certainly look it, in a good way!
Breaking the Mold
Feeling a bit more daring? Check out these extremely cost-effective and awesome-looking molds for icing, fondant, chocolate, and more! These mold kits are all available on Amazon from Anyana:
Those are some good basic design shapes, but what about that last touch of class you want? If you have a local crafting store, chances are they sell Wilton brand cake decorations, which can help you through that last mile to the delicious finish line! Just look at some of these:
Bronze Pearl Dust
Stick-n-Stay Scroll Stencils
Gold Color-Mist Icing Spray
Pearlized Silver & Black Sprinkle Mix
Edible Mustache Candies
And that, dear readers, should get you off and decorating on the right foot. Though, if you need inspiration, I highly suggest you check out the Steam Cakes Steampunk Collaboration gallery on Facebook – some of the pieces there are truly awe-inspiring and incredible to behold.
~ A guest blog by Evalynn
The holidays, as wonderful as they are, can also be, well…a bit challenging. Okay, maybe a lot challenging.
My normal remedy for handling the headaches, stress, and drama brought on by exceptionally busy days, loud in-laws, rampaging children, and endless renditions of Jingle Bells is usually to drink. A lot. However, that isn’t always feasible nor acceptable, so let me present to you an excellent alternative: the Holiday Chocolate Absinthe Bundt Cake (or Steambundt cake, if you will.) This is virtually guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and help you get to the new year in one piece.
Chocolate Absinthe Bundt Cake
Recipe makes 1 9-inch bundt cake, assuming you don’t drink all the absinthe before you begin.
- An electric mixer, strong arms, or an unwitting volunteer with strong arms.
- One 9-inch bundt cake pan
- Wire cooling rack
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup absinthe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground anise
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully blended after each addition.
- Add the absinthe of your choice (if it’s not a brand you’d drink, don’t use it); beat until blended.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and anise in a separate bowl and mix well to disperse ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients from step 3 to the sugar mixture alternately with hot water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Mix in the extracts last.
- Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch Bundt cake pan.
- Bake at 300° for 60 minutes.
- Cool while in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
If you’re like me and you like glaze on your cakes, here’s an excellent quick glaze to go on top of this cake:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon absinthe
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon water
- Zest of one lime
- Once the cake has cooled completely, whisk together the glaze ingredients above until smooth. Please note: Only use the lime zest in the glaze if you plan to eat the cake the same day it’s made.
- With the cake still on a wire rack, place it over a cookie sheet or other pan. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Scoop up the excess glaze that has fallen on the cookie sheet, and continue to pour it over the top of the cake. Make sure to get an even coating on every surface of the cake.
~ A guest post by Evalynn
If you’re like me, you spend a great deal of time thinking about the important things in life: Steampunk, and cocktails. If you’re a LOT like me, you spend as much time as possible combining the two.
What are some ways to make a truly great Steampunk cocktail? Here are a few pointers that I’ve picked up over the years.
First off, if you’re thinking of something sweet, did you know that it is entirely possible to get tiny edible top hats? It is! I’ll admit a secret: I have always wanted to purchase some of them and place them atop a cocktail, but I haven’t yet. I’m giving this secret away to you in case you want to try it first. Please let me know how it turns out!
For sweet drinks, consider this simple combination of flavor and color: take dark rum, pour it halfway into the glass, and add some grenadine. You’ll get a splash of deep red which looks a little like a heart, and it will give you bit of a candied flavor. Then be extra Steampunk and go overboard by putting in some actual candy! (You can even make your own Steampunk candy molds, if you want to.)
In general, if you want to theme your drink, you could use bourbon for something with a Wild Wild West Steampunk; Gin for something British; and Absinthe for something that will make you see airships and possibly travel through time. (Do NOT try combining all three into one drink. Trust me on this one. I’ve heard it can be done, but I believe it involves some sort of dark magic.)
That being said, combining gin and green absinthe will give you something with a lovely light green tinge, and a powerful kick, as well. Absinthes vary tremendously, of course; but choosing something with a strong anise flavour will give you a nice bite, which will compliment the kick of the gin. And you can always add to the verdant look with another sweet alcohol – Midori. Midori doesn’t have a Steampunk tradition, but I find it quite tasty.
(You can get the same color possibilities with vodka, but vodka has a bit less Steampunk history; also, vodka is best consumed neat, preferably while standing atop a snow-covered Russian steppe while grimly awaiting the approach of Napoleon’s army).
I could – and likely will – write whole articles on Absinthe. But if we’re looking for a sweet cocktail with bourbon, let me give this simple advice: bitters! As you might know, despite their name, these drink spices come in a variety of flavors. I’d recommend picking one which really suits your own tastes – this, of course, has the added bonus which comes with all cocktail experimentation: It means you get to try out lots of lovely beverages while you’re figuring out what you like best!
Jeff Mach Events
“I’m sure life would be quite worth living without bacon; but I have no intention of finding out.”
-Steampunk Oscar Wilde
Here’s another recipe from The Steampunk Cookbook!
Bacon is rather like Steampunk: People keep saying that people will get tired of it, or that it will become overexposed. As we’ve seen, the opposite has happened. People seldom even go around talking about how bacon makes everything better; it’s just something that everyone knows, just as we know that absinthe causes inspiration, the best green cheese comes from explorations of the Moon, and top hats look better with goggles on them.
This is another of our extra-easy recipes, and that’s a good thing; we recommend making several batches, because we can pretty much guarantee that a horde of Steampunks will descend upon you and eat every single scrap. It’s quite flexible, too; it can go anywhere from movie night, to the gaming table, to a sophisticated cocktail party.
Yield: 1 dozen
Skill Level: 2
8 slices bacon
1 tomato, chopped
½ onion, chopped
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels.
Lightly sauté the onion in about a teaspoon of the bacon fat until it just starts to turn clear. Set aside.
Crumble bacon into a medium mixing bowl, and mix with tomato, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil.
Separate biscuits into halves horizontally. Place each half into cups of the prepared mini muffin pan. Fill each biscuit half with the bacon mixture.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Waves of steam are, as always, a plus.
Here’s another recipe from The Steampunk Cookbook!
(Sure, the “Steam” in this dish is from boiling water, but in my mind, there’s some sort of enormous machine, larger than a house, which does nothing but whirr alarmingly, crunch gears, and pickle grapes. Actually, if you have such a machine, feel free to use it; otherwise, a saucepan will do.)
Much like Steampunk, this sounds bizarre but turns out to be lovely; also much like Steampunk, this goes wonderfully with cheese. And finally, people sometimes think this stuff is going to be too peculiar, but once they try it, they’re hooked; that is a PERFECT metaphor for Steampunk!
Of course, metaphors are intellectually satisfying, but to get the full benefit here, you should actually consume the dish in question. And that means I’m going to stop talking, and get straight to the recipe.
Yield: 2 jars
Skill Level: 1
2 pint-sized/ 474 ml canning jars
1 pound red or black grapes, preferably seedless
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
(You can use cayenne or other spicy peppers, if you’re adventurous!)
1 cinnamon stick broken in half
1/4 teaspoon salt
Rinse and dry the grapes, and pull them carefully from their stems. Using a small sharp knife, trim away the “belly button” at the stem end of the grape.
Divide the grapes among 2 clean, dry canning jars.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour over the grapes and place one half of the cinnamon stick into each jar.
Chill the grape and brine mixture in their jars in the refrigerator for at least eight hours or overnight. Serve cold.