Alright everybody, thanks to all the wonderful folk who voted in the poll a few weeks ago, it's time for a proper Firefly Shindig! (And just in case Firefly wasn't your chosen geekery, I've added a new poll with more options for future nerd parties - cast your vote!)
|Pretty cunning, don't you think?|
I admit, I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon's show Firefly (and the subsequent film Serenity). Such a fan in fact, that I've actually thrown a Firefly themed shindig before. In order to be as comprehensively nerdy as possible, I went ahead and included some of the throwbacks along with the new creations I cooked up just for this.
|Girl's a mind reading genius, |
can't even figure out how to eat a rice planet!
To start things off, I wanted to pay homage to River's problematic food, the Ice Planet (from the Firefly episode The Message). I didn't want to run the risk of getting my guests all melty though, so instead of ice cream or the like, I used homemade puffed rice treats. Construction was simple enough - nuke marshmallows, add krispies, sculpt a ball with a string stuck in the center, tie to a chopstick. Voila - Rice Planet.
|The apples are grenade free... probably.|
True to its description, the problematic food was quite the challenge to eat and most of the guests resorted to stabbing the sphere with the chopstick and eating it like a popsicle. Seen with the problematic food are some strawberries fresh from the monastery, apples from the front and a steaming cup of Serenitea. With the appetizers in the bag, it was time to move on to the main dish.
|Protein cake in the making (there's eggs!)|
While I usually enjoy baking from scratch, I went ahead and used a box of yellow cake mix this time plus all the relevant ingredients (and a few extra). Fun Tip: In most baking recipes you can substitute up to half the amount of vegetable oil that is called for with APPLESAUCE without compromising the texture or taste of the product. I like doing this with brownies, as it makes the final product much less greasy and just healthier enough that I don't feel so bad for eating it. Moving on...
Once the batter was prepared, I separated the mix into three portions and added food coloring to each until they were the appropriate shades - red-orange, orange and basic yellow. Then it was time to layer it in.
Since with traditional bundt cakes the top becomes the bottom, I put the yellow in first, then the orange and finally the red-orange, intending to flip it right side up when it came out of the oven. In the meantime, I had the pleasure of cleaning the bowls.
|To the baker go the spoils.|
By the time the cake was done baking, I realized my plan had a minor flaw. The pan I had chosen was too big for the batter and the cake had grown quite volcanic in its puffiness while the bottom was as flat as a pancake. (Should anyone else try this sometime, I would definitely recommend a more traditional, round bottomed bundt pan and doubling the amount of batter.) Not to worry though, even if the cake itself had to be upside-down, the individually sliced hats could still be righted.
Now it was time for the fun part - decorating! For the glaze I went with the simple powdered sugar and water combo, adding a little bit of orange extract and food coloring for flavor and general prettiness. The puffballs on top are really gumdrops in disguise.
|Color layering success!|
To serve the slices, I flipped them on the plate (as originally intended) and drizzled extra icing down the sides for ear flaps/tassels. Adding two more puffballs on the ends made a culinary Jayne hat good enough to eat.
|A man walks down the street with that cake, |
you know he's not afraid of anything.
Mission accomplished. Now, if I ever throw another Firefly shindig, I might have to try bundt style Jayne hats made out of Jell-O or cornbread, perhaps served with... Shepherd's Pie???
|Even Nathan Fillion is impressed!|
Thanks again to everyone for helping pick out which type of nerdiness to celebrate! Keep watching weekly for more creative exploits!