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seafaring sweets

My reaction to excessive work seems to be to pile on the non-work "fun" deadlines.  It's a questionable (and potentially exhausting) coping mechanism, but it does keep me from wallowing, doing too much overtime, or being quite as irked by the ham-handed methods used to address "work-life balance" at my place of employment.

Anyway, in the non-work arena, I've offered to try and do some baking for the tea room at TeslaCon II.  There's been a request for vegan and gluten-free options, and I like a challenge.  And, it's an aquatic theme this year, so I'm thinking to work that theme into the cookies.  And, a preference toward organic ingredients.

So far, I've been gathering ideas, restrictions, and ingredients, for some proof-of-concept baking.  I need to remember that vegan also means no honey.  And for some vegans, it also means no refined sugar (apparently it's sometimes refined using bone char - go figure).  Being myself tolerant of most foods, I'll need to do research on all my ingredients to make sure they're okay.  Baking soda is gluten-free, but baking powder needs a label-reading, to see what starch is being used.

For PoC, I'd like to do small batches, but you can't always halve a recipe and have it turn out the same...especially with baking.  Gluten-free and vegan are especially tricky for cooking.  Both flax seed meal and ground chia seeds (with water) are said to be a potential egg substitute.  I did actually make a vegan GF cinnamon rice cookie some time back - it turned out well.

Then add in the Victorian-plausible angle.  I doubt the Victorian era had vegan soy butter, for example.  But they did have some interesting flavoring preferences, such as lavender.  I wonder if I can find Lyle's Golden Syrup in Wisconsin....

Some potential flexibility comes from the TeslaCon II theme, which involves travel to far corners...a Middle Eastern, Indian, or Chinese sweet would be appropriate.

Some ideas so far include an "oyster" cookie (small sandwich cookie with a sugar pearl), a GF lavender rice cookie, a plain shortbread, a vegan curry cake, a vegan/GF molasses cookie (maybe shell-shaped), a lace cookie rolled into an ammonite shape, an anise-rice tuille shaped like a bamboo, half-dipped dates cut to look like squids, and tiny ginger breads.

So far, I don't know if any of these are reasonable - likely many are too fiddly for large-scale production.  I'll gather a whole new kitchen-full of baking ingredients, get it all out of my system, and then hopefully settle down to something practical.

In other TeslaCon news, my knee-length seven-panel walking skirt is coming along well.  The fabric is from an upholstery clearance sale and is decorated with blue and magenta circles-with-points that kind of look like gears.  I plan to wear it with a magenta silk shirt, a vest, and Mom's tall boots (with wool-ish spats if I can manage it).

In work news...the best part of having a room to ourselves to work in is that we're insulated from all the people freaking out about schedule slippage.  Left to ourselves to dig in and work on things, we got plenty done.  It's a mildly-grueling pace, which we'll need to sustain for...at least the next two months.  The voice-track in my head that's pissed about the way we handle projects, schedules, vendors, and people who don't say what others want to hear...is (mostly) being expressed by example only, not by argument.
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