Monday, December 21, 2009

Eggnog Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes:

(double this recipe to make 24 cupcakes)
1/4 cup dark rum or bourbon
1 cup eggnog
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.In a small bowl, mix together rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, vinegar and vanilla.In a large bowl, mix together nutmeg, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour in rum mixture and whisk until just combined. Divide evenly into muffin tins (a 1/4 cup measure is a good tool for this).Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.Cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

Prepare a yellow "pudding in the mix", following directions but substituting eggnog for the liquid and adding 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 cup dark rum. Fill cupcake liners and bake, allow to cool.

Eggnog Pastry Cream

- 1 cup eggnog (do not use fat-free)
- 1 cup whole milk
-4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup rum

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the eggnog and milk to a simmer.
2. While the mixture is heating, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl.
2. Temper the egg mixture by slowly whisking in 1/3 to ½ of the heated eggnog mixture, then whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the eggnog mixture in the saucepan. Return the pan to a medium-low to medium burner, bring the mixture to a low boil, and cook, whisking constantly, for about 4 to 6 minutes total, or until mixture is very thick. (Be careful not to overcook or the eggs will scramble.)
3. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill for at least 2 hours.
Fill cupcakes with pastry cream (thin with eggnog if too thick).

Whipped cream marshmallow frosting:

Funny story-- it was getting pretty late, and I only had less than an hour to get the frosting made and on the cupcakes (and get cleaned up and dressed for the party..). So instead of making stabilized whipped cream using gelatin (which doesn't always work out well anyway, especially when rushed), I remembered that I had a container of "Marshmallow Fluff" in the cupboard. So basically what I did was:
Whipped a pint of whipping cream until soft peaks began to form using a chilled balloon whisk attachment and chilled mixing bowl, and then added a small container of marshmallow fluff and 1/4 cup rum. Whip this until stiff peaks form, and then pipe onto cupcakes. Sprinkle with nutmeg to taste. Chill cupcakes until ready to serve, allowing them to sit at room temperature for one hour.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Solitary Life, Lamb Orichette, continued:

If I were on my own, I'd eat this three times a week (at least):

Pinn Oak Farms lamb sausage, removed from the casings and browned with red pepper flakes and fresh minced garlic to taste, sauteed with broccoli rabe, cut into 1" pieces until crisp-tender, and tossed with orichette pasta that's been drizzled with a good quality olive oil. I'd top this all with crumbled chevre and eat it with large quantities of red wine (which tastes mind numbingly amazing when combined with the goat cheese).

And I would never feel guilty about going to the gym. Or have pets that bark.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Things I would do differently were I not married (hypothetically speaking:-):

On the cusp of being completely irritated with my family, I would like to compile a list of the things I would do differently in the event I only had my own self to worry about:
1) I wouldn't own a TV, just have a decent computer I can plug into speakers for my Pandora Radio and watch DVD's/Netflix streamed movies on.
2) I would almost never prepare an evening meal (except for lavish dinner parties in which I invite everyone I know and we'll laugh, drink wine, and engage in much debauchery). I'd live completely on large healthy breakfasts, medium sized lunches, and smoothies and juices for dinner. I'd be a vegetarian 85% of the time and only eat meat from local farmers.
3) My house would be small; I'd own very little except that which made me smile because it reminded me of something and plenty of useful things for preparing food-- and maybe some books.
4) My gardens would be lavish but manageable for a change.
5) I would invent my own holidays and ignore all the ones that I find tiresome: none of mine would involve buying anything unless it was something that could be used to make merriment after the consumption of too much alcohol. None of them will involve instant mashed potatoes or turkey, mythical animals, or guilt.
6) I would take at least 4 trips a year; somewhere different each time, with friends.
More later: