Sunday, July 19, 2009

Basil Cupcakes with Mango Filling

Makes 12.

For the cupcakes

1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

For the icing

8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
Several basil leaves
Basil syrup (see below)

For the mango filling

1 large mango, diced small
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Several basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons basil syrup (see below)

For the candied basil garnish

several basil leaves
1 egg white
superfine sugar

For the basil syrup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 large bunch basil

To make the cupcakes:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; stir the vanilla into the buttermilk. Set both mixtures aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar until very light and fluffy, several minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. On low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients, mixing just until fully combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add half the liquid ingredients, another third of the dry ingredients, the other half of the liquid ingredients, and the remaining third of the dry ingredients.

Fill twelve lined cupcake tins halfway, and bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until done.

Use a toothpick to poke several holes in each cupcake and brush with the basil syrup.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely, then stuff with the mango filling. Ice the cupcakes and garnish with sugared basil.

To make the icing:

Combine the basil leaves with the sugar in a food processor. Beat the butter and cream cheese together for several minutes. Add the basil sugar, mixing at low speed to combine, then beat at high speed until icing is light and fluffy. Beat in two tablespoons of the basil syrup. Use plastic wrap to form an airtight seal over the surface of the icing, and chill until ready to use (if it tightens, loosen it back up with a whisk before piping).

To make the filling:

Combine ingredients and chill overnight. Strain for an hour or so before using.

To make the garnish:

Using a pastry brush, coat each leaf lightly with egg white and dredge in sugar. Set on parchment paper to dry overnight.

To make the syrup:

Simmer water and sugar over high heat for a few minutes. Remove from heat, and steep the basil for several minutes. Strain.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pork and Leeks and Apples

Dinner was primarily this recipe (thank you, epicurious!); I made a few changes to suit my available ingredients and laziness levels:

Feeds 8ish

6 GIGANTOR leeks, what they have at Monterey Market right now. Seriously Gigantic, like 8ish normal-sized ones?
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 c heavy cream
Lots of sea salt and pepper

Slice leeks thinly, wash thoroughly. Heat butter until melty, add leeks, season with salt and pepper, sautee at high heat until much of the liquid is evaporated. Add the cream, reduce until thick and creamy and awesome, adjust salt and pepper.

4 large Fuji apples
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup peppercorns
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 c cognac
1/3-1/2 c chicken broth
Sea salt and pepper

Slice apples thinly, heat butter until melty, add apples, season with salt and pepper, add peppercorns. When much of the liquid has reduced, sprinkle with brown sugar and caramelize. Add thyme, toss, and add cognac. When liquid has reduced, add broth and simmer until most of the liquid has disappeared.

2-3 lbs pork loin roast
Sea salt and pepper
Sprigs of fresh thyme

Pre-heat oven to 400ยบ. Slice loin in 2 lengthwise (I did this bc of time constraints), sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and tuck sprigs of thyme under and on top of pork, put in oven. Roast for approximately 3o minutes (if using, meat thermometer should register 160ish--the meat will continue cooking once out of the oven), adjusting temperature if cooking too quickly.

Plate with a layer of leeks. three thin slices of pork, topped with apple slices.