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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cupcake Camp - Aftermath and Recipes, fit the First

     What happens when you combine 5000 cupcakes, 400 sugar crazed foodies, and a generous dash of imagination?  Cupcake Camp!

     When I saw the signs around town, I had to jump in.  I spent much of last week prepping ingredients for four different concoctions:
  • "The Lowcountry Locavore Legend" - a spicy chocolate number with cajeta icing, local pecans, benne wafers and candied bacon
  • "Bubba's Breakfast" - a savory shrimp & grits cupcake with homemade pimiento cheese
  • "West Poplar Pavlova Persimmon Passion" - a meringue cup with persimmon curd and pomegranate seeds (which won "Most Unique" in the Amateur division)
  • "Plane Vanilla" - a square vanilla cupcake with vanilla fondant icing
      I've had lots of Facebook requests for the recipes, so we'll start with the farthest out and work our way back to reality:

Bubba's Breakfast, sexy photo courtesy of Carol Linder Photography
Bubba's Breakfast
it's kind of a project . . . but you can do the parts in advance.

Grits Cupcakes

1 c. leftover grits (cold, not hot, or you'll get pancakes instead of muffins)
1 c. bread flour (so you get a little structure)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 Tb. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. shortening (Lard would not be amiss)
1 c. milk
1/4 tsp. Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash or similar seasoning 

(Penzey's has some goodies.  I could give you a long list of things to mix up, but, Really?  This isn't "Food Should be Tedious".)

Pour it all into a bowl, mix well, pour into cupcake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the tops start to turn golden and the cupcakes feel "set" (The toothpick test isn't going to help).  They will flatten out a little as they cool, and will stay creamy inside.

OK, now we need some cheese . . .

Pimiento Cheese

1 pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used half white and half orange, 'cause it's pretty)

1/2 pound Soft Goat Cheese (I used homemade sharp cottage cheese from Jeremiah Farms' milk and Flora Danica culture, but that's just showing off.  Recipe to follow.  Cream cheese would probably do fine as well; this was mostly to get creaminess with a minimum of mayonnaise, which I abhor.)

3 big honkin' cloves of fresh Garlic, minced fine (because I don't believe in subtlety)

4 oz. jar of diced Pimientos

1/4 tsp of Sriracha (available at any Asian grocery, 
or at Amazon, since we're pimpin' the blog).  Or more.  I vote for more.

1 Tb. Mayonnaise (bleah, but it does improve the texture)

Grate up the cheddar, throw everything in a bowl, and mix it up well with a fork.  Alternately, you can toss it all in the food processor and pulse a few times.  You don't want to make paste; just get everything mixed and keep it chunky.

Keep it in the fridge. (Or freezer - this is a big enough batch for about 6 dozen muffins. Or an idle afternoon with a box of crackers and a six pack.)  If you make it in advance, you'll want to let it warm up a little before you spread it on the muffins.

And last, but not least - Shrimps!

Garlic Broiled Shrimp

This is a riff off of Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp Salad recipe.  Click here for the pre-mutation version.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss 2 pounds of Shrimp with:

1 Tb. Olive oil and 1 minced clove of fresh Garlic 
(or better yet, Roasted Garlic Oil.  Stick around, we'll get to that one soon)
1 tsp. kosher Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tsp spice mix (yeah, Mrs. Dash again.  Sue me.)

Spread the shrimp out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cook for 5-8 minutes (largely depending on size) until pink & firm.

Again, this makes a lot more than you need for one batch.  This is a couple of batches plus dinner.

I think y'all can figure out the rest for yourselves...

Enjoy!  Tomorrow we'll bring you that hot mess o' chocolate.

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