Stuck For Valentine's Day? Try Meat Cupcakes
|Photos by Bradford Schmidt|
"What about Meat Cupcakes?"
"The what now? Are you making reference to that insipid Michael Jackson song from the Grammys?"
"No, no - I just had a vision of meat cupcakes and thought you'd like to make them for your column."
I'd been wondering about what I should do for this week's Meatist for days, running through what I've written about and what I haven't, and decided to ask my wife, Joanna, what she thought. In three seconds flat, she comes up with meat cupcakes. And now
she was standing across the room grinning her ass off, looking like Johnny Depp had just wandered into the room and asked her to dance.
"You could do them with whipped potatoes, and sprinkles made out of bacon or peppers, you know, stuff like that," she said dreamily.
So it's two weeks in a row she proves I'm no idiot (at least as far as chick selection goes), first with her cheese variation on the Bacon Explosion, and now with meat-fucking-cupcakes, something I doubt I would have ever thought of on my own. I'm always up for meat experiments though, and with Valentine's Day just around the corner, the timing couldn't be better; chocolates and roses can't hold a candle to a platter of meat presented in cupcake form.
I decided to go with a standard meatloaf recipe: a pound of lean ground beef (I normally advocate the fattiest cuts for this sort of thing, but the grease/cupcake pan thing could get gnarly), a pound of ground pork, some ground veal. Fresh onions softened in a buttery frying pan, some egg, some ketchup.
"What are you going to cook 'em in, metal or silicone?"
"Both. Gotta hedge my bets here."
I started to fill the muffin pans, packing the meat mixture in tightly, but allowing it to overflow each cup. Meat shrinks when it cooks, which meant I didn't have to worry about them growing together into some sort of nine-footed mega-meat-cupcake. They'd also be easy to remove, so foil wrappers were unnecessary.
I decided that I'd also make some meat muffins while I was at it, which meant I'd have to glaze them with something to make them extra attractive.
|The way to a man's heart: piping potatoes on his meat cupcakes.|
Joanna brought it over, and I did a quick brush of ketchup over each muffin, leaving the cupcake-destined meat pies alone. Into a 350-degree oven, checked with a meat thermometer at 30 minutes, and they were done. First thing I notice, metal or silicone makes no damn difference at all. Every cupcake was easy to remove, and they all needed to be pulled from the time immediately to keep them from sitting in their own grease. I let them cool on a plate while I made some instant mashed potatoes.
Yes, instant; I'm the Meatist, not the Root Vegetablist, and I have no particular need to honor the potato. Plus, I was in a hurry. In retrospect though, a fresh, whipped potato mixture with smashed garlic would have been the bees knees.
After the potatoes cooled sufficiently to thicken and fill a pastry bag without burning my hands, it was time to try and pipe them onto the cupcakes. Which I sucked at. But then, I'm a spaz like that, and Joanna makes handmade artisan soaps.
"Jo, would you come pipe my potatoes please?"
She looked up from the work she was doing with our son, Desmond.
"You charmer. Did that line work at the bars too?"
After the potatoes were applied, it was simply a matter of chopping some Poblano chiles up for sprinkles and adding some crushed red pepper for color and heat. The end result looked awesome, tasted great, and, if you're dating the right person, is bound to get you laid this Valentine's Day.
Bradford Schmidt is The Meatist. He's also author of the blog Bone in the Fan. He lives in northern Palm Beach County and hopes to receive a meat layer cake for his birthday this year.