Over at the Greasy Skillet, Muddy is embracing his inner Paul Giamatti, and thinking about the burden of glamor that the more photogenic Bradley Pitt must bear. I hear where he's coming from. I could watch a movie where Giamatti stands in line at the bank for two hours.
Been making a lot of working class, unglamorous soups lately. Meals that seem intended to be sipped from the cup of a Thermos, sitting on the back of a pickup tailgate or even better, many stories up in the air on an I-beam during your 15 minute lunch break. No fine china or linen table clothes with these meals. Just a sip from the Thermos, and then wipe your mouth with the sleeve of your Carhart jacket.
Form vs function ... can't be all of one with none of the other, but there's no clear mathematical formula to determine how much of one, how little of the other you should have.
What's funny is, it's easy to dismiss things for being "pretty." Like maybe Bradley Pitt. But it's not his fault that ShowBizWeekly puts him on the cover every week, and what exactly do the bio-metrics of his facial features have to do with the construction work he's doing in the 9th Ward? Besides, pretending to not care about fashion and style is one of the lamest conceits out there. After all, Wrangler and Carhart and Cinch all put their logos on their clothes, and no-nonsense working types check each other out for the "right" kind of clothes, tools, pick-ups, you name it.
With that in mind, we present the Robert Redford cupcake. Named after Robert Redford because it might be all pretty on the outside*, like maybe Hubbell Gardiner, but there's still some Jeremiah Johnson in there, with it's whole wheat flour and hearty fruits and nuts.
* or would be, if someone with a steadier hand than mine did the icing.
Banana-Pecan Cupcakes, aka the Robert Redford Cupcake.
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, preferably King Arthur White Whole Wheat
1½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
6 bananas, very ripe and mashed
¾ cup buttermilk
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 ½ cups brown sugar
3 large eggs (room temp)
1 cup pecans, toasted and coursely chopped
Heat the oven to 350º. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In one bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a second bowl, mix the bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In a third bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on med-high until creamed. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until completely incorporated.
Turn down the mixer to low and add the flour mixture and banana mixture in alternating batches, about a cup of each at a time. Mix until just combined, then add the pecans and gently stir until uniformly distributed.
Fill the lined cups about three-quarters full and bake for about 20 minutes. You can test with a toothpick. Cook before removing from the pans.
Makes about a billion, or at least two dozen.
Icing: Standard vanilla buttercream from Mark Bittman's iPhone app.
4 Tbs butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 Tbs cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream butter, work in sugar, drip in the milk, keep beating, stir in the vanilla.