Leftovers revisited, and a blast from the past.
Last night I made black-bottom cupcakes, a surprisingly complicated endeavor that scattered flour, cocoa powder, and eggshells from one end of my kitchen to the other. They are chocolate cupcakes with a cream-cheese-and-chocolate-chip filling, the only cupcake that I would consider acceptable without frosting, a happy marriage of cake and cheesecake. These cupcakes were one of the first things I learned how to make from scratch; if I remember correctly we made them in our middle-school cooking class, taught in a tiny kitchen that overlooked the gym. It was the only thing we made in class that later became part of my culinary repertoire, but I haven't made them in over a decade. Now they come back to me, a blast from the past.
Some things are different this time around. I don't have to clean up my mess with my parents pointing out all the spots I missed. Instead of chocolate chips I have a bar of bittersweet chocolate, chopped by hand. And finally I have figured out that the larger ice cream scoop neatly deposits the appropriate amount of batter into each cupcake liner, while the smaller ice cream scoop (the same one I use for cookies) works perfectly for the cream cheese filling. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out these things. And the cupcakes are even better than I remember, the edges just a little crisp, the cheesecake filling smooth and fluffy, the chocolate chunks intensely bittersweet, the cake soft and not too sweet. I take twenty of the cupcakes to work with me; by the end of the day most of them are gone.
For dinner I have some of my chanterelle-tossed pappardelle waiting to be re-imagined into something else. Naturally, I turn to the half-bundle of kale left over in my fridge. Chopped finely and sautéed in a generous amount of olive oil, it blends in well with the wide noodles and soft slices of chanterelle mushrooms. Actually, it is better than the original version. Now there is only one portion remaining for tomorrow night, but I think I will try something different with that one. For now I have a cupcake to occupy my thoughts, black-and-white, the perfect ratio of soft chocolate cake, cream cheese, and bits of chocolate. I will have to make this again, soon.