Monday, You Aren’t Even Bringing Me Down

by Jill

So . . . buttermilk. I have to say that I’ve never made anything using buttermilk before. Not a big deal, I realize. The thing is, I only needed a small amount of the stuff for the cupcakes I made yesterday and now I have nearly a whole container of it sitting in my fridge. I suppose I could make buttermilk biscuits. Or find another cupcake recipe that calls for buttermilk. What do you guys do with buttermilk? (Other than pancakes because I don’t make pancakes during the week and I’m not sure the milk will keep until the weekend.) If any of you (three readers) have a tasty but not too complicated recipe for something that contains buttermilk, please, send it my way.

Now, the cupcakes. I finally got around to making the chocolate & bacon cupcakes that I mentioned in a previous post. Despite being a huge chocolate lover, I’m not a big chocolate cupcake fan. In fact, chocolate would probably be the last flavor I would choose if I was in a fancy cupcake shop. I typically prefer vanilla or something like that for my cupcakes. (Though, I do love red velvet.) For me, when it comes to chocolate and baked goods, a chewy dark chocolate-y brownie will always come in first place. I think I might even like brownies more than cupcakes but that is a whole different post altogether. (Later, people, later.)

Anyway, the bacon cupcakes turned out to be pretty dang tasty. I love the sweet/salty combination (dark chocolate covered pretzels, anyone?) and could not resist when I first saw this recipe. Plus, bacon. Bacon makes everything better. These cupcakes are proof! I wanted to use fancy sea salt on top of the cakes but I didn’t have any so I used fancy sugar and a tiny bit of kosher salt. And it is not as bizarre as it might sound. The flavors are quite complimentary. I wish I could send a cupcake off to all my cupcake loving friends. (Dave, I did set one aside for you.)

Is this turning into a cupcake blog?! Jesus. It seems to be all I ever talk about.

But here, take a look at the finished product:

Chocolate & Bacon Cupcakes
The chocolate I used was not the Hershey’s Special Dark that the recipe calls for—I could not find that stuff anywhere! Nor could I find any suitable dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa! So I settled for regular Hershey’s baking cocoa and called it day. I think the dark chocolate would have taken these bad boys up a notch in the rating scale but they were still good, regardless.

You want one now, don’t ya?

Oh yes, you do.

Icing Wave
I didn’t spend my entire weekend baking. I also went to my aunt’s 40th surprise birthday shindig in Jerz. It was great—eating and drinking and all-around good times. Plus, I got to wear my lovely new yellow shoes. I wish I had an outfit to wear with them every single day because they are pretty fabulous.

My Precious Yellow Shoes
Are they not?!

Dinner was at Sakura, a Hibachi restaurant in Turnersville. Let me just say, Hibachi is a great way to give my large family a reason to hoot and holler, loudly, in public. (And it was a really great idea, by the way.) I’ve only been to a Hibachi restaurant once and I don’t remember it being nearly as lively as it was on Saturday. There was food being thrown, sake being squirted down people’s throats . . . total mayhem. But good mayhem. I found it especially endearing to see my grandparents and Marcia’s mom getting bits of rice and broccoli thrown at them, all the while keeping a smile on their faces and laughing pretty damn hard. Total team players.

Happy Grandmothers
Notice the rice stuck to my Nan’s face. Hilarious.

Can't Stop Laughing (even after getting rice thrown in your face)
I think head-in-your-hands laughter means that throwing food is fun. Or, that getting food thrown at you is even more fun.

More photos from the evening can be found here. I start laughing to myself just thinking about the whole event.

Edit – After looking through all the photos again, I realize just how non-Italian I look compared to everyone else in my family. I’m such the odd woman out, all pale and full of freckles. Ha!

Completely unrelated to cupcakes or rice-throwing, it’s really freakin’ gorgeous outside today. I wish I could skip the next three hours of work and just laze about in the park. Stop reading this and go outside, people! Enjoy it for me!