cooking / local food

Two Rights

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You know how the most delicious thing in the world is a fresh, super-sweet peach that gets its golden juice all over your new white shirt and new white pants, not to mention your face and your hair and your glasses? Right. Agreed.

Why do we make peach cobbler? Why do we make peach pie? Do we really need all this enhancement to eat a great peach? Not really. But you see, the main principle of Science is this: take a good thing, add more good things, and you get a GREAT thing. It’s the principle God used to create the earth, even though we sorta had to go and mess it up. It’s the principle that early man must have used to create the cooking process: fire plus rocks plus clay! Two wrongs sure don’t make a right, but two rights don’t make a wrong either! Here are some rights:

peach

and

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These peach cupcakes came into being when my friends and I wanted to make cupcakes. “What kind?” I asked, waiting for the standard answer: chocolate. It never came, instead I heard: “Peach! Peach! Peach! Peach! Peach!” We struck a deal: One person would handle the filling, the other the batter, the other the  frosting. Also, we would divide the cooking music evenly: half country (shudder), half more diverse and inspirational options, i.e., Chicken Train by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Laser beams. In your dreams.

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Despite the background music, these things were a smash. Basic vanilla cupcakes, spoon out a tiny hole in the top. My friends were painstaking about this. They are my better halves (mm-hm, halves) when it comes to detail. Some sliced summer peaches are softened in a skillet with butter, sugar, and vanilla. “Do we have to add the ‘peach lik-oower’?” asked the Chief of Filling. No, I replied, we did not, abruptly shutting the fridge in which the Chief of Filling had been searching for wine. The peaches were then puréed in the blender, chilled, and used to fill the cupcakes. Last came the cream cheese and brown sugar frosting which had a narrow escape from obliteration once our fat little fingers discovered it. Need I say that you should make these cupcakes before the peaches are, gasp, gone?

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Peach Explosion Cupcakes

Cake: 2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1 stick butter, room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

Peach filling (makes lots of extras): 3 medium peaches, unpeeled, diced

1 tbsp butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

Frosting: 1 8-oz package cream cheese (preferably 1/3-less-fat)

½ cup brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup milk

Directions: To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients until smooth and combined. Fold in peaches with a spoon. Grease 12 muffin cups and spoon in batter in even amounts. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and done through. For the peach filling, heat a medium skillet on medium. Melt butter in skillet, add peaches, sugar, and water, and bring to a bare simmer. Cook for 10-13 minutes or until water is peach-colored and peaches are very soft. Take off the heat and pour mixture into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. To fill cupcakes, cut out a small circle (3/4-inch by ¾-inch) from the top of each cupcake. Spoon about a tablespoon of filling into each cupcake. If you like, you can frost them with the frosting too: Beat frosting ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes or spoon on top. Store at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for 4-5.

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