Road to Recovery

20 04 2008

How does one recuperate from 3 long weeks of intense pressure, tangible stress and minimal sleep (<3hrs/night)? Did I mention my hair is thinning and my skin is acne-marked more than before? Short term, this is okay. But this lifestyle is certainly not sustainable. So post-midterms and papers, I promptly fell into bed, took a pill and slept straight for almost 11-hours, more in one night than I usually get in work week. Ah, life of an undergrad. So, it’s time to purge and I spent all of today up on my feet in the kitchen, completely disconnected from the world. Just me and my kitchen. I AM trying to recovery, and this is just how I do it. It is very therapeutic. And I am healing.

Firstly, I must explain that I cannot live without my students. I miss being able to reenact long stories in front of the class, and I miss the intimate setting of my classroom. We are tucked off to the side of the hallway, a small compact space not conducive to learning at all. It is interrupted all the time by passerbys who frequently sit in to hear these stories. Ask Linda, she’ll tell you. But I miss my students, so to treat them, I made Bake or Break’s Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies and Stupendous Treats’ Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes. These Oatmeal Cookies are a favorite around here, and especially perfect for retreatants with voracious appetites. And I have been in pursuit of a lighter-than-air cupcake, and I really think these Stupendous Treats Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes hit the spot. And the best part? Half a cup of strong black coffee. But wait, it doesn’t end here. In my absence, my family has been through a rather grueling week of depositions and nuisances, so I decided to make dinner at whim – Crispy Fish Tacos w/ Sweet Potato Chips and Mexican Red Rice. I was inspired after my visit to Sol Food, and something Latin flavored would break the hackneyed flavors of monotony.


Bake of Break’s Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

This is a re-post. I used walnuts this time and they tasted fine. Sometimes these will turn out a little ugly shaped, a bit lumpy and not particularly round. It’s a hit and miss with me, but the delicious taste is always dependable.

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1 & 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 & 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°.
Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugars and mix well. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add gradually to butter mixture. Mix until blended. Stir in cranberries, pecans, and oats.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto lined or lightly greased baking sheets. Place cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Then, transfer to wire racks to finish cooling. Melt white chocolate and transfer to a zip-top bag. Cut the corner of the bag and use to drizzle white chocolate onto cookies. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes
These are soo good! Not at all like those dense hard things I attempted in the past, but a yummy, fluffy, moist but not wet inside with crunchy/chewy top. I am soo glad to have found this recipe, thank you Whitney soo much for posting. These are now my go-to recipe for chocolate cupcakes. I did not try out her cream cheese frosting, or any frosting at all. I topped each off with a bit a white chocolate for visual effect, and they were ready for school.

Ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup strong black coffee
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add egg, sour cream, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes. Pour into cupcake liners (about 2/3 full, these rise very nicely).
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcakes comes out clean.

Crispy Fish Tacos w/ Sweet Potato Chips and Mexican Red Rice

I’ve been told that I often veer on the side of over seasoning things, so this time I undershot, and unfortunately, the result was just bland! My fault entirely, so next time repost will be infinitely times better. A good first attempt though…

Fish Tacos:

Ingredients
Oil, for frying
2 cups panko bread crumbs*
3 eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds halibut, snapper, or other firm flesh white fish
8 corn tortillas
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
Pink Chili Mayo, recipe follows
Lime wedges, for garnish

To fry the fish: Fill a large heavy bottomed pot about 1/3 full of peanut oil. Heat to 375 degrees F. While the oil is heating, put the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish. Break the eggs into another shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, and beat them with 2 tablespoons of water. Cut the fish into 1-inch wide strips. Dip them into the egg, then coat them well with the breadcrumbs. Set aside and let them rest for 10 minutes. Cook the fish a few pieces at a time until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

To make the tacos: Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat. Warm a corn tortilla in the pan until it softens, about 30 seconds. Place a fish strip on it, top with some of the shredded cabbage, and a big dollop of Pink Chili Mayo. Squeeze on some lime juice, roll up, and eat!

Pink Chili Mayo:
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Juice 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the mayonnaise, sour cream, peppers, and lime juice in a blender and process to a puree. Refrigerate the mayo for 1/2 hour to let the flavors to blend; taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


Mexican Red Rice

This is an Ingrid Hoffman recipe from Food Network’s Simply Delicioso. I personally find her irritating and the food she usually makes isn’t all that spectacular or impressive, but I’m very glad I found this recipe. It is very good.

Ingredients
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon achiote powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, achiote powder, and bay leaf. Cook and stir until the rice is opaque, about 2 minutes,

Add the tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the liquid evaporates to just below the level of the rice, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to the low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.

Sweet Potato Chips

This is something I came up with on the spot. Nothing too fancy or inspired, but very good. Thinly sliced sweet potato, deep fried then sprinkled with Fuego Mix.

Fuego Mix:
1/4 cup paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic granules
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons oregano

Thanks for reading! Sending my love,

—Anh—

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5 responses

20 04 2008
Jerry

Um yum! Love the fish tacos!

20 04 2008
Quynh

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes-
These cupcakes are so good! (=^_^=)~♥
I would of had more but Anh wouldn’t let me >.<#
Anyways back to the cupcakes!
The outside was moist and chewy likse a good soft brownie, not like the kind that stick to the insides of your mouth like Safeway’s brownies.
The inside however was a whole different experience! A light moist yet fluffy interior full of choclate flavor that has a good amount of coffee, enough to maybe give you that satifying boost.@_@
BTW everybody, when Anh gave me some of these cupcakes, she had added touch of white chocolate on top which helped take the edge off the black coffee.
YUM!
Bunnie of Approval: Four Hearts!
()__()
(=’.’=)~♥♥♥♥
(“)_(“)

22 04 2008
bullishmoves

Wow if all of that are for your students… I wish a had a teacher like you when i was in school….

22 04 2008
mimietvivi

Anhi! You’re working so hard. Give yourself a break, and call me sometime. haha ;) Anyway, I just miss you <3 take careee

21 07 2009
For Good « Confessions from the Cookie Jar

[...] made 2 of these loaves, and they were gifted to special relatives. I also made some good cranberry oatmeal cookies for friends (who coincidentally are also going through breakups…) It felt wonderful. Let me [...]

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