The Anticipation

Absence Absinthe makes the heart tart grow fonder.

It has been a long time readers, and I owe you and myself several weeks of updates. So let me begin.

It’s ironic that it takes something repulsive like an o-chem midterm to really bring people together. Solidarity and shared pain really bond us as humans. The last few weeks have been tolerable only because of such people in my life – Kim, Kelly, Kari, Karen (K-coincidence?) and Vivian to name a few. My girls! Ice cream and jello shots to help us through. And we are so close to the end! Oh the anticipation! Five weeks and counting to the glory of summer days, sunshine pouring over our halter tops and bathing suits, and warm winds causing our flowy skirts to billow, bringing breeze between flip-flop clad feet. Those are the days I live for – my motivation for the next 5 weeks. God help me. But with five weeks, the anticipation of baking is already making my fingers tingle and I’m all ready for the kitchen. The last time I was even near the oven was as far back as Easter (late March), when I made a batch of cupcakes for my little cousin’s birthday, and now it is already mid April. The recipe is listed below. Much has happened since then, with plenty of food ops (as far as San Diego too) which will be written about and posted very soon. Anyway, as of this upcoming Thursday, I will break my dry-spell, and let the flood waters come rushing in. It has been far too long, and I need my kitchen time. Anticipation indeed.

To look forward, however, this weekend’s menu should be interesting. I AM breaking a 3 week abstinence from blogging and kitchen time, so I am rather desperate. I am currently thinking…

  • another cupcake recipe, this time from The Cupcake Deck! by Elinor Klivans, author of the highly recommended Cupcakes!
  • Bake or Break’s Oatmeal Cookies, for my students who I have abandoned and miss dearly
  • and to satisfy my caffeine addiction, I would love to make some sort of a mocha/espresso cake/cupcake thing, so I have looked at several recipes A, B, and C to list a few. any recommendations any one?

I am also attending a wedding this weekend, so there will be a post about it, no doubt. And although midterms are over, I am still working on my presentation for Cal’s School of Public Health Poster Session in which I will be presenting my work on formaldehyde and FEMA trailers for Hurricane Katrina victims. That should prove to be interesting as I am the youngest participant, with absolutely no titles or degrees to my name, unlike the other students who all have a string of impressive MD’s and PhD’s or MPH’s following theirs. I am just Anh. Anh Duong. And I’m scared shiiiteless.

The Forms!

As you may know, I have moved beyond cookies and expanded into the realm of cakes and cupcakes. Diversification is a great thing. So, I tried out a Martha recipe, which is suppose to be fail-proof, but I didn’t end up with the perfect cupcake – and for that I was slightly disappointed. No, don’t get me wrong. These are fairly good. Perfect for sating a sweet-tooth hankering, and even more perfect for a bunch of wild 4th graders who always love sugar, no matter the form. But, it wasn’t THE cupcake. See the distinction? It wasn’t my PERFECT cupcake. So, I am still in search of that light airy cupcake in my dreams… somewhere, Plato is laughing at me right now, because such things only exist in The Forms. Woe be to Anh! But onward I search in the dark shadows of this world… With a little help from you all, I shall prevail, so please share your cupcake recipes!

Martha’s Simple Cupcakes Three Ways

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
Vanilla, raspberry, or chocolate buttercream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with your choice of buttercream.

I guess this post will just have to suffice until Thursday. Did I mention that my ochem exam is in 50 mintues? So instead of cramming in the last intermediate step to a Robinson Annulation or synthesis of some obscure polysaccharide, I decided to post an entry… consider it a way to calm down before 2 hours of high-strung tension. So, until soon and happy cooking!


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