Tres Leches

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Tres Leches by Kimberly Salazar
Story and Photos by Samantha Salazar

A grandmother’s kitchen has the ability to culminate and build a sense of love for food and cooking that would last a lifetime.

Kimberly Salazar, sophomore psychology major, fell victim to this phenomenon as she developed an infatuation with cooking in her grandmother’s kitchen in Laredo, Texas.

“Some of my first memories involve me and my grandma assembling the Christmas tamales while the football game played in the background,” she describes.

Not only did her grandmother influence her passions to cook, but the culture of Laredo had a big impact on the type of food Salazar was most interested in eating and most importantly, cooking.

“Mexican food. I love eating, making, thinking about, and dreaming about Mexican food,” she says. “It’s basically in my veins.”

Since coming to St. Mary’s, cooking has become an even more substantial part of her life. Salazar connects with other St. Mary’s students and likes to do what she does best.

“I love being a student at St. Mary’s because I’m surrounded by so many cultures, especially the Mexican culture and that has only escalated my love for the food,” she says.

Specifically, Salazar loves tamales, menudo, and anything that is covered in mole. However, her favorite dishes are the ones that are the sweetest.

“My favorite part of any meal is dessert,” she says.

Salazar’s overwhelming sweet-tooth is one of the many reasons she chose her favorite dessert of all time, tres leches.

“I chose tres leches because it is not only one of my favorite desserts to make, it reminds me of special times when I was younger.”

Not only is it delicious, Salazar chose the dessert because it represented a specific memory she has of her and her grandmother that she cherishes dearly.

“Tres leches was actually the first dessert I ever made with my grandma,” Salazar describes. “I didn’t get to do much because I was so young, but I remember feeling so important doing all the mixing.”

Salazar advises that future chefs remember to let the cake cool before adding the milks. “Do not forget to let the cake cool before adding the milks,” she says. “It won’t absorb correctly unless it’s room temperature.”

Although Salazar’s grandmother is no longer around, she still finds time to do what they loved to do together.

“She isn’t around anymore, but I feel as if memories will always live on through her recipes and that’s what’s important to me.”

 

Ingredients

• 1 stick of butter

• 6 large eggs

• ¼ tsp baking soda

• ¼ tsp salt

• 1 cup sugar

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 2 ½ cups milk

• 1 twelve oz. can evaporated milk

• 1 fourteen oz. can sweetened condensed milk

• 5 strawberries

 

Directions

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, combine egg whites, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Then, beat mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add egg yolks to the whites and beat until completely combined. With the mixer running on slow, add sugar until combined completely. Using a rubber spatula, fold in butter. Sift ¼ cup flour on top of the mixture and fold to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour, folding in ¼ at a time. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cake bake until golden brown, remove from oven and let cool. Whisk together the milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Finally, Pour the mixture over the cake and let absorb for 3 to 5 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

Arroz Con Leche

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Arroz Con Leche by Amairany Franco
Story and Photos by Valeria Garcia

When Amairany Franco, senior biology major, was asked to prepare a dish for the magazine, her excitement, creativity and unique, competitive personality combined into one source of inspiration.
“They will come for Amairany, they will stay for the food,” she says, after being told about the magazine launch.

“¡Vamos a ganar!” “We will win!”
Franco will be graduating in May and as she waits to hear back from nursing school, she confesses jokingly that cooking wouldn’t be too bad of a profession if things don’t work out.
“To me, cooking is a form of relaxation. Even though it’s not that relaxing sometimes. It’s the after part that is really relaxing,” she says.
Arroz con leche… she had no doubt this delicious dessert would be not only an easy, but tasty way to conquer the hearts and stomachs of the people.
“I started learning how to cook when I was around 13. You know what Mexican moms say, ‘¡Si no sabes cocinar, no te vas a casar!’” she says while laughing.
Franco says that arroz con leche, also known as rice pudding, is known in many places, but her special touch will make it different. This sweet, appetizing dessert is described as a “love or hate” relationship.
“I grew up in a home with a mother and grandmother that made arroz con leche very often and those were always our favorite days!” Franco explains.
There are many dishes that can be passed down generation-by-generation in a Hispanic family, but this one is a must. Franco refers to “patience” as the “secret ingredient” to a perfectly creamy, aromatic dessert.
“Eyeballing ingredients here and there and a pinch of my spark will make this arroz con leche the best you’ve ever tasted,” she says.
She admits the recipe is a fairly simple one, but says that the simplest things in life are always the most life giving.
“You can eat this dessert hot or cold and either way, it will mesmerize you.”
Arroz con leche will not only sweeten your taste buds, it will sweeten your life. Franco concludes by saying not to worry too much about proportions and advises future chefs to have fun while cooking because patience, joy and love will essentially be the most important ingredients.

Arroz con Leche

Ingredients
•    1 cup long-grain white rice
•    7 cups of water
•    1 cup of whole milk
•    1 14-ounce can condensed milk
•    1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
•    1 4-inch cinnamon stick
•    ¾ cups of raisins

Directions
1.    Put the water, rice, and cinnamon stick in a pan set over medium-high heat
2.    Bring to a boil, uncovered, and cook until the rice is tender
3.    Strain out the liquid, discard the cinnamon and reserve the rice
4.    Return the rice to the pan
5.    Stir in the evaporated milk, condensed milk and whole milk
6.    Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the mixture boils
7.    Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick
8.    Add the raisins and stir well

Makes six bowls.

Cream Cheese Muffin Puffs

 

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Cream Cheese Muffin Puffs by David Culbreth
Story and Photos by Jacqueline Bracero

If you ever wanted to try a piece of cinnamon sugar heaven, David Culbreth, senior computer engineering and math major, shares a recipe that hits the spot. His Cream Cheese Muffin Puffs are cinnamon sugar coated biscuits filled with a gooey cream cheese center.
Despite Culbreth’s busy schedule, he tries to bake when he has the time. His baking preference includes treats such as cheesecake, his favorite, and cream cheese muffin puffs.
Culbreth explains how he learned this recipe from his mother, who makes it for their annual Easter Gathering.
According to Culbreth, the recipe as been a family tradition “for as long as [he] can remember.” He claims that these puffs are always a crowd pleaser.
As the community coordinator for the Honors Program, Culbreth let his coworkers try his puffs. The staff members of The Village Residence Halls at St. Mary’s confirmed that the cream cheese muffin puffs were a crowd pleaser.
Culbreth has some tips to make sure the cream cheese muffin puffs are perfect. His first tip is to make sure to completely wrap the cheese cube with the biscuit by pinching the opposite sides of the dough together and then flattening the sides. Once the sides are flattened, fold the sides to the opposite sides.
Also, Culbreth recommends placing the flaps down when placing them on the muffin tin.
“It’ll prevent them from opening up in the oven, keeping the cheese inside,” he says.
The cream cheese muffins puffs are an easy way to impress your friends with a warm sweet treat. Just to make sure to have it with a cup of milk.

Cream Cheese Muffin Puffs

Ingredients
• 1⁄2 cup sugar
• 1⁄8 teaspoon almond extract
• 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1⁄4 cup butter
• 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
• 1 (7 1/2 ounce) can refrigerated biscuits (Buttermilk or Country)

Makes 10 muffin puffs.

Directions
First, Heat oven to 375°. Then, melt margarine in a bowl.  Cut cream cheese into 10 cubes. In a second small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and extract. Dip cheese cube in sugar mixture, then place in the center of a biscuit. Then, fold dough over cheese, pinching to seal. Roll dough into ball; dip the dough ball into margarine and then the sugar mixture again. Place seam side down in an ungreased muffin tin. Repeat with the remaining 9 biscuits and cheese cubes. Bake for 12-18 minutes at 375° or until golden brown.

 

Camarones a la Diabla

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Camarones a la Diabla by Karina Tobias
Story and Photos by John Paul Coronado

Karina Tobias, junior international business and international relations double major, enjoys all types of food from different cultures, but she cannot take any of her food plain—only spicy! Mexican food is her favorite because of her Mexican culture. Tobias’s taste for spicy food matches her spicy and upbeat personality. Tobias is from McAllen, Texas, where her taste for spicy food comes from.
“If I had to choose any food besides Mexican food, it would have to be Italian. Pasta can be combined with the proper ingredients that can create a party in your mouth,” Tobias says.
Tobias does not get to go home very often because of work and school. When she feels homesick, she brings home to her residence hall. She creates Camarones a la Diabla to excite not only her taste buds, but also her spirit.
“I love Camarones a la Diabla because it reminds me of home and it is a dish that I grew up with. It’s a dish that makes my tastebuds and myself dance,” Tobias says.
When Tobias decides to eat Mexican food, her top three favorites are Camarones a la Diabla, tacos and Discada, which consists of many proteins like beef and pork. When it comes to tacos, she has no type of taco!
“Tacos are my go-to food item. It’s so universal, for example, they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Why not just have tacos everyday,” Tobias explains.
“I like making Camarones a la Diabla because it’s simple to make because of the mixing of the ingredients on top of a bed of rice,” Tobias says.
When Tobias makes Camarones a la Diabla, she says that you can decide how spicy you desire.
“Many people cannot eat my version of Camarones a la Diabla because I love mine so spicy that it wakes you up, but I make it less spicy for my friends with a low tolerance of spiciness,” Tobias says.
Ingredients
• one pound of shrimp (any size)
• three Chile de arbol chilies
• two cups of water
• three tomatoes, halved
• half of an white onion, diced
• two tablespoons olive oil
• two green peppers
• one clove of garlic
• salt and pepper
Directions
1. Rinse the chile de arbol.
2. Seed and devein the chile de arbol.
3. In a blender, add tomatoes, one-fourth of onion, garlic, salt, and Chile de arbol.
4. Blend until smooth and set aside.
5. Peel shrimp
6. Add salt and pepper to the shrimp
7. In a large pan, heat olive oil.
8. Add the remaining onion and add the green peppers. Stir for one minute.
9. Add the shrimp. Stir constantly and cook for two to three minutes. (Do not overcook the shrimp or they will be rubbery.)
10. Set heat to low and add the sauce. Still and cook for an additional two to three minutes.
11. Service with bread or any tortilla.

 

A Cheesecake Inspired by The Big Apple

 

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Blueberry Raspberry Cheesecake by Megan Barnett
Story and Photos by Claudia Arredondo

Megan Barnett, freshman computer science major, enjoys riding her bike around the St. Mary’s campus.

When she’s not writing code or riding her bike, Barnett likes to make dessert.

Although she loves all kinds of desserts, brownies and cheesecake are her top two, with cheesecake taking the place for No. 1.
“Making cheesecake has always been one of my favorite things to do because in 2012, my family and I went to New York City and they had amazing cheesecake there. Now, whenever I make cheesecake I’m transported back to my adventure in the Big Apple,” Barnett says as she laughs.
“A hefty slice of cheesecake in New York was like $11, but it was worth it. Now I can make my own for less than that.”
Since Barnett enjoys both spending time with her friends and baking, she decided to combine the two and bake with her friend.
“It’s funny how this particular cheesecake was made. It happened because my friend and I really wanted to bake a cheesecake but instead of going to the store for one ingredient, we combined two recipes,” Barnett shares.
“Essentially, this cheesecake is a hybrid of two recipes we found online, so a Raspberry Blueberry Cheesecake.”
Barnett’s bubbly personality shows through her baking, she is precise with everything that she does and laughs throughout the whole process.

Barnett demonstrates the proper way to measure ingredients.

She emphasizes the importance of getting the measurements right before getting them near the bowl.

That way extra ingredients don’t accidentally make it into the mixing bowl.
“Sometimes if I have other berries I add those to the cheesecake as well. It’s great to have some extra color, it makes things pretty,” she says.

 

Blueberry Raspberry Cheesecake:

Ingredients

For the crust
• 2 ⅓ cups Graham Crackers
• ½ cup melted butter
• ¼ cup sugar

For the cheesecake:
• 4 (8oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 16 ounce container sour cream
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 5 large eggs
• ¼ cup all purpose flour
• ¼ cup milk
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

• ⅓ cup all-fruit blueberry spread
• 2 6 ounce baskets fresh blueberries

Directions

Make crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Wrap outside of 10-inch-diameter spring form pan with heavy-duty foil. Mix until all the crumbs are moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Make filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until will blended. Beat in flour. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Beat in sour cream, milk and vanilla. Pour filling into crust. Place spring form pan in large roasting pan, or bigger pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake cheesecake until just set in center and top is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour. Turn off oven; keep door closed. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from roasting pan with water. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Make topping:
Run small sharp knife around sides of cake to loosen. Release pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Stir blueberry spread in pan over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Spoon spread over top of cake, spreading evenly. Add blueberries to decorate, then add raspberries. Additional berries may be added for more color.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Salmon Carpaccio

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Salmon Carpaccio by Gabriela Santos
Story and photos by Jocelyn Alvarez Bibian

Inspiration can come from everywhere, and certainly it can come from food as well. Not only one can get inspired from food, but one can also be transported to special places and moments in time. As a seafood lover, Gabriela Santos, sophomore engineering management major, thought about the dish she was going to prepare, her immediate response was salmon carpaccio.

“Sea food is my favorite kind of food because of the variety, the richness of flavors, [and the fact that] it is not too heavy for the stomach,” Santos admits. As part of the St. Mary’s community, Santos recognizes that “the community is very welcoming and friendly.” As a student, Santos’ career plans have not always been to become an engineer.

“My first choice of major was culinary arts, but when I graduated [from high school], my interest changed from culinary arts to engineering. I decided to leave cooking as a hobby. Now, my career plans are to become an engineer and work on either finance or production, or both,” Santos says. Santos decided to prepare not only her favorite kind of food, but also one of the dishes she used to enjoy back home at El Salvador.

“This dish was always prepared for special occasions or [for] celebrations in my family,” Santos says. “I chose this particular dish because it is one of my favorite and it is very easy to make.” From beginning to end, Santos enjoyed the process of preparing the carpaccio. She was even more delighted when the time came to let her friends try it and watch them enjoy the dish. The different ingredients in the carpaccio present an explosion of flavor, an intense combination of flavors one would not expect. The combination of the smoked salmon, the leek, capers and cream cheese is like no other.

“I have had good experiences most of the time; people like it when they try it. Bad experiences not so much because the flavor can be adjusted with the ingredients, easy fix,” Santos says.

Although the dish represents an excellent entrée, not everyone may enjoy it the same way. “You have to love raw sea food,” Santos says, “and to use the ingredients based on your preferences and taste of palate.”

Regardless of the particular preferences in seafood, this is a dish everyone should try and judge for themselves the unquestionable richness of flavor from beginning to end.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of smoked salmon
  • Capers
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cream cheese (optional)
  • Ciabatta bread (optional)

Makes two servings.

Directions

First, cut the salmon as preferred (chopped or thin slices) and place on serving plate. Then, cut the leek in slices, separate each layer as much as possible, and place the slices on top of the salmon. Spread the capers over the salmon. Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil over the salmon. Do the same with the lime juice, salt, and pepper. As an option, spread cream cheese on a piece of ciabatta bread and place salmon on top.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Lauren Cook
Story and Photos by Tawny Davis

When thinking about her favorite foods, Lauren Cook, sophomore criminal justice major, wants to curb her sweet tooth with a chocolate chip cookie. Not wanting the extra sugar and aiming to make a healthier option, she decides to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which are dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
Her dream job is to become a professor—a desire that helped her choose this dish because she wants to create something that is sharable, but also healthy to eat.
“I actually love all types of food out there, but I love healthier options because there are just some days where I don’t want to feel like I’m eating just pure sugar,” Cook says.
“However, there are days where I just want pure chocolate.”
Cook decided on her cookies to share with her friends because St. Mary’s “homey and small vibe” makes her feel like everyone can come together and share.
“I chose this dish because they are easy to make and you can share with all your friends and family,” Cook says.
“Anyone can make them and add whatever they want to it to make it their own dish.”
Cook says that this is an easy dish to make because it is made up of a few ingredients and any topping or other ingredient of choice can be added easily.
“You can make it your own and it just involves mixing and making them into balls,” she says.
Cook’s secret is to use dark chocolate on top of regular semi-sweet chocolate because it is the healthier better option.
“The end result should be amazing because it is awarding to know that you created this dish for you and your friends,” she concludes.
Ingredients
• 1 cup of oats
• 2 bananas
• 3 tbsp of chocolate chips (or more if desired)
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl combine mashed bananas, oats and chocolate chips
3. Spoon tablespoons of mixture onto cookie sheet
4. Bake 14 minutes until edges are brown
Makes 12 cookies.