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.

 

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.

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.

Rum Cake

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Rum Cake by Alexis Zepeda
Story and Photos by Sara Jauregui

This delicious Rum Cake manages to create a home away from home for the amazing chef, Alexis Zepeda, senior English major at St. Mary’s University. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Alexis manages to bring some flavors from her family’s traditional recipes to San Antonio, where she now resides for school.

As she prepares for her future career as a graphic designer, her hobbies include art-making, photography, design, and just like any other talented foodie – eating!

“My favorite thing about attending St. Mary’s is that I am able to live in San Antonio, a city full of different flavors.” Cupcakes and ice cream are some of Alexis’s favorite sweets to try around town.

As a result, she spends a lot of time experimenting with traditional recipes by adding her favorite flavors to create new modern desserts. Alexis chooses to share this recipe because it holds a special place in her heart. This delicious Rum cake is a staple in every family function and is traditionally gifted to loved ones during the holidays from her mother.

She gives some tips on how to perfect the Zepeda family’s signature Rum cake such as pouring the glaze over the cake immediately after baking. “The warmth coming from the cake allows the glaze to seep into the cake which adds much more flavor”.

Another tip is to bake the cake for less time than the instructions from the box recommends. “Instead of baking the cake for an hour, I prefer to bake the cake for 45 minutes because it keeps the bread from losing its moisture.”

Finally, she suggests placing the finished cake on a decorative plate for visual appeal. “My family and I always gift Rum cakes to loved ones during the holidays, so every time I make one it’s like a celebration is waiting to happen!”

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (~18 oz.)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.5 oz.)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Rum
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Rum

Makes 12 servings.

Directions

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 F. Grease a bundt cake pan with cooking spray or butter. Sprinkle crushed up pecans on the bottom of the pan. Follow instructions on the box on how to prepare your yellow cake batter. Pour the batter over the pecans and smooth out. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the bread is light golden in color. For the glaze, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan. Add in water and sugar and stir until boiling. Lower the heat and stir the rum into the glaze. After letting the cake cool for a couple of minutes, and while your glaze is still warm, invert onto a serving plate and drizzle part of the glaze on top. With the help of a fork, prick the surface of the cake and continue drizzling with the rest of the glaze. Cool to room temperature and serve.

 

Cheesecake

Cheesecake by Maria Garza and David Culbreth

Videography and Production by Jacqueline M. Bracero

Maria Garza and David Culbreth are both seniors at St. Mary’s University. They are making a cheesecake and explaining how they started cooking/baking together.

Ingredients

  • 4 bars of cream cheese
  • 1 container of sour cream
  • 1 box of graham crackers
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Crush graham crackers into a fine powder. Mix cinnamon into graham crackers. Melt butter in the microwave for 30 minutes. Pour melted butter into graham crackers. Mix crust. Pour crust mixture into spring form pan and press to form crust. With an electric mixture, begin to mix the cream cheese one at a time with sour cream. Beat eggs into cream mixture one at a time.  Add sugar into cream mixture 10. Pour cream mixture into crust. Bake in the oven at 350 degree for 1 hour. Let the cheesecake rest until cool to touch. Place cheesecake in fridge for 12 hours. Serve and enjoy.