Crafting the art of Sushi

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Dragon Roll Sushi by Louie Anthony Cortez
Story and photos by Ricardo Reyes

St. Mary’s University has and continues to bring a diverse set of students through its doors over the years, each with their own set of skills. Louie Anthony Cortez was one of those students, skilled in writing and cooking.

Cortez graduated from St. Mary’s with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2000 and a master’s degree in English Literature and Language in 2010. For over 15 years, Cortez has served as the office coordinator at the Blume Library. His passions have always included writing and cooking. While writing is a prominent activity in his life, the skill of cooking came later.

Cortez’s love for cooking began after he graduated with his bachelor’s degree and returned to live at home with his parents.

“Cooking provided me the opportunity to foster a relationship with my mother I did not have before college. It also made me much more independent,” Cortez says.

Like many Hispanic families, food is a way of communicating and bonding. While his first dishes were traditionally Hispanic recipes like enchiladas or tamales, Cortez has also taken a fondness for Asian cuisine.

The dragon roll sushi is one of Cortez’s favorite entrees because of its simplicity and versatility in combining some of his favorite seafood: crab and shrimp.

“Not only is it delicious, but I love making this dish with friends. It is a lot of fun teaching someone how to make their own sushi,” he says.

Dragon Roll Sushi

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sushi rice
  • 4-6 nori sheets
  • 20 medium size shrimps
  • 1 cup Tempura
  • 2 Avocado
  • 2 Cucumber
  • 100gr Tobiko
  • 100gr BBQed eel or Crab

Directions

  1. First, mix the tempura with a little bit of water and stir until combined to a thick even mixture. Cut off shrimp tails, and dip the shrimps, one by one, in tempura mixture and deep fry for about 30 sec or until the outside gets golden-brownish.
  2. Slice the cucumber into long slices, and use a peeler to peal thin avocado layers.
  3. Spread the rice on the nori sheet, and flip it over the mat so that the rice is now facing upwards. Lay the avocado the cucumber sticks you have cut in advance, and line up some tempura shrimps and on top of that slices of eel. Roll it inside-out style and cut the endings, but leave the rest whole for now
  4. Elegantly, cover the top of the roll with the layers of avocado you made with the peeler, and use the bamboo mat to tighten it to the roll.
  5. Use a little spoon to carefully spread some Tobiko on the roll.

Makes 2 servings

6th Magazine Launch Party

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The sixth Taste of StMU magazine launch hosted over 85 people to try the dishes of 14 different chefs on Wednesday, April 12 in UC-A. Each chef was invited by one of the graphic design students in Brother Dennis Bautista’s graphic design course.

Bautista, professor of English and communication studies, teaches his graphic design course every other semester. Throughout the course of the semester, the students prepare for their magazines. The course begins by offering several tutorials on the programs needed to produce the magazine. After the tutorials, photojournalism tips, gathered content and much needed collaboration from classmates, a magazine is born.

This year the students each created a 12-page, full color magazine. The featured dishes at this year’s magazine launch included Sopa de Letra, Flan de Queso, Canoas, Siracha Chicken Alfredo, Southern Fried Cabbage, Cheezy Pizza Roll-Up, Quickie Chili, Bibimbap, Enchiladas Verdes, Dragon Roll Sushi, Strawberry Jelly Cake, Meatloaf, Tinga and Pizza Rolls.

Along with the graphic design students, faculty, staff and alumni, there were also five professional graphic designer judges in attendance. The five judges included Emily Harris, graphic designer at St. Mary’s; Kristen Cadena, graphic designer at St. Mary’s; Martha Dixon, alumna (B.A. in English communication arts) and founder of 50-foot Creative Design and Marketing; Amanda Rodriguez, alumna (B.A. in English communication arts) and marketing programs developer at Southwest Business Corporation; and Charles Ramirez, alumnus (B.A. in English communication arts) and graphic design coordinator or the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Each judge was invited to attend the event by Bautista. The professional designers were in charge of going through all 14 magazines and voting on the “Professionals’ Choice Award” winner. Everyone else who attended the event also had the opprotunity to cast a vote for the “People’s Choice Award” winner.

The People’s Choice award went to Madison Perales, sophomore communication studies major, and her chef, Ricardo Garcia, who is a senior psychology major. They earned a total of 81 votes from the people who attended the event.

This year, the Professionals’ Choice Award went to Xuanzi Elly Liu [see magazine], exchange student from Beihang University and current junior English major. Her chef was Jsiu Lim, student from south Korea.

Both winning chefs were presented with an appreciation apron that had the Taste of Stmu logo on it. All chefs were also presented with a $25 gift card from one of the sponsors of the event, Fratello’s Deli.

The other sponsor of the event, Henry’s Puffy Tacos, also made the event possible with their generous donations; Aramark also assisted with the event by providing all the heating equipment for the dishes being served.

Everyone enjoyed looking at the magazines, taking a break from their busy day and having a bite to eat from the 14 chefs.

 

Strawberry Jelly Cake

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Strawberry Jelly Cake
Story and Photos by Selina Rodriguez

A good challenge and spending quality time with others is something that inspired Iris Bermea, an alumna of St. Mary’s Univeristy, to choose cooking as a hobby.

Bermea graduated from St. Mary’s with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and is currently working for Cadillac dealership.

“I enjoy the company I work for right now and plan on growing with it,” she says.

Bermea says her love of cooking and baking was inspired by her mother whom she watched cook just about every family meal since she was little.

“I remember always wanting to help my mom cook for our family and being really proud when everyone liked the meal we had prepared,” she says.

“She has taught me to cook every dish that I now know how to make and I am so grateful to her for that. I am trying to make some new dishes here and there though,” Bermea says.

In 2016, Bermea’s chili recipe won 2nd Place at the St. Mary’s inaugural chill cook-off.

“St. Mary’s was a great university to attend. I love the community-based environment; nothing compares to the friendships I made there,” she says.

“I thought I would prepare this new cake dish because I have a co-worker’s birthday coming up. I love making recipes with and for people. It’s a good and inexpensive way to make people feel special on their birthdays because they know you put in that effort for them,” she says.

“I don’t really have a favorite type of food. I truly love all kinds. I am not a picky eater at all but I love my mom’s chicken quesadillas if I had to pick,” she says.

To a fellow cook or baker, Bermea offers important advice.

“Never give up on trying to perfect a dish. It won’t always be a piece of cake, but just try to enjoy it and learn from mistakes you make. You will get better with practice and a positive attitude,” Bermea advises.

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 7 cups confectioners’ sugar

Makes 8 servings.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Then, in a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the strawberry extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.

 

Paleo Stuffed Avocados with Cilantro Cream Sauce

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Healthy Paleo-Diet Keeps Hall Director Motivated
Story and Photos by Paige Gandara-Valderas

As a full-time hall director in Founders Hall, Samantha Garcia enjoys cooking when she can.

Garcia, a San Antonio native, received her undergraduate degree in leadership and development from Texas A&M and a graduate degree in Seattle. She enjoys that St. Mary’s has a nice family feel to it and that everyone supports
one another.

“We all have each others backs. It’s an ‘I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine… and if you can’t scratch it back just yet, don’t worry about it’,” Garcia says.

Growing up in San Antonio, Garcia’s favorite foods are primarily Mexican. Her favorite ingredient is avocado. She uses avocados in just about anything she eats.

“You can put avocados in any dish and it goes great with Mexican food!” Garcia says. “I love avocados even in my smoothies.”

The dish that Garcia prepares is Paleo Stuffed Avocados with Cilantro Cream Sauce, a recipe from her sister.

Cassy Joy Garcia, Garcia’s sister, is a food blogger and soon-to-be published author. She runs her own website at Fedandfit.com.

The significance of  the dish was to showcase a  healthy option and also because it is one of her sister’s first dishes. Garcia’s tip on preparing the dish is to not overcook the avocados in the oven because they can burn easily and ruin the flavor.

Garcia also enjoys her yoga workouts. Yoga, for Garcia, is a great exercise.

Garcia likes to promote mental, emotional and physical health. Garcia has also done a podcast series with her sister called “Fed and Fit Podcast: College Student Series,” which is five episodes long.

“I’ve been in college for a really long time and I am able to give a lot of insight about that. Especially since I work with college students on a daily basis,” Garcia says.

There should always be that leeway according to Garcia. It’s important for her to live in a balanced lifestyle.

“It’s all about that 80-20 balance. Eighty percent should be a really healthy portion, but 20 percent is whatever you want,” Garcia says.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 5 avocados
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 limes for lime juice

 

Directions

Sautee 4 cloves of garlic with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil for flavor.Then, wash, dry and season the chicken tenders with a pinch of kosher salt, then sautee in extra-virgin olive oil. After that, simmer the chicken tenders in broth for about 20 minutes, then shred immideately after. Add the cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the black pepper to the shredded chicken to taste.Halve and de-seed five avocados and lay them out on the baking sheet to bake at 400 F for 5 minutes. For the cream sauce, stir one can of full-fat coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro. After the avocados are baked, pull out of the oven and drizzle with the cream sauce to serve.

Chili and Cornbread

Chili and Cornbread by Brandon Littlefield
Videography and Production by Troy Grohman

Brandon Littlefield, a former student at St. Mary’s, studied engineering at the university until 2006. In this video, Littlefield cooks a nostalgic winter-time favorite of his youth: chili and cornbread; it has been a family tradition to prepare this dish whenever it first starts getting cold.

Ingredients

For Chili:

  • 1 tbs. of olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup of carrots diced
  • 2 tbs. of cumin
  • 1 lb. of ground sirloin
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of chipotle peppers
  • 1 can of kidney bean
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • ½ tsp. of oregano
  • 2 tsp. of adobo sauce
  • 2 cups of water

 

For cornbread:

  • 1 bag of cornbread mix
  • 2 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can of corn
  • cupcake wrappers
  • cupcake pan

 

Directions

To start the chili, begin by sweating the bell peppers onions and carrots for about 5-10 minutes. Once the vegetables are sweated and they become soft, add in the cumin and the ground sirloin, raise heat to high until the meat is fully cooked. Once the meat is done stir in the crushed tomatoes, water, adobo sauce and oregano and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the chili on low heat for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. Then add the beans and simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes. Then the food is ready to serve.

To start the cornbread, mix in bag of cornbread mix with egg milk and corn stir in a mixer for about 3-5 minutes until it is smooth then pour in cupcake wrappers, in the pan. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until cooked all the way through (check by using a toothpick).

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies by Daniela Borrego
Videography and Production by Holly Basaldu

Daniela Borrego shows us how to make sugar cookies from scratch, while telling us a little about her life in the kitchen. As we follow her into the oven we’ll also discover how she came to like cooking and why she enjoys it.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 2 batches until just incorporated.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough on a floured surface, dusting with flour as needed, until about 1/8 inch thick.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely before icing, about 5 minutes.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes By Mary Jo Chamberlain
Videography and Production by Sydnee Hodge

Mary Jo Chamberlain is a donor of St. Mary’s who loves to cook recipes she learned from her family in Mississippi. She made fried green tomatoes, a feel good food from the south a couple of weeks ago. In the video, Mary Jo begins with a bit if history and ends with revealing a few tricks for making the best possible meal, and how to enjoy what you are creating in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 4 or 5 large green tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • up to 2 quarts of vegetable oil

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Beat eggs and water in a shallow bowl. Place flour and cornmeal in 2 separate shallow bowls. Season cornmeal with salt.
Dip each tomato slice into flour, then dip into egg mixture. Press tomato into cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess. Transfer tomato to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tomato slices, arranging tomatoes in a single layer.
Heat about 1/4 inch canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat until oil begins to shimmer. Fry tomatoes in batches until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel-lined plates. Repeat with remaining tomatoes.