Flan De Queso

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Flan de Queso
Story and photos by Holly Basaldu

Johanna Magee, a child of both Mexico and New York, shares with us her favorite dishes, some imprinted cooking experiences and an insight into why cooking is a part of her identity. A sophomore international relations and political science double-major at St. Mary’s University, Magee embraces cooking as a way to feel at home.

Studying far from home, Magee explains her aunt’s friend, an alumnus of St. Mary’s, recommended her to the university’s English program to assist her in bridging the gap between English and Spanish.

She also loves the home environment that St. Mary’s provides. Geography plays into another big part being close to Mexico—she’s never too far from her Mother.

“My mom’s food led me into the kitchen…I wouldn’t like the way she cooked something so I would end up going into the kitchen to see if I could redo it my own way,” she says.

My mother “is my inspiration. She is why I started into the kitchen in the first place,” Magee explains.

Influenced by the Italian family environment, Magee’s favorite type of dishes are pasta-dependent, which include lasagna and Penne de Vodka—a penne pasta with a tomato vodka sauce that has a creamy, rich taste.

Cooking helps her distress and results in having a delicious treat in the end. Enjoying time in the kitchen, she shows how to make Flan.

“This is the dish my mom taught me when I was young, and this is my favorite dessert,” she says.

 

Tools

Aluminum Foil

Baking Pan 9″x9″

Blender

Can Opener

Knife

Measuring Cups (½ cup)

Oven Mitten

Wisk

Ingredients

Condensed Milk- 1 Can (14oz)

Cream Cheese- 1 Bar (4oz)

Eggs- 4 (large)

Evaporated Milk- 1 Can (12oz)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 2tsp or Non-stick cooking spray

Milk- ½ Cup

Sugar- ½ Cup

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 350°F .Drizzle EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or spray with non-stick cooking spray and Sugar on the bottom of the Baking Pan. Heat the pan over the stove top on medium (this makes a sugary glaze on top) or put into oven for 3-5 minutes (till golden brown). Combine the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend on high till you get a thick consistency. Pour the mixture into the pan over the sugary glaze. Cover the pan with Aluminum Foil. Bake at 350°F for 35m-45m, till golden brown (it will puff up and rise during the baking). Let cool at room temperature for 35m. Carefully in a knife along the edges, then flip the Pan onto a serving plate.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes by Isabela Vasquez
Videography and Production by Sara Jauregui

Isabela Vasquez, freshman at St. Mary’s University, shows how she made Chocolate Cupcakes perfect for Halloween. Her interest in cooking and baking has allowed her to push her limits and try making cupcakes, a new method of baking for her. Isabela discusses how baking is easy as long as you know how to follow a simple recipe and add your own creative twist to it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line cupcake pans. In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients: the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Next add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be very thin. Pour evenly into the lined cupcake pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cupcakes test done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to cool completely. Decorate when cupcakes are completely cool.

Recipe makes 18 small cupcakes or 12 large cupcakes.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Natalie Magloyoan
Videography and Production by Brian Magloyoan

For Natalie Magloyoan, a freshman exercise and sports science major at St. Mary’s University, baking cookies is something she enjoys doing. Magloyoan goes through the process of making these delicious treats as she explains why chocolate chip cookies are her favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips, or chunks.
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

Directions

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Then prepare the mix by placing the butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwaving it until it is melted. When finished, whisk it together with the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla until it is smooth.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Then stir the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Once that is complete, add the chocolate chips and stir.

Scoop tablespoons of the dough and place them about two inches apart from one another on the pan. Bake until the cookies are golden, roughly about 12-16 minutes. Once finished, remove the cookies with a spatula and put it on a rack to cool. Serves about 30 cookies.

 

 

 

Turon: Banana Lumpia

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Turon: Banana Lumpia by Kirsten Acosta
Story and photos by Nick Canedo

While appetizers and the main course is savory, what people remember most about a three-course meal is the last thing to hit their tongue—the dessert! For St. Mary’s senior biology major Kirsten Acosta, there is not dessert better than one that comes from her Filipino roots.

While cooking is a hobby, Acosta’s true passion is dentistry.

“I’ve always been fascinated with teeth. When choosing a college, I didn’t want to leave my San Antonio, since it’s always been my home. When I found out St. Mary’s could put me on the track to dental school, I knew this place would be a good fit,” Acosta says.

Living at home while attending college, Acosta enjoys the home cooked dinner she gets after a long day at school.

“While I love the Mexican food that San Antonio has to offer, my favorite will always be Filipino because it’s my heritage.”

Acosta’s family has a tradition of the entire household contributing to dinner once they become teenagers. When she first started helping her family, she had a tough time meeting her parent’s cooking standards.

“At first, both my mother and father would yell at me that something wasn’t right. I was discouraged at first, but I wanted to be like the rest of my family and cook traditional Filipino dishes,” she says.

The first dish Acosta made by herself for her family was turon, a popular Filipino desert.

“My mom said it was the easiest thing to make, so she trusted me to do it.”

Also known as banana lumpia, turon is a popular street food among Filipinos.

“We used to eat it by itself, but it was my idea to eat it with ice cream. Now, turon and vanilla ice cream is pretty much the tradition for deserts in my household,” Acosta says.

Ingredients

For 10 turons:

  • Five bananans
  • Bowl full of water
  • ½ c of golden brown sugar
  • ½ c of white sugar
  • 10 spring roll wrappings
  • Paper towel
  • Plate

Directions
Create quarter long bananas by cutting them in half, then cutting them lengthwise. Dip each one in water, then mix a little golden brown sugar and white sugar together and sprinkle over top wet bananas. Wrap two quarter long bananas in each spring roll wrapping, then tap some water on spring roll and sprinkle sugar mixture over top (this will create “clean” but sugary tops).  Deep-fry the wrappings until golden and transfer to paper towel on a plate to absorb oil.

Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

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Hershey’s Chocolate cake  by Kimberly Quintanilla
Story and Photos by Danielle Torres 

Balancing baking and book work is never easy, but baking has always been part of Junior Health Administration major Kimberly Quintanilla’s life. She grew up watching her mom bake all the time. She enjoys cooking when she is bored, for fun and to relax. She chose to bake a Hershey’s chocolate cake because it is one of her favorite pastries.

Quintanilla says she loves attending St. Mary’s because the atmosphere is so friendly. “I love all my professors and the hospitality here is amazing,” she says.

Quintanilla enjoys eating pasta along with hot Cheetos and cream cheese. Her favorite kind of food to make is chicken pasta, even though she doesn’t get to make it much here at school because of her busy schedule.

Choosing to share this recipe wasn’t hard, especially with the new installation of ovens in every residence hall on campus this year.

In particular, she enjoys cake and chocolate so she had no problem combining the two to make one sweet pastry.

Some tips Quintanilla offers when preparing this are to “make sure to pre heat the oven, don’t be afraid to use lots of Choco powder and even if it might not look pretty it still will taste great.”

Cake Ingredients 

  • 2 c sugar
  • 1-3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c boiling water

Frosting

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter or margarine
  •  2/3 c HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  •  3 c powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Get all the ingredients and mix them in a large bowl later pour in the boiling water to help make it easier to sir. Sir until lumps are gone. Take two 9-inch pans with oil and flour so that when the cake bakes, it won’t stick to the pan. Stick both pans in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Take them out and let them sit for about ten minutes to cool. While the cakes are in the oven,  start making the frosting. The first thing to do is melt butter in a bowl. Then stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. After that is done add small amounts of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla after the milk is poured. When completed, the cake feeds up to 20 servings.

Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

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Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake
Story and Photos by Chrystalla Georghiou 

At the age of 23, Victoria De La Fuente found out that her life will no longer be filled with sweets. De La Fuente, a graduate student at St. Mary’s University studying for an MBA, learned recently that she was allergic to the one ingredient most often found in desserts: gluten.

After graduating from St. Mary’s with her bachelor’s degree in business, De La Fuente decided to continue with graduate studies at the university. “I’ve always loved the small community feel of St. Mary’s–coming from a small town, it’s just what I wanted in a school,” she says.

“I wanted to start cooking gluten-free foods because my doctor told me I am allergic. I decided that I want to live a gluten free-lifestyle whether my doctor tells me that it’s ok to eat gluten-free foods or not. Gluten is not something that the human body was designed to digest, therefore it is not healthy for people to eat food which contains that ingredient,” says De La Fuente.

Gluten intolerance, also known as Celiac disease (or Coeliac disease) is a genetic disorder that makes one intolerant to gluten. It is caused by a reaction to gliadin (a gluten protein found in wheat) and affect all types of people; however, it seems to be more prevalent among those of Northern European descent. In the U.S., about one in 133 people suffer from Celiac disease.

Since learning of her condition, De La Fuente has given up some her favorite foods like pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches and red velvet cake. “Luckily I don’t have to give up tortillas. I think I would not be able to survive if I had to give up tortillas,” says De La Fuente.

Because most desserts contain some form of gluten, gluten-free desserts are among the most difficult to prepare. De la Fuente says that the most challenging part of a gluten-free diet is the selection of gluten-free foods. When cooking a red velvet cake, De La Fuente believes that “following the recipe matters more than anything else. All it takes is one simple mistake to ruin a whole cake.”

Some tips De La Fuente advises to young chefs include always making sure to preheat the oven, cleaning up as you go and never eating the frosting before the cake finishes cooking.

“I chose this recipe because it is gluten-free and I love red velvet cake. It’s not every day that I get to eat desserts, therefore, I was so excited to see that I could have my cake and eat it too,” De La Fuente concludes.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c brown rice flour
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 3/4 c sorghum flour
  • 3/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 c canola oil
  • 1 1/2 c white sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans with gluten-free flour. In a bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, coconut flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder in a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat canola oil and sugar until thoroughly combined, and beat the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in the applesauce. Beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, in several additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix the remaining 1 T of cocoa powder with the red food coloring and vanilla extract to make a paste; gently stir into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting. Makes 12 servings.



		

	

No-Bake Strawberry Frosted Cheesecake

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No-Bake Strawberry Frosted Cheesecake
Story and Photos by Amanda Cano

With a crust made of graham crackers and a filling made from the heart, an aspiring baker prepares a No-Bake Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake for her boyfriend.

With limited resources while living on-campus and a desire to bake for special occasions, graduating English-communication arts senior Denice Hernandez finds a way to bake in the comfort of her own room.

After living on-campus for the past three years, Hernandez found a way to practice her baking skills without a kitchen.

“This no-bake recipe is really great because I didn’t need a kitchen, and it was a lot more simple too,” she says.

“I just love how diverse cheesecake can be, and I think this is a recipe that anyone can experiment with and personalize. So I recommend taking this recipe and adding your own special ingredients.”

Although Hernandez enjoys perfecting recipes she knows her boyfriend will love, her determination does not end when the timer rings.

Her passion lingers in other areas just like the scent of her sweet treats.

She is graduating a semester early and has been published in three established newspapers including the San Antonio Express News.

“I don’t think my  ‘dream job’ is just one thing in one place; I think I am going to have a lot of different dreams, and it is just a matter of me fulfilling them all,” she says.

“My ultimate goal is to wake up happy everyday and love what I do for a living.”

Hernandez currently finds herself happiest when her boyfriend is around.

She realizes that baking is most enjoyable when she is does it for others.

“For me, it is more meaningful to take the time and bake something than to just go out and buy it,” Hernandez says with a smile on her face.

“And this way, I get to become a better baker and he gets to eat all the great things I make! It’s a win-win situation.”

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

• 1 1/2 c of graham cracker crumbs
• 2 T granulated white sugar
• 6 T unsalted melted butter Cheesecake Filling
• one 8 oz cream cheese
• 1/4 c granulated white sugar
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 c heavy whipping cream Topping
• Fresh Strawberries

Directions

Graham Cracker Crust

First, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in large bowl. Press the mixture into a nine inch pie pan and spread evenly.  Place crust mixture in refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.

Cheesecake Filling

In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla extract to the cream cheese. In separate bowl, beat whipping cream with  a whisk until it becomes fluffy in texture. Fold the fluffy whipped cream into the cream cheese. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust.  Let cheesecake chill overnight. Top with your strawberries, or other fresh fruits. Makes 6-8 servings.