Canoas

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Canoas
Story and Photos by Mei-Ling Camacho

When living away, there is nothing better than the food that reminds you of home.

Brother José Matos Auffant, S.M., Minister of Spiritual Development at University Ministry, brings a taste of Puerto Rican culture through the “canoas.”

Canoas is the Spanish word for canoe—which is the shape of this dish.

“The Puerto Rican native tribe, Los Taínos, were the ones who taught me how to make the canoas,” Matos says.

Taínos were the people on the island known to use the canoas.

“My grandma, Eugenia Vasquez, who was the chef on my mother’s side, was the one who taught me how to make the canoas,” he explains.

Matos also says he likes cooking at Casa María, where he currently resides. For those who are learning how to cook, he recommends a recipe book called How to Boil Water. For him, cooking is not only a way to relax, but also a reminder of his home—Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico, many dishes are made with plantains and this is one of his favorite dishes with it as an ingredient. “They are easy and quick to make,” he says.

As a Marianist brother, Matos has travelled to many countries like México and Venezuela, and lived in different cities like Dayton, Ohio and San Antonio.

However, for him, there really is nothing like home—its people, and especially, the food.

Matos brings us a little bit of tropical flavor, a history lesson and a piece of his home with the canoas.

Ingredients:
Canoas:

  • Baked plantains
  • Ripe plantains
  • Butter or pam
  • Mozzarella cheese (sprinkle)

Beef:

  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • ¼ of tomato sauce
  • ¼ of table red wine
  • Adobo (sprinkle)
  • ½ of Sazón
  • 1 onion, minced

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Put the buttered plantains in the oven for 25 minutes with the peel on. Cook the ground beef by mixing the onions, the adobo, the Sazón, the tomato sauce & the red wine. Sprinkle the Adobo on the meat. Take the plantains out of the oven and cut them by the middle, like a canoe. Remove the peel. Also, remove a little bit of the plantain inside to make space for filling. Add the cooked beef inside the canoe, filling it. On the top of the meat, you add the cheese and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes of the canoas being in the oven, let them cool off for about 5 minutes. Servings vary on the plantain count. Use 2 ounces of meat per canoa.

Sriracha Chicken Alfredo

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Sriracha Chicken Alfredo
Story and Photos by: Marissa Colunga

Surrounded by cooking her whole life, Miriam Robles, sophomore economics and international relations major, decided to make a meal she has never tried before: Sriracha Chicken Alfredo.

This dish combines both savory and creamy flavors into a delicious Italian cuisine.

Although this was her first time cooking this dish, it certainly didn’t show as she effortlessly chopped, mixed and diced like a well-seasoned chef.

“While I don’t cook in the residence halls, I tend to cook at home a lot more,” Robles says.

When Robles isn’t in the kitchen, she’s busy studying.

Her varied interests led her to a double major.

Her dream is to go to law school and eventually work for the ACLU as a civil rights attorney.

Her parents, who are avid chefs, helped blossom her love for cooking.

Showing her Hispanic roots, Robles loves to cook Mexican food.

Her favorite dishes are Chilaquiles and Albondigas soup.

“The reason I cooked this dish is because I’ve always loved Italian food and wanted to make a meal that is both easy to eat and quick to make,” Robles says.

“Because this dish is quick to make, you need to have all the ingredients on hand or run the risk of overcooking the meal. To make the meal even tastier, experiment with the amounts of servings. For example, you could add more Sriracha sauce if you are a fan of spices,” she advises.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • Fresh parsley as garnish

Makes 2 servings

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, Sriracha and a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and let the chicken cook for 3–4 minutes. Stir in shredded Parmesan and dried parsley. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve with fresh parsley as garnish.

 

Cheesy Pizza Roll Up

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Cheesy Pizza Roll Up
Story and Photos by Daniela Gonzalez

A lazy Saturday night, a Pinterest account, and a fully stocked refrigerator was all Travis Guerra, freshman computer science major, needed to create one of his all-time favorite dishes: A Cheesy Pizza Roll-Up.

“I really did not have anything else to do that Saturday. I was bored and too lazy to go out to actually buy food, so I decided to login to my secret Pinterest account and make something with the ingredients I had in my fridge,” Guerra says.

Guerra has a special love for Italian cuisine. He loves everything that the Italian culture has to offer, including its food delights. His favorite food to eat is homemade Lasagna. He also enjoys eating Chinese and Japanese food.

“Whenever friends from school come over, I make this dish for them. It is one of their favorites,” Guerra says. “Also, when I visit them at the residence halls, they ask me to make a pizza roll-up for them.”

Besides seeing this dish as a delicious and tasty meal, Guerra thinks the roll-up is fairly easy to do. Guerra says a person can fill the roll with almost anything they want. It does not have to be exactly like the instructions say to do it like.

“I keep on telling my friends that as long as they have an oven and a craving for Italian, this should be easy to do,” he says. “You can easily make the roll-ups in the dorm lounge, go back to your dorm, and have a relaxing evening with a great, delicious meal.”

Guerra believes this recipe is perfect for any occasion. Whether it is a quick meal to share with friends or a snack to munch on when watching a movie, making a pizza roll up should do the trick.

Ingredients

  • 1 roll of Pillsbury pizza dough
  • 2 cups of pepperoni
  • 1 block of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of sliced ham
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tbsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • ¼ cup of pizza sauce

Directions

First, preheat the oven to 400 oF for 10 minutes. Next, expand the pizza dough on a metallic pan In a wooden cut board, cut the mozzarella cheese block and ham into small cheese slices. Place columns of pepperoni, ham, and mozzarella slices throughout the whole pizza dough mix. Spread the shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the pepperoni, ham, and mozzarella slices. Roll the pizza dough into a cylinder. Shut both ends of the cylinder so the filling won’t leak through. In a separate bowl, melt a stick of butter. Once melted, mix the butter with the tbsp. of pepper and tbsp. of salt. Spread the mix on top of the rolled dough. Put the rolled dough in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Once ready, let the roll chill for 5 minutes. Finally, in a separate bowl put some pizza sauce, cut the roll, serve, and enjoy!

Makes 2-3 servings.

Sopa de Letras

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Sopa de Letras
Story and photos by Elizabeth Arredondo

Being 193 miles away from home can make one very homesick. Sometimes the only thing that can cure your homesickness is making one of your favorite childhood dishes. Ximena Mondragaon, a sophomore political science major, is no stranger to learning and working in the kitchen. She started learning how to cook at the young age of 9 years old. Her favorite dishes are soap de letras and green enchiladas. She is a daughter, sister, friend, student, and role model. She aspires to run for governor and be a political science professor in the future.
Mondragon is very involved on campus and she loves that St. Mary’s University has given her many opportunities in life. “I love the community of St. Mary’s University. Everyone has been so kind to me and really helpful. I also like all the opportunities St. Mary’s has provided me with” Mondragon says. She is a part of the Marianist Leadership Program, Kappa Delta Chi, and Mecha. She also started her own Political Science club.
The dish she prepared is called Sopa de Letras and it is one of her favorites. “The dish prepared has been passed down trough generations. This soup is the first thing the women in my family learn to cook. I learned to cook this soup when I was 9 years old. At 9 I started to learn how to cook and from there I have learned to cook many Mexican dishes. I love going home to cook with my mom and grandma because its a bonding and learning time. I will one day pass down this dish to my kids.” she says.

Sopa De Letras

Ingredients
• 1 Bag of La Moderna Alphabets/Letras
• 2 cubes of Caldo de Pollo Bouillos
• 2 Slices of chicken breasts
• 2 pieces of celery
• 2 whole carrots
• 1 Bulk of Garlic
• 2 Medium Tomatoes
• Vegetable Oil
• 1 Onion

Directions

1. Open and wash the chicken
2. Lay out 2 strips of chicken on a chopping board and chop it up into little pieces
3. Chop up carrots and celery into small pieces
4. Blend tomatoes, garlic, onion and 1250ml of water
5. Heat up a large round pot and add a dime size amount of vegetable oil
6. Put pasta into the bowl and slowly stir until golden
7. Add blended ingredients to the pot
8. Add chopped up chicken to the pot
9. Add chopped up veggies into the pot
10. Add 2 bouillons
11. Stir into boil
12. Let the pot sit for 15 minutes
13. Serve

Serves 6-8 people

Meatloaf

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Meatloaf, The best kind of Comfort food.
Story and Photos by Isabel Vera

Cooking is the easiest way to bring together and feed a family. Lucia Vera, a St. Mary’s alumna, has always believed the act of cooking food was a way to provide for her family.

This notion was inherited from her mother who not only taught her how to cook but also about the significance of taking on this role.

“I like cooking all types of food from traditionally Mexican food, Chinese, Italian, American, and even Indian food,” she says.

Coming from a family of 13, she learned that cooking was an act of labor and love and that it brings people together.

“I remember watching my mother roll out tortillas and make enough for all of my brothers, sisters, dad, and herself to have every day,” Vera says.

Vera chose an American comfort food that would be quick to make and to prepare. With St. Mary’s being her alma mater.

She wanted a simple and easy dish to serve and eat. Spring time at St. Mary’s is known for Oyster Bake and that annual event is full of simple foods.

Vera wants to replicate this simplicity with a spring time dish people could enjoy quickly.

“I not only like to cook multiple types of dishes but I like many different types of food and like to infuse that in my daily meal preparations,” she says.

“There are definitely dishes that I like to cook that have cultural significance but this dish does not have any special significance other than it being a comfort food. It is just a nice simple meal to make and eat,” Vera explains.

Meatloaf has many variations such as either topping it with gravy or with a tomato-based product, or even choosing to add certain vegetables like onions.

Although it is a recipe that essentially has you “mixes meat and a few spices and vegetables,” the way the product tastes depends on preference and experience with the dish.

Vera’s advice is to add certain spices such as pepper and salt along the way and not just at one time.

She also advises to put foil on the meatloaf to control how the meatloaf cooks.

Taking off the foil at the 45 minute mark will “brown” the top half of the dish to allow for a more appetizing meatloaf.

Vera suggests to add some side dishes with meatloaf such as mashed potatoes to compliment it.

“Meatloaf by itself can be boring but adding just a simple side dish can make a huge difference. Cooking is a joy of mine that I hope to pass down to my daughters just as my mom did for me,” Vera concludes.

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs. of ground beef
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup of oats
  • 3 tsp. garlic
  • ¾ cup of diced bell pepper
  • ¼ diced onion (optional)
  • 1 tsp. of black pepper
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dice the bell pepper and onion. In a mixing bowl mix the ground beef, eggs, oats, garlic, salt, and pepper into one raw mixture. Add in the bell pepper and onion. Mix in tomato paste and tomato sauce. Spray Pam in the pan that being used for the meatloaf. Place and press mixture firmly and evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 ½ hours. Take out of oven and let cool down. Makes 15 servings.

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.