LEARN TO FOOD

A college student trying out the whole "cooking" thing.

On Letting Go

I just need to write this so I don’t yell at my mom, who is currently fuming at me because I refused to support her immature behavior.

We were at the grocery store, and this older woman was being a bit rude because we had forgotten to bring a reusable bag (we live in a city that doesn’t distribute plastic bags anymore, so we need to bring a bag of our own to the grocers).

Usually, most people don’t bring a bag anyway and just put all their groceries in their cart. I do this, and so does my mother. This cashier, however, was pretty upset we hadn’t brought a reusable bag (though I can’t imagine why - it’s our business if we just want to put everything in the cart; many people do this and we’d never heard anyone say anything about it before), and the tone of voice which she used while speaking to us was frankly a bit challenging. I was a bit put off, but at no time did it cross my mind to make a big stink out of it.

My mother, however, decided it’d be good for her to talk to the manager about it.

My parents have always taught me to be empathetic, to show compassion. It never crossed my mind to make a big deal out of this lady’s behavior - much less go to her supervisor- because I don’t know this woman. I don’t know if she’s had a bad day, I don’t know if she took a nine-hour shift today and she’s so exhausted she can’t feel her feet, I don’t know what she’s worrying about, if she’s suffering financial troubles, if she has kids and if she’s worried about her ability to feed them, or what drove an older woman like her to take a minimum-wage job. I don’t know her circumstances. It’s not my place to butt into her life, either, or even worse, go to her boss and risk her job. I turn the other cheek, as I’ve been taught by my religion (which doesn’t play a HUGE role in my life, but it does inform a significant bit of my value system). It’s not “letting another person walk all over me”, as my mother callously pointed out - it’s simply assuming the good in people and assuming the cashier had a good reason to act the way she did.

I believe in karma; What goes around, comes around, and I hope in the future that if I’m having a bad day and accidentally snap at a customer at my job, the customer would be empathetic enough not to go to the manager.

Furthermore, my mother was furious at the woman, but I really didn’t see it as a big deal? As the famous quote notes, "No one can ruin your day without your permission."

I’m not saying I took the moral high ground here, or that I’m more moral as a person overall. My mother is a very understanding, patient woman. It was just out of character for her, and I can’t help but be a little disappointed?

Can’t wait for college to start up again.

Roasted, Crunchy Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • A can of garbanzo beans
  • An herb or spice of your choice (see below for suggestions)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups Olive Oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Grease the foil.

2. Crack open the can of garbanzo beans. Drain them, then let them rest for 5 min on a paper towel.

3. In the meantime, put 2 cups of olive oil in a bowl.

4. Now, put the dried garbanzo beans into the bowl with the olive oil. Roll them around in the bowl until the beans are covered with olive oil. Then lay them onto your baking sheet.

4. Sprinkle the beans generously with your spice (I’ve used cumin and red pepper flakes, which makes for a deliciously spicy thing, as well as lemon pepper and rosemary, which is also amazing).

5. Stick that thing in the oven for 35 minutes! Take it out of the oven when you can poke a garbanzo bean and have it not be “chewy”. The beans should be browned, too.

Om nom nom (oops, I let some burn).

Dude. These are amazing. They’re so, SO crunchy and flavorful and I can munch on these all day. 10/10, would recommend.

Did you try out my recipe? Did it work for you? Thanks for reading.

- Cynthia xx

My Brother is a Healthy Person

For my little brudder’s birthday, I made him a RAW and VEGAN cake. 

Let me explain. My brother is a very healthy person, to the point where he kind of detests cakes. But he needed SOMETHING for his birthday.

Hence, a cake made out of fruit and nuts.

I tried to make this:

image

Recipe and image found at Vanilla-and-Spice.com!!! (<- CLICK)

Here was my version:

image

My little bro didn’t want the coconut whip cream on the top (he’s crazy).

Advice?

This cake took a LONG time to make, as you have to wait for the previous layer to freeze before adding the next layer, so set out a whole afternoon for this.

Also, I WOULD ADD ALMOND MILK (or any other vegan milk) to each layer before freezing it. It makes the cake bigger and creamier. And have more dates than the recipe calls for - I ended up using more.

image

The cake was delicious and perfect for summer. Like a beautiful, happy sorbet.

Love you, bro. Happy birthday.

image

Happy LATE St. Patrick’s Day (Avocado Dumplings)

Happy LATE St. Patrick’s Day, if you celebrate! I forgot to wear green on that day when I woke up, so I was pinched. Multiple times.

Anyway, I decided to try cooking some green food. And then I saw these:

image

And I knew I had to make these. They look good. Really good. AND THEY GO WITH THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY GREEN THEME. Boo-yah.

CREDIT TO Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen  FOR THE IMAGE ABOVE AND THE RECIPE.

I’m going to repost their recipe here, because I made some adjustments to it. Furthermore, I did NOT try to make the dipping sauce. The avocado egg rolls were more than enough to focus on for me!

Here’s my take:

Ingredients

  • 3 Avocados
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 bell peppers, any color (I used red and yellow)
  • 1/3 cup finely minced white, yellow, or red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Procedures

1. Dice the tomato and bell peppers.

2. In a large bowl, combine the avocados, bell peppers, tomato, onion, and green onion.

image

3. Mix this WELL, mashing the avocado.

 image

At this point I was like, “Let’s hope it tastes better than it looks…”

3. Saute this mixture for only about 2 minutes on a skillet - this is to bring out the roasted flavor of the bell peppers.

4. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, lay the wrapper on a surface in front of you like a diamond. Add about 1/4 cup of the avocado mixture to the center. Fold in the two sides, then fold over the bottom. Roll until the filling is completely enclosed in the center of the roll. Wet the corner of the wrapper so that it will stick. Continue until all 20 won tons are wrapped.

5. Drop the eggrolls into the hot oil, 2 or 3 at a time, and cook until golden brown. Munch.

image

I know, I know… They aren’t a uniform shape, but I could not for the life of me make them look like egg roll or dumpling-shaped! It was so sad. Still tasted good, though.

…………………………..

Anyway, these are St. Patrick’s Day themed because, look, green filling:

 image

 And if you squint they have a green tint: 

 image

I genuinely liked making these, though wrapping up all those won tons took a longgg time. It’s essentially guacamole in a fried wrapper - they were scrumptious, even though they were a bit burnt. YUM. Do you sense a common theme here? I keep burning things. I mean, this one was only slightly crisped, but still…

My mom ate the won tons anyway. All of them.
That’s love.

Real talk.

…I AM LEARNING, OKAY?

Thanks for reading! Happy LATE St. Patty’s Day! I want to see your efforts, hit me up with some submissions!

ALSO, I’m back at my dorm now, where I only have a microwave and a mini-fridge. Alas, this means I cannot cook… so I’ll post things back up in the summer, okay? :) WAIT FOR ME.

Shopping and Family (Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon)

My mom said to me today, “We’re going to miss you!”

My little brother said, “Who am I going to annoy when you’re gone?”

My dad said, “Visit home often, okay?”

I’m reluctant to go back to school - this week has been virtually stress-free and I’ve learned so much. Lab reports and tests await my arrival back to college - not exactly a welcome greeting.

We went shopping today, which is always nice. I’m not much of a big shopper (read: at ALL really), but it was fun getting to spend time with my mother. I love her and I’m very lucky to be blessed with such a wonderful, supportive family.

I’ve got feels. :)

Anyway, decided to make Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon today! It’s so EASY. If it wasn’t for the whole “let-fish-marinate-for-an-hour” thing, it’d be quick, too.

image

CREDIT GOES TO How Sweet It Is FOR RECIPE AND IMAGE ABOVE.

I’m going to repost the recipe here, because I’ve made a few adjustments.

……………………..Thanks, How Sweet It Is!……………………………….

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

 serves 2-4

4 salmon fillets

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 garlic cloves, grated

1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

4 green onions, sliced

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the broiler in your oven to 375 degrees. (Or preheat your grill, etc if you prefer to use something else.)

Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place in a saute pan. Sear the salmon on each side for about 30 seconds. Then place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place directly in oven. Cook for 10-11 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness (our’s was just about an inch thick), until flakable with a fork. You can flip the salmon halfway through cooking if desired.

Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, green onions and the glaze below.

Sesame Ginger Honey Glaze

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon salty soy sauce

1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then take off the fire. Drizzle this over the salmon.

…………………………………………………………………..

Here’s my finished glaze (I was out of sesame seeds in my pantry):

image

Just before going in the oven:

image

And my final result:

image

My dad loved the dish (he asked for seconds…and thirds). Ohohoho, I’m getting the hang of things!

I’m going to miss you too, fam.

Thanks for reading. xx - Cynthia

CHEESECAKE

No other words are needed in this title. Just…cheesecake.

My Spring Break has flown by, I’m kind of depressed about it! Soon I’ll be back to the hustle and bustle of school.

To cheer myself up, I made Cheesecake. Of course.

image

CREDIT TO  Smitten Kitchen FOR THE RECIPE AND IMAGE.

I got the ingredients together and mixed them…

image

The crust, ladies and gentlemen.

And then I noticed my dog wanted some cream cheese. So I gave him some. On the nose.

image

He looks surly.

Oh, and I don’t play favorites. One dog gets it, so does the other.

image

I’m an evil person.

Anyway, I mixed the citrus zests, the cream cheese, the vanilla, the eggs, the yolks, and the sugar together…

image

 image

This is me weighing the merits of whether I should lick the spatula or not…Pros: Get to taste the batter. Cons: Salmonella.

This is the cake before going into the oven:

image

Here is the cake after the oven!

image

My family isn’t much for jam toppings or chocolate ganache toppings (they don’t have much of a sweet tooth), so I decided on making some extra crust and sprinkling it over the top to decorate the cake, though the contrast isn’t as sharp because the top of the cake is browned:

image

Borrowing my Dad’s camera means I get awesome pictures.

I used Smitten Kitchen again as inspiration for the embellishment - simply cut a shape out of wax paper and put it on the cake before sprinkling some topping over it! Did I mention I adore that website? So many good ideas, and they are geniuses when it comes to food. Thanks for getting my back, Smitten Kitchen.

image

Yissssssss…….

This is the first cake I’ve ever baked all by myself! Can’t help feeling a bit proud. :)

SOME TIPS:

Scrape. Down. The sides of the bowl. I cannot stress this enough, it’s very important that you do this or you will suffer the fate of unmixed cream cheese!!!

Also, make sure the cream cheese, as well as the eggs, are room-temperature before you start mixing, or it doesn’t coalesce as well.

Furthermore, if you want a thicker crust, I would use more than the 15 graham crackers in the recipe (I used 17, plus more for decorating).

You know what’s awesome to get? Pictures of cakes. I want to see your cheesecakes; submit button is up top! xx Thanks for reading. You make my day. And Cheesecake. Cheesecake makes my day, too.

image

- Cynthia

Movie Night and Tortilla Chips!

My family usually has a movie night when we can, and my dad wanted something crunchy. So I headed to the kitchen and…I came up with this one on my own, although it’s really quite simple! Plus, it’s fast! Yay for almost-instant gratification!

Ingredients

  • 4 tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • Salt
  • Spice of your choice (I used rosemary and garlic)

Procedures

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Grease the foil.

2. Cut the tortillas into little triangles:

image

2. Using a brush, spread the olive oil onto each tortilla triangle:

image

3. Sprinkle seasoning onto each triangle:

image

4. Stick that thing in the oven for 5-7 minutes! At the 2-3 minute mark, you’ll want to turn the triangles over. Take it out of the oven when it’s a bit browned.

5. Serve with some hummus, and enjoy!image

Om nom nom.

TIPS:

I’d cut the tortilla into smaller triangles, because they crisp better that way.

Thanks for reading, you rock. No more buying pita chips for me anymore!

Did you try out my recipe? Did it work for you? If you have comments, suggestions, or stories send them to my ask box above! :) xx

- Cynthia

My Mornings (Tomato and Carrot Juice)

In the mornings (when I’m at home, I don’t have a blender in my dorm), I usually drink this:

image

It’s so refreshing! Honestly, it tastes amazing.

……………………………………………………………………………

Here’s the RECIPE:

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup/agave nectar if you want it vegan)

image

This is all that’s standing in the way of you and juice nirvana, just sayin’.

Procedures

1. Slice the tomatoes any way you want. Basically, you’re deconstructing them so that they will blend better.

2. Peel the carrot. Cut off the very top of the carrot. Discard that. Then cut the carrot into slices.

image

(My mother helped me peel the carrot…)

3. Throw the carrot slices, tomato slices, water, and honey into the blender. Blend that thang up.

4. You’re done! Add less/more honey if you want your juice to be less/more sweet.

………………………………………………………………………

Hope you enjoyed. 

"Few are those who recieve the call to live the thug life. Fewer are those willing to recieve it."

You will feel like a boss carrying around this juice, because you just got your vegetables. And you’ll feel energized. There’s no stopping you now. This is so simple and easy, too!

image

Comments? Leave em’ in my ask box, please! Drink healthy, y’all! xx  - Cynthia

It’s Not Even Fry-day (Baked Sweet Potato Fries)

Hello, we’re going to return to a common theme here: vegetables and ovens. This is an easy combo, and after yesterday’s catastrophe, I felt I needed a confidence boost. So baked sweet potato fries was requested by my family, so baked sweet potato fries it is.

I felt that, because I was aiming towards a more healthy lifestyle, I didn’t want to fry them, although baking the fries in an oven takes a lot more time.

FOR A RECIPE WITH FRIED SWEET POTATO FRIES, CHECK HERE.

Nonetheless, I chose to bake.

image

CREDIT TO  DRAMATIC PANCAKE FOR THE RECIPE AND IMAGE. FIND IT HERE.

Pretty straightforward. Got the ingredients…

image

 Sliced up the sweet potato…

image

Here are the fries topped with seasoning prior to going in the oven…

image


And the results:

image

Isn’t it beauuuutiful?

image

If I can do this, you can. Go. Do this now.

My family gobbled. these fries. up. I was ecstatic - success! Oh, how I wish I had a kitchen or oven in my dorm room so I could refine my fry technique. :(

TIPS:

Use. those. herbs. Oregano? Sure. Rosemary? Yeah. A smidge of garlic? Join the party! Tastebuds come alive when you play with spices, turns out. I used all the herbs I mentioned. It was a party.

I would have added extra pepper. Alternatively, can you imagine this dish with roasted red bell peppers? I think I’m drooling.

Thanks for reading. Has anyone told you that you’re awesome today? You are. Just sayin’. xx - Cynthia

Adventures at 6 AM (French Toast)

I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and made breakfast for my dad.

I really like the whole “cooking for others” thing, by the way. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)

So I figured why not make French Toast?? Seems easy enough!

image

CREDIT FOR IMAGE GOES TO mrswebbinthekitchen. Click for the recipe, too!

It was going so well, too! I gathered all the ingredients:

image

I whisked them all in a bowl…

image

And I was all, oh, this will be a SNAP. I got this.

But I don’t got this. At all.

DO YOU REALIZE HOW QUICKLY FRENCH TOAST COOKS?

Yeah, I didn’t either.

I burnt it.

image

Ah, well. You can’t win them all…

But THEN, to make matters worse, I was all, oh, I’ll try the Bell Pepper Egg thing again to make the plate prettier!

Even though I was told you guys to NOT do it.

Even though I told you to “run away”.

…It was 6 in the morning. I wasn’t thinking straight.

Whoops.

image

And hence, here is my burnt French Toast and failed Bell Pepper Egg combo…

image

Never. again. NEVER AGAIN.

Did you succeed? I want to see it! Hit up that “Submit” button!

*sadly sighing* 

- Cynthia