A Stroll in Tesmescal

Oakland is a place that I do not visit often but I have always heard of the bad reputation it has. I was not sure how I felt going to Oakland but I was pleasantly surprised by the environment that Temescal radiated.

During our tour, we made several stops but my favorite stop was Juhu Beach Club. Indian food was my favorite food to eat and I was curious to find out what exactly was Indian street food. When the Vada Pav was brought out, I wanted to scarf the Pav down. The fried potato puff was really big and I was not sure how I would take my first bit.  When I heard  that there was a ghost pepper chutney in the Pav, I was really interested because I never had anything that had ghost pepper in it. I took my first bite and chewed slowly. The first thing you taste was the red onion which was sharp and crisp. After  that, the potato dulled the sharpness of the onion. Finally, the spice of the ghost pepper chutney singed my tongue.

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The burn was something that I caught me off guard but thankfully, we were provided with a lemonade with a cilantro chutney. I took a sip and the burn vanquished. However, the saltness of the drink stayed. It was not very pleasant but it quenched to burn.

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I was surprised by the tour in Oakland and now I have considered visiting Temescal more often. I wanted to visit Juhu Beach Club again just so I can try the other types of Pavs and possibly a better drink.

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My Mother: My Food Guru

I was never into cooking when I was younger but, after watching a lot of cooking shows, I became interested in cooking.  However, the person that had influence the way I cook was my mom.

My mother grew up in Nicaragua located in Central America. When she was sixteen, she immigrated to the U.S.  She married my dad at the age of twenty-one and I was born soon after. When I was child, I was not a particularly picky eater  but, as I got older, my dislike for vegetable grew. “I don’t know what happened to you. Your brother was alway the picky one,” she said.

She had cooked different types of meals as I grew up but her favorite meal to cook was tortitas de carne. “I love the way the vibrant colors of the bell peppers look before we mix it with the meat,” she said. I was also my favorite meal to cook as well. I loved mixing the bell peppers with the meat,  while adding in seasoned bread crumbs. The smell of bell pepper and garlic filled the air. It was the most memorable part of cooking that dish. After talk to her about tortitas de carne, she surprised me with a plate of tortitas.

My mom has made an huge impact in the way I cook my meals. Cooking was definitely a hobby of mine that will always enjoy  and my mom had always encouraged me to cook many different recipes. Although she does not always enjoy cooking, itwas a sacrifice she made to make her family happy

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Alone with Potstickers

Eating alone was something that I thought would be nice.  I grew up surrounded by family members constantly so having a moment of peace was relaxing.  I would not have even known that I would miss having my family around.

When I transferred from Diablo Valley College to Saint Mary’s College, I decided it would be better for me to move out on my own. I figured that I could use the time away from my family to enjoy life. I had two roommates that lived with me. They both attended Saint Mary’s as well but one was in their room all the time and the other was always out going with friends.

Since my mom was not around to cook for me, I had to figure out what I would make for dinner. I came to the decision that I would make potstickers because it was quick and easy to make. I went to the store and purchase a bag of them. I began to boil the water in the pot.  Once the water was at a boil, I dumped half a bag of potstickers. Water splashed everywhere and got on my skin. “Ouch!” I said. I carefully poured the rest of the bag in. I waited for about fifteen minutes and the potstickers were rising to the top of the pot. I scooped each one into a strainer that I place into the sink.  The smell of the chicken and vegetables filled the small kitchen. I served myself with a bowl of them and sat at the dining room table. I took my first bite and frowned. The potsticker tasted different than it usually did. The flavor was bland like the cardboard.  I continued to eat and the silence in the room was overwhelming.  I missed my family.

I began to feel homesick more and more after that meal. I realized that this moment I knew that I could not stay away from my family. I appreciated being with my family and enjoy the noise that came with them.  I never wanted to eat alone again.

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My Chopped Challenge

Nothing is better than challenging yourself.  When I finally received my ingredients, I was a little disappointed  because I received tomato, mozzarella, and chicken. I hoped to get something a little more challenging but little did I know that it was a going to be a challenge for me.

When I first heard that we were going to cook something Chopped-style, I was very excited. I was hoping to get something interesting.  When I picked my ingredients out of the bag, I said, “This is easy.” My next step was to go to the internet.  I was bombarded by the vast amount of recipes that popped up.  I did not know what recipe to choose.

There was chicken parmigiana, chicken sandwich, chicken pasta, etc.  I looked through all the recipes (must have been at least sixty recipes). My dad  brought home a pizza menu and I noticed a pizza called chicken garlic gourmet. I search for the recipe and found a recipe that was a copycat of the pizza place.

I went to the store and gathered the ingredients. I started to make the dough. Kneading the dough turned out to be hard work. My arms were very tired that they felt like noodles. I assembled the pizza  as if I was a machine then I placed in the oven. The variety of colors reminded me of the paintings of Jackson Pollock.  The aroma of the garlic filled the air. A few minutes later the oven beeped. I opened the oven door and heard the sizzling of the cheese. I couldn’t wait to grab a slice.

I waited for the pizza to cool down before slicing it. I grabbed a slice and took a bite. The taste of garlic filled my mouth then the cheese then chicken. All the flavors danced on my tongue. The melted cheese coated my tongue.  I definitely made a good recipe choice. I will definitely make it again.

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Gourmet Chicken Pizza
Ingredients:

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup warm water (115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Sauce Ingredients:

2/3 cup ranch dressing*
1/2 to 1 tablespoon minced garlic**

Toppings:

12 ounces (3 cups shredded) mozzarella cheese
2 ounces (1/2 cup shredded) cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced***
1/4 cup (packed) coarsely slice green onion tops****

Instructions:

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, and salt. Add flour and yeast all at once, and stir until a soft dough forms. Add additional flour if needed, and knead gently for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic

2. Butter or grease a 16-inch round pizza pan. Using your buttery hands, lift the soft, sticky dough onto the pizza pan and gently spread to the edges.

3. In a 1-cup measuring cup, mix the ranch dressing and minced garlic. Use a spoon to spread the sauce mixture over the crust.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the mozzarella, cheddar, and Parmesan cheeses. Spread about half of the cheese mixture over the sauce.

5. Evenly spread the chicken, tomatoes, and green onions over the pizza. Top with the remaining cheese.

6. Bake pizza in a pre-heated 425-degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Check pizza after 10 minutes, and continue to check every few minutes until top is browned and cheese is bubbly.

7. Remove pizza from oven, allow to cool slightly, and slice (I use a kitchen scissors to slice mine). Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe  and Picture Source (http://www.tammysrecipes.com/gourmet_chicken_garlic_pizza_copycat_papa_murphys)

Up in Smoke: My Kitchen Disaster


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We heard loud beeping as grey smoke filled the air. “Open all the windows and doors!” I said. The stench of char tormented my nose. How could this happen? Well, it all started with a question. “Want to make tortitas de carne?”

Tortitas de carne is  a dish that my family makes often. Tortitas de carne means “small meat patties”. We serve it over rice. It is traditional make with ground beef but, as a healthier alternative, we use ground turkey.  I decided that  should learn how to cook this meal because it was my favorite meal.  I gathered the ingredients: red and white bell peppers, white onion, eggs, and seasoned bread crumbs.

As I began to cut the peppers and onion, the aroma made my mouth water.  I threw the cut onions and peppers into the food processor. My excitement increased as I put the ground turkey and veggies into a bowl. I mixed everything together with my hands adding bread crumbs. My hands were so cold from the turkey.

Since the meat was prepared, it was time to cook the rice. I turned to stove top on and placed a pan with some oil and onions. Once the onions were translucent, I put rice in the the pan. While I waited for the  rice to cook a bit, I focused back on the meat. I rolled some meat into balls then flatten them. My favorite part. The meat mixture had the consistency of dough.  I placed the patties in a separated pan.

Since it took awhile for the stove to get hot on that section of the stove top, I decided to watch T.V. That was not a smart decision because, before I knew it, there was smoke everywhere! I could not believe it. I am turning on the fan in the kitchen and desperately trying to open all the windows. The fire alarm began to blare out that loud beeping. I could not believe that the meat could burn to quick. The rice was charred at the bottom of the pan.

Fortunately, not all was lost because there was still plenty of meat and rice to cook. My second attempt was a significant improvement but I will never forget the time where my house became a smokehouse.

An Afternoon in the Mission

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San Francisco is a unique place that is filled with many different people from many different places but what unites a community of different people is food. Seeing the Mission District then first thing that you notice the papel picado strung all along the streets. The culture is primarily Latino. However, during my tour, I discovered that the Mission District has other meal choice to offer other than taquerias. We went sampled meals at Mission Minis, Wise Sons, Local Mission Eatery, Pig and Pie, El Farolito, La Palma, and Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream.

My favorite meal that we had was at Local Mission Eatery. Local Mission Eatery obtains their produce from local farmers. They familiarize themselves with the farmers at the farmers markets to get very fresh ingredients. Their main aspiration is to support the local farmers. It allows their meals to be as possible. Entering the eatery, I felt very welcomed. The ambiance of the eatery felt very intimate. There are picture on the walls of local places which adds more to the local theme of the eatery.

The meal we had a sample of is called the Winter Vegetable Sandwich. I was unsure if I would like it because I grew up with a dislike for vegetables. However, when I took that first bite, I was so amazed at the abundance of flavor. The pumpkin butter was smooth and creamy. It was not until after I finished my bite that I detected the taste of the ricotta. The radish and apple gave the sandwich a unique texture to the sandwich. The flavor of the apple and radish worked well with the pumpkin. I expected a sweet flavor but the taste of the pumpkin butter made the sandwich taste like an egg sandwich. I enjoyed the sample very much that I could not resist of having another sample. The second sample tasted the same as the first. It blew me away that I could enjoy a vegetable sandwich.

 

I left the Mission District with a new appreciation for vegetables. I had to tell everyone about the sandwich I had. The sandwich made a huge impression on me.

 

 

The Important Meal

It is hard task to cook for your friends but it is a challenge cooking for your parents. Although I am not a professional cook, I do enjoy cooking for people. It is a hobby that brings joy to my life. My boyfriend and I came up with the brilliant idea for us to cook dinner for both our parents. This is something neither of us has ever done but it had to be perfect. We knew exactly what we wanted to cook, carne asada with a side of rice, guacamole, and pinto beans. I went to my local Mexican Marketplace to buy my ingredients. The atmosphere reminded me of when I was a child going to the store with my mom to buy these same ingredients.

Since I had no idea how to marinate meat, I bought the meat pre marinated. The spices and sauces that the meat was marinated in were so vibrant. It was an apricot color with cilantro pieces. I then went on to purchase guacamole, and pinto beans, both of which were already prepared. I bought some salsa just in case cooking the meat took longer than expected. Of course I could not forget buying Jarritos. No meal with carne asada is good with out orange mandarin soda. I left the store determined to make the best dinner for my family.

I went straight to the kitchen to set everything up. I began measuring the rice by cups so I would have enough rice for my hungry family. Then I added the appropriate amount of water for it and added salt. As the rice cooked, my boyfriend and I began to cook the meat. He was more experienced with cooking steak than I was.

Similar to how are dish looked

The aroma that was produced from the kitchen was so delicious. The whole house was engulfed in the smell of cilantro and carne asada. Everyone was yearning to get a piece.

After cooking the pieces of meat, I dished everyone up. The colors on the plate were amazing. The dark brown color of the meat next to the guacamole made the green so vibrant. The white rice under the meat was absorbing the sauce that the meat had. Everyone was surprised how delicious everything turned out to be. Dinner was a success.

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