Not Your Average College Food

Patriotic Berry Tiramisu

Because tomorrow is the nation’s biggest holiday of the year, this is a throwback (#tbt) to a dessert I made a  year ago. I meant to post the recipe last year, but never really got to it. This is a strawberry and blueberry tiramisu with a patriotic twist! My mom and I made this one together for a 4th of July BBQ last year and we were proud to see that it vanished in seconds. Even the adults (who usually don’t eat sweets) loved it!

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Making this tiramisu is easier than it looks – it only has 3 parts to it: fruit, cream, and ladyfingers. However, eating it can get complex and may require some thought. Personally, I am picky about the ratio of the 3 parts for each and every bite. There can’t be too much of one ingredient otherwise it will overpower the others. I like being able to taste all the flavors at once so the 3 simple parts become 1 delicious entity, otherwise known as tiramisu.

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Happy birthday America!

PATRIOTIC BERRY TIRAMISU

Ingredients
1 cup strawberry jam
6 tablespoons rum
1 pound mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
28 hard ladyfingers
3 cups strawberries, chopped
Blueberries (optional)

Directions

Mix jam and 4 tablespoons of rum until combined.

Blend mascarpone and remaining 2 tablespoons rum in a large bowl.

Use an electric mixer to beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in another bowl until soft peaks form.

Use a rubber spatula to fold half of whipped cream into the mascarpone and then fold in other half.

One by one, dip ladyfingers into jam mixture and line the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with them. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.

Use half of the strawberries to cover the mascarpone and fill in any cracks.

Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, jam mixture, mascarpone, and strawberries.

Cover and refrigerate to set.

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

4 Ingredients or less, Dinner, Lunch | September 2, 2013 | By

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Orientation week has been crazy with moving in, helping freshmen move in, seeing everyone after an entire summer, and running around campus performing various errands. This year, I’m living in a 4-person suite with my 3 closest friends Margaret, Ting, and Jeana. We were soo excited to move into our awesome suite which has 4 single rooms, 2 bathrooms, a common room, and a kitchen! The kitchen is small but has a full refrigerator, 2 stoves, and our own microwave and toaster oven. Since we don’t have a conventional oven, our options for cooking and baking is a bit limited. Here is what our kitchen looks like!

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For the past week, we’ve been eating out almost every meal at restaurants that we’ve missed over the summer. Today we went grocery shopping so that we could finally make a home-cooked meal. For dinner, I made chicken and spinach quesadillas, a combination I’ve never tried before. One problem though was that the only type of chicken I could find was sliced chicken prepared as cold cuts. I searched in 2 grocery stores, but nowhere was there to be found pre-made chunks of chicken! Taking a leap of faith, I used the cold cuts which actually turned out to be pretty good.

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I realized that one of the hardest parts of cooking in college is getting all the ingredients. You start out with nothing and have to go shopping for so many items that it takes multiple trips to get enough ingredients. Quesadillas are on the easier side and are great for lunch and dinner considering there is little to no cutting involved and all the ingredients are pre-prepared. They are definitely a good meal for college students with limited resources or cooking ability to make. For healthier quesadillas, use whole wheat tortillas instead of flour tortillas!

Hooray for my first home-made college meal! 😀

CHICKEN AND SPINACH QUESADILLAS
serves 1

Ingredients
Olive oil
1 whole wheat flour tortilla
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup spinach
2 slices of cold cut chicken (use chunks of chicken breast if possible)

Directions

Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and spread it around with a spatula.

Place tortilla in frying pan and flip several times, with 15 seconds in between each flip. Once air pockets begin to form, flatten them with the spatula to let out the air. Sprinkle shredded cheese on one side of the tortilla.

Reduce the heat to low. Top cheese with spinach leaves. Break the cold cut chicken into small pieces and place on top of spinach.

Using the spatula, fold one side of the tortilla on top of the side with filling. Press down on the quesadilla with spatula to flatten and keep in place. Flip over the quesadilla. It should be ready when it is browned.

Cut in half and serve with guacamole (see Amazing Guacamole recipe).

Creamy Avocado Gazpacho

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a non-dessert recipe. Desserts are so much more fun to make, eat, and photograph. Also, there isn’t a hungry family waiting for you to finish taking photos so they can finally eat! I managed to snap a few photos of this lovely soup before my family got too hungry.

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Sometimes in the summer, it can be too hot for warm, cooked food. Sometimes, you just need a nice chilled soup to cool off from the unrelenting sun. Gazpacho is a delicious cold Spanish soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables. This version of gazpacho has avocado (yay!) and plenty of other healthy green vegetables.

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Leafy greens are super healthy  and the darker the green, the better it is for you. Spinach is great because it has lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate. These are good for reducing risk of arthritis, cardiovascular disease and even memory loss!

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This creamy gazpacho is an excellent way to eat a lot of vegetables in just one serving. It is rich and flavorful because of the variety of ingredients in it. It is a very quick recipe – all you gotta do is just toss everything into the blender!

CREAMY AVOCADO GAZPACHO
serves 2

Ingredients 
1 medium tomato, cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
1 avocado, cut into chunks
3 large basil leaves
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 small celery stalk
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 ice cubes
Salt and pepper

Directions
Chop up tomato, cucumber and avocado, and set aside some small chunks for garnish.

Combine tomato, cucumber, avocado, basil, spinach, celery, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, and ice cubes in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional red wine vinegar if necessary.

Refrigerate until chilled and garnish with chunks.

adapted from Epicurious