College Eats.

First of all, I apologize for the novice photography; I’m working with an iPad and a smart phone at home. I hope the students out there are killing it in classes this week! For me it’s been a long one. Sometimes, all a girl wants to do when she gets home after her last lecture is take a hot shower, drink tea with honey and watch old movies on the couch. Before studying of course. Today, I started my day with…

BREAKFAST

I go simple for breakfast normally; egg whites and turkey bacon, fruit parfaits or milk and cereal. Sometimes I get dressed up in red lipstick and eat toast with coffee and strawberries, because why not.

LUNCH

Around this time of day, I’m thinking WTF (Where’s the Food). For lunch, I craved something detoxifying and refreshing. Let’s talk salads. Affordable, healthy, colorful ingredients are ideal. I’ve read that colorful foods are high in vitamins and other essential nutrients. It’s important to enjoy your food without a burning hole in your pocket, but also to derive nourishment from it and enjoy looking at it.

Making a recipe for $5 or less always feels like an accomplishment, and this quick Deconstructed Tuna Salad is filling and frugal. I would estimate that this meal cost me less than $5 to make, although I’m not great at calculations. It also leaves me ingredients for a protein salad another day with grilled chicken, boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, or even a few slices of leftover steak from a birthday dinner, if I’m feeling fancy. This is my favorite green salad base, it tastes amazing on its own or as a side dish sans tuna.

Ingredients:
Arugula
Cherry tomatoes, red and orange
Red onion
French Salad Dressing
1 8-oz can of Tuna
Crackers
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Drain your canned tuna and set aside. Peel and slice an onion into thin half-moons and slice those in half; big enough to taste, but not to overwhelm. If you’re worried about raw onion breath, try macerating them in red wine vinegar to avoid breath issues, vis-a-vis celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, Here. Cut tomatoes into halves. Toss arugula leaves in a bowl and add onions, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a little bit of your favorite salad dressing. Toss ingredients with hands to distribute flavors. Arrange a good portion of the tuna in a fan shape on top of the salad and season it with salt and pepper. Enjoy with your favorite crackers.
Brianna’s Real French Vinaigrette is my absolute favorite salad dressing. You can get it at HEB and most grocery stores. This stuff goes on everything from salad to pastas to meats. I toss the arugula leaves with my hands because it is the best way to coat the leaves evenly in dressing. One of my favorite foodie magazines, Bon Appetit, gave me this hand-tossing and pre-seasoning tip. Food writer Danielle Walsh provides these tips for making awesome salads, Here. If a $6 bottle of salad dressing feels like an indulgence this week, try a drizzle of olive oil with a quick squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of salt. It makes a simple lemon vinaigrette that is neutral enough to go with any toppings. I used thin slices of orange, red and yellow bell pepper for extra crunch, although I normally wouldn’t.

This brings me to 2 o’clock and snack time. When I’m at school, plastic snack bags and small, lidded containers are indispensable. I’ll often pack hummus with multi-colored bell pepper slices, carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes, peanut butter crackers and fruit, or for example, this heavily shopped plate of cottage cheese and nectarine slices. I had the day off and it looked so pretty, I couldn’t stop myself from giving it a vintage photo look. Healthy, portable food is a necessity for students on a budget.

DINNER

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For dinner, I felt like having my irresistible Spicy Fish Tacos. I’m serious, this dish is addictive so please be sparing in who you give this recipe to, I’m not sure the world is ready for it. Kidding. Anyway, this is a great meal to eat on the patio or by the pool, it’s simple, cheap, and no cutlery is needed.

Ingredients:
2-3 tilapia filets
¼ cup sliced red, yellow and orange bell peppers
¼ cup sliced red onion
2 tbsp. fresh or dried cilantro
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. Sambal Oelek chili paste or Sriracha
1 tsp. fresh jalapeño, sliced
1 garlic clove
A pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Chop the garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro, reserving half of the cilantro. To a medium-sized bowl, add your aromatics and the oregano, ½ tsp. basil, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, water, chili paste, sugar, and a bit of salt and pepper. Add the fish fillets and set aside to marinate.

Feel free to use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh. Chop the bell peppers and onions. Mix the veggies with the remaining cilantro, ½ tsp. basil, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Add the fish to a large sauce pan on medium-high heat and cook until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Add the veggies and simmer with the lid on for 20 more minutes.

Serve with lightly toasted corn tortillas, salsa, avocado and a few leaves of cilantro. Serves 3.

This dish can get very spicy, so feel free to adjust the heat content to your preference. You might leave the jalapeño seeds out or put less chili paste, whatever works for you. My secret ingredient to making this dish addictive is the Sambal Oelek chili paste, which is a Thai hot chili sauce you can buy almost anywhere. I got mine at HEB. You can substitute with Sriracha or your hot sauce of choice. Marinating the veggies as well as the meat provides an extra layer of flavor. I buy bags of frozen tilapia for this exact purpose so it’s good to keep an eye out for sales. Each fillet makes two tacos, which means it’s pretty easy to figure out how many fillets you need to cook if you want to have friends over.

Next time, I’ll be spotlighting a few recipes from popular literature. Enjoy your week and see you then!

xx, Cristina

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The Good, Bad, and the Strange

This week, between a barrage of political science articles for my classes and college job board hunting, I found myself sifting through hundreds of pins on my account, Here, speculating the next big food topic. I thought to myself, what do college students and foodies have in common? Experimentation. I know, I know.

                    sugarswings.com

Amsterdam Waffles. Because who doesn’t love waffles, right? Fluffy bread smothered in butter and maple syrup; doused with strawberry or blueberry compote and whipped cream. Sounds like a decadent treat best enjoyed in a large T-shirt in bed at 11 am. Upgraded with strawberry icing and sprinkles, and you’re on a whole new level. For sure, these doughnut impersonators show creativity.

                           thrillist.com

Apple Pie Nachos. It may not seem very classy to switch out meat sauce and guacamole for stewed apples and caramel sauce, but this dish definitely steps outside of the box, into the car and onto the road to somewhere awesome. Add ice cream and chopped nuts with gusto.

        amandakbythebay.blogspot.com

Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese. How does this happen? You’re tired from work and too lazy to go to the store, so scoping out the fridge one day, you say to yourself, “Jam and toast with cheese. Why not?” Arugula or spinach and rich, decadent Balsamic vinegar makes this recipe staunchly grown up.

                  inkatrinaskitchen.com

Milk and Cereal Breakfast Pops. Frankly, this is perhaps the weirdest thing I have come across yet on my wanderings through the Land of Pinterest. I am ambivalent about this recipe. On the one hand, the idea of freezing my morning Cheerios and milk seems daunting and more in the realm of fried Twinkies and spaghetti pizza. That is, just kind of wrong. On the other hand, convenience for busy students on the go is invaluable.

bakeyourday.net
          bakeyourday.net

Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn. Come on, you know you want to. For a movie night at home, pop open a beer and pillage a big bowl of this gourmet popcorn. Cassie Laemmli also makes a recipe for Maple-Rosemary Popcorn that looks amazing, but would be better with bacon.

I had a great time writing this post. Check out my Pinterest, to find more of my weird food finds and inspirations. Next time, I will document a day of meals in the life of a college student with a penchant for good eats!

Cristina, xx

Foodie Dreams: I Dream of Honey

williams-sonoma.com
                williams-sonoma.com

Hi there and welcome to FoodieJournalism! My name is Cristina, and I am an amateur home cook, food-lover and student looking to expand my knowledge and document my experiments and inspirations about food. If you talk to anyone who has known me even fleetingly, they are sure to tell you that I am a dreamer, more likely to have my head in a book of fairy tales and romance than in Turbo Tax or sorting through e-bill statements. Food is a muse. It’s fun to adapt someone else’s recipes and like Romantic poet John Keats wrote “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” for Fanny Brawne, to pay homage to the ingredients and skill of someone else’s well-made creations. On this blog, I hope to share my food inspirations from books, the internet and day-to-day life while expanding my knowledge and hopefully yours.

pinterest.com
             pinterest.com

Have you ever wondered how cooks, or as I like to call them, food scientists, can take one ingredient and make it extraordinary? Take honey for instance, ship in a honey comb from Amazon, and you’ve got a beautiful antipasto platter with honeycomb dripping over sharp cheese, fruit slices and figs. I could eat this for breakfast alone on the couch, with a book and some milky tea. It may sound expensive, it may sound gourmet, but by letting one ingredient shine alongside simple ingredients, you can make a simple spread glamorous.

stylecaster.com
                         stylecaster.com

Honey can shine almost anywhere. For a smoothie bowl, it’s as easy as throwing your smoothie into a bowl and crowning it with summer berries, nuts, a scoop from your instant oatmeal jar and a sprinkling of bee pollen, which you can get from a local health food or specialty store. Instead of your morning latte and muffin, with $10 and a handful of ingredients from your fridge, you just made breakfast legendary!

browneyedbaker.com
                   browneyedbaker.com

Honey butter and cinnamon honey butter, as simple as folding honey into room temperature butter and refrigerating for a couple of hours. Toast anyone?

I hope you enjoyed this little ode to honey. It is a taste of some of my ideas, which I hope to share with you soon.

I am a junior at Texas State University studying Journalism and minoring in International Studies. I recently got back from San Francisco, where I avoided grueling Texas summer for a weekend, holed up in bookstores and biking through Golden Gate Park. Here’s Golden Gate Bridge:

beautiful Sausalito from the ferry!
                                                          Sausalito from the ferry!

                                Feel free to leave questions and comments.                                                                            More soon!  xx, Cristina