Categories
Food

Strawberries & Cream Jello

Strawberries and cream are such a treat, but something better than that is having a delicious Jell-O dessert that tastes just as dreamy. It’s super simple too, the perfect spring dessert to prepare for the next party, picnic, gathering, or cookout. 

Back when I was a child, one of my great aunts would always make this recipe. I couldn’t wait until dessert time at family gatherings because I knew she would always make it. One day my mom asked for the recipe, and she gave it to her. For Latino families, this is kind of a big deal because we are known for not wanting to share our secret recipes. I’m sure she left out some major ingredient though because it doesn’t quite taste the same. However, through the years, I’ve come to find my mom’s recipe is far better than the original now. We aren’t overly secretive, so we are happy to share this family recipe with all of you.

What You’ll Need

  • Fresh strawberries 1lb or 16oz
  • Sour Cream 16 oz
  • 2 Jello-O Strawberry flavor
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk 375g
  • 2 Large jello molds
  • Blender
  • Whisk

Prepare the Jell-O by adding 4 cups of boiling water to the two gelatin mixes. Stir until it dissolves and then add 2 more cups of water and mix. Allow the mix to cool down.

Place the strawberries, condensed milk, and sour cream in a blender, blend until it is smooth.

Once the Jell-O is cooled you will incorporate and mix in the ingredients from the blender into the jello. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients until it is well combined.

Then pour the gelatin into the molds of your choice. It should be enough for two containers.

The end result is a creamy, light and sweet strawberry dessert like no other!

Categories
Food Mother's Day Cook-off

Big Grandma’s Enchiladas Rojas (Red Enchiladas)

A Mothers Day Tribute

My mom and I making Christmas tamales. I’m sorry, I can’t share that recipe.

Looking back on my childhood, I remember my mom always cooking some of the best dinners. Many of the dishes she would make came from my Great Grandmothers cook book. One of my very favorites was Enchiladas Rojas because they’re so delicious!

When I moved away from home, I had to learn how to make these. I remember calling my mom to ask her for the recipe because I was craving them and wanted to make them for my friends. Since then, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made them and when I do, I always think of my mom and my childhood. This recipe will definitely keep getting passed down to generations to come.

Ingredients

  • Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. of McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 1 7.25 oz. can of sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 2 lbs. of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Vegetable oil
  • Oven-safe glass dish( I used a 9.5 x 12.5) and it held 12. You can use a bigger one to make more or use more than one dish.

Servings: 8-12 Prepping time: 30 min. Cooking time: 15 min.

Directions

  1. Set your over to 375 degrees.
  2. Fry your ground beef with taco seasoning and onions. Set aside.
  3. Pour some enchilada sauce in your glass dish to cover the bottom.

4. Lightly fry 1 tortilla on both sides, in a small frying pan with oil

(make sure there’s enough oil in the pan to submerge the tortilla).

5. Once the tortilla is fried, put it in your dish with the sauce. Flip the tortilla over to make sure the sauce is coated all over.

6. Add some meat and cheese to the middle of your tortilla.

7. Fold over both sides of the tortillas and flip it over, so the fold is on the bottom. Place your first enchilada at the top left of your glass dish to create a line. It’s ok if a little meat or cheese out.

Repeat steps4-7, adding more enchilada sauce as needed. When your dish is full, it should like the picture below.

Caution: Don’t submerge your enchiladas in sauce, you only need enough in the pan to coat the tortillas.

8. After your dish is full, add a light layer of enchilada sauce to the top. If you have too much sauce in your pan, you can use a spoon to take some out and pour it on top. Note: You will not use all of the enchilada sauce.

9. Add cheese and olives, if you wish.

10. Place your dish in the oven for 15 minutes.

Your enchiladas are ready to be served! You can add sour cream, if you’d like. Also, below you can find my recipe for my Mexican Rice. Enjoy!

If you were served 3 dishes that looked the same and you knew your mom made one of them, could you guess which dish was hers? I’m sure I could!Watch below👇🏼

Recipe for Spanish Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of Jasmin or long grain, white rice
  • 3 oz. of tomato sauce
  • 3 cups of water(room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • 3 tsp. of Knorr chicken flavor buillon
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion or 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic or 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 quart pot or deep pan

Servings: 12 Prepping time: 15 min. Cooking time: 20 min.

Directions

  1. Heat up oil in your pot on medium heat.
  2. Add rice, onion and garlic. Stir frequently Note: If you’re using powder, wait until your rice is brown before you add it.

3. When your rice is light brown, lower the heat and pour in your water slowly. It will steam a little so avoid getting burned.

4. Turn your heat back up to medium, to get your water boiling. During this time, add tomato sauce chicken bouillon and cumin. Stir

5. When your water is boiling, turn your heat down low and cover your pot. You will not need to stir your rice anymore.

6. Let your rice cook on low for 20 minutes. You will know it’s done when there isn’t any water in your pan and it looks like the picture below.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Categories
Food Mother's Day Cook-off

Heavenly Angel Food Cake

A Mother’s Day Special

In 1914 Mother’s Day became a national holiday in reverence to motherhood. Honoring the sacrifices mother’s make for their children. They say a mother’s role is to be God’s angels on earth. I thought it would be best to share an angel food cake recipe.

Ingredients

1 Cup Cake Flour

1,¼ cups of sugar

1 1tbsp sugar & 1 tbsp ground cinnamon combined ( put aside for now)

12 large egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp lemon juice

6 oz. dark chocolate 74% or higher

½ cup butter

1½ cups of powdered sugar

¼ Cup whipping cream

6 oz. almond slivers

Strawberries 

Directions

Preheat Oven 350 degrees

Beat egg whites until they become foamy. 

Next add cream of tartar with salt and  beat until soft peaks form. 

Add ¾ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beat until stiff peaks form. 

Mix cake flour with ½ cup of sugar 

Add to egg white mix a 1/4 cup at a time.

Add vanilla, honey and lemon juice.

Take ⅓ of batter and pour into an non-greased 10 inch tube pan. 

Take the back of a spoon and run it around the batter in pan causing an indentation. 

Sprinkle 1 tbsp of cinnamon & sugar mixture around indentation.

Add another ⅓ of batter to the tube pan, create indent again and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon mixture in the indent. 

Finish pouring in the rest of the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 mins. 

Let cool for 45 mins. 

Use a butter knife to run along the inside of the tube pan. Flip the pan over to make the cake come out of the pan. 

Making the glaze

Melt dark chocolate with butter over low heat, stir frequently. Use a small saucepan

Remove small saucepan from heat. 

Mix in powdered sugar and whipping cream. 

Spoon evenly over cake.

Do a little extra! Pour almond slivers over cake and add strawberries on top.

Now there is something I do have to tell you and it is a bit of a confession. I took some considerations when putting this together. Some might consider this a bonus. Eggs, cinnamon, honey, vanilla, dark chocolate, almonds and strawberries are all listed as aphrodisiac foods. Why? Because every mother’s day needs a mother’s night.

Categories
Food Mother's Day Cook-off

Mama Reina’s Arroz Con Leche

A Mother’s Day Special

Authentic Salvadorian Rice Pudding

For as long as I can remember, my mother has been my source of inspiration for life advice, fashion, and homemaking. Born and raised in the tropics of El Salvador, my mother has mastered the art of embracing new traditions while still paying homage to her home’s heritage. In a true matriarch fashion, she has kept old traditions alive by passing down her inherited knowledge to the generations after her. As age inevitably approaches all of us, the importance of maintaining cultural traditions only becomes more imperative.

My mother Reina photographed at a family event—circa 1990’s.

During my coming of age, it was only natural for me to learn about the traditions that came before me, and those that will continue to exist after me. One of the most precious forms of tradition that has been passed down to me was learning how to make my mother’s arroz con leche (rice pudding). This divine confection is considered a specialty in my household—only making appearances during major holidays such as Christmas, New Years, and most recently—Mother’s Day. Enjoyed warm or cold, this traditional Salvadorian dessert is a treat reminiscent of the culture in Central America.

Arroz con leche (rice pudding) garnished with cinnamon and lemon zests.

Although I was not born in the motherland of my parents, I still find myself craving a deeper connection to the ancestors that came before me. As I become more integrated into the culture of my generation, I become worried that I am losing touch with my ancestral roots. In order to restore my sense of connection, I have found delight in learning traditional family recipes from the best chef I know: my mother. 

Before she can begin her cooking tutorials, my mother finds herself immersed in memories of the past by sharing stories from her childhood in El Salvador. I enjoy listening to these tales in order to gain insight of the lifestyle in El Salvador—although in my humble opinion, this small tropical country deserves to be seen rather than described:

Views of El Salvador captured via drone.

Besides my own family’s cooking, I also enjoy finding new recipes to add to my own personal cookbook. I recently learned how to make sauce from scratch after reading about the Norris Family Marinara Sauce Recipe. (Which has since been added to my cookbook—and it should be on yours, too.)

Passing down family recipes is not just a nostalgic pastime—it allows us to honor our culture in the best way possible: by immortalizing a connection to our ancestors. Families across the world embark in this shared tradition to preserve their ancestral roots, and to create everlasting memories—one home cooked meal at a time.

Recipe card for arroz con leche (rice pudding).

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 14 oz evaporated milk
  • 7 oz condensed milk
  • cinnamon sticks
  • pinch of salt
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot under high heat.
  2. Add 1 stick of cinnamon to boiling water.
  3. Once water comes to a simmer, add 1 cup of white rice.
  4. Allow ingredients to simmer for 10-15 minutes; stir occasionally.
  5. Check that rice has absorbed water, then add 1 cup of milk. (Use dairy-free milk as a substitution.)
  6. Add 14 oz of evaporated milk and 7 oz of condensed milk. Continue stirring to prevent rice from sticking to pot.
  7. While stirring, add a pinch of salt. (Optional: toss in a zest of lemon for flavor.)
  8. Do a taste test for sweetness; add more condensed milk if necessary for a sweeter flavor.
  9. Allow pot to boil for 10-15 minutes while stirring occasionally until rice becomes soft.
  10. Remove lemon zest. Check rice and lower heat until ready to be served.
  11. (Optional: garnish dish with a dash of ground cinnamon for an extra kick of flavor!)

From my family to yours, enjoy a traditional Salvadorian dessert with your loved ones this Mother’s Day.

Categories
Food

How to reduce your food bill and cheap meals

On this episode of the VC Social Podcast, Evelyn speaks about ways to save money on your next grocery shopping trip and cheap meals you can do at home !

Categories
Culture & Student Life Food

Life Enhancements: Golden Milk

In this episode we go over a simple golden milk recipe to get your day started or ending on a positive note. 

We also go over a couple variations revolving on particular dieting and a variation depending on the time of day you choose to consume.

Life Enhancements: Golden Milk VC Social

Categories
Food

🅈🅄🄼, 🅈🅄🄼, 🄵🄻🄰🄽!

Growing up we’d get invited to birthday parties and when it was time to cut the cake, every time there would be something different paired up with the cake. There would either be some Mexican Jello or flan on the side with the cake. I remember the day I tasted flan for the first time I knew I no longer wanted Jello with my cake. However, I came to learn every flan is made differently, tastes differently, yet still so good. 

One day at my cousin’s birthday party I got some flan and it was amazing. I loved it, so I decided to ask my aunt where she bought it from or who made it. Turns out she had made it, you never know what other skills family members have until you’re taken by surprise. You know when you love the taste of a food so much you want to eat it often, daily if possible? Well I loved the flan so much I asked her to give me the recipe so I could try to make it. She taught my mom and I how to make it. So here we are now, I am sharing this recipe that I learned not that long ago. 

This flan can be paired up with cake on the side or by itself. You can make it for birthday parties, work lunches, even for the holidays for dessert. The best part is it is easy, not too costly, and you can find the ingredients in most stores, in fact you might even have some now in your kitchen. Let’s get started.

🍧 𝐼𝓃𝑔𝓇𝑒𝒹𝒾𝑒𝓃𝓉𝓈: 🍧

  For the top/caramel part: 

  • 1 Cup Sugar 

  For the flan:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Spoon of Coffee 
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 Condensed Milk (Nestle Lechera 14oz)
  • 1 Evaporated Milk (Nestle Carnation 12oz)

  To prepare:

  • 1 Plate
  • Spatula 
  • Blender
  • 1 8-Inch Round Cake Cooking Pan
  • Medium Saucepan 
  • Shallow Baking Dish
  • Aluminum Foil 
  • Water

🍧 𝓓𝓲𝓻𝓮𝓬𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷𝓼:🍧

Make caramel (top part golden color of flan)

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar with a spatula, you can increase heat until liquified and golden/caramel color.
  2. Once melted carefully pour the caramel(sugar) into the 8 inch round cake cooking pan and coat the pan with the sugar on the bottom of the pan, and on the sides (most of it should be at the bottom). Let this cool for 5 minutes. 

In the meantime let’s make the flan:

  1. Add the 5 eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 1 half spoon of coffee to a blender. Blend for 20 seconds until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture of the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and coffee in the pan with the melted sugar(the 8 inch round cake cooking pan). 
  3. Place this pan in a bigger shallow baking dish (can use any big pan as long as you can add a water bath and won’t overflow). Fill the dish with water halfway on the outside of the pan. 
  4. Place it on the stove. Cover flan with aluminum foil. Leave it on medium low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until you see the center jiggle. 
  5. Remove the pan(flan) from the dish(water bath), remove the foil, and let it cool for about an hour.
  6. After the hour, refrigerate overnight (at least 4 hours) before serving. 
  7. Next day or when ready to serve, check that it hasn’t stuck to the pan, place a plate on top of the flan and flip it so that the caramel/golden side is on top.

And there you have it, cut out a slice, and taste. If you like it as much as I do, make it a second time, a third time, as many times as you’d like. Enjoy some Flan!

Categories
Food Holiday Cook-off

Cafe de Olla

To me, being Mexican-American means eating complex meals on the holidays, surrounded by family, and talking about life and our favorite Mexico memories while we sip on a delicious mug full of Cafe de Olla.

This deliciously strong, sweet and cinnamon-y drink has been the center of countless conversations with my loved ones. I have sipped on it while my grandparents daydream with me about their childhood memories, their parents and how proud they would have been to have seen us build a life here in the States while still managing to hold onto the most special things Mexico has given us: family, love, memories, food and drinks. 

Making this drink is easier than many people think and the ingredient list is short so, if you would like to talk about life, love and memories with your loved ones this holiday season, this might be the perfect drink to warm up your palms and keep the conversation going.

Ingredients:

  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Mexican whole stick cinnamon
  • Piloncillo (sugar will do but this is a block of cane sugar that is sure to give your Cafe de Olla a unique flavor profile)

Steps:

  • Place however many cups of water you want in a pot and place a stick of Mexican cinnamon in it. Heat on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on the amount of water you are choosing to boil.

  • Let the coffee, cinnamon and water come to its boiling point then add piloncillo or sugar to taste.

  • Once the piloncillo or sugar is in, leave on medium-high for 3-5 minutes. Once the time is up, lower the heat to medium/medium-low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the 15-20 minutes are up, take your coffee off the heat and set aside to cool for a couple minutes.
  • Strain into a mug (or a taza de barro like me), and enjoy your delicious cup of coffee! 
    • If you need to add some creamer, add a bit of a hazelnut or original flavor creamer and drink up!

I hope this coffee warms you up like its warmed the hearts of my loved ones for generations and generations!

Please leave us a comment to let us know if you tried this classic Mexican Cafe de Olla.

Categories
Culture & Student Life Food

Discover the Channel Islands Harbor Farmer’s Market Fall Season Favorites!

Every season has different products, and different products means different booth options for the owners of the booths.

Why it Matters?

Besides the importance of pumpkins in the American tradition of Fall season, why does it matter what products are popular at the moment? It matters a lot to the set up of the market because whatever is popular in the season not only determines what products will be displayed in each booth, but also if the booth owner will earn enough for the season and if the season will be worth it or not.

So What are this Year’s Fall Favorites?

Stay tuned for November 21st when Amy Garcia and I will do a live coverage of the Channel Islands Harbor Farmer’s Market. Amy and I will host this Live Coverage straight from the Market and find out some of the in’s and out’s. During this Live Coverage, we will find out what were this year’s Fall Favorites and reveal to you guys a sneak peek of the Winter Season.

End of the Season

As I mentioned earlier, we are now approaching the end of the Fall season. And though the Fall Season is in full effect, Winter is right around the corner. We will find out how the booth owners as well as the Channel Islands Harbor Farmer’s Market are preparing for the end of the season and what’s to come for the “Holiday” season as the Winter Season is sometimes called.

Categories
Food

5 Local Coffee Shops to Try for Your Next Study Sesh

As college students, we pride ourselves in our abundant coffee intake and our fascination with studying at coffee shops. While it’s convenient to head to Starbucks and Coffee Bean, the Ventura area is blessed with amazing locally owned coffee shops worth supporting! The pandemic hurt small businesses the most and since we’re going to spend $5 for coffee anyways, it’s better to go to someone local instead of The Man. These insta-worthy cafes have creative menus, delectable pastries and are perfect for studying!

  1. Singing Sun: Across from Ventura High School is a quaint coffee shop following the modern coffee shop trend. While their options are limited, the quality of their coffee is high because they serve Sightglass Coffee, a well-known San Francisco-based coffee roaster. There are different seating options including cafe tables, bar seating and their namesake sunlit window seat. Bonus: Singing Sun is right next door to Timbre books, a cute local bookshop also worth supporting!

Best Drinks: Good Fortune Latte, Oatmilk Mocha, Vanilla Bean Latte, Kombucha on tap

Study Vibes: Limited seating, quiet, some outlets, rarely packed, WiFi

  1. Ragamuffin: With two locations in Oxnard and Newbury Park, Ragamuffin is a local favorite across the county. The Oxnard cafe is located in the Annex at the Collection shopping area. You can’t miss it with the beautiful Ragamuffin mural and neon signage. They actually roast their coffee right there in the corner and it always smells amazing. The baristas are well-trained, their drinks are top notch, and their menu has lots of options. Don’t think of it just as a quick stop coffee shop; grab a bite at one of the take-out places in the Annex and stay for a while. 

Best Drinks: Mexican Mocha, Dirty Chai , Brown Sugar Latte (as recommended by their baristas)

Study Vibes: Indoor seating in the Annex, outdoor seating with sun or shade, no outlets, can be busy, free WiFi

  1. Simone’s: A longtime Ventura favorite, Simone’s has two locations worth trying in Ventura. Their original location in the Kimball shopping center is smaller but has an extensive menu of drinks, pastries and entrees. Their decor has vintage coffee shop vibes and they have mugs, jewelry and other gift items for sale. (Be sure to check out their ornaments and gift options around Christmas time!) Their new location opened across from CMH and has beautiful, modern decor. This location is a great place to study or meet a friend with their long seating design. Their staff is always friendly and they have a very loyal customer base. 

Best Drinks: Any Seasonal Beverage, Bianco, Frozen lemonades, Smoothies

Study Vibes: Kimball location is small and sometimes loud but offers adequate seating, CMH location perfect for studying, no outlets, WiFi

  1. Cafe Ficelle: If you want to be transported to a parisian bakery, head over to Cafe Ficelle (in Camarillo or across from Pacific View Mall). Known for their artisan pastries, breads and desserts, you’ll feel classy AF enjoying a croissant and espresso drink here. Cafe Ficelle serves Verve coffee, a recognized Santa Cruz coffee brand, and adding a rich flavor to all their drinks! Both locations are ornately decorated with plentiful seating indoors and out. The Ventura cafe has a large community table perfect for group projects and meeting friends. This is one coffee shop that won’t disappoint!

Best Drink: Butterfly Matcha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Mocha (all paired with a flaky pastry or macaron, of course!)

Study Vibes: Lots of seating, outlets, WiFi, occasionally loud

  1. Frontside: The newest coffee shop in Ventura is Frontside over on Front St. by Transmission Brewing and Toppers Pizza. This hidden gem is arguably the most instagrammable cafe in the area. The owners are Australian and include Aussie “brekkie” staples like meat pies and fairy bread on their menu along with your favorite cafe staples. The minimalist beach style of the cafe captures the natural light and at Frontside there are no bad angles. Open Wednesday through Sunday, it can be hard to get a seat, but one always opens up quickly. Check it out for a bright place to study or meet for a lunch date! 

Best Drink: Oatmilk Latte, Hot Chocolate, Drip Coffee

Study Vibes: Plenty of indoor/patio seating, often busy, WiFi

It’s a win-win! The quality at all of these coffee shops is infinitely better and you’re supporting the local business economy instead of the large corporate chains. So next time you’re going out for coffee, hit a local spot!