Monday, September 15, 2014

Que Viva Mexico!

For those of you who don't personally know me, who are visiting my blog for the first time, or who haven't really paid attention to my ever-so-apparent love for Mexico, here's a post to clarify.

I love Mexico; Adoro mi pais. 

Yes. Despite my looks, which often lead people to believe I simply moved to Mexico for a bit and thus call it the "place where I'm from"; despite my lengthy time spent abroad for studies or travels, which can be misunderstood as a flee-tactic; despite my writing in English--including journal entries, thoughts, blog posts and book chapters--which can mislead people into thinking that I purposefully avoid the Spanish language (see note below); I absolutely love my country. And I'll continue to express my love as long as I can.

I won't apologize for instances of crazy excitement following an encounter with fellow Mexicans abroad; I won't apologize for breaking out dance moves whenever the rhythm kicks in; and I won't apologize for making my nationality evident.

In fact, as long as I continue to live abroad--and judging by the career path I've chosen, that is likely to be the case--I'll continue to profess my Mexicanness in any and every way possible. For instance, suggesting that you (my non-Mexican and Mexican-abroad readers) YouTube El Grito de la Independencia (or tune in live tonight at 10:45 central time).

Phew. Enough said? I think so.

And now for food...

I realize this dish is mostly not-Mexican, but it's more about what it represents than the cuisine under which it falls. Quiches are French, wilted spinach is probably multi-national (I couldn't find origins in my quick research), and the diced tomatoes have both a Mexican-lime and an Italian-oregano flair. Still, the mini quiches proved to be a perfect meal for me. They're healthy and filling. And most importantly, one recipe was enough for more than a weeks worth of leftovers!

One thing I'll advise is the use of cupcake liners. I didn't use them--per the recipe I used for this post-- and greatly regretted it when I found myself scrubbing my pans. Cooking spray will only go so far. Enjoy!

Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Mini Quiches (adapted from Will Cook For Friends)
Makes about 16 cupcake-sized.
Active time: 30 mins; total time: 60 mins.

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line cupcake pan (I greased but not so convenient) with cupcake liners. *You will have to reuse the pan or use another one for the remaining 4 quiches (if using a regular 12-cupcake pan)
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and sauté until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, milk, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Add chopped veggies and stir to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into cupcake tins, filling up to about 1/4-inch from the top. Add a teaspoon of cheese to each mini quiche, slightly pressing to submerge it. 
  5. Bake quiches for 20-25 minutes, or until egg is set and top is shiny. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. *If not using cupcake liners, use a bread knife to carefully remove from pan. Serve warm.

**So why don't I write in Spanish rather than English? I've taken more classes/courses on writing in English, so it comes more naturally to me. Also, within the past six years (during which my blog started), I've lived in an English-speaking country for the majority of the time.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fish & Quinoa

So the fire alarm in my building went off today. At 7:47 a.m.

I'm assuming it was a false alarm, but we weren't actually informed otherwise. Ten minutes after the piercing sound woke me up from my deep sleep, the torture stopped and everyone walked back into the building. I followed, dragging my feet up the five flights of stairs to my apartment.

The only upside--if any--to this terrible event was the head start I got on my studies. But I guess that's  up for debate.

Anyways, tomorrow is the first day of my third week of law school. So far so good. Yes, I'll admit there is a lot of reading involved, but call me a law nerd, because I've mostly enjoyed it--except for the uber-overwhelming and seemingly infinite amount of property terms.

On another note, I've figured out a way to go grocery shopping without a car: my backpack, two bike bags and an extra reusable bag. Thankfully the bike ride is only about five minutes because the extra weight really does kick in.

Here is my dinner from tonight: grilled cod with caramelized onions and orange-avocado salsa and carrot zucchini quinoa. On hindsight, I probably would've paired the fish with a cucumber salad or something fresh, but I wanted to cook quinoa for leftovers during the week. It's all about practicality now that I'm a lawyer-in-training. Enjoy!

Cod with orange, avocado and onions (adapted from Bon Apetit: Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook).
Makes 2 servings.
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 25 minutes.

  • 1 medium navel orange
  • 1/2 cup avocado cubes (about 1/3-inch)
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño 
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2  6 oz. cod fillets
  • Parsley for garnish
  1. Cut and peel orange ,removing white pit; carefully separate sections and cut in half. Combine orange sections, avocado, jalapeño and lime juice in a small bowl; stir gently to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until slightly browned. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; transfer to skillet and sauté until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. 
  3. Serve fish topped with salsa; garnish with parsley. 
Spiced carrot and zucchini quinoa (adapted from Bon Apetit: Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook).
Makes 4 servings.
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinse and drained
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and cover; simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté, about 3 minutes. Add paprika, cumin and cinnamon.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and add quinoa. Toss to blend and season with salt and pepper.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to Austin

New city, new school, new apartment, new kitchen... same old me! Welcome to Student Savor: Austin Edition.

It's been two weeks since I moved here and I must admit I'm loving it so far. I come with high expectations--having cities like Boston and DF to compare--but it seems Austin will meet and surpass them in no time.

I'll hold my verdict on the city until a later post--given that I've barely seen it in through the eyes of a local--but I will admit that in terms of food and social life, Austin is amazing! I have yet to visit 6th Street in all its glamour (or lack thereof) and I still have to attend one of the infamous music festivals (I'm going to ACL in October!). But the restaurants, bars, events, etc. I've been to have proven to be enough to keep me smiling.

On another note, the weather is not to my liking. I appreciate the sunny mornings and blue skies until 8 p.m., but I'm in not okay with the constant temperature over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Farenheit). Sure it may be the time of year; and sure I may have to learn to deal with it now that I live in Texas; but I never thought I would miss the New England wind chill as much as I do now.

Moving onto the main course--pun intended--here's a recipe I adapted from my favorite cookbook to make a healthy version of Salmon with Beurre Rouge. It could've been that I was starving, but I actually think this dish turned out quite delicious--and clearly photogenic or it wouldn't be on here. It's also a quick and simple recipe that can be adapted to other fish filets or even a chicken breast. Enjoy!

Salmon with Coconut Wine Butter (adapted from How to Cook Everything)
Makes 2 servings
Active time: 20 minutes; total time: 30 minutes.

  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 salmon filets (about 1/3 lb. each)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  1. In a small saucepan, combine shallots, wine, and 2 tablespoons vinegar over high heat. Cook until reduced to about half, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add salmon filets, skin-side up and raise heat to medium-high. Cook until crispy, about 5 minutes and flip over; cook for another 3 minutes, then 1 minute on each side, until filets are cooked through. 
  3. Once sauce is reduced, reduce heat to medium-high and add the coconut oil one tablespoon at a time, stirring to mix well. Add remaining vinegar and continue to cook until mixture reduces to about half again, about 3 minutes.
  4. Place salmon on plate and spoon sauce before serving.

**I served the salmon with thinly sliced zucchini marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and sautéed over high heat.