A food interview with the most remarkable woman in the world, my Mom

For my interview assignment I chose my mother. This remarkable woman has made my breakfast, lunch and dinner for 18 years. I call her the organic queen because of her passion for making the best quality food for her family which in turn shows how she truly cares. She has instilled in my family the importance of a good meal and has never complained about the huge amount of work she puts in everyday for making meals for everyone else. I could not thank her enough for her amazing cooking skills that she has graced me with my whole life. I hope to instill these same qualities into my future family.

What did I hate eating when I was younger?

Mom: “Wow…Hmmm. I honestly cannot think of anything. I introduced you to so many different types of food at such a young age you were well acclimated to food that you liked everything.”

Did recipes change with relationships and marriages?

Mom: “Yes dramatically. When I was younger my knowledge of the different chemicals in food and pesticides was minimum. I would eat whatever was on sale with little to no regard to the ingredients. But as I became more informed it made me a faithful organic food buyer.”

How did you start cooking—made you want to start?

Mom: “When I was a little girl I wanted to show my mother I was mature so I would step in and make dinner.”

What is your favorite meal to make?

Mom: “Clam Linguini, turkey dinner and I also love to make tacos and fajitas.”

What were my manners as a kid?

Mom: “Your manners were very formal. As a family we ate at the table with cloth napkins and put a lot of emphasis on table manners.”

What is a favorite food memory of me growing up?

Mom: “You sitting at your mickey mouse table with your white snow boots that you insisted on wearing in the house. Your little feet would dangle and you would eat from your divided plate eating raw broccoli and a quesadilla sipping from your Sippy cup full of apple juice.”

Do you regret cooking or feeding me anything?

Mom: “I wish we didn’t go to McDonalds as much when you were a kid. I also wish I never introduced you to bacon or steak.”

Did you cook for me or for yourself?

Mom: “I had a full time job and I felt that if I couldn’t be home to be your mom I could provide you with the best possible nutritious food I could.”

            Additional Comments from Mom:

Mom: “In my childhood I was always fed good food but food was always controlled and monitored. Being forced to eat things I didn’t like such as peas and kale I knew when I would have kids I would do things differently. I made all of your own baby food; you never ate baby food from the grocery store. I also made a special shelf in the pantry for you, it was at your level and I filled it with snacks that I wanted you to have such as whole grain cheerios and vegetables. I wanted you to be able to eat when you were hungry. I believe that this made you make great future food choices.”

I really enjoyed interviewing my mother. I try to give her as much appreciation as I can for the many things that she does for me which is much more than just making me meals. This assignment gave me a chance to show interest in all of the hard work she has put in to providing my family with healthy and nutritious food. I am a better person for all of her wonderful choices. When I have kids of my own I want to make them their own baby food and make their every meal because I believe it shows how much a person cares and loves someone else.


The Mission Field Trip

Meeting my class for the field trip was so relaxing compared to the Chinatown field. My friend was so nice she dropped me off at the Orinda BART station. As a class we boarded the Bart and arrived to the Mission District. I felt like I was back in Mexico, I took a cruise this summer to Ensenada, Mexico. But the McDonalds on the corner brought me back to reality and I realized I was just in another part of San Francisco. Our first stop after everyone indulged in the quality coffee that McDonalds sells (sarcasm) was La Victoria. The small bakery had amazing pastries and breads. The aroma of the room filled my nose with such sweet smells it made me wish I never gave up eating sweets but I stayed strong.  It was very fascinating to hear about the history of the bakery and talking to one of the chefs there. After everyone was done drinking their real coffee and eating Mexican bread the class was split up into two groups.

                My tour guide was very knowledgeable and I could tell she had more knowledge than what we had time to cover. Our first stop as a group and my favorite stop was a restaurant called Mr. Pollo. My first impression of the restaurant was “wow, how are we all going to fit into this mini room,” but to my surprise we all fit. As a vegetarian I ate a different meal than the rest of the class and at that moment I couldn’t be happier to be a vegetarian. I was presented with creamy polenta with a tangy aftertaste and fried bananas that were covered with two pieces of lettuce drenched in a spicy butter milk dressing. Even though the room was small the flavors from the food compensated for the cramped space.

                For the rest of the field trip I felt like we ate sweets which I did not consume but was so excited when we went to La Palma. There we ate a meal with dough infused with black beans with warm cabbage on top layered with cheese and spicy salsa. After I ate I was so content and full and had a spicy taste in my mouth long after.

                I had a great time on the Mission District field trip. I can’t wait to show my family the unique restaurants we went to.


CHOPPED Delicious Greek Pizza

What comes to your mind to cook when you are given feta cheese, bay leaves, and olives?

Still thinking?

Thank god for the internet. I decided to google a fun vegetarian recipe and after a long browse through the world wide web I found the perfect recipe.

Spinach Feta Pizza Recipe.

So I put on my red paisely apron because I had to make this endevor offical and started to make the pizza crust. I got out all of the ingredients which were warm water, flour, salt,sugar and yeast and mixed them in our amazing red kitchen aid mixer.

The dough became too runny so I added more flour. Then right before my eyes the dough started to stick together into a round sticky ball. After it was done mixing I greased a pan and plopped my ball on top then I coverd it and let it sit for ten minutes. Mean while pealed garlic cloves so I would be ready to mince them on top of my dough. I did not make my own pizza sauce I used an organic can of pizza sauce that my whole family loves.

It was now time to roll out my pizza dough and start putting layering my fabulous pizza topping. The first topping that was put on the pizza was organic crisp spinach. Then came the motzerella cheese and then the feta cheese. I typically would not think to put feta cheese on a pizza because I have never thought of heating up feta cheese but I was determined to follow through with the challenge at hand.

I persisted to slice black olives to scatter over my cheese and additionally I finely sliced onions because I am not a huge fan of onions but still wanted some different flavors. I lightly brushed my pizza with crushed red peppers and oregano to infuse my pizza with some spice and a hint of Italy. Let us not forget the bay leaves. I decided to crush them up into little pieces and sprinkle the bits over my pizza to fufill the last component of my challenge. I popped it in the oven for 20 minutes and did what every beginner pizza maker does, prayed to the pizza gods that my pizza would be a pizza worthy of blogging. The oven timer beeped and I timidly looked in and pulled out……

An amazing work of art.

I was so proud, and to add a little culinary flare I garnished the center of my pizza with bay leaves. My pizza ended up being a cooking masterpiece. The fetta gave the pizza a creamy taste that combined with the suddle tang of the pizza sauce which all over laid on my ( if I say so my self) to die for thick crust. This assignment was by far the best yet!

Do not let the lack of parking keep you from eating amazing chinese food.

The start of my field trip was frantic to say the least. No one told me I had to be at the BART at 5:00am just to get a parking spot for our 8:30am departure to the city. With no time to spare and after trying every parking lot I started knocking on people’s doors for permission to park in their drive way. After asking three people I finally found a kind soul. I sprinted to the BART station and all was well. After this very eventful morning I was looking forward to a nice stroll through China Town and the authentic Asian cuisine. The trip on BART was speedy, little did I know BART was a time machine, as we stepped off BART and turned a corner I was convinced we had just reversed time 100 years. I couldn’t wait to use my brand new very expensive camera, as I reached into its case and pushed down the button nothing happened, I left the SD card in my room. It just was not my morning.

                After being greeted by our tour guide we started our trek to the Red Blossom Tea Company. As we entered the tea shop my nose was intrigued by the clean smell that the many different teas emitted. I am a huge fan of tea and usually drink it in place of coffee. I loved learning the professional way to brew tea which included infusing the tea multiple times. The tea leaves expanded with different flavors every infusion expanding my taste buds. I appreciated going the tea company.

                We explored the town and saw fish shops, grocery stores, and good places to buy tofu, fortune cookie factories and the native people that seemed to make no room for tourists. My appetite was growing with every wonderful smell I in took. Finally it was time for Dim Som. I thought Dim Sum was a platter of food, but I then found out that it was a meal. The flavors from the food were amazing and I wished that I would never grow full so I could keep eating the delicious meal. We were first served egg rolls; I attempted to use my chop sticks but eventually failed because I couldn’t wait any longer to put the toasted roll of vegetables in my mouth. The pot stickers and soup that followed the egg rolls were incredible and couldn’t get over the fact that we were still going to be eating more food. By far my favorite dish of dim sum were the shrimp dumplings that were brought out to the table left me wanted more. My least favorite dish was the vegetarian noodle bowl which was fine but I wished that there was more flavor, I guess that’s what you receive for being an eating inconvenience. The meal was delicious and I am so happy I was able to try something new but was a little disappointed in the flavor. I was searching for more.

                I truly enjoyed my class field trip to China Town and I can’t wait for what the future has in store for us next time.


Eggs from my past

In the mornings my parents both went to work leaving my Hispanic Grandmother Nellie to feed my sister and me. I can still remember my elderly grandmother making scrambled eggs in the morning. I can still taste the layer salt on the eggs which intensified my taste buds, forcing me to drink gallons of apple juice through my Lion King Sippy cup. She always put my scrambled eggs in my divided plastic panda plate which I have saved for my kids one day. I will never forget the warmth from the fresh tortillas that she prepared before my sister and I woke up for our morning eggs. I would rip my tortillas in horizontal strips so I could make many miniature egg burritos as I had watched my father do my whole life because a Magdaleno meal is not complete without warm tortillas.

On the weekends when my parents didn’t have work I had a special breakfast order, which still involved eggs. My mother always anticipated my special order because she knew exactly what I wanted every weekend, Egg Islands which is when one egg is cooked inside a cut hole in the bread. I would pitter patter across the wooden floors of my house to my mother who faithfully read the newspaper at our kitchen table to put my order in. I watched her diligently move through the kitchen getting the ingredients, one egg, butter, and a piece of sour dough bread. I was fascinated by the way she would cut a perfect circle on the bread because I could hardly draw one on paper. She would then butter the bread and slide it in the egg pan. I loved to hear the butter sizzle and watch the bread turn a golden brown. She would crack the one egg with ease in the center of the bread and I would watch the yolk bubble and then after a couple minutes “Walla!” my perfect breakfast was complete, well after my mom filled my Sippy cup up with apple juice that is. It is so funny to think about the meals and the moments that have captured our memories and prompt us to repeat old actions. Now I am in college and I don’t have the luxury of home cooked meals and must rely on fake egg omelets that just don’t cut it sometimes but when I go home my egg islands just taste that much better.

Jordan Pond Popovers

Last summer I got the opportunity to finally meet my east coast family. My mother’s side of the family had owned 60 acres of coastal property in Bar Harbor, Maine for over 70 years. My mother, sister and I boarded on a plane and flew out to the old family house. For one of our first dinners in Maine we decided to go to The Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park. We all jumped in the “pimp wagon” as my uncle called his 1930 Cadillac with the roof caving in from the harsh Maine winters which also discolored the blue velvet interior. It was a snug ride on our way to dinner and as we drove through the park it felt surreal as I watched the scenery of the forests flash before my eyes, while my two uncles were bickering in the front seat, with my poor little sister sitting between the brother rivalries. As we pulled up to the restaurant, The Jordan Pond House we came to find that there was no parking, but my uncle didn’t bat an eye, he dropped us off at the entrance and made his own parking spot which coincidently didn’t go over well with the park rangers.

As we continued to walk inside the restaurant, we were seated in a rustic room that reminded me of a brick cottage. The north side of the room was completely surrounded by windows overlooking a pond with green rolling hills that had a gold tint from the setting sun. The server brought us all blueberry ice teas. Blue berries were said to be the crown jewels of Maine but what was odd was I never saw one bush but none the less the blueberry ice tea was a delightful surprise of herbal flavors with an unexpected sweet after taste. I was so infatuated by the tea I forgot to look at the menu but as soon as I began to look I found myself putting the menu back down as I saw the waitress present us with what The Jordan Pond House was famous for, Popovers, which a lightly browned hallow biscuit made from egg batter. I was immediately drawn to the golden brown biscuits that looked like someone had inflated them with air. The steaming biscuits were completely hollow and the outer layer had the same texture as the crust of a loaf of bread. As I opened my popover I was shown how to lather the inside with butter and blueberry jam. The taste of the warm popover dripping with jam and butter infused my taste buds with utter joy and fulfillment.  As I reached for another they were already gone, apparently I was not the only one from my family who loved popovers. Being able to have this brand new food experience made me realize how traveling can broaden your horizons and taste buds, this food experience is by far my most memorable yet.

Rachel Ray’s Apple and Onion Stuffin’ Muffins

Thanksgiving, was once a day primarily to give thanks but it has now turned into a day of extensive cooking and over eating. Thanksgiving meals are very traditional and tend to consist of the same foods such as the famous turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes and stuffing. American’s look forward to the very authentic feast and grow up expecting the same meal every year. I am one of those people who look forward to the huge turkey or “big chicken” as I had called it when I was younger, and the many dishes of warm savory food, but especially the stuffing. My mother made exceptional stuffing and I desperately awaited its arrival on our candlelit Thanksgiving dinner table. But one year to my dismay, there was no stuffing insight. My curiosity prompted me to ask “Mom, where is the stuffing?” she quickly popped up from her seat as she had forgotten the stuffing in the oven. I was instantly relieved, until I saw what she brought to the table. It was not my stuffing! Instead, I saw odd looking muffins with apples peeking out of every uneven bump throughout the muffins. The one thing I looked forward to every year, my mother ruined. I decided to have an open mind, and I tried the “Stuffin’ Muffins” anyways, and to my dismay I loved them! The apples provided a burst of sweet flavor that combined with the onion very nicely. I couldn’t believe how wonderful these “Stuffin’ Muffins” were and look back on this moment as a reminder to always keep an open mind and always try new things. Who knew apples and onions could make the best stuffing?