Spring is here! You know that the long winter hibernation is over when you hear the birds sing their beautiful songs, the sun isn’t a friendly forgotten face anymore, and the tulips start pushing up through the soil. Ah yes, I have been hibernating as well in terms of blogging, but you will forgive me right? I hope so. At least, I’ll assume so after you try this pasta. Being a college student means that I am constantly trying to come up with inexpensive ways to find or cook up some good grub. Well, if you’re getting tired of the endless cycle of ramen and the crazy yet delicious artificial “cheese” in the packaged macaroni, I whipped up something insanely easy to brighten the monotonous weekday meals. The fresh green asparagus was looking mighty fine in the grocery store and at a lovely low price. Pair that with a light lemony sauce, some hearty pasta, and perhaps some grilled salmon or chicken, and you’ve got yourself a healthy, delicious, and gourmet meal you cooked up all by yourself. No box needed.

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You must know that at least once a week I have to get the greek salad for lunch at Wheatstone Bistro, the take out eatery on Mizzou’s campus. It’s really delicious, super convenient, comfortably filling, and so inexpensive that I actually pay more for a grande caramel macchiato at Starbucks than I would for this lunch (At $2.98 with tax, it’s a steal). I wouldn’t be surprised if the workers there knew me by order, because every Wednesday at 2pm it’s like clockwork. The deliciously briny kalamata olives, the crisp texture of the lettuce, the bite of red onion, and the feta. Oh the feta. Best cheese in the world? I say yes! That’s coming from a St. Louisan, where provel is the end-all-be-all of cheeses that no one born outside of the city limits could understand. But feta, it’s one of those cheeses that is so packed full of flavor that you don’t need a lot of it in any dish to make it shine. Plus, it’s lower in calories than most provided that it’s made from goat’s milk.

Okay, so now that you’re aware of my addiction, trust in the fact that when I say I have discovered the best greek dressing that this world has to offer, I mean it with every fiber of my greek salad loving self. You see, I have a problem when it comes to cheese distribution. Whenever I eat a salad, my mouth is full of greens more than halfway through eating and at the end I discover all the missing cheese at the bottom of the bowl. With this dressing, there is no hidden cheese problem. Every little leaf is very lightly covered in feta, the way it should be. It’s not heavy like you would expect, and since feta has such a strong flavor, a little goes a long way. When you do make this dressing, I bet that it will sneak into just about anything savory you find yourself eating. Even plain bread… It’s that good! And since it takes just a minute to whisk up, I think it’s safe to say that Wheatstone may have lost my business to David Lebovitz’s genius dressing.

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With only about 3 weeks left of winter, I’ve managed to survive the whole season without a single cold… Until now. In my case, no other description best suits my sickliness than this: “when it rains, it pours”. What started as a slight thirst in the morning turned into a full fledged sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, raspy voice, and a tender neck.

In my food-crazed mind, my first thought was not to plan an appointment to the doctor, but to concoct the ultimate home remedy adopted by American moms everywhere: chicken noodle soup. Don’t worry, the doctor will make his/her money come Monday. For now, soup will be enjoyed.

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It’s tradition that whenever a friend’s birthday comes along, I always make their favorite dessert for their special day.  For Lis, the chocoholic who vowed to serve only chocolate cake at her future wedding reception despite wishes from vanilla-loving guests, this birthday cake was perfect. This is by far the most favorite chocolate cake among my friends, and it never fails to impress a new mouth. The cake is so satisfyingly moist and chocolately with the addition of freshly brewed coffee and surprisingly has no butter in the batter (although I still had to get you with the ganache). The fruit filling was originally supposed to be raspberry but at $3.50 for a 10oz frozen bag, I opted for frozen strawberries: a fitting second choice at under $2 per 16oz bag (you could really choose any fruit for the filling, but strawberries and raspberries seem to compliment chocolate the most). To satisfy the chocoholic within most of us, it seems only fitting to cover a chocolate cake with ganache, the French’s version of chocolate frosting made with heavy cream. I hope this memorable cake gets the opportunity to make it’s mark at your next celebration.

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It’s Lent!

For all you Catholics out there, you know this  is prime fish fry time… and, of course, the 40 days and 40 nights leading up to Easter. Being raised Catholic, Fridays during Lent meant that we were eating some form of fish: baked, fried, or grilled. To celebrate Ash Wednesday, Aaron and I cooked up some delicious fish tacos with some cool and spicy sauces to accompany it.

fish tacos with avocado sauce and pink chile mayo

With one taste, you’d think you were lying on a beach somewhere warm and tropical, enjoying a Corona underneath a palm tree, and watching the waves come in…

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When I think of fruit, I picture juicy red strawberries. In January, you can imagine my horror at the grocery store when I discovered that a pint of strawberries can cost up to 4 dollars. Even though it’s the dead of winter, there still is plenty of fresh fruit in season such as pears or a variety of citrus like beautiful blood oranges, grapefruit, and clementines. I found two recipes and couldn’t choose between them, so here are two dessert preparations of winter pears.

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Close your eyes and picture this: a cold winter day full of sweet snowflakes one minute and freezing rain the next(which just so happens to be today, not so unusual weather for Missouri) and all you really want to do is whip up something for a satisfying dessert after dinner. Something to warm you up from the inside out.

I know what you’re thinking… Soufflé? In the famous words of my fabulously sarcastic father when confronted with foreign fare (usually green and leafy), “What’s this sh*t?”

the finished product: surprisingly, the banana adds a really moist texture you'd expect from a rich soufflé without all the fat. you have to try it to believe it.

Well, folks it just so happens to be the most delicious, airy, creamiest, richest (shall we go on?), satisfying dessert. Did I mention it’s GOOD for you too? Yeah, you heard me. When you’re one of the million people on a health kick for your New Years resolution, make that one of thousands of Mizzou students hogging up every inch of exercise space at the rec center, you can have your dessert and eat it too. Without the guilt!

Have you joined the soufflé bandwagon yet?

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the idea

I've always been a lover of food: it's capability to comfort the hard days, to encourage imagination and messiness in a world of order, to explore different cultures through cuisine, and to weave the invisible thread that brings people together around the table.

I started this blog for myself.

As a college student, cooking became a way to release the stress of impending finals, to be creative when I felt unoriginal, and to breathe life into my sometimes discouraged self.

Each week I'll post a new dish, masterpiece or fiasco, to keep record of my continuing education in food and life.

the student: a foodie who loves to learn

Kimberly Aumer

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