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Commentary: Cooking for comfort and companionship

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Cooking is more than just a comfort. It’s a piece of home and a way to connect each of us together. After taking this story, I texted my friends that I was cooking the next day and immediately the energy was better. 

So I picked two recipes: yuma rice and apple dumplings, a connection to my home that I can share with them from our dorm, which came with it’s unique struggles.

I didn’t have access to the same tools I was used to so I ended up cutting my apples with scissors and using a spatula instead of a spoon to make my caramel sauce. I made everything in disposable bread loaf pans instead of it’s usual casserole dish and nothing was as seasoned as I’d have liked because it didn’t make sense to buy those things when everything got stored in a communal kitchen. 

In spite of this my friends have already asked for these items again, either because they are very kind or just tired of Hubbell. Here are the recipes so that you may impress your friends as well; 

 

YUMA RICE

Yuma rice is a gooey rice dish with a mild tang that creates a light umami to contrast the way the warmth of the dish fills your stomach and soul.

Ingredients:

1 8-oz tub of sour cream

2 4-oz can of green chilies

1-2  bags of monterey jack cheese

1 box of Minute Rice

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the rice. (You can make rice in a rice cooker or on a pot on the stove, I went for Minute Rice to have the option of making it in the microwave cuz it made the whole process easier and a little less time/space consuming. I was also working with one pot for both recipes so it made things a little more complicated.)
  3. Mix the rice, sour cream (just a few dollops) and green chilies and put it in the casserole dish or bake tray.  This step is really up to you. What you’re aiming for while mixing is  a very creamy mix that makes something similar to the sound mac and cheese makes.
  4. Put a little bit of cheese on top for aesthetic (optional)

5.Bake it for 25 minutes or until bubbly and a little golden 

 

APPLE DUMPLINGS

Apple dumplings are like an apple pie with a warm almost caramel like sauce that’s a hug on a plate.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 granny smith apples 

1 cans crescent dough

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter

1 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

8 oz. ginger ale soda

 

DIRECTIONS

  • 1.Preheat oven to 350°
  • 2. Dice the apples (peeling is optional). 
  • 3. Separate crescent dough into triangles and put your apples at the widest part then roll into standard crescent roll shape or a ball shape. Place into prepared pan. 
  • 4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt together. 
  • 5. Pour mixture over apples. 
  • 6.Pour soda around the edge of pan, trying to avoid pouring on top of dumplings. 
  • 7. Bake dumplings until golden, 30 minutes.
  • Optional but recommended: Serve warm with ice cream and spoon sauce from pan over dumplings. 

 

Nothing about the process or end result was perfect. There are more things I think could have gone right but didn’t, changes I’d make, ingredients I’d substitute for but the joy of sharing my meal with my friends? The kind of laughter that can only come from a home-cooked meal shared around a table with those you care about? It made every minute of difficulty worth it. I hope to become a pro at dorm cooking and if you make these recipes too don’t feel afraid to improvise. Change the apples for peaches or pumpkin pie filling, change the cheese in your rice, add sauteed onions and bell peppers instead of green chiles. Make something you can share that you feel proud of. It’s just one more way to make campus feel like home.

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