Archive | August, 2014

Introducing “The Epicurean Dorm”

28 Aug

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When I started my Freshman year of college, balancing academics, extracurricular activities, and socializing while eating healthfully proved to be a considerable feat. Not only did I have less time to spend in the kitchen, but my limited access to fancy equipment and ingredients affected my choice of recipes. Discovering recipes that accommodated my new lifestyle was a learning process, but my love of cooking and homemade food encouraged me to make the commitment.

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After sharing my experiences with friends and peers, I found that many people faced a similar dilemma. It turns out that college students long to cook for themselves but find the prospect completely overwhelming. So, after months of writing, planning, and testing recipes, I am thrilled to announce “The Epicurean Dorm,” my new column in USC’s Daily Trojan newspaper. Every week, I will share simple, healthy, and affordable recipes to encourage college students to cook delicious food from scratch. While I created this column with college students in mind, any one with an interest in learning to cook may benefit.

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First up: an outstanding, hassle-free pasta with tomato sauce. Simply place all of the ingredients in one pan and stir them together over high heat for nine minutes. The end result is perfectly al dente spaghetti immersed in a luxurious and deeply flavorful sauce. Head over to Daily Trojan for the recipe and full story.

If you make any recipe from The Epicurean Dorm, tag your photos with #theepicureandorm and share them with me on Facebook or Instagram @maral_lavida.

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A Week in Mallorca

21 Aug

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Following a whirlwind two months in New York City, I headed to the Spanish island of Mallorca for a week-long family getaway. We stayed in Deía, a quaint village located about 30 minutes from the capital of Palma. After being immersed in the constant hubbub of Manhattan, it felt surreal to stroll through quiet cobblestone streets, breathing in the crisp mountain air and admiring beautiful details we so often overlook during our daily lives. I had nothing on my agenda other than hiking, swimming, and reading the chapter books I had neglected all summer.

Despite its small size, Mallorca is a pretty miraculous place from an agricultural perspective. The island produces almost all of its food stuffs locally, fruits and vegetables flourishing in the mild Mediterranean climate. While farm-to-table eating has recently become popular in the United States, it is not a trend in Mallorca, but a way of life. Every day, I drank pulpy orange juice from nearby groves, enjoyed freshly-caught fish dressed with lemon juice and Mallorcan olive oil, and snacked on succulent figs and roasted Marcona almonds picked from trees on our hotel’s property. Not only was the vacation incredibly relaxing, but I left the island inspired by its elegantly simple cuisine. The olive oil, sea salt, and orange marmalade I brought home are all I need to create delicious meals centered around summer’s bountiful produce. I hope you all enjoy a few snapshots from my trip!

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Freshly squeezed orange juice and zingy orange marmalade.

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We hiked three hours from Deía to the nearby town of Sóller.

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Beach at the Port of Sóller.

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