I cried when I learned that an average meal in Boston costs around $20. In the Philippines, that is a thousand pesos – my weekly allowance back home. I told myself that it was alright. The serving sizes are bigger at school, even if the quality of the ingredients in the American Northeast can’t compete with the freshness in the Asian countryside. When I explained to my partner on the other side of the world that it was a deal – bigger serving for a lower quality – he explained to me what “doubling-down” is. So when I arrived in Boston, I resorted to having only a meal a day. I started feeling my ribs after skipping meals to save money, and only ate with my eyes as I binged on home-cooked meals as I scrolled through Tiktok.
Food was something my parents taught me to never be ashamed of spending money on. Food was essential. Food gives people life. Most of all, food is a privilege. When I was young, I was taught on the tables of both home and school that food is a blessing. We are lucky to have it in front of us, because millions of people work hard for food and still starve. The average Filipino farmer can only eat one bowl of rice a day to ensure enough profit for their savings, and it still wouldn’t be enough. I was lucky to have been born into a family of lawyers and doctors, yet my grandparents who were stablemen and coconut-tenders endured only having salt for breakfast. Meanwhile, their grandchildren would complain about eating too much for lunch and being full. The worst complainer among them was me.
Cut to college, where I could never feel full. Cup Noodles is a worldwide staple for broke college kids. It’s cheap, low maintenance, and available everywhere. Steak is a worldwide symbol of wealth. Quality meat is hard to come by, and the precision of its cooking is even rarer.
I have always had the idea of combining the two, and the Arctic Wind storm late last January allowed me. At breakfast, I discovered that the wind pipes at Carney’s burst during the early days of the freeze, and as someone who grew up in a tropical country, I did not know this was possible. I was starving. My head throbbed from low blood sugar. All I had was cup noodles I bought in the local H-Mart as my contingency food. I grabbed a cup of curry noodles from my pantry, filled it with water, microwaved it, and put on my K-drama fixation at that time.
I always hated admitting defeat, but I did. I still wasn’t full, and I wanted more. But I still had to endure hours until dinner to see if the dining hall was open. It was my first month in America, and I missed feeling full. I missed dreading the sun because I now dread the snow. I missed dreading fullness because now I am starved. Food really was a privilege. So, I slept.
I woke up just in time for dinner. They were serving steak at Carney’s. I put on my ultra-heat-protected coat, and endured a two-minute walk from my building to the dining room. I bought steak to-go, and realized that I still had my curry noodles in the microwave. So, I did the best thing I could do:I put the noodles and steak together.
I did not have the money to secure all three meals in a day like I used to. At one point in my life, my family did not either. And throughout history, many people didn’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy. Everyone deserves happiness. Even then, happiness is a privilege when it shouldn’t be. I thought about all of this as I ate my steak and cup noodles—as it froze in America and scorched in the Philippines. It was the best meal of my life.
With fall in full swing, a hearty bowl of pasta is the perfect weeknight dish to warm your soul. Combining different flavors of the season makes it all the more perfect to share with others. This sage butternut squash pasta is sure to fill your house with succulent aromas and quench your fall cravings. It emulates mac and cheese, and will soon become your go-to fall dish to impress anyone, as the flavors and textures are impeccable.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 fresh sage leaves
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 pound fusilli pasta
1 pound fresh spicy sausage
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pasta pot filled with water to a boil. In a large skillet over medium heat ,melt the butter with the sage until browned. This will take 3-5 minutes, and the butter will smell sweet and turn light brown. Pour the butter and sage into a separate bowl, leaving about 2 teaspoons in the pan.
In a separate pan, remove the sausage from its casing. Break into bite sized pieces and fully cook. Brown the sides of the sausage and then set aside.
Add the breadcrumbs to the pan with the 2 teaspoons of butter. Heat until crispy and browned; they should be perfectly golden. Place aside in a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
Heat the same pan and add the olive oil. Add the shallots to the hot pan and stir, cooking for approximately 5 minutes or until browned. Mix in the garlic and the remaining brown butter. Set this aside.
When the water comes to a boil, add in the butternut squash and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add in the pasta and cook according to the box, usually 7 to 9 minutes or until al dente. Reserve 1 ½ cups of pasta water. Add the pasta and butternut squash back into the pot.
In the pot with the pasta and squash, add 1 cup of pasta water and the shallot-butter mixture. Stir vigorously until a glossy sauce is created. If need be, add more pasta water to reach a mac and cheese consistency. Take off the heat and mix in the lemon juice, cooked sausage, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese.
Serve into bowls and top with bread crumbs. Enjoy:)
The first day of October always gets me into the fall spirit. Pumpkins and apples are at the forefront of my mind and I look to use them in as many dishes as possible. Breads and pies are my go-to but this harvest pizza might come close to my new favorite fall meal. Layers upon layers of sweet, salty, crunchy, and smooth activate your taste buds in every bite. Put on your fall playlist, grab your pumpkin spice latte and utilize the season’s flavors to get into the fall spirit.
3 ½ to 4 cups white flour
1 teaspoon super
1 envelope yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ butternut squash, cubed
1 teaspoon oil or choice
¾ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
½ pound spicy chicken sausage
½ cup fig jam
1 honey crisp apple, thinly sliced
1 fresh mozzarella ball, shredded
½ cup fresh parmesan cheese
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
For the pizza dough in a large stand mixer add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Turn on the mixer fitted with the dough hook and add the water and oil. Mix until the dough comes together, forms a ball, and is not too sticky. If need be, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Grease a separate bowl with additional olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, begin preparing the toppings. Take the cubed butternut squash and coat it with your oil of choice, and paprika. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until slightly crispy. Meanwhile, remove the sausage from its casing and brown in a high-heat skillet. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen, place it onto a lightly floured surface and spread it into a circle shape. Utilize a rolling pin or your fingertips to lightly press the dough out. Cover and let rest for another 10 minutes.
I was introduced to buffalo chicken dip at my first high school soccer pasta party. I had never heard of it before and to be honest, I thought it looked extremely unappetizing. My teammates thought otherwise, and each grade was designated to bring their own tray to enjoy since it was in such high demand. The scorching metal tray with blistering orange-reddish chicken was placed on the freshman table; my classmates dove in like vultures. I was hesitant to try it, as I thought there was mayonnaise in the dish (Kuffners and mayonnaise do not mix), but once I took a bite, there was no going back.
The creaminess of the chicken, the spice of the buffalo, and the crunch of the tortilla chip made for a perfect combination. I became hooked like all my teammates. Now, buffalo chicken dip is my favorite dip and one of my go-to appetizers for holidays or functions. Don’t be fooled by looks. You don’t want to miss a chance to have your chip in this dip!
1 pound chicken breasts
4 oz cream cheese
½ cup ranch
1-1½ cups Red Hot
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup cheddar cheese
1 bag of tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chicken breasts in an oven-safe dish, and season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the dish and about ¼ cup of Red Hot. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken completely shreds. Make sure to check every 15 minutes after the first 30 minutes to see how tender the chicken is. Once shredded, let it cool for a few minutes and then use two forks to further shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Mix in the cream cheese, ranch, and Red Hot. Mix until everything is combined. Add more Red Hot depending on your spice preference. Top the dip with the cheddar cheese. Place it back in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly crisp. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!
Crumbl Cookies have crazed social media, and now locations are popping up all around the country. These massive cookies come in a variety of flavors, ranging from fruity pebble and caramel popcorn to a simple chilled sugar cookie. The cookies look and taste delicious, but unfortunately, there are no Crumbl Cookie shops in the close vicinity of Boston College. So, grab your whisk and butter for my take on a copycat peanut butter crumble cookie.
Sugar Cookie Base
1 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 sticks butter, softtend
1 cup peanut butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Roasted, salted peanuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter on high. Once fluffy, add the sugar. Once incorporated, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the four and baking powder, ensuring not to overmix the dough. Scoop out a ¼-⅓ cup of dough, roll it into a ball, and flatten it on a cookie sheet. These cookies are meant to be big! Bake for 8-11 minutes or until slightly golden. Let cool.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on high for 3-5 minutes or until a pale white color is reached. Whip in the peanut butter. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. You may need to add more or less powdered sugar depending on your tastes, but a slightly thick consistency is needed.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, fill a piping bag fitted with the Wilton 1M tip with the PB frosting. Starting from the middle of the cookie, pipe outwards in a circle to create a rose look. Drizzle caramel over one side and garnish with 3 roasted peanuts. Serve chilled or at room temperature to impress all your friends.
Growing up every Saturday I would wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon and butter browning around pancakes. Breakfast foods are an absolute staple within the Kuffner household no matter the day of week or time. Without fail, every single Saturday my dad made us a full breakfast spread filled with heaps of bacon, different types of pancakes, and of course his world-famous scrambled eggs.
As a child, I would only ever eat eggs that my dad made. They had to be from him, and they had to be scrambled. The gooey yolk in over-easy or sunny-side-up eggs freaked me out, and I refused to try them. In my mind they were raw, and that was not how eggs were supposed to be eaten. I held this notion until one day my best friend Eimile made me her famous avocado toast with a runny egg on top. My world was rocked and I instantly fell in love with the gooey inside of an over-easy egg.
Now my interpretation of a perfect egg is a slightly crispy white with a mostly-runny yolk that can be soaked up by freshly made bread. Fried eggs evolved into my go-to enhancement to any dish, and my new favorite breakfast food. This recipe combines a take on my dad’s famous hash browns and my newfound favorite food. It’s a testament to the breakfast foods of my childhood and my new changing tastes as an adult. So grab your cast iron skillet and love for breakfast foods, and make this revamped Saturday breakfast dish for one.
2 fresh sausages of your choice (out of the casing)
½ onion diced
1 large sweet potato, cubed
½ red bell pepper, sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 over-easy egg
Handful of fresh cilantro
In a large cast-iron skillet, break the sausage into pieces and cook until browned. Remove the sausage from the skillet and add the onion. Sauté until lightly browned. Next add the cubed sweet potatoes, along with some water to the pan. Place a lid on the skillet and steam the potatoes for approximately five minutes. Stir and cook until the potatoes are soft. Add the sliced peppers and the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper.
Once the hash is cooked through and has slightly crispy parts, in a separate non-stick pan crack the egg. Cook for approximately two to three minutes so the bottom is crispy but the yolk is runny. Place the egg on top of the hash, sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy 🙂
The annual Beanpot hockey tournament is currently in full swing, and students across Boston are repping their schools more than ever. This 66-year-old tradition brings the four major Boston-area university hockey teams together for an epic showdown to show who truly dominates.
Sadly, our coveted Boston College eagles plummeted to defeat in their game against Northeastern on Monday, Feb. 7, and now must face Harvard in the consolation game on Monday, Feb.14. The seats were filled, but the BC spirit and Screaming Eagles Marching Band were not enough to rally the team for a win.
Now, sad and defeated students must recover and watch from the dorms as Boston University takes on reigning champion Northeastern in the final game. Even though we lost the Beanpot hockey tournament, you can still indulge in the spirit and make this winning bean pot of chili.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds ground turkey
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14-ounce cans kidney beans
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups water
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the diced peppers and garlic. Once slightly brown, add in the ground turkey. Sauté until the meat is fully cooked. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix thoroughly until the meat is covered in the spice mixture. Add the tomato paste and stir until the mixture comes together. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Stir and add at least one cup of water before simmering.
Simmer on low heat for a minimum of one hour, or until the desired flavors have been met. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be. Before serving make sure to taste the chili, and adjust the spice level based on your preference.
I was an unassuming passerby, merely meandering through the endless stalls in Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Square. I was a sponge to the environment, soaking in the unintelligible crowd chatter, slight October breeze, and the different smells: sometimes seafood, other times street food. Having eaten freshly cooked clams for lunch just half an hour prior with friends, I was not particularly hungry. We were on what I like to call a “digestion walk” — the casual stroll after a meal, usually done in high spirits. Little did I know that life had more in store, that the day was just about to get even better (as if fresh seafood for lunch was not enough). Even while I was “full,” there was a special 호떡 (hotteok) shaped space in my stomach; I soon found that the sweet Korean snack carved a permanent place in my heart as well.
Our relaxing digestion walk took a sudden pause in front of a street food stall in the middle of BIFF Square. A blue, red, and green striped canopy offered the stall shade on the mildly sunny day. The top of the canopy read in Hangul, in large white font: 씨앗호떡 (ssiat hotteok). Seedhotteok. 1,000 won (which is less than a dollar). My hotteok-loving friend encouraged us to try it out. I couldn’t wait.
While studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea, I had tried a variety of Korean street food. Hotteok was surprisingly one I had not experienced until a couple months in. Because hotteok is incredibly popular, it can be found anywhere in Seoul (so I didn’t really have an excuse for waiting that long). However, visiting Busan for its annual film festival in October presented itself as a prime opportunity to try ssiat hotteok, a version only found in the southern city.
The only information I could use to discern the characteristics of this intriguing street snack, having never tried it, was by observing the seller’s preparation of it. Here’s a video of how ssiat hotteok is made!
The vendor, a kind-eyed elderly woman, was lightning fast, having mastered the recipe. She shaped flexible dough into circles, spooned in a light brown mixture in the middle, and gathered around the edges of the dough to form a ball and secure the inside mixture. Watching her prepare hotteok was mesmerizing — so fast yet fascinatingly precise.
I later learned that the dough was made of flour, yeast, milk, salt, and sugar. Sticky and flexible, it served as a secure encasing for the filling when shallowly fried. The filling consisted of a mixture of brown sugar and ground cinnamon. The vendor fried the balls in oil on a large grill and pressed them flat into disks. Hotteok was done cooking when it was lightly golden brown on both sides, after being turned over occasionally. The vendor then cut a slit in the middle of the disk to create a pocket for additional filling. In true Busan-fashion, the vendor generously stuffed the hotteok with seeds including pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
What makes Busan-style hotteok so distinct is this inclusion of the variety of seeds in the inside (hence called ssiat hotteok). Other preparations of hotteok around the country also add chopped nuts like walnuts, peanuts, or almonds. Some don’t add filling beyond the standard cinnamon and sugar mixture, as hotteok preparation can vary city to city, and even between vendors of the same city. A couple weeks later I even tried matcha hotteok! There is something for everyone.
Vendor frying hotteok.
Photo credit: Saamia Bukhari
The vendor carefully placed the hot and fresh ssiat hotteok in paper cups. Time to dig in.
Biting inside the hotteok, the gooey sugar and cinnamon syrup immediately greeted my taste buds and oozed out. It was piping hot. Should I have waited a couple of minutes and let it cool down? Maybe. But I couldn’t resist. The seeds doused in the sticky sugary goodness offered a textural element and crunch. The density of the fried dough cut through the sweet inside. It was divine. The perfect post-lunch dessert.
Hot and fresh hotteok.
Photo credit: Saamia Bukhari
Upon first chew, I immediately concluded that it topped my Korean street food rankings. It was unlike any other sweet street food I had tasted in the country: an impeccable balance of crunch and sweet, an elite dough to filling ratio. Dangerously addictive. And under a dollar? An absolute dream. At that moment, my life was divided into two parts. B.H. and A.H.: Before Hotteok and After Hotteok. Was it really that impactful? Yes.
Standing in the shade, the three of us held our hotteok preciously, as if they were going to grow wings and fly away at any moment. We ate carefully to not get burned from the hot, gooey sugar, though I still managed to despite my best efforts. I was overwhelmed with a sense of happiness, a certain contentment felt when experiencing good food with good friends. At the same time, there was an underlying, heart-tugging sadness, as each bite inevitably meant getting closer to finishing it. However, the memory will remain as fresh as the hotteok made that afternoon. Busan’s mid-day warmth, film festival excitement, adventurous friends, and of course, ssiat hotteok… together these seemingly separate elements planted the seeds to a wonderful day.
Located in the heart of Boston is Haymarket, an outdoor farmer’s market which dates back to around 1830. Between historic pubs and restaurants, stalls line the cobbled streets of Haymarket, boasting a wide assortment of various fruits, vegetables, and other fresh produce. Haymarket opens every Friday and Saturday, from dawn to dusk, enticing passers-by with the vibrant and bustling atmosphere surrounding the outdoor market. Produce is sold for some of the best deals in Boston, and further encouragement is provided as after around 3pm on Saturday afternoon, all remaining produce is further marked down. In addition to the fresh fruits and vegetables of Haymarket, specialty grocers located along Blackstone street offer a variety of cheeses, eggs, fish, Halal meats, and more.