Mucho Gusto

Nico’s Carnitas

This is the thirteenth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Pork Butt, Time, Tortillas

I served this at a super bowl party and it slapped. It’s easy, delicious, and teaches you the fundamentals of braising without much work.

3 lbs Pork Butt (bone in or not doesn’t matter – the bone adds nutrients but is a hassle so, up to you)

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp paprika

2 onions

5 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

4 slices of orange peel (optional)

Salt and pepper

Tortillas, onions and cilantro for serving.

Start by taking a big, hefty pork butt (also called pork shoulder or Boston butt, shout out Boston), and if you’re trying to figure out how much to buy, get about a half pound per person. Play butcher and cut your pork into 1-inch cubes. Put those chunks into a pot. 

Roughly chop two onions, and throw that into the pot as well. Optionally at this point, take some orange peel (half- to a full-orange’s worth, depending on your taste), and throw that in the pot too. Oh, smash about 4 garlic cloves and throw those in there too. Sprinkle about a tablespoon’s worth of ground cumin and paprika into the pot, and add maybe a teaspoon of cayenne if you like it spicy. And never forget a hefty pinch of salt and maybe 6 good twists of black pepper, but don’t overdo it now, you can always add salt in later.

Fill the pot with water to the point where the water is just barely covering everything, and bring it up to a boil. A lot of scum is going to rise to the top, and while it’s perfectly safe, we like a clear braise, so feel free to scoop that off and toss it down the sink. Once it’s up to a boil, turn down your heat and simmer that for about 2-3 hours, no lid.

When almost all of the water has evaporated and the pork is cooked through and super soft, take out your pork with tongs and put it on a baking sheet or a casserole dish. Take two forks and shred apart all that meat, and drizzle it with a healthy amount, but definitely not all, of your delicious braising liquid. That stuff is liquid gold, it has all the nutrients and fat that was rendered out in your cooking time, and it’ll crisp up your pork nicely.

Broil that in an oven until it’s crispy on top, and then serve it on a warm tortilla, heated over an open flame obviously. For toppings, only finely chopped white onion and cilantro are allowed. And Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, and remember, it commemorates the Battle of Puebla which was fought against the French forces when they came to imperialize in 1862—not Mexican independence. That’s September 16. Viva Mexico!

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Jenna’s Cookies

This is the ninth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Flour, salt, eggs, butter, chocolate chips

Nothing quite compares to freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. This is a quick and easy recipe for when you’re craving something warm and comforting.

1 ½ cups flour

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup unsalted butter, divided

1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Next, take ½ cup of the butter and place it in a pan over medium heat; continuously stirring until it melts and then browns (around four minutes). Remove the browned butter from the heat and let it sit for one minute before adding the remaining ¼ cup of butter, cubed, into the mixture. Mix until the added butter has melted as well.

Next, add the brown and granulated sugars to the butter. Stir until smooth, and then add the egg and egg yolks and whisk for around 30 seconds. Afterward, add vanilla extract. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry just until thoroughly combined, and then fold in the chocolate. Spoon the dough into balls of about three tablespoons in volume, and place them on baking sheets lined in parchment. Bake until golden brown, for around 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

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Lauren’s Pretzel Bites

This is the eighth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: basic baking ingredients, time, the need for a snack

These pretzels are a great snack for a family game, puzzle, or movie night! Making the snack is also a fun activity for the whole family. You can make the cheese dip or just eat them with a little mustard.

Pretzel Bites:

1 ½ cups of lukewarm water 

2 ¼ teaspoons instant rise yeast (¼ ounce pack) 

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar 

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour

½ cup baking soda 

1 egg beaten

Salt for sprinkling on top

Cheese Dip: 

2 ¼ cup milk (whole milk suggested)

¼ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (grated)

Salt and pepper

For the pretzel bites, first dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and mix until they are combined – about 1 minute. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, salt, and yeast mixture. Stir until homogenous. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix by hand (or with a stand mixer using the hook attachment), until the dough is thick. Add ¾ cup more flour and mix. If the dough is still sticky add ¼ cup more flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and bounces back when you poke it.

Take your dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead it for 2 minutes and shape it into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, then cover the bowl with a dish towel or other cloth and let sit for 10 minutes. While the dough is rising, bring a large pot of water to a boil with the baking soda, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line two two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Section your dough into 6 equal parts and roll each section into long ropes. Then, cut into 1-1 ½ inch bites. Once water is boiling, drop 10 pretzel bites into water and boil for 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto prepared baking sheets, making sure that they do not touch. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites.

Brush beaten egg (or butter) over each pretzel bite and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the sheet pans once halfway through cooking.

For the cheese! Heat your milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles form on the top. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes Add the warm milk to the flour butter mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens (congratulations you have made a roux), about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until smooth. If you want to add a little more flavor, add one 1 tablespoon of mustard.

Recipe adapted from Platings and Pairings 

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Beatriz’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Roll Cake

This is the seventh installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: almond flour, xanthan gum, and active yeast 

Serves 8-10

My mother is celiac (gluten-intolerant) which means that we do a lot of experiments with gluten-free recipes. A few days ago I tried to make almond flour cinnamon rolls but accidentally created a whole cake. Needless to say, it was one of the most delicious mistakes I’ve ever made. 


2.5 cups almond flour

3 tbsp sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

4 tbsp soft butter

2 tbsp oil

1 cup warm milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp active yeast (activate in ¼ cup of water)


1 cup brown sugar

4 tsp cinnamon

6 tsp soft butter


6 tbsp soft cream cheese

1.5  cups confectioners sugar

4 tbsp soft butter

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the dough, combine the almond flour, sugar, salt, xantham gum, and butter in a large bowl. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature so it is soft enough to mix with the dry ingredients. Blend on low speed until you have a crumbly texture. Add the oil, milk, egg, vanilla, and active yeast (with the ¼ cup of water it was activated in) and beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes or until the consistency is similar to thick cake batter. Cover the dough and set it aside to rise for about 1 ½ hours

For the filling, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter to create a paste and set it aside. 

Once your dough is visibly puffy, lay it out on lightly greased parchment paper and spread it into a rectangular shape. Lightly brush some milk over the surface of the dough and spread the filling evenly. 

To roll the dough, lift the long edge of the parchment paper and roll the dough towards you. The dough should unstick from the parchment paper as you roll but give it a nudge whenever necessary. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1-2 inch rolls and place them into a well-greased oven pan. The dough will probably be sticky but this is where I think the cake consistency came from. Let the dough rest and rise a little more for about an hour and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown; a knife should be able to pierce the top and come out fully clean. While it is baking, make the icing by mixing together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Ice the cake as soon as you take it out of the oven and let it cool.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

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Devyn’s Ground Turkey & Spinach Casserole

This is the fourth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Ground turkey, noodles, spinach

Makes 1 casserole

Comfort food is exactly what we need right now and casseroles provide just that. This is a pantry-friendly recipe for a convenient and delicious dinner.

½ bag of Egg Noodles (12 oz. bag)

1 bag of spinach

½ cup of finely chopped white onion

½ cup of low-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon of canned tomato sauce 

½ bag of shredded three-cheese blend

1 package of ground turkey

*Mrs. Dash seasoning

*Santa Maria seasoning

*If you don’t have the seasonings just use salt and pepper

Wash spinach and boil until wilted. Boil egg noodles until al dente, strain, and cool. In a mixing bowl, add the pasta and break up boiled spinach throughout the pasta. Chop onion and add to mixing bowl.

Put the pan medium heat and wait until warm. Season the bottom of the pan covering the entire bottom being sure not to over-do it (you can always add more spice later!) Add the ground turkey to the pan and use a spoon to break into smaller chunks. Season the meat to taste. Cook meat until all pieces are brown. At this point, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Pour meat and leftover juices from the pan into the mixing bowl with pasta and spinach. Begin to add the cheese little by little while mixing. Once all cheese has been added, add sour cream and mix until pasta begins to bind with other ingredients. If pasta still looks dry, add 1 tablespoon. 

After sour cream is well mixed, add tomato and Worcestershire sauce and mix. Spray a casserole pan with a non-stick spray like Pam, and then pour the mixture in. Bake until bubbly on top!

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Jeremy’s Cajun Chicken and Couscous

This is the third installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: chicken, couscous, spices

Serves 1

With the weather starting to (slowly) warm up, I thought I’d make my go-to lunch with some sunny places in mind: A simple Cajun chicken breast sautéed in olive oil, served with Moroccan-style Couscous and a side salad.

Extra virgin olive oil

1 chicken breast

Cajun seasoning

 3/4 cup water

1/2 cup couscous



3/4 cup romaine lettuce


Once I butterfly and flatten my chicken breast, I season it with “Slap Ya Mama” cajun seasoning. If you don’t have any cajun seasoning, just combine 2 teaspoons each of salt, paprika, and garlic powder with 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, cayenne, and onion powder. Once it’s flat and seasoned, coat a pan in extra virgin olive oil and cook it over medium heat. 

While the chicken is searing, I heat up 3/4 of a cup of water in a pot. Right before the water starts boiling, I put in 1/2 cup of couscous (more water than couscous = fluffy) and cut the heat once bubbles start appearing. Once both sides of the chicken have a good color on them, I finish by baking it in a 350 degree oven for five minutes to make sure the chicken is fully cooked but still juicy. Season the couscous with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.

Put about 3/4 cup of romaine salad with olive oil and vinegar on top to make a nice warm-weather meal with inspiration from both sides of the Atlantic. I like to enjoy with a cup of New Orleans style cold brew coffee; the chicory in the cold brew cuts the heat of the chicken in all the right ways.

Couscous was introduced to me while studying abroad in Paris, and ever since rice has taken a backseat to it whenever I cook for myself. If there was a grain on the dinner table of my homestay’s kitchen, you better believe Carole was dishing up Couscous. I like this meal because it’s a perfect example of simplicity and variety: three essential ingredients that can bring to mind Morocco with paprika, the Bayou with cajun seasoning, or the gym when it’s served plain.


Mucho Gusto Announcement

At Gusto, our mission is to connect people through stories about food. And it’s easier than ever to give in to the dread of isolation and forget that we are still part of a community. That’s why we’re starting #MuchoGusto, a recipe campaign where we want to hear what you’re cooking and build a collective cookbook that anyone can access.

It’s never been more important to be able to feed yourself. With #MuchoGusto, we’re going to be compiling recipes from our editors, staff, and from you, and we’ll feature it all on our Instagram page and website starting this Monday (April 6, 2020). If you have a recipe you’d like to share, DM us or email to get it published .

Eventually we hope to have a collection of diverse recipes that anyone can access. For now, remember to keep cooking, eating, and being well.

-Nico Borbolla