A College Cooking Survival Guide

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A College Cooking Survival Guide

Demarolle Drop Cap Before moving in to my apartment at Penn, I was convinced that I was an amazing cook, but I had overlooked the fact that I had no idea how to be one. I had often cooked in the past, but only for special occasions, so the only things I knew how to make were long recipes I put a whole day into, or otherwise baking. What I didn’t know how to cook was everyday meals – the less exciting ones that your mother, grandmother, or food chain where you grab lunch  seem to create so seamlessly, and that those meals that, upon my first attempt to make them, I completely failed.

Through trial and error, I have now come up with a few meals that can be prepared in little time – which is important when you only decide to start cooking when you’re already hungry – and that taste good, but, more importantly, make me feel like kind-of-an-adult.

This first one doesn’t look very adult-like, but it’s delicious and super simple (except if you want to make the crust yourself; then it might be a bit harder).

The smiley asparagus tart

IMG_6265For the crust:

–      ¾ stick of butter

–      1 2/3 cups of flour

(Or buy a ready-made one)


  1. Melt butter
  2. Mix in flour and ½ cup of water
  3. Spread in tart pan

For filling:

–      2 chopped onions

–      2 tbsp olive oil

–      ½ lb of ham

–      ½ cup sour cream

–      about 40 asparagus

–      4 eggs

–      salt & pepper


  1. Cook onions on medium heat for 5-10 minutes
  2. In bowl, mix cream, onions and ham
  3. Cook asparagus in boiling and salted water for 3 minutes and then put them in iced water
  4. Preheat oven to 400F
  5. Spread mixture on crust and cover with asparagus
  6. Cook in oven for 25 minutes then take out and break eggs on top and put back in oven for 10 minutes


The second one is simpler and healthy, but does require to plan a bit ahead, since cooking the eggplant takes a while and I usually buy frozen tuna which takes 12 hours to thaw in the fridge (just take it out of its wrapping, and place on a plate with kitchen paper underneath that you place at the bottom of your fridge).

The nice tuna


–      1 tuna steak

–      1 eggplant

–      2 tomatoes

–      10 black olives

–      3 tbsp olive oil

–      salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 365F
  2. Cut eggplant in half and then make cross-shaped cuts in the inside
  3. Cover with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. Place in oven for 40 minutes
  5. Cover the tuna in 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper
  6. Place on pan at medium heat for 3 minutes on each side
  7. Cut tomatoes into cubes
  8. When ready, take out the inside of the eggplant and cut into cubes
  9. Mix tomatoes, olives, eggplant, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper


This last one is great because you can make a few little flans, and then keep some for later or even freeze them.

The tomato flans 


–      7 oz of cherry tomatoes

–      4 eggs

–      16 oz sour cream

–      4 oz parmesan

–      4 small aluminum pans

–      salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 395F
  2. Mix eggs, sour cream and parmesan
  3. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to mixture
  4. Pour in pans
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Bake for 25 minutes

-Marianne Demarolle

Image courtesy of Marianne Demarolle

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