May 25, 2020

Cooking 101: Halloween treats

Click here to download and print Toni’s recipes.

Click here to view Toni’s first show.

Bryan Cole / The Collegian

One Fresno State student has found her forte — cooking. It didn’t take long for her to see a future career in food journalism.

Transitioning, nearly seamlessly, from class to camera, the latest addition to The Collegian staff could be described as “The Next Food Network Star.”

Toni Martinez, a food science and nutrition major, hosts The Collegian’s new cooking show “Cooking 101,” debuting today online. The video series will feature healthy, quick and delicious recipes for those on a student’s budget.

But this new venture in film hasn’t changed the way Martinez views herself.

“I will be straight — I wouldn’t consider myself a chef,” Martinez said. “I’m just a regular person. I woke up and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m doing a cooking show!’”

Like many college students, Martinez was unsure of which major to choose as a freshman.

She attempted sociology at UC Santa Cruz, the university near her hometown of Watsonville, Calif., but the quick stint in the program only left her more uncertain.

“I hated sociology,” Martinez said. “I just didn’t know what to do.”

However, clarity came via a phone call from her mother, who mentioned food and nutrition as a career path to her daughter.

“‘You’re always telling me what to eat and you love food,’” Martinez’s mom told her. “‘You should go into something with food because that is what you do!’”

Martinez started looking for colleges with a nutrition program. Few schools near her hometown had the program, leaving only UC Davis as an option.

Martinez knew there would be a long waiting list to enroll at UC Davis, so she opted for another university with a strong nutrition program that accepted her immediately — Fresno State.

In the Fall semester of 2005, she began her bachelor’s degree in food and nutritional sciences with an emphasis in dietetics and food administration.

Martinez had finally found her passion.

Bryan Cole / The Collegian

“It’s a fun major — We have a blast! We take cooking classes and we cater a lot,” Martinez said. “For our healthy cooking class, we did a five-course dinner as a fundraiser and we gave all the proceeds to a food shelter run by Fresno State students.”

After finishing her bachelor’s degree this December, the 22-year-old senior hopes to continue her education by entering the dietetic internship program here on campus.

She also has plans to pursue her master’s degree in food and nutritional science or culinology.

Martinez’s experience with “Cooking 101” may prove to be a stepping stone to future jobs in food journalism. She would like to become a food columnist , or perhaps one day host a show like Food Network’s “Tasty Travels,” which features food from regions across the globe.

On today’s first installment of The Collegian’s new cooking show, Martinez walks through two easy and delicious treats that are perfect for a fall gathering with friends: roasted pumpkin seeds and kettle corn with dark chocolate candies.

“It [cooking] is something to enjoy. You will feel very accomplished,” Martinez said. “If I can do it, anyone can do it!”

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Instead of throwing away the insides of your jack-o-lanterns, collect, wash, and roast the seeds along with the following seasoning:

• Ingredients:
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (seeds from 1 medium sweet pumpkin)
3 tablespoons melted butter (or vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar (or splenda)
1⁄2 teaspoon five-spice powder (contains cinnamon, fennel, anise, clove and Chinese pepper)

• Instructions:
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a colander, rinse the seeds thoroughly under cold water to remove as much of the pulp as possible. Spread the wet seeds on several paper towels to remove excess moisture.

In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds, melted butter, soy sauce, sugar and five-spice powder; stir to coat well.

Spread the seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Check the seeds frequently to prevent burning. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Kettle Corn

• Ingredients:
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

• Instructions:
Place the popcorn and sugar in a large pot with vegetable oil. Over a medium heat, begin to pop the popcorn. Constantly shake the pot to ensure that the popcorn kernels and oil do not burn. Once the popping has slowed, remove the pot from heat.

For a fun spin, add candy into the kettle corn to give it color and party appeal. Dark chocolate M&M’s are not only a sweet treat but are also a source of antioxidants. (Yield: 10 cups, popped)

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