Category Archives: Food

Instagram Contest for Chico Experience Week

During Chico Experience Week we asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to use Instagram to take photos of themselves during the week. Here are some of our favorites:

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Here is the contest’s winning photo by tbufete!

“The man in black himself, President Zingg. #chicoexperience I wish I was dressed as cool.”

Chico State Expo 125!

In celebration of our 125th anniversary, California State University, Chico will host the Chico State Expo 125 this Saturday, April 14, from 1 to 5 p.m. There is no charge to attend, and everyone is invited!

Stop by Colusa Hall (see campus map) to pick up Expo guides, buttons, and refreshments, and to mingle with CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg and other campus officials.

More than 60 tours, showcases, and performances will be held at the Expo on Saturday. There will be lots of games and activities for children on the Glenn Hall lawn, as well as free Chico State pennants and photo opportunities with Willie the Wildcat.

Among the events will be the popular arboretum tour of trees on campus, art studios and backstage theatre tours, a chemistry magic show, and a sneak peek at the School of the Arts upcoming musical, Oklahoma! Download the detailed event schedule here.

Admission to the Gateway Science Museum, Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, Janet Turner Print Museum, and other galleries and exhibits will be free during the Expo. In addition, both the Bidwell Mansion and Warrens Reception Center – formerly the President’s Mansion – will be open for tours.

So come on down and enjoy the festivities as we celebrate 125 years of Wildcat history!

Why Our Ag Majors Are Growing

By Jennifer Ryder Fox, dean of the College of Agriculture

After reading the January 19, 2012 Yahoo Education article “College Majors That Are Useless,” one might be led to believe that the author, Terence Loose, has something against eating, wearing clothes, enjoying a natural landscape, or smelling a bouquet of roses. What other reason could he have for singling out Agriculture, Animal Science, and Horticulture as three of the five most useless degrees? Mr. Loose’s rationale and indeed the original ranking mentioned in the article are certainly not based on fact.

In contrast to the Yahoo article, a Purdue University study funded by the USDA projected an estimated 54,400 annual openings for college graduates in food, renewable energy, and the environment between 2010 and 2015. The study projected only 53,500 qualified graduates will be available each year and stated that employers have expressed a preference for graduates from colleges of agriculture and life sciences that tend to have more relevant work experience and greater affinity for those careers.

Further demonstrating the need for educated agriculturalists, the November 2009 Monthly Labor Review projected particularly strong (double-digit) growth in certain agricultural careers such as agricultural inspectors, animal scientists, food scientists and technologists, natural sciences managers, pest control workers, soil and plant scientists, and veterinarians. A mere two weeks ago, the Washington Post printed the results of a Georgetown University study showing that recent college graduates with degrees in agriculture and natural resources were among those with the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 7 percent, surpassed only by graduates with degrees in health (5.4 percent) and education (5.4 percent).

Across the country state support of public universities is dwindling, and the consequence of budgetary decreases is seen with some universities making choices about programs to reduce or eliminate. In a few states, agricultural programs have been targeted for reduction or even elimination. State supported universities in California have also been affected by reduced state budgets, but there’s no talk of eliminating any of the universities’ agricultural programs, as agriculture is the top economic driver in California and generates over $33 billion in revenue for the state while producing over 350 products. Rather, the effect of reduced state support has been to tighten our belts and look to external grants and contracts and other funding sources so that we can serve our increasing number of students.

The California Community College Centers for Excellence recently completed an environmental scan of the agriculture value chain in California and found that there are currently 2.5 million individuals employed in more than 800 job titles within the agriculture value chain in the state. The average annual salary for agricultural value chain workers is $50,000. While the number of production jobs is expected to decrease in the next five years, a net increase of 181,000 jobs is expected throughout the entire agricultural value chain, which includes support, research, technology, production, processing/packaging, marketing, and sales and distribution. No one disputes that with advanced technology and mechanization, skilled production jobs in agriculture (or any field for that matter) have decreased and will most likely continue to give way to mechanization.

Here at CSU, Chico, the optimism for agricultural careers can be seen in the 50 percent enrollment growth in programs offered through the College of Agriculture during the past five years. And across the country, agriculture programs are seeing a surge in student interest. Clearly, our students and those in other ag programs are seeing the tremendous career opportunities available in agriculture and are jumping at the opportunity to pursue them, Mr. Loose’s puzzling attack on their choice of major notwithstanding.

Vegan Treats: Easy as Pie!

By Jessica Post, Faculty Affairs Coordinator and alumna (BS 2006, MBA 2008)

After 10 years being a vegetarian I decided to make the switch to a completely vegan diet. This change was surprisingly easy for me, and I have been enjoying the challenge of finding new ways to cook and bake. While I had an easy transition, I knew my switch would be hard on my mother—not because she is some crazy meat eater, but because she’s such a foodie and an amazing cook!

So, it came as no surprise to me that a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, I got a call from my mom, worried that I wouldn’t be able to eat her pumpkin pie. We have already adapted the rest of the meal for vegetarians (her Tofurky is amazing), but the no eggs restriction was making dessert really difficult.

Using my new-found skills at finding vegan recipes, I tracked down a delicious vegan pumpkin pie recipe.  Best part is this recipe makes two pies, so take one to your family dinner and enjoy the other on Friday. This can be made using real pumpkins, but if you’re into quick and easy like me, you can just buy a 15- or 16-ounce can of pumpkin (the organic kind is definitely the best). So here we go:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie
(Recipe adapted from

  • 2 15-16oz cans of pumpkin (organic pumpkin available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 12.3-ounce package firm silken tofu
  • 1 1/3 cups natural granulated sugar
  • 2 9-inch natural pie crusts (if you buy pre-made crusts make sure they are vegan – try Marie Callendar’s or Wholly Wholesome brands)


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2. Combine pumpkin, spices, tofu, and sugar in a large food processor. Blend until smooth. (You can do this with half the ingredients at a time if you have a small or medium size processor.)

3. Pour the filling into both crusts. Bake together for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crusts are golden and the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and let the pies cool to room temperature. Cut into 6 or 8 slices to serve.

Enjoy your pie with friends and family!

Words with Wildcats!

This week’s inquiry: “Where is your favorite place to eat in Chico and why?”

Paul Zingg, President: “There are few things I enjoy more than a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a slice of Celestino’s pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and dried peppers generously sprinkled on top. I appreciate the Pale Ale because it’s a Chico institution and Celestino’s pizza because he’s a Jersey guy like me, and I grew up on East Coast pizza.”

Jason Nice, Professor of British History: “I really like Café Paulo on 5th and Ivy. Their coffee is great because they roast and grind it themselves. I enjoy the atmosphere and the company, plus it’s nice to support local business.”

Sandy Claflin, Art Department Secretary: “My husband and I rarely go out, but when we do, we always seem to be craving Mexican food. Our favorite place to go to satisfy that craving is either Tortilla Flats or Casa Ramos, both serve really tasty food!”

Jeff Williams, Mechanical Engineering, Post-Baccalaureate: “My wife and I lived in Hawaii for several years, and we got used to eating Chinese food. The best Chinese food in Chico is from Ginger’s Chinese on Pillsbury Road.”

Steve Lewis, Professor of Latin American History: “My favorite is Thai food. When I’m on campus, I like to walk downtown to Thai Basil on 2nd Street, but if I’m on the south end of town, Cocodine Thai Cuisine is the place to go!”

Amanda Duntsch, Child Development, Freshman: “I like to go to Big Chico Burger on East Avenue, they have a great special where you can get a cheeseburger, an order of fries, and a soda for only $5.49!”

Kate Transchel, Professor of Russian History: “I find myself really enjoying authentic ethnic food.For my spicy Indian craving, I like to eat at Priya on The Esplanade. They have an amazing lunch buffet and really tasty vegetarian dishes. When I’m feeling like having Italian, I like to head over to Sicilian Café. I love the location with the creek side setting and the prices are very reasonable for the quality of the cuisine!”

This is the first edition of our reoccurring feature, Words with Wildcats.

Dinner, Courtesy the University Farm

By Anna Harris, Assistant Editor, Public Affairs and Publications

It’s not often that beans become an impulse purchase, but after visiting the Organic Vegetable Project stand last Wednesday (every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Services Center Plaza), I found myself walking across campus with a 10-pound bag of beautiful yellow beans.

I’m imagining them in a simple gratin topped with crispy breadcrumbs.

There were also beautifully tiny, bright orange eggplants. Yellow wax beans. Summer tomatoes bursting with juice. Fresh eggs. Sweet pimentos. Little packets of nuts for snacking.


Pick up some eggplants and tomatoes and try this:

Grilled Eggplant Stacks




1. Slice your eggplant into ¼- to ½-inch rounds. If you are using a long, thin Japanese eggplant, slice lengthwise in half. One medium eggplant will yield approximately 15 slices.

2. Toss the slices in a colander with plenty of salt. Don’t be shy!

Let them sit at least 30 minutes in the colander or tumbled on a rack. The salt will drain the bitterness out of the vegetable.

3. While the eggplant is draining, thinly slice some cheese and tomatoes—one slice for each piece of eggplant. I used mozzarella for these pictures, but just about any melting cheese would work.

4. Pat the eggplant dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towel. Top each round with a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato. Drizzle the stacks with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

5. Toss them on the grill for a couple minutes over hot coals. Then slide them over to your medium-low heat zone, close the grill cover, and cook until the eggplant is tender.

I ate these with brined pork chops and grilled flatbread.

They are also delicious next to grilled steak with chimichurri sauce drizzled over the meat and the eggplant. Or with anything that comes off the grill, really.

Grilled eggplant is easily adaptable: Add a basil leaf. Skip the tomato. Use cheddar cheese.

Make it your own.

And because I’m never one to waste a pile of hot coals, I like to do this:

Slice up a pile of summer veggies—squash, sweet peppers, onions—and marinate with olive oil, smushed garlic cloves, sprigs of thyme or basil, salt, and pepper. Toss them in a grill basket and cook over the residual coals while you’re eating your eggplant stacks.

Eat later in the week with roasted tomatoes over pasta, in burritos, tucked into enchiladas or lasagna, on pizza, with goat cheese as bruschetta…

Zesty Lemon Chicken — Chico Style!

chelsea beights

By Chelsea Beights, Senior, Major: Studio Art — Photography

Ciao! My name is Chelsea and I am the new social media and photography intern for Public Affairs and Publications. I will be blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking on the official University sites as we work to connect more with you, our audience. As a Chico local, I hope to share the charm and adventures Chico offers through the words of guest authors and a dash of my personal experiences. As many of you know, Chico is a substantial agricultural area, holding farmer’s markets year round and possessing fertile soil for growing fruits and vegetables right in your own backyard. I am very thankful for this rich soil and the lemon tree in my backyard, which blooms wildly and produces huge, succulent lemons! I really enjoy my time in the kitchen trying out new recipes and making my own, so I figured I’d share one that uses the lemons from my bountiful backyard tree. Enjoy!

Many people go through the same sort of conundrum around 5 p.m…. What should I make for dinner? Well, why not make something simple yet tasty with easily accessible ingredients! Let me introduce you to my


Let’s start with the ingredient list:

•    6 cloves of garlic
•    2 lemons
•    olive oil
•    salt
•    ground black pepper
•    Italian Seasoning
•    2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts

*Pre-heat oven to 375 °F
1. Take the 6 cloves of garlic and mince them.

2. Place the minced garlic in a pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Let the garlic simmer in the oil for a few minutes, until golden, then remove from heat.

3. Take one of the two lemons and use a fine grater to make about 1/4 cup of zest.

4. Add about 1/2 tbsp of Italian Seasoning, the zest, and the juice from the first lemon into the cooling garlic and oil mixture. Mix thoroughly and then pour about 3/4 of the mixture into a 9X12 glass baking dish.

5. Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the breasts evenly in the pan.

6. Take the other lemon and cut into small slices. Take the lemon slices and spread them around the chicken in the pan. Then pour the last part of the mixture on top of the chicken, and generously sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

7. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes (or until cooked entirely through) at 375 °F.

… And VOILÀ! Let your taste buds relish!

If you enjoyed this recipe and would like to view more, check out Chelsea’s Food/DIY blog!

We’d love to share your favorite Chico recipes, so please send them to me at!