As a supposedly seasoned Techer who has returned for more learning/pain (they are inseparable), I am now back at Caltech and once morepiled higher and deeperin work and waking up early (8:30 is early) for class, which for an off-campus student is a more difficult test of his interest in the course material. Not to worry, though, for my newest friend craigslist linked me to a gentleman who sold me a very good mountain bike for just 85 dollars!
With this, I no longer have to choose between eating breakfast and sleeping an extra 15 minutes, and standard grocery stores are no more than 5 minutes away–the world is my oyster. Going to campus? No problem! And just in time for the end of Rotation, too, to bounce with the newest Darbs!
Having reduced the effective distances to grocery stores, I have found that the other blessing and curse of living off-campus–cooking for oneself–has shown itself to be almost entirely a blessing. As much as I appreciate the ease of CDS-prepared food, I recently discovered that preparing food for myself has proven approximately 20 times cheaper than following the Board plan, which is not mandatory for off-campus students. Moreover, I can control the nutrition and freshness of the food I eat, to which as a freshman I did not pay too much attention since I was not in charge of preparing the food.
Still, there is nothing quite like the simple deliciousness of a grilled cheese sandwich.In light of this fact of life, yesterday my roommate and I bought whole grain bread, ciabatta bread, sliced pepper jack cheese, sliced cheddar cheese, a block of parmesan cheese, and spiced apple cider from Trader Joe’s. Retrospectively, I realize that these ingredients do not exactly embody “simple deliciousness”, but sometimes the inner engineer cannot be stopped from rehashing a relatively simple recipe. With that said, here is our recipe for a fantastic (and mildly pretentious) grilled cheese sandwich:
Ingredients: Whole grain bread or sliced ciabatta bread, cayenne pepper, oregano, thinly sliced tomato, and at least one of the cheeses I mentioned above in slice form (the more the better).
Instructions: Place a slice of one of the cheeses on one slice of bread. If it does not cover the bread entirely already, break up the slice and spread it out on the bread. Sprinkle cayenne pepper and oregano (to taste) on the cheese. Add a layer of thinly sliced tomato if you like tomatoes. If you have another cheese to work with, add that layer and add another slice of bread. On a hot pan, spread a very small amount of butter and place the uncooked sandwich on the pan and cover with a lid. When the cheese starts to melt, flip the sandwich, and press down on it with a spatula for about 20 seconds to make sure that the sandwich does not fall apart because of ingredients like tomatoes inside. When the slice of the bread on the pan is crispy on the outside, the sandwich is ready.
With spiced apple cider, these grilled cheese sandwiches make for a perfect “high-class” meal that one can use to impress friends without having any actual cooking skills or knowledge, and we all know that after a long day of being questioned about cross-disciplinary research, a grilledChE/ESE major could use a hot grilled cheese sandwich.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.