Wednesday, May 29, 2013

To The Bar!

While in Paderno del Grappa, my friend Emily and I made a near daily routine of heading to the local bar at 8 am every morning.
And before you think that Europe turned us into raging alcoholics, let me explain a little further.
In Italy, a 'bar' is the equivalent to an American 'cafe.' Although they do serve alcohol, Italian bars are mainly coffee bars, pastry, and sandwich shops. And since the coffee machine in the CIMBA cafeteria churned out less-than-desirable  cups of jo, I was incredibly thankful that there was a local bar just down the road.

The shop is owned by a woman and her husband. He speaks some English, she doesn't speak any. But the language barrier didn't bother her one bit. In-between me and Emily's orders, she would keep talking to us in Italian about anything and everything (the weather, our lives, etc.), well aware that we could only understand parts of what she was saying. We spoke back in broken Italian phrases (probably sounding like two year-olds) as she whipped up some deliciously steaming cappuccinos and delivered them with a huge smile. For a mere 1.3 euros, this little beauty was worth every penny.

While our usual order was two cappuccinos, one day we decided to skip the dorm breakfast and try some of her homemade croissants.

Which was one of the best decisions I ever made, simply because they were each filled with delectable chocolate cream...

My apologies for the blur, but really, did you expect me to stop eating for long enough to take a decent picture?
Nope. No way.
On our last day, she made me and Emily cappuccinos with cocoa, a delicious treat that I've been missing since my time at home.

And now I'm certain: if there's one thing that will draw me back to Italy in the future, it's the bars. 

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Asolo, Italy

I must apologize profusely for abandoning this blog for 2-3 weeks now. But, I promise, I have a very, very, very good reason.
For the past two weeks, I've been in Italy taking a short course on Intellectual Property Law. And, of course, eating everything in sight.
My lodgings didn't have a very strong internet connection, so blogging while I was there was a bit out of the question. BUT, I'm back now to relay the culinary adventures of the Veneto region.

This is the stunning view from my dorm room. Yes, I know, the mountains look photoshopped. To be completely honest, they looked photoshopped in real life too. I promise they're real, and they happened to be extremely clear during my first full day in Italy.
Since jet lag had everybody pretty much out of commission on our first day, we didn't have many plans other than exploring the campus and the surrounding town of Paderno del Grappa. 
The second day, however, we went to the nearby town of Asolo for some exploring and pizza making.

The view from the undergraduate campus building in Asolo. If you hadn't already guessed, it's a medieval city on a high mountain.

Me and my friend Emily enjoying the view. You'll be seeing a lot of her on here for the next couple of days.

We had some free time before the pizza making class started, so we all headed into the town square and visited Caffe Centrale, the congregation spot for locals and tourists alike. If there's gelato involved, me and Emily are there.

After we got our gelato fix, the whole group headed down the road to Astoria Lounge for some prosecco and introductions by the owner.

We had some quick instructions on how to prepare the best quality dough.

And then it was time to get down to work.

Me and Patricia had our game faces on.

First you roll...

Then add your toppings...

And then pop it into a stone oven for 3-4 minutes until you get something like this little beauty.

Fresh pomodoro sauce, pepperoni, ham, grilled zucchini, arugula, and onions. Pour a little spicy oil on top and it's the closest you'll get to heaven on earth. This pizza here is the reason I can't look at Domino's the same way again.
One day I'll try to re-create this beauty....if I can ever get my hands on a stone oven.....

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sunrise Melt

I've been neglecting this blog, and I apologize.
Let's just chalk it up to the fact that finals will forevermore suck up my life for at least 2 weeks out of the year.

Grades will be coming out soon, so fingers crossed that my time away was worthwhile!
Hopefully this recipe will make up for it.
In one of my classes, my friends Haley and Nikki had a morning routine. Halfway through our class together, we had a 15 minute break, during which time Haley and Nikki walked down the street to a local shop and grabbed a hot breakfast quesadilla. It always looked crispy and delicious - and someone overpriced. So, I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Introducing my super-sized and super-healthy sunrise melt!

Delicious, tangy, and filled with nutritious avocado, this sandwich is sunshine on a plate. Super-easy and incredibly delicious, it's become a new staple of mine.

To make this super-easy melt, grab these ingredients:

1 avocado

2-3 eggs
salt and pepper
small block fresh feta cheese
2 masa corn tortillas

Start by mixing your eggs with milk, salt, and pepper. Beat well. Add your cheese, breaking it into chunks with a fork. Pour your eggs into a pan and scramble.
Slice up an avocado. Grab your tortillas, and grill them if you can for an extra crisp and charred flavor. Layer your eggs and avocado onto the tortillas. If you really want an extra burst of crispiness, throw the sandwich onto a panini press. Slice in half and serve with a huge glass of orange juice.

Then sit back, relax, and watch the sunrise. FINALS ARE OVER!!! WOOO!

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