07 November, 2010

I Moved!

Hi blogworld!

I decided to change routes a bit in blogging and created a new blog. Now that I've got an actual kitchen, I can make a lot more recipes, so I feature those along with some fashion (but for the guys out there, not too much!).

Come check it out at http://www.unbelloappertivo.wordpress.com .

Hope to see you there and thanks for reading!

03 September, 2010

A Triumphant Return!

Finally...I haven't posted in a while because I've been traveling and getting ready for school and weddings and life in general. I'm thinking about perhaps changing the focus of this blog, since my focus has switched away from all-raw. Now that I have my own apartment at school, I finally have a kitchen, which makes for quite the creative time. I've missed cooking for the past two years, and it's finally nice to make something for myself.

I've found that cooking really lets me be creative. This past week I've just been throwing together things to make meals without recipes. And I've learned that cooking and buying food for yourself ain't cheap.

I'm slowly learning what my pantry essentials are; not my mom's or my family's, but my own. In addition to little bags of bulk spices that I got at Whole Foods a few days before I left for school, I'm thinking my pantry essentials will look something like this:


Salsa. Food of the gods. (source)

New favorite snack?


Salsa + this. (source)


Chickpeas. Useful beyond belief. Hummus, soup, salad...the possibilities are endless. (source)


Mint chocolate. Not really a your traditional staple...but I find that mint chocolate is the most satisfying flavor of chocolate for me, even over just plain ole dark chocolate... (source)


Polenta. Truly versatile. (source)


Quinoa. I used to not like grain salads, but the one time I was swiped into the dining hall this year, they had this terrific cranberry quinoa salad (kind of like the one at Whole Foods), and I've gotten a major quinoa craving ever since then. (source)

I'm sure I'll be adding to the list sometime very soon...well, as soon as the paycheck comes.

What are your pantry staples?

21 July, 2010

The City of Blinding Lights...

One thing I love about Italy is that most of the time, their fast food is, dare I say it, healthy. Yes, sure, there are the pizza and french fries and other friend options, but I can always count on getting a plate of roasted potatoes, or patate al forno. I discovered, partially by accident, something I already knew. Have you ever done something like that before?

I had some balsamic vinegar left on my plate at dinner once from my salad, and sitting next to it was a pile of roasted potatoes. The potatoes had started to soak up the vinegar, so I decided to try it. Wow. I thought I was on the edge of a new discovery when I realized it's pretty much the same thing as malt vinegar on fish and chips. Oh. Total letdown. 

And again, once there were mashed potatoes for dinner. Some balsamic mixed in with those potatoes, along with some leftover salad greens. Another new discovery? Nah, pretty much the same thing as Irish colcannon.

Oh well, let's just call it a personal discovery, shall we?

While waiting for my delayed flight to Paris, I got a little snacky-snacky. I headed over to the fast food place and grabbed some roasted potatoes. For just under 3 euro, I got a huge plate of potatoes. Granted, they weren't spectacular, but the fact that they had chili powder and vinegar made my day. And it made quite the tasty combination.

I took a little detour in Disneyland Paris. We ate dinner at one of the buffets and it was delicious. The lighting inside was really crappy, so the pictures didn't turn out the way I wanted, so please bear with me.

Fresh tomatoes, baby radishes, carrots, a chopped veggie salad, heavy on the dressing, red cabbage slaw (it had a horseradish tang to it that was absolutely amazing), and a beet salad with a mustard dressing.

Plate #2: watermelon, marinated cherry tomatoes, curried cabbage slaw, mixed bean salad, and some veggie terrine (what it was made of I have no idea...any guesses? It had a layer of green, white, and then light orange...)

Last plate of real food: eggplant caponata (too much cornstarch or something), grilled veggies, potato wedges (doesn't that sound better than french fries?), and scalloped potatoes (good, way really rich).

My strategy with dessert was to take a little of everything and just have a bit or so. It's not worth it to eat the whole thing if you don't really love it. That being said, I'll only show you the pictures of the desserts that were worth mentioning.

This was some sort of coconut cake-tart-thing...layers of custard between cake (which you really can't see in the photo).

Lemon tart: it was perfect - not too sweet and with just the right tang. I didn't eat the crust because I've never been much of a crust person anyway, and I think it takes away from the flavors of the dessert.

I knew I had to try a crepe in France, even if I was in Disney, so the next  day I got one of these babies.

Can you say chocolate much? 

I'll leave you with this picture that cracks me up every time I see it. And slightly embarrassing.

Me at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin...pure concentration, haha.

Questions: Are you a Disney-lover?

I have a blog detailing my time here in Italy, but the focus is more on travel, not food. If you'd like to read it, though, just send me an email or post a comment and I'll send you the link. I think it definitely shows my personality a little bit more, haha.

13 July, 2010

Feeling "Desserty"

I fear this is a little late, but I had a wonderful Italian 4th of July. Just take a look at these fireworks. I could see them from the balcony in my room and they were set off right on the edge of the lake.











Pretty awesome, right?

I promise I've been eating lots of tomatoes and arugula and rucola, but I can't help but taking pictures of my desserts. I've had the opportunity to go out nearly every weekend, so some of these desserts were shared and some were all for my little self, haha.

This was called "salame cioccolata" or chocolate salami. It's basically biscotti cookies set in a semi-hard chocolate base. For reference, they were about the size of an index finger. I have to say they were delicious, but I passed on the whipped cream, per my non-dairy pledge (but hey, we're excepting gelato in that deal, haha).

This was called "torta melone" or melon cake. I had a different idea of what it was going to be. It turned out more like a whipped cream filling with a melon topping. I'm not a fan of whipped cream to begin with, so I couldn't finish this. And I'm the type of person that hardly ever finishes her dessert. Oh well...




This tiramisu was the best I've ever had. The cream part was really thick, and the coffee had really infused the lady fingers, so it was kind of a soggy mess of deliciousness. My non-dairy thing was pardoned for this tiramisu. It makes me really want to work on making a raw one.

A chocolate and pear torte. It had a crust, layer of raspberry jam, chocolate, pears, and finally a thin layer of pastry on top. It was one of those desserts that's just perfectly put together. I would totally eat this again in a heartbeat.

So, while I've been enjoying all these desserts, I've also been working it off with INSANITY. Want to know my thoughts?

It ain't that bad.

Yes, it's tough, and yes, I have to take a lot of breaks, but for anyone out there who's on the fence, it's definitely doable. Like I said, I normally don't swear, but sometimes I think INSANITY is going to drive me to it. Shaun T., you're a tough one.

If anyone's got any questions about it or my experience with it, feel free to comment or email me!

Questions: How's your experience with INSANITY been?

Do you prefer a more traditional 4th or are you down with doing something different? I think I'd prefer something different every time, but I also like having something to look forward to that's the same every time.

12 July, 2010

Going Wild

This weekend, I did something wild and crazy. Okay, so it wasn't that wild, but it was one of the those once in a lifetime things. So what'd I do?

I went cliff-jumping.

Not this cliff-jumping:


But rather this (less intense) version:



Cool, right? We went to a beach for the weekend. It was excruciatingly hot; it was over 100F with humidity. I was sweating just sitting doing nothing. Needless to say, I spent some quality time reading a rather strange men's fashion magazine in the shade with a bunch of other old Italian peeps.

I've also enjoyed some terrific food. My mother and sister came to visit, and we stopped by this trattoria that had this wonderful mushroom dish. It was layered in a casserole dish: baby greens, tiny toasted bread cubes, matchstick zucchini and carrots, and topped with porcini mushroom slices and a teensy bit of melted cheese. Seriously, it was quite delicious.


Since it's July here in Italy, that means super sales! I tried to buy this skirt (okay, I confess, I wanted to buy the whole store) at ZARA, but it wasn't on sale. Sigh. I had to settle on H&M instead.

I'm rocking my 3 euro sunglasses from H&M at the gardens in my work-hotel. Lady Gaga, no?

I've also been enjoying these delicious chocolate almonds (confetti) from the wedding of one of my coworkers. They've been insane.

Toffee-almond filled...

Plain-jane chocolate-covered that was anything but plain-jane...

White chocolate-orange almond...

I'm going to try, try, try to post more often...I still have a plethora of food pictures to share with you!

Questions:

I'm begging you, what are the new hottest songs in America? Most online radio stations don't work in Italy. Please share!

Something to listen to: one of the hot summer songs in Italy.

28 June, 2010

I'm Back...with Exciting News!

Whew...my posts are getting few and far between. Sorry about that, but sharing a computer and skype with a roommate while I'm halfway across the world (not really, but you get the idea) makes blogging a bit difficult. However, I've been faithfully keeping up with photos of my eats. I think I'll just make this post a deluge of pictures and let them speak for themselves.

And want to know something exciting? Find out after the pictures!

My absolute favorite meal is fresh tomatoes dressed with fruity olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and salt. It's to die for.





I'm not a drinker by any means, so when the waiter poured me this little bit of wine, it took me the whole dinner just to finish it. Not a fan...


Panna cotta shared with a friend. It was the first time I've had it, and it was pretty good, but my favorite part was the berries.


Seriously the best gelato I've tasted. It came from a gelateria in Milano that has biodegradable spoons (can you read it on the spoon in the picture?) and uses only seasonal ingredients. And the best part? That chocolate gelato is dark chocolate AND dairy-free. Wow.


Minestrone. I'm not used to eating off of such big spoons, haha.


Rosmary roasted potatoes. The outside was crispy; the inside was creamy. I've never had such perfectly cooked potatoes in the US. I can't wait to get back and experiment. 

Some non-food happenings abroad (because I know you're all dying to know, haha...):

A fashion exhibit from the 50s at one of the villas...


I was all excited and ready to try out for the X factor (the European version of American Idol), until they told me I had to have an Italian identity card. Boo...what a bummer.


Prada...modeling, haha.


Il Duomo in Milano...isn't it beautiful?


Gondolas in Venice.

I've been working a lot (boo unpaid internships), but I love being abroad.

The BIG news. Ready?

Are you really ready?

Okay...

I just completed my first day of INSANITY.

It was only the fitness test, so it really wasn't that bad. But I'm waiting for Shaun T. to kick my butt. I can't wait. ;-)

16 June, 2010

The Unexpected

When traveling, I've come to expect the unexpected. That being said, I've encountered quite the array of unexpected things. Take this evening, for example, when I sat down to eat by myself but was joined shortly thereafter by one of the concierges, and we had a nice chat (albeit a cursory one limited by my language skills). Below are some other surprising things.

The first time I took an orange from the dining area here, or mensa, I was expecting a regular orange, but was I ever surprised to peel one open and find this:


It might not look like much until you check this out:


It's like a partial blood orange, and let me tell you, it was quite juicy and delicious.


That's right, McDonald's bottles its own mayonnaise to sell...gross...


And look! You can make your own chocolate panini with these slices of chocolate that are eerily akin to individually wrapped cheese slices...


That may look like a hunk of cheese in the middle of grilled veggies, until I discovered when I poked it with a fork, this happened:

Oozy, gooey cheese reminiscent of a runny sunny-side up egg.

And I've learned that when you order the 3 euro bruschetta on the menu, you'll end up getting something that looks like a pizza.

Finally, the best unexpected surprise, which (surprise! or not) involves gelato:


The flavor on the left is one of the most delicious I have had: pompelmo, or grapefruit.


Deliciousness.