You Were Missed

Green smoothies

Drip coffee and English Muffins with PB and Banana

I had missed you all these months.  Welcome back to my life.

Ahh exit project defense in less than 2 hours!

Remain calm.

Amazzzing Dessert

Last night, the other grads and I went out for “fancy dinner.”  We went to a restaurant called Renato e Luisa.  It was pretty delicious.  If you’re in Rome, I recommend it.

And if you go, promise me you’ll get the Creme Brulee all’arancia con canestrino di caramello (aka Orange Creme Brulee).

No words. But yes that’s orange creamy custard with a slice of blood orange then caramel on top.

Divine!  The pasta with truffles I had was pretty delightful, intense and wonderful as well 🙂

Basically, if you’re in Rome, hit it up!

Tour di Italy

My parents and grandma are visiting.  So far, we’ve had a great time.  I won’t talk about food because that’s been a disaster.  So instead we’ll talk about happy things like our four day road trip.

We started in Rome and left for Florence.

Florence was lovely.  Gelato was amazing. The weather was perfect.

I wore hot pink sunglasses, because well… I’m ridiculous and why not.   The next day with gross weather, we headed up north to Padova and Venice.

Venice was more beautiful than I remembered, and my grandma was a trooper.  She walked all day and had a good time.

My mom and I went up to the terrace at St. Mark’s Square.  Amazing view!

After Venice, we drove south and spent the night in Siena.  The next day, we drove to Pisa to see the leaning tower.

Finally we made it back to Rome last night at 12:30.  The next morning I was up at 7:30am to go to work.  I’m pooped!  We stayed in places for a really short amount of time and we saw practically nothing but that’s alright.  We had a good time.  Spending time with my family was totally worth it!

3 days left in Rome!

One thing I will miss about Italy

I’m leaving in a little over a week.  I’ll definitely miss the ability to walk everywhere and the widespread public transit use.

But really, one thing I’ve fallen in love with:

Risolatte. That means rice milk.

It basically reminds me of Jell-o pudding but with rice (and more natural… Ingredients: milk, rice, sugar, cocoa, corn starch and vanilla), and it’s amazing.

I don’t discriminate I like the chocolate and the plain kind equally.

Risolatte, you will be missed.

Redemption, Almost.

I thought for a second I had lost all my baking skills to the meaty Italian gods.  I was wrong.  This past weekend I almost redeemed myself by making the almost perfect cornbread.

It was sweet, perfectly textured and pretty much fantastic.

Almost Perfect Cornbread

adapted from All Recipes Buttery Corn Bread Recipe

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F (~200C), grease and flour a 9in round baking pan or other baking dish, muffin tin, etc.

Cream together butter and sugar, add the remaining wet ingredients and mix together until just combined.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared baking dish.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Poke with a toothpick to make sure it’s cooked through in the center.  Allow to cool and serve.

Even better when served with homemade Lentil/Chana Masala.  We eat cornbread and chili all the time, why not try it with a South Asian flair?

The perfect combination of sweet, spicy and salty.

Like I said, I pretty much redeemed myself. But wait…

I jumped the gun and tried to turn it on to a plate without sufficient cooling time.

Lesson learned: be patient… and keep baking.

Banana Breakfast Polenta

I’m starting to get desperate.  My life without oatmeal, not just any oatmeal but oatmeal made with big chewy rolled oats, is sad.

Okay, I’m being dramatic, but I do miss oatmeal.  Last night, I was trying to figure out what to do with a very ripe banana.  Normally, when I’m at home, super ripe bananas are exciting because they mean extra sweet oatmeal or smoothies.  Here, without oats or a blender, I was sort of at a loss.

Then I had an idea, it cooked in my brain overnight at this morning I tried it.

Polenta for breakfast, which for me means something sweet.

It’s pretty tasty and pretty easy to make!  Worth a try, right?

Banana Breakfast Polenta for One

1/4 cup cornmeal (aka polenta)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more if you’d like)
1 ripe banana, thinly sliced
garnishes such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts, maple syrup, etc.


In a small sauce pan, combine all the ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, once it’s boiling lower the heat to low.  Stir constantly for about 5-10 minutes.  Put in a bowl of plate, garnish and serve.

Not the same as oatmeal, but sometimes we all should try something new.  Fun new way to start your day!

Have a good one and Happy Mother’s Day!

My Newest Obsession

I have a new obsession.  You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s not food related.

All of a sudden it seems wrong to NOT wear lipstick.

It makes me feel sassy and fun!

A few months ago, I avoided lipstick at all costs.

Sister, you were right.  Every time you made me wear lipstick to events, you were right, it makes you look better.  Why did I ever doubt you?

Now, I can go to the store sans eye make up.

But no lipstick?  No dice!

Wonder how long this will last… or maybe I should just work on changing the eye make up situation.

Italy has ruined my baking skills

Today I decided to bake so I could give cookies away to random people at work tomorrow.

I decided on oatmeal chocolate chip cookies but instead of chocolate chips I cut up a chocolate bar with hazelnuts in it.  Sounds delicious right???

I thought so too until I pulled this out of the oven:

Flat cookies.

Burnt cookies.

Fail.

I blame Italy.

Italy has killed my baking skills and bolstered my meat making skills.

All this because of a strange curiosity about pancetta…

Overrated, I’m ready to be vegetarian again and win back my baking skills.

Gelateria del Teatro

I like weird food.  I pretty much always want to try new weird combinations of things.  Honestly, I think it sorta frustrates my family around the holidays, maybe not so much my sister but definitely the rest of my family.  The probably spend hours wondering: why can’t we just have normal food for Christmas?  Why are there apples in the potatoes au gratin?

But really, who wants to eat boring things?

The same should be true for gelato.  A few years ago, I went to this ice cream place in Berkeley called Sketch (it’s on 4th street in case you’re in the area and want to visit) and had the most amazing fig balsamic ice cream.  I’ve been obsessed with unusual ice cream flavors ever since.

This weekend some friends and I went to a gelato place, Gelateria del Teatro with the promise of unusual flavors. With less than a month left in Italy, it’s time to eat some delicious gelato.

We take our gelato very seriously!

They delivered!  I got three flavors: White Chocolate Basil, Ricotta Fig with Almonds and Orange Sacher (chocolate apricot?).

Oh my, so good.  Totally worth it!  The white chocolate basil tasted like real basil that had been sweetened, not really like white chocolate.  It was pretty delicious and fresh!

Kyla got some crazy flavors too but sadly I don’t remember which ones.  Even more sadly, the pictures of Lis and Nancy turned out wayyyy to dark.

My parents are visiting next week, I can’t wait to go back because I’m dying to try the Raspberry Sage flavor.  Then again, maybe I should stick to traditional flavors with them…