All posts filed under: Europe

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Menu: Vatican City

Ava is the first to tell me what should be dinner. Even growing up with this Global Table Adventure since she was 7 months old, Ava asks for the same thing night after night: noodles. (Interestingly, her second most common request is avocado sushi). This week I got to tell her yes to noodles. Twice. There’s nothing wrong with carb-loading, right? Especially when eating the Vatican… right? I doubled up on pasta so I can share two amazing sauce recipes with you. One I learned from my distant cousin Alfred, another I learned this week thanks to a Pope!    The Pope’s Fettuccine | Fettuccine alla Papalina [Recipe] A simple pasta dish invented in the late 1930’s for Pope Pius XII, made with softened onion, prosciutto, a swirl of cream, plenty of good quality parmesan, and as many twists of fresh ground pepper as you can handle. Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce [Recipe] Ground beef, sweet Italian sausages, rich mushrooms, and the best Italian tomatoes around. This is the sauce to end all sauces, perfect ladled onto …

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About the food of Vatican City

The Vatican City is 0.17 square miles of gilded glory tucked inside Rome, Italy. It’s 0.53 miles by 0.65 miles. How small is that, you ask?  Let’s put this in perspective. To walk across the country is like taking two laps around a standard jogging track.  Which is why there’s no country smaller. And yet, Elizabeth Gilbert said that, if a country could be summed up in one word, the Vatican’s word would be power. So who exactly is a citizen of Vatican City? Almost all of Vatican City’s 839 (2013 est.) citizens either live inside the Vatican’s walls or serve in the Holy See’s diplomatic service in embassies (called “nunciatures”; a papal ambassador is a “nuncio”) around the world. The Vatican citizenry consists almost entirely of two groups: clergy, most of whom work in the service of the Holy See, and a very few as officials of the state; and the Swiss Guard. (Wikipedia) Peek over her walls, all you’ll find only one restaurant in the Vatican City. I have to admit I love Andrew Zimmern’s bold idea to triple this …

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Monday Meal Review: United Kingdom

Other than the perennial baseball cap, there’s not a lot of people wearing hats anymore.  I don’t usually give the matter much thought, but this week, as we had our royal British Tea Party, I found myself wondering why not? Why don’t we wear fancy, fussy, feathery hats? Even at the beach, it’s a rare  to find women sporting practical, wide-brimmed, shade-bearing hats. Where has the fuss and circumstance gone? Because, with it, I think we also lost some fun. Is it that we’re too afraid of standing out? Have we run out of room in our closets? I read somewhere that men stopped wearing them because JFK didn’t wear one to his inauguration (or much at all, really). UPDATE: Snopes says this is not true. I haven’t heard any excuses for us women. Do you ever wear hats? Why or why not? THIS WEEK’s FOOD: Coronation Chicken Salad [Recipe] What I loved most about this dish: EVERYTHING! Cooking down the onion, toasting the spices, the sweet chutney, and bits of diced apricot…it really is a blast of flavor. I’ll definitely be …

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Cream & Current Scones

The first time I had a scone – a real British scone – I almost lost my mind. The small disc had a tender crumb and tasted of lightly sweetened cream. A speckling of currants brightened the flavor, giving it just a hint of color, too. The giving texture of the scone is worth further mention. I think much of the lightness stems from the fact that  real scones are made with good quality European butter. European butter is richer (averaging 85% fat instead of just 81%), so there’s less water, which means a more delicate crumb. It also helped that the scone was made with a light touch: there was nothing overworked about the recipe ( a baking crime which can quickly turn a featherweight scone into a hockey puck). With such delicious ingredients, a true scone needs very little accouterments. Still, I did as the British do, and split my scone and added a spoonful of homemade strawberry preserves. The garnet colored preserves filled the craggy crevice so completely, the sticky goodness nearly spilled …

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Coronation Chicken Finger Sandwiches

Let’s be real. Any chance I get to play dress up with my daughter, I take. Like last week, when we wore fancy hats and had a British tea party, complete with coronation chicken and coronation egg salad sandwiches.  Coronation chicken was invented in 1952, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. She was twenty-five years old. Her coronation was the first one to ever be televised, and she dressed for the occasion. Her amazing gown was embroidered with symbols of the commonwealth, including food, flowers, and more. Elizabeth’s coronation gown was commissioned from Norman Hartnell and embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of the Commonwealth countries: English Tudor rose; Scots thistle; Welsh leek; Irish shamrock; Australian wattle; Canadian maple leaf; New Zealand silver fern; South African protea; lotus flowers for India and Ceylon; and Pakistan’s wheat, cotton, and jute. (Wikipedia) Fact: no tea party is complete, if the queen isn’t in attendance. If not in person, then at least in spirit. The royal wave adds just the right flair. Even when served as dainty “finger” sandwiches, coronation chicken salad is big, bold, and curried. You’ll find it worthy of any …

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Menu: United Kingdom

Food in the United Kingdom is a fusion of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, British, and numerous international cuisines. From a selection that diverse and complex, there was almost no way to pick what to make. SO,  I let you decide what our menu would be. I put up a poll with a bunch of choices… closed my eyes, and hoped for the best. I was so glad that you chose coronation chicken and cream scones because it allowed me to do what I always wanted to do: have a very British Tea.  It also helps that the chicken dish was made for the queen, and scones are enjoyed throughout the Kingdom. For those that can’t get enough of the food in this region, I also want to point out the Irish recipes we made early on, including the amazing Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream. The following recipes and meal review will be posted throughout the week: Coronation Chicken Finger Sandwiches [Recipe] Imagine having an entire dish dedicated to you and you alone… This week, you can enjoy the same curried …

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Leadenhall Market In London. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

About the food of the United Kingdom

I’m not sure why people groan when I ask them what they think about the food in the United Kingdom. If I beg them to explain themselves, they mutter something about tripe, kidneys, haggis, mushy peas and lamb roasts. But, truly, what is more sublime than a bright green pea plucked from the  garden just moments before eating it? Or farm-fresh meats, from down the street? This is what I love about cooking in the United Kingdom. There’s a taste of the farm everywhere. In her tea sandwiches, there’s cucumber, or perhaps a spicy bit of watercress. In her tea, there’s hot milk, as fresh as can be. And, in the desserts, there’s all manner of berries, juicy, ripe, and sweet. If the food doesn’t come from the farm, it may come from the ocean, as Fish and Chips prove. When I was in London, I made sure to get a batch, smokin’ hot from the deep fryer. The fish is  moist, the batter crispy, and the chips, as thick and delicious as any other French fry. Beyond the …

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Monday Meal Review: Ukraine

It’s almost my husband’s birthday. In his honor, I found myself thinking about love. This week, Ukraine helped me understand what works and what doesn’t, in a whole new way. LOVE. No matter where a couple is from, you can always tell if they are in love. Real love. You don’t need to speak their language. You don’t need to hear what they whisper to each other when the rest of the world slumbers. Over dinner, two people might lean into each other, while others shift their bodies apart. Between the entree and dessert, some couples smile (and frown) with all their attention on each other,  while others’ eyes glass over, vague and disinterested. Perhaps there are those that spend their meal checking their phones while in their “loved ones’” company. I’m not here to judge, but I do believe this: it’s easier to see what love isn’t than what it is. If we feel isolated in another’s company, that is not love. If we feel anxious in another’s company, that is not love. But if …

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Ukrainian Beet Salad | Salat Vinagret

  Well, hello. Today we’re biting into a very pink salad. There’s not a lot of pink food I can think of besides strawberry ice cream. There’s certainly not a lot of savory pink food. Unless you live in Ukraine, where beets reign supreme. Beets are one of Ukraine’s most beloved root vegetables, and for good reason. They’re packed with fiber, vitamins A, B & C, magnesium, and iron. When they’re not mixed up in borsch, beets make their way into salad vinagret.  This salad is a vegan meal unto itself as it includes potatoes, carrots, peas, and sauerkraut. Some recipes swap the peas and sauerkraut for white beans and chopped pickles.   Salat Vinagret is funny, because there’s nothing vinegar about it. In fact, there’s no dressing added. The only “tang” comes from the sauerkraut, and the only seasoning from a bit of salt, pepper, and oil. Done and done.  The simplicity of this salad makes for a great summer supper, or autumn side dish (perhaps next to a few slices of pot roast). We …

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Ukranian Pasta Bake | Baked Lokshyna

Wouldn’t it be amazing if bacon could cure every ailment. In the Ukraine, I bet it does. Broken heart? Bacon. Spilled beet juice on your favorite sundress? Bacon. Thursday afternoon existential crisis? Bacon. I’m thinking it’s worth a try. That’s where this pasta bake comes in. “Lokshyna” are Ukrainian noodles, and today we’ve dressed them up with plenty of sizzling bacon, creamy cottage cheese, and a couple of cracked eggs to bind the casserole together. The finishing touch is a happy sprinkling of buttered breadcrumbs (as few or as many as you’d like). One note on authenticity: traditional versions of this recipe are made with fresh egg noodles. On a particularly harried shopping trip, I was unable to locate any… so my version is made with dried noodles. Keep in mind: if you do decide to use fresh noodles, you may need to alter the recipe. This is because fresh noodles can be baked uncooked, but will require more liquid to do so. But, either way, the Ukranian pasta casserole is… awesomely comforting (and perfect …

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Menu: Ukraine

“Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.” Ukrainian Proverb If you want your heart to sing like a Ukrainian, you’ll need a bundle of beets and an enormous pasta casserole. With bacon. (Of course). I’ve been trying to get my family to love beets as much as they love bacon for… years. Perhaps this is the week? The paring makes sense. If they go for it, it’ll be magic.. and totally Ukrainian. So what about you? Do you love bacon and beets in equal measure? All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week.   Ukranian Pasta Bake | Baked Lokshyna [Recipe] A happy blend of pasta, bacon, and creamy cottage cheese. This one’s all about back to school comfort. Big time. Ukrainian Beet Salad | Salat Vinagret [Recipe] Vegan and pink, this is one of Ukraine’s most beloved salads (you”ll also find it in Russia). The combination of beets, carrots, potatoes, and peas is refreshing, but it’s the sauerkraut that naturally “dresses” it.  

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About the food of Ukraine

“A dream is sweeter than honey.” Proverb from Ukraine This week we’re ambling over to Ukraine, in Eastern Europe.  We can get there on foot, by car, or plane, but why not chug-chug-chug through Ukraine’s ‘tunnel of love,’ a 3-mile section of lush, green train tracks? Seriously. What a dream. And then there’s the food. The food of Ukraine is hearty, spirit-warming vittles. Wheat porridge, called (Kutia/Kutya) is the traditional dish for Christmas eve. All year round, there’s lots of bacon, pasta casseroles [Recipe], dumplings (called Varenyky), and potatoes (caviar-potato pancakes, anyone?). On any given day, there will be roasts. And plenty of them. If all that sounds heavy, it is. This kind of food helps locals weather through chilly winters in the northern highlands. Where there is a Ukrainian, there is an apparent love for beets. Locals serve beets in salads [Recipe], roasts, and even in the ubiquitous borsch. We made borscht back when we cooked Belarus [recipe]; the main difference here, is that there are more vegetables and some added meat, like pork and beef. Then there’s stuffed …

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