I am home now but when I was in Europe we mostly ate in restaurants. While generally speaking I prefer to cook and eat at home it seems when I am visiting my husband we almost always eat in restaurants. There are a few reasons for this, I think.
First, there is the outing and abouting that makes everything feel festive.
Then there is discovery. The new place/new food experience. New ways to make old favorites. The teacher of a cooking course I took at WCTC decades ago told us that some ethnic group (I forget which) believes that every time you try a new food you live an extra 100 days. This is only a good idea if you’re up for it. I am not sure I’m up for the several extra decades I may be living.
But then lastly there is the Me in his Kitchen issue. He doesn’t want me in it. I get it. I’m messy. He is not. He knows where things go. I don’t really. He has his routines, I have mine. I won’t say who’s are better although I could mention a few things. Anyway, the restraint he uses when we’re talking about my using his kitchen is evident on his face. If I even look at his knives he gets a nervous twitch in his left eye.
Senf pickles. These weird “mustard” pickles. I ate the entire jar in 3 days.
Dumplings. Chinese and German. I’ve had these potstickers before and they are fabulous. The German bread dumplings in mushroom sauce were a revelation. Sooooo good.
In the realm of appetizers the snails were always a first choice if they were on the menu. Some better than others. But even the less than great ones were good. How can you miss with all that butter? Freaking amazing calamari in Italy. These fried eggplant slices. OMG, I don’t actually know what this dish was but I do know it was fabulous.
Balls. German meatballs in mustard cream and veggie balls in vegetable sauce.
Berliners. Deep fried and then creme filled, delicious. Ich bin ein berliner—in so many ways.
Asparagus risotto topped with deep fried white asparagus (it’s the beginning of “Spargel Season” in Germany. The Germans are wild about asparagus, I mean nuts). The second shot is some damn Neapolitan spaghetti thing we never actually ate. We just walked by it all the time and it looked fabulous. Except that it was sitting in this outdoor deli case on the sidewalk for at least a week getting eaten a slice at a time apparently. Seemed like a good breeding ground for various bacteria to me.
I neglected to get a pic of all of these cheese stuffed zucchini flowers. They were good. My own are better. Still it was an adorable place (with a very dispassionate server unfortunately).
An inside out pizza, actually outside in, calzone. It was good but, my god, the mortadella pizza with pistachio cream sauce. Knock out. Easily the best thing I ate in the entire time I was in Europe.
Despite Husoor’s (husoor, an Urdu word for boss) reluctance to let me in the kitchen I did manage to squeeze in a meal of two. (I mean, seriously, he was at work a great deal of the time and how was he going to prevent me from doing, well, whatever I was doing? Believe me, things happened in there). I made a key lime, um, pie for his colleagues. I brought graham crackers from the US. They do not have them there.
He didn’t have a pie plate so I used this odd sized tart pan. Volume wise it was slightly smaller than a normal pie pan but it was actually the perfect size. The crust was a bit thicker and the filling more substantial. And it was exactly the right shape to cut for serving. They all had seconds. In my book that’s a triumph.
This was just too cute to pass up. (For the record I had the gloves on because I was frantically cleaning a mess up before a certain tidy person arrived home, not because I was afraid of a chicken’s butt feather.)
I passed through Dublin on my way home and was starving when I finally got there. I was looking forward to a nice Irish breakfast in the lounge but all they had was chick pea curry, chicken tikka, rice and naan. I mean, seriously???!?