Restaurante Botin

One of my favorite meals on the trip was at Botin, one of the oldest restaurants in Europe.  Nestled on a side street near the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Botin is a beautiful gem, and first opened in 1725.  We actually went on Easter and had a wonderful three course meal in the middle of the day.  For the main course we ate the specialty, roasted suckling pig, and let me tell you… it was to die for.  Literally I think it was the best pork I have ever had.  After scouring the website I actually found the recipe for the meal!  However, I find it hard to believe the recipe will do the meal complete justice because at Botin they use the same wood burning oven that has been there since 1725!

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If you ever find yourself in Madrid I would recommend this restaurant as much as any museum.  The ambiance, food, and history make it as special as any other destination.

Croquetas

While in Spain, tapas were definitely a prevalent aspect of the food scene.  Tapas are basically small plates of food, ranging from jamon (ham), cheese, seafood, bread, etc.  I really enjoyed tapas because you can order many different types with a large group and then you can sample everything!  Croquetas were definitely one of my favorites.  Made up of bechamel and either jamon, chicken, or seafood, they were basically fried pillows of joy. A crunchy exterior and creamy soft inside meant that I was instantly hooked and I think I ate them in all the cities I traveled too.

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Be warned my photography does not do croquetas justice and I hastily snagged this picture before digging in for lunch.  I was very hungry…  This particular meal was when I was traveling from Madrid to Zaragoza.  Here is a recipe for you all to try!

 

Crema Catalana

Hi everyone!! Sorry for the lack of posts… Sarah and I have just returned from Spain.  Not only was it a beautiful country, but the cuisine was delicious and we learned a lot about spanish culture.  These next couple of posts will feature some of the dishes we ate and links to recipes you can use!  I also will cook some of them myself in the near future to try and reminisce the wonderful trip 🙂

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This first picture is a dessert we ate the last night in Barcelona.  Very similar to the classic french Creme Brulee it is called Crema Catalana.  The base is a creamy custard with a caramelized burnt sugar topping.  The restaurant served it with a crunchy wafer cookie and it was a delightful end to the meal.  Here is a link to make your own!

To talk more about the trip, Barcelona was our last destination.  It is located on the water and the beach is gorgeous at this time of year.  Since Barcelona is located in the north-eastern part of Spain, they speak Catalan which is a different romance language than Spanish (hence the name of this dessert).  However, not to be swayed, Spanish is completely understood and most of the city dwellers are bilingual.  In Barcelona we visited La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Guell Park, and some of the old Olympic venues.  It was a charming city and the warm weather definitely made me fall in love all the more!  Stay tuned for more of our adventure.

 

Congo Bars

Don’t worry I have not broken my lent!  These last couple of desserts were for family members and friends.  But in less than two weeks, I can finally revert back to my normal sugar consumption.  These bars are blondies with chocolate chips, but I usually describe them as chocolate chip cookies in bar form.  Depending on the baking time you can end up with a gooey or more cake like  bar.  This recipe is also from The Way We Cook.

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Congo Bars (1 pan)

1 1/2 sticks salted butter, melted

1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 packages of semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9X13 in pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer.  Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well until they are all incorporated.  Add the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and put the mixer on the lowest setting.

Using a spoon add the chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.  Spoon batter into the pan.

Bake in the oven for 22 minutes.  25 minutes if want it more cooked.

Eat when the bars are cool.  I prefer waiting until they have sat in the fridge, but it is up to you!

Clover Food Lab

I have visited the Clover locations in Harvard Square and Burlington, MA, and have been very pleased both times.  My go to order is their fried chickpea fritter, which is similar to falafel.  I love this sandwich because the fritters stay light, and the toppings are fresh and vibrant.  A pita pocket is filled with hummus, carrots, tomatoes, pickles, tahini, and of course, the chick pea fritters.  It costs around $6 and is large enough to make you feel satisfied after eating it!  This time I also tried their delicious hummus (seen in the background of this photo) and french fries with rosemary.

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Clover is a new type of fast food restaurant based off of local ingredients and they strive to serve only the best to their customers.  The menu changes daily according to whatever is freshest and not only is their food delicious, but it is healthy too!

The Best Brownies

These are literally the best brownies you will ever have.  So decadent.  So fudgy.  I cannot explain the happiness you will feel from eating them.  Seriously.  Go bake these brownies and see if you will ever eat brownies out of a box again.  The recipe comes from The Way We Cook.  As a side note, this cookbook has a lot of recipes my family loves.

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The Best Brownies (one pan)

2 sticks salted butter

4 oz unsweetened chocolate

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 12 oz package semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a 9X13 brownie pan.

Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate on the stovetop at low heat.  Stir until everything is incorporated and melted.  Then take it off of the heat and let it cool.

Add the eggs and mix well.  Add the sugar.  Add the flour, salt, and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the buttered pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.

Cool brownies before serving.  I prefer them even colder and set them in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Then dig in and share if you are a good person and want to spread the love.