My Trip to Europe

My family and I went on a three week trip to Europe. It was my first time going to Europe. We started off in Italy, first Rome, then Sant’Antonio Abate (a town outside of Naples), and Parghelia (a town outside of Tropea) . Rome has beautiful architecture, but this is a food blog so I will talk mostly about the food.

If you go to a restaurant in Italy you can stay there until you ask for the check. In the U.S. they give you the check without you asking. Some restaurants have different prices depending if you eat inside or outside. When you pay the check, the tip is often included. You can leave some extra change on the table when you leave.

Of course we have to talk about the pizza. The pizza in Italy is not like pizza in the U.S. In Italy you get a whole pizza instead of a slice. But the whole pizzas aren’t huge, they can be eaten in one sitting and you wouldn’t feel too full. Also, if you ask for peperoni on your pizza, you will get peppers (They do not have the meat pepperoni. In Italian, pepperoni means peppers). Pizza was invented in Naples so you can get some of the greatest pizzas around there.  Some restaurants have mozzarella de buffalo (which is mozzarella made from Italian buffalo milk) on their pizza. In my opinion it makes a pizza taste better.

Although, Italy is known for their pasta and pizza, but they have a lot of other great food, too.  I really liked capicola (an Italian cold-cut that is like salami). I don’t think I’ll ever forget the gelato, the prune (pronounced pru-neh, are little plums), the bread, and the arancini (fried rice balls). The food was almost always very fresh.

After Italy we traveled to Brussels, Belgium and stayed with my cousin, aunt, and uncle in a place called Dilbeek, which is outside of Brussels. Again, really good food!

French fries were invented in Belgium. And they are called frites. You can find really good frites at places called fritures. At a friture, they give you fries with a lot of salt and mayonnaise. I usually don’t eat mayo, but I love it in Belgium. The frites make  you feel like your in heaven.

Another Belgian food is vol-au-vent. Vol-au-vent is a flaky pastry with a delicious creamy sauce with brown mushrooms and tender chicken, kind of like a really good chicken pot pie. They serve it with frites, so what more can you ask for?

We took an overnight trip to Paris, France. Besides seeing the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), we had croissants, pan chocolat (a rectangle croissant with chocolate in it), and other delicious pastries. For dinner I had beef bourguignon which is a wine based stew with vegetables (of course the alcohol was cooked out so I could eat it). And you can’t go to France and leave with out having a crepe. I had one with chocolate. It was so good.

I loved the trip, and the food that came with it.

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Make the Perfect Egg

Check out this video for the perfect egg made by Julia Child. I used her technique and it was really good! The eggs turned out a little lighter than when I have made them in the past. I even learned how to crack eggs with one hand!

Lowcountry Gourmet Foods

Lowcountry Gourmet Foods is a shop that is owned by a very nice man named Robb Campbell. It offers extra virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, pastas, hot sauces, honey, seasonings, salts, olives, and his very own cookbook! When you walk in you see all 31 different balsamic vinegars and  20 different extra virgin olive oils. You also see the displays of all the other things they offer.

They have oils made from Greek olives, Georgia olives, and Italian olives. I tried all three. I preferred the Greek olive oil because to me it had the best olive taste. They also have flavored oils like habanero and  lemon. I tried an oil flavored with  jalapeno and one flavored with blood orange. They both tasted like the real thing! My favorite flavored olive oil was the garlic olive oil. It tasted just like garlic. It would be perfect for a Caprese sandwich.

Next the balsamic vinegars. To start off I tried the traditional. It had more flavor than the regular store bought stuff. Then I tried the bread dipping sauce. (They have this really good bread dipping seasoning that you mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you get this awesome taste in your mouth.) It was really good. After that, I learned that there are dark balsamic vinegars and white balsamic vinegars. My favorite dark one was the chocolate (a very unique taste) and my favorite white one was the kiwi (also a different flavor). They have everything from green apple to pomegranate.

Then I eyed the hot sauces. I knew my dad was a big fan of hot sauce and I like them too. There were about seven or eight different kings. I decided to try the Georgia Peach & Vidalia Onion Hot Sauce. It was great. I also found out that they bottle it and they label it there! Mr. Campbell even showed me how to do it.

Over all, I highly suggest going there to find new ingredients.  Check out his cookbook, and I think you should check out his website, too:

http://www.lowcountrygourmetfoods.com/

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I give the whole experience:

Vote for the Beef Chief

I entered a Jiff Peanut Butter contest to try and make the best sandwich with peanut butter. And I am in the top ten in the country. I need your help to vote for my sandwich – it’s called the Beef Chief. Vote once a day until Feb 1st. If I am in the top 5 I get to go to NYC and get a $2500 college fund. If I am the top sandwich maker, I will win a $25000 college fund!!! Thank you, thank you for your help with this!!!!

Go to this link to vote for the Beef Chief!!!!!!!
http://www.jif.com/Promotions/Most-Creative-Peanut-Butter/CastVote

My Birthday Dinner

I just had my 11th birthday. I got to choose what we had for dinner so my mom (a very good cook) made chicken Parmesan, ziti with marinara sauce, and salad. I loved it all. The chicken was tender with a savory and spicy marinara sauce on top, covered with cheese. The ziti was good. It was perfectly cooked. The salad was really good too. Organic lettuce with toppings galore. To finish off the meal, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, from the Back In The Day cookbook. SO GOOD!

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I give my mom’s meal for my birthday: 5 out of 5 chefs

Cooking Class with Chef Daren at the 700 Kitchen

Do you ever need to sharpen up your cooking skills? Well, I definitely suggest a cooking class with Chef Daren at the 700 Kitchen Cooking School. I took a class called Christmas Brunch. Although it is not usually meant for kids, they let me come with my mom. This class showed how to use a knife, how to crack eggs the right way, how to measure flour, and a bunch of other tips and tricks for cooking and hosting a party. Not only did Chef Daren teach tips and tricks, he taught us 5 recipes. The recipes were: ambrosia compote, corn & scallion muffins, savory grits souffle, eggs in a nest of creamy greens, and for dessert “banana pudding” crepes with warm Bailey’s toffee sauce. If you would like the recipes then you can take the class. There are other classes too, and they range from 75 to 100 dollars.

Thank you Chef Daren for such a great experience!

Go to their website for more!

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I give my experience: 5 out of 5 chefs