first cooking class in rome!

Hi guys!

Sorry I haven’t written a post in awhile. I know you guys probably hate me. Haha, but you can follow me on Instagram @xdwanx for more frequent updates when I don’t have time to write a full post! :)

For those who already saw, I went to my first cooking class in Rome this past Tuesday with my roommate Irene. When we arrived, we were greeted by Chef Andrea and his wife Erica.  Chef Andrea talked a little about the traditions and methods of Italian cooking, like how Italians only cook with seasonal ingredients to ensure the food is fresh and best quality. After his little speech, he finally revealed what we were making. The three dishes of the night were:

1) Homemade Cavatelli shaped pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce

2) Chicken Cacciatora with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

andddddd…..

wait for it.

3) Tiramisù!!! :)

Now off to the cooking!

So because all 20 of us couldn’t fit into the kitchen, we were split into two groups. One group stayed in the cooler dining area to make the pasta and tiramisu and the other group stayed in the kitchen to make the chicken cacciatora, rosemary potatoes, and the tomato basil sauce. It was a hard decision whether we wanted to stay in the dining room or go into the kitchen, but when Irene and I heard that we were going to make tiramisu (you guessed it), we decided to stay in the dining area.

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We started off making the tiramisu, because it needed time to be chilled. She told us that tiramisu meant “to pick me up,” hence having the coffee in it for a little sweet afternoon pick-me-up.  Another fun fact is the “original” tiramisu doesn’t have alcohol in it and only recently people began adding rum to the recipe! (Alcohol acts as a suppressant, thus counteracting the affects of the caffeine.) Guess people wanted another way to get tipsy after dinner. :P Haha but any how… Honestly, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. The process is super easy! Dip the lady fingers in coffee, sprinkle chocolate shavings, whip the eggs and mascarpone cheese together for the creme, layer it all in a pan, and refrigerate. BAM.

Then we made the pasta. Oh man this was tedious (but fun). Image

After we cut up the dough into little pillows, we had to make the cavatelli shape of the pasta. I don’t have time to describe it, but little sized pillow of dough

from this….

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to this!

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I don’t know what was going on in the kitchen, but 2 hours later, we were ready to be served!

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Homemade Cavatelli shaped pasta with fresh tomato basil sauce

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Chicken Cacciatora with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

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Tiramisu

My favorite dish of the night definitely had to be the rosemary potatoes. The rosemary flavor was so fresh! The chicken was mixed with olive oil, then baked to perfection. Ahh it was like magic. My second favorite was the homemade pasta dish. Wow, just wow! The freshness of the pasta and homemade tomato sauce was unbelievable. After eating that, I can never go back to the 99 cent boxed pasta at the store*. Don’t get me wrong, I loved loved the tiramisu, but wow those other two dishes surpassed my expectations.

* (Fun fact: Fresh, homemade pasta only needs to be cooked for 30 seconds for it to be done vs. the 10 minutes for the boxed pasta…Mind blowing I know).

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It was a great night of food, friends and conversation! I can say, I’ll definitely be back for round two!

Buona notte!
Olivia

ciao bella! [best and worst of week 1 in rome]

Ciao!

Wow, I still can’t believe that

1) I’m in Rome (even though I’ve been here for a week)
2) I’ll be spending 4 months in this amazing city
3) I’ve drank about 20 glasses of wine in the past 7 days #sorrynotsorry

Sorry it took me a full week to write my first blog post. It’s been a crazy couple of days with settling into the apartment, meeting new people, exploring the city, and eating.
So I’ve decided. In order to balance this blog, school work, traveling, sleeping, and experiencing this magnificent city, I can’t spend much time writing long journal entries about like my daily life (that would get kind of boring, dontcha think?). So I’m going to make my posts be like the format of Buzzfeed- short and sweet and lots of pictures. I know, you’re welcome too. :P
So let’s get to it! Here’s a recap of best and worst of my first week in Rome! :)
Bye Boston!

First, Bye Boston!

Best about Flying: Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge during my layover in Toronto

Open bar anyone?

Open bar anyone?

Dinner at the lounge

Dinner at the lounge (carrot ginger soup, ravioli, olives, carrot raisin salad, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, & celery)

Hot food, comfy chairs, unlimited drinks. Oh yeah, being a Gold status on Star Alliance has its perks.

Worst about Flying: The sign saying that the flight was on time, but it ended up being delayed by an hour and a half. Why? No. idea. Ugh. (But I arrived in Rome 20 minutes before scheduled time….weird)
Best people: Meet the roomies!
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Lovely girls from Northeastern, Point Park, La Salle, and St. Joseph’s. (The guys are basically our roommates too)
** Pictures = Pregame for the “Best Night” section down below :)
Best sights
Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Trevi fountain

Trevi fountain

Group picture in front of the fountain

Group picture in front of the fountain

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

Il Vittorio

Group pic :)

Group pic

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

Inside the Pantheon

Inside the Pantheon

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps & PIazza di Spagna

Basilica

Basilica

Another Basilica

Another Basilica

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

yeah, you get the point. No need for explanation. (and I haven’t even visited the Vatican, St. Peter’s, or the Museo e Galleria Borghese)
Best food: Everything is amazing (from the espressos to the gelato [sorry didn't take a pic!] to the pastries], but my favorite so far is the spaghetti con vongole [spaghetti with clams] that my roommate ordered one night
after she took all the clams out.

after she took all the clams out.

I just only had a bite of her pasta, but omg I was in heaven. It was one of those moments where pause with your mouth open and you just stare at other people affirming that the food gods just blessed you with the most fantastic thing you have ever tasted in your life. (You know that look.)The texture of the noodles, the sauce, the juiciness of the clams. Oh. my. gah.

This is what our table looked like. (margherita pizza, smoked salmon and arugula, margherita pizza with olives)

This is what our table looked like. (margherita pizza, smoked salmon and arugula, margherita pizza with olives).                                                                                    Can you guess which pizza is mine?

All the pizzas were out of this world too. I never ever eat pizza in the states (sorry I can’t stomach Papa John’s or Dominos), but I have literally been eating them almost every day for dinner since I’ve been here. The italians really know the beauty of making a perfect thin crust pizza. Così delizioso! 
Best wine: random house wine we got on our first night
No idea what it was, but it was the smoothest wine I’ve ever tasted in my life. Imagine drinking red water that just flows beautifully down your throat like a peaceful waterfall. Haha that was a bad analogy, but you get what I mean.
Best view: From the terrace from the American University of Rome

When can you ever say that your school overlooked the whole city of Rome?

When can you ever say that your school overlooked the whole city of Rome?
Best shopping/expense: Brandy Melville in Rome
<3

<3

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Oh my goodness. It was the biggest Brandy Melville I’ve ever walked into! (My Boston friends: imagine our Newbury store, but 5 times bigger.)
And apparently all their clothes are made in Italy. I was bummed because we stumbled upon this Brandy Melville after a full day of spending money, so I only had enough euros to buy one shirt. sad face. Soooo you know where you’ll find me next weekend. :)
Worst expense: Spending €8-10 on a cocktail at a bar or club and paying for water at restaurants
FYI, €1 shots are not cheap ($1.30) and €8-10 cocktails really isn’t necessary($10-13).  Please bring me back to China where it’s 1 kuai shots ($0.16) and 15 kuai drinks ($2.45). Thank you.
Best street performers: Italian boys doing soccer tricks
Do it.
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Best Friday Night: Going to G bar then to the this random Great Gatsby after party in the middle of nowhere
We first went to this place called the G bar in Trastevere. When we got there around 11-ish, the place was already packed and crammed with probably about 98% study abroad students and 2% locals. So apparently at midnight, G bar was hosting a Great Gatsby party at this mansion somewhere far away (which btw, ended up being right next to the Italian soccer stadiums), so we stumbled  got into taxis and headed over to this little fancy shmancy place. So, the party started when we arrived. Haha just kidding.
gbarr
Only good picture of the night. Haha

The only good picture of the night.

Aww I found this picture on my phone from the night too. Danced with this cutie from Belgium that was visiting Rome with his friends for a couple of days.
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Okay it’s 5:19 am right now, but I was determined to write a post before school starts getting on a roll. (Is that even a saying?)
Pardon my grammar, punctuation, etc. I don’t have the energy to edit, which is probably a sign that I should sleep.
Ciao!
Olivia
* I apologize if the formatting is funky. I’m trying to fix it, but it’s not adding spaces between paragraphs. Hmph, oh well.

trader joe’s dips [chipotle pepper hummus, reduce guilt chunky guacamole, pineapple salsa]

Hello!

Happy first official post! Yay! And yes, for people that know me (and for people that want to know me), it is not surprising that my first official post would be about

  1. Food
  2. Trader Joe’s
  3. my love of food and Trader Joe’s

But, okay now to get serious. Ever since I’ve gotten an apartment last year and started shopping at Trader Joe’s (cuz I ain’t got no d-hall no mo’), I have found my missing pieces of my diet the first day I stepped into this beloved store. BEHOLD….the Chipotle Pepper Hummus, the Reduce Guilt Chunky Guacamole, and the Pineapple Salsa.

#1: Chipotle Pepper Hummus

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TJ’s gets some serious points on creativity because I don’t think there’s another hummus out there like this. Smoky, a little spicy, so savory…OMG I LOVE IT. It seriously reminds me of Texas. Like grilling on the barbeque sweating in the hot summer sun. Haha, I don’t know why. But anyways, it’s practically good with anything. Of course, I always find a way to get a meal in without much effort, so as a snack I dip it with all sorts of stuff- chips, veggies, eggs. Heck I even sometimes rip a piece of bread and scrape the sides to get ALL of the hummus! That’s how good it is.

#2: Reduce Guilt Chunky Guacamole

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I love me some guacamole. And sadly because most store bought ones are made out of heavy cream, the calories and the fat do add up. But TJ saves the day (once again!). But side note, every single time I get this dip, I always have that ONE chunk of avocado in in the tub that’s  just…there. I don’t know if its a signature thing, but it’s literally just there. Buy a tub, you’ll see.

Anyways, I’m not like super CRAZY about this dip, but it’s definitely on the top of my list when I just want a guacamole dip. It doesn’t taste 100% like the real stuff, but it satisfies with only 35 calories per serving! I actually this dip is kind of too salty for my personal taste, but other people think it’s fine.

#3: Pineapple Salsa


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If I know something, it’s that I’ve grown up with salsa since birth– maybe it’s a Southern thing. I remember putting it on scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos (!), fish, veggies– you name it. I’m all about combining salty and sweet flavors together to get that explosion of sensations in my mouth. So on one recent trip, I decided to pick up the Pineapple Salsa and Peach Salsa. I’m pretty sure by now you know which was reigned over the other. This salsa isn’t spicy, so the flavors really came out. But what made it so good was that all the ingredients blended so well with each other. Not too citrus-y. Not too tomato-y. Mmmm…just right

So, all in all, I would recommend just getting these products. You wont regret it. Eat them, love them, savor them. :P

Has anyone else tried these dips? Love them as much as I do?

Much love,
Olivia