About Me

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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Feasting through Paris and Rome

So yeah. I have been gone away from the blog a couple of weeks. I know, but I was too busy with MC and I enjoying ourselves over in Europe. All I have to say that we truly did enjoy ourselves in both Paris and Rome. The people were great, the culture was well equally great and the food was awesome.

As most might know me, I am one to try things whereas MC might try it, but will not actually eat it. Well, I wanted to share my experience of Paris and Rome through the various pictures of what we dined on while traveling both of these cities. Most of what is shown were our dinners as we just became a little frugal and got the occasional sandwich, fruit or picnic to hold us over during the day.

So we arrive early in the morning on our first day to Paris. We travel on a hop on hop off bus and get to see many of the sights of the city. After traveling most of the day, well one gets hungry. Why lie! We decided to go to the area called La Marais. We walked around and found this restaurant that is "family friendly" (most in Paris are).

So for an appetizer, I started with escargot (snails) and MC had paté. The main dish was of course Boef Bourguignon and I had the tripe soup. Yes I know...eww, but I really did like it. To end the meal, we had a dessert medley. This meal was not bad as we spent 70 euros including 3 glasses of wine/beer each.

So the 2nd day, we traveled all around the Eiffel Tower. Went on a boat ride and decided to have a nice lunch in front of Notre Dame. So we ended up having a french hot dog along with Pomme Frites. We sure did walk alot that day.

For dinner though, opted for a small place, again, over in La Marais. I chose to have veal in a cream sauce and MC opted for beef medallions with a cracked pepper sauce and pomme frittes. Tre magnifique!

The 3rd day had us starting with some Cafe Americano across from the Louvre. The only problem was that the Louvre was closed, so we ended up going to Versailles. Loved it, but I could not help but notice that right next to train station was a Tex Mex place. I mean really??

On the final day of Paris, we decided to sit at a little cafe and people watch across from the Seine and Notre Dame. It was great watching people pass by while having a nice glass of wine and enjoying the company. We started with a cheese and meat (pate, prosciutto, sausage) tray. I chose a salad with pomme frite and a side sandwich (part of the salad...with Andalucian chorizo, bell peppers, onions). Then we walked around the corner to a patisserie. We had a piece of chocolate pastry, a flan tart, and a fruit tart. Great way to end our time in Paris!

On our first day close to our hotel in Rome, we walked around and found this little place. Personally, it was a little pricey for my taste (and they cater to the tourists). We did though opted for some authentic pizza. I wanted some mozzarella, arugula and tomato pizza while MC had a mozzarella, mushroom and prosciutto pizza. It was divine! The price wasn't though...we spent about 80 euros (appetizer, pizza and 2 drinks a piece)!

On our 2nd day, we found a much cheaper place and luckily it was a block from the hotel. They only had about 8 tables and are more about catering to people one on one. We started with a bottle of white. Ordered each an appetizer (cheese plate and Prosciutto). As a main course, I ordered Spinach/Ricotta stuffed cannelloni and MC had Tagliatelle with fresh mushrooms. We finished it off with a shared dessert, coffee and a nice limoncello. Price you may ask? 60 euros or about 80 US. For all that? You can't even get anything close to that in the States.


On our 3rd day, we decided to go another small little restaurant. We started with a meat, marinated artichoke and parmesan cheese. For the second course, MC had fettucine and mushrooms whereas I had creamy risotto with sausage and mushrooms. At the 3rd course with pizza. I ended up with a artichoke, pancetta, eggs and olives. MC got a full meat, olive and mushroom pizza. A nice gelato ended the night.


On our final day, we went to Vatican City. After a while, I just wanted some gelato and MC had a folded pizza sandwich.  We then we opted to go back to the place we went on the second day. We started with the same white wine and appetizers. I again wanted some pizza with artichoke, ham, olives and mushrooms. MCjust had pasta.

All I have to say both cities were amazing both visually and via the food we tasted. I am so looking forward to recreating some of these great food items.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Italian Cream Cupcakes

So I was asked by a friend about submitting a post  that inspired me to use something from scratch. Most of my recipes are from scratch, but I wanted to submit a post that everyone could enjoy to make on their own.

This time though, my inspiration is Italian as I will be going to Rome next week. We are so excited to be going to travel that when we were invited over to see MC's parental units...well I thought I want to make Italian Cream Cake. The only problem was that making a cake was not what I wanted, but opted more for something simple and easy to take....cupcakes!

This recipe is actually a combination of three different recipes that I came across years ago. I like to add Malibu Rum to this cake because well....hmm...err...it tastes sooooo good. This recipe is actually for Italian Cream Cake, but since I want to make it easy for people to get an individual piece of goodness.

WARNING: This does have shortening. I do believe in eating things in moderation. Hence this recipe is one of those type of recipes that your grandparents used to make. Eating things such as this in moderation is ok in my book. 

Batter Ingredients:

1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans
Malibu Rum

Beat butter and shortening gradually at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar beating well.

Separating the egg yolks from the egg whites can be a little headache. Personally, I prefer the old tried and true hands. I was convinced to try the egg separater. After a while, I went back to using the hands. What can I say? I am old school like that.

Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended. Add the vanilla as well.
Combine flour and soda. Add the mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.


Stir in the coconut and nuts. Make sure you have coarsely cut the nuts. Fold these well into the mixture.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the batter.

Pour batter into cupcake pans baking at 350 for 25 minutes or until done with the usual "toothpick check". After they have cooled, pour a small amount of Malibu rum to the cooled cupcakes. Place off to the side and get ready to work with the icing.

Icing Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pecans
1 16 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 16 oz pkg powdered sugar

Start by beating cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy.

 Add powdered sugar a little at a time until it is well mixed with the butter mixture.

 Once the powdered sugar is well mixed, fold in the coconut and walnuts.

As the cupcakes are finally cooled, you can spread a generous amount of the butter cream cheese icing to each cupcake. This was made for work, but we shared this with the family. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed the cupcakes. If you ever feel inclined, you can also have these with Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes.