Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Must Make: White Bean Arugula Crostini

Since returning from Spain, all I want to do is make food that I ate in Spain. (As I mentioned, my heart is totally still there. So, I will recreate everything I can, when I can, to feel as though that's where I am.) I ate a bunch of "montaditos" in Spain, which are essentially Crostinis, so when I saw this cute appetizer in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine this month, I knew it'd be a must-make.

And since I'm talking about Spain, I should mention why there haven't been any blog updates or new photos--that's because I lost a day's worth of photos when I deleted them out of Picasa (don't get me started; I will be writing them a letter about it)--because that program wouldn't open CR2 files. They deleted completely off of my computer, and I was unable to recover them because the files were apparently so large that they somehow bypassed my recycle bin. (And I cried.) I do still have the reference files in Lightroom, but they're kind of blurry when you open them and they can't reference the original it's been kind of a mess. I'm still hopeful that I can somehow get them not-blurry, take a screenshot, re-open them in Lightoom, and edit and re-save...

Anyway. Make this, it's super easy, and looks impressive when done! It's also super good. (Pardon the remains of another Crostini on this serving dish. They were eaten quickly--I may have helped with that--and as usual, I didn't think to take a photo first.

Here's what you need/ what you do:
  • 6 slices  crusty country bread ( 10 to 15 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1 small  red onion, chopped (1/2 cup) 
  • 119  ounce can  cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons  chopped oil-packed dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup  arugula
  • 1 tablespoon  chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
  •                    Lemon Wedge

  • do:
1.In a large skillet cook bread slices in oil over medium-high heat, 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
2.Add onion to hot oil in skillet; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add beans, dried tomatoes, and vinegar; heat through.
3.Transfer bean mixture to a bowl. Mash. leaving some beans whole. Stir in arugula, parsley, salt, and pepper. Spoon mixture over toasts. Squeeze lemon over toast just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Barcelona, día dos!

You don't realize how much traveling exhausts you, until you wake up at 3PM on your first full day in a new country. I was a bit disappointed to think I missed out on a morning/mid-afternoon in Spain, but I knew I needed my rest in order to enjoy the entirety of the trip. (Sightseeing is wonderful, but it can so wear you out.)

It was a pretty chill day, or half a day, where Joe and I just walked around the area where we were staying. We went to La Rambla to check out the shopping and entertainment, which is a pretty common tourist thing to do, and we also walked up and down Passeig de Gracia, another avenue famous for shopping and architecture. Here are some photos, below!

^^This handsome guy and photography gear, ready to go!  (People always joke about paparazzi taking my photos, because I'm in a good amount of my own pictures. It's the tripod! I really recommend one for traveling, so you can be in control of the photo and not need to nag a stranger to take your picture. Just pay attention to your surroundings!)

^^What I am currently craving.

^^He's just so cute. (I had to.)

^^Per my friend Ingrid's instructions, I printed and framed this photo. 

^^I love this shot. I wish this was still my evening view...

^^We lucked out with a beautiful sunset. I have about a hundred photos of it.

^^We managed to find "burritos," which were called "fajitas." They were about 1/3 of the size of the burrito I get from my favorite Mexican restaurant in LA. (Which I usually finish.) And, those are most definitely fries in the background.

^^& The incredible workings of Gaudi, seen on our walk back to our hotel, at night.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I left my heart in Spain...

After a little blog and life hiatus, I'm sitting here at my desk again, settling back into reality after hardly any sleep last night. But being tired is the furthest thing from my mind....

I had a wonderful trip to Europe--so wonderful, that I am ready to pack up my things (and my dogs!) and move to Spain. Sometimes you just fall in love with a place, and you can't explain why as much as you feel it, but Barcelona was that place for me. There was a whole new culture to embrace and experience, and I loved that I felt like I was learning so much while there. I enjoyed the people, their affection towards each other, and their willingness to help me if I needed. And I don't even know where to start with the food...fried eggs and french fries?! I almost fell off my seat when I first saw that on a menu. (And it's a traditional dish!) I also liked that the portions were not super-sized, so you could truly enjoy and savor the food, as you are supposed to. I loved drinking cava with my meals, and finally, I loved my company :)

I had a birthday while I was gone too! I lost most of the day due to traveling and time changes, but it was pretty cool to spend the last few hours of my birthday in Spain. It wasn't a bad way to kick off my 28th year, either. I obviously have a tremendous amount of photos to go through, but here are some (below) of my very first night--and birthday--in Barcelona!

^^Our first hotel! I was so excited to arrive, and immediately loved everything about Barcelona. Isn't the architecture amazing?

^^We landed kind of late, so we headed out around 11PM or so for dinner. We came across a place called "Qu Qu" (pronounced "coo coo"), and no joke, they were playing 90's hits! It was clear that we found the right spot to eat.

^^Traditional Spanish tapas!

^^Cheers, with birthday cava!
^^Chicken fingers, natch.
^^Fries, natch.
^^I will totally be making this artichoke cannelloni at home.
^^And of course, I had birthday cake! (Note: the portion size of the dessert. It's kind of nice to not feel like you have to waddle out of a restaurant.)

^^I was hoping a quick change to b/w would edit the bags from underneath my eyes ;)

And that was about it for my first couple of hours in Spain! It was a great first night, which set the tone for the rest of the trip. I should apologize in advance for the amount of photos to come...but I'm kind of loving it already.