Tuscan Spaghetti Carbonara

Tuscan Spaghetti Carbonara

Having had the opportunity to live in Tuscany in the small city of Siena, Italy I relished having the most amazing ingredients readily available to me.  I was still learning my way around the kitchen then (now 4 years ago) and learned an overwhelming amount that year.  We made lifelong friends who were born and raised in the city so I had the perfect opportunity to truly learn about what the city had to offer.  Those friends taught me how to make several Tuscan dishes that are staples in our household today (Matt loves pasta, so I make it almost every night).

Carbonara is famous around the world and made in different variations.  But the Tuscan (Roman) way of cooking it is quite simple and very addicting – a few bites are never enough.  I learned to create it this way:

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Ingredients:

  • spaghetti
  • pancetta (in cubes), or bacon bits
  • olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • milk
  • pepper
  • freshly grated pecorino (or parmesan) cheese
  • Minced garlic or garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Do some prep work by grating fresh parmesan or pecorino cheese.  You’ll need about 1.5 cups.
  2. I start by cooking the pancetta pieces with olive oil in a pan.  Set aside.  And keep the pan as is (with pancetta juices :)).
  3. Boil the water with salt and add a half box of spaghetti.  Cook until al dente.  DO NOT OVERCOOK THE PASTA.  Overcooked pasta is THE WORST.
  4. Meanwhile, beat two eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, add black pepper, and I add some garlic powder.
  5. When the spaghetti is al dente, strain, and transfer to the pan you cooked the pancetta pieces in and toss around in the juices.
  6. On low heat, add the egg-milk mixture.  Toss around.  Warning: the eggs may curdle but lee tossing and mixing with the spaghetti until well incorporated. 
  7. Slowly add the grated cheese.
  8. Serve immediately.

(Over the years I’ve learned to cook without measuring exact amounts, which is why some of my recipes (mostly go-to recipes) do not necessarily have exact measurements.  I eye everything, but I’ll do my best moving forward to provide some sort of measurements in the future).

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Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins

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I’ve been on a muffin kick lately…and this morning I tried Little Sweet Baker’s Bakery Blueberry Muffins.  This was the exact same recipe as the chocolate chip muffins I recently posted about except with blueberries and some streusel!  And they were delish!  Super easy and quick as well.

 

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Try her recipe here:

http://www.littlesweetbaker.com/2015/02/13/bakery-style-blueberry-streusel-muffins/

Easy bakery style chocolate chip muffins…

(Since apparently I’m unable to install any plug-ins because I’m currently using WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org, the recipe for these muffins must be freehanded (no fancy recipe format).  UNTIL…I figure it all out and get it working…sigh.  Still trying to navigate all the features available to me so bear with me.)

Anyway!  These muffins were perfection.  I baked them simply out of boredom and they ended up being super easy, fast, and delicious – my kind of recipe!  I had never made muffins before because I’ve just never been a “muffin person.”  However, Matt is, so I decided to give it a go.  Definitely quick and easy…a recipe that you’ll most likely always have ingredients on hand for.

This recipe is off of The Little Sweet Baker site, which offers many delicious recipes btw.  I followed the recipe to the T except for the amount of baking time.  Every oven is different (I definitely learned this the hard way over the years), and my muffins cooked within 10 minutes (instead of the recipe’s recommended 13-15 minutes, if you cook or bake a lot you know there’s a difference even in just one minute of baking time).  Because I’m frequently moving year to year, and to a different country every year, my trust in ovens has been almost non-existent.  Therefore, when following recipes I tend to bake things for a few minutes less than the recommended amount of time and go from there.

 

These muffins will definitely become a staple this season and you can find the recipe here:

http://www.littlesweetbaker.com/2014/10/03/bakery-style-chocolate-chip-muffins-2/

Enjoy!

Germany’s Gosch Sylt

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You might be wondering “What is Gosch Sylt…”

 

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Gosch Sylt is a seafood restaurant showcasing the casual culinary creations of German chef Gosch and can be found in several German cities.  A seafood restaurant serving only the freshest ingredients.  The fresh seafood is laid out in front of you with the menu above and you order as if you were in a fast-food restaurant – super casual yet refreshingly delicious and good for you.  You get a buzzer that lights up when your food is ready.  This particular Gosch was at Sankt Peter-Ording.

 

 

This location in St. Peter-Ording has seating inside and outside.  The inside is filled with wooden benches and tables and every decor dealing with the ocean and sea: boats, fishing nets, rafts, etc…

 

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 I ordered the pan-seared scallops (a favorite of mine to try at any and every seafood restaurant). Sometimes places don’t cook scallops correctly – you have to be careful not to overlook them, but these were perfection. The scallops were accompanied by the Gosch salad and garlicky, buttery bread…and of course a glass of German beer, König Pilsen. 
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25Hours Hotel Hamburg Hafencity

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On my 2.5 week long trip, I was fortunate enough to see another one of Germany’s cities: Hamburg.  We stayed at 25Hours Hotel Hamburg Hafencity, one of the coolest, most unique hotels I’ve experienced.  25Hours is definitely hipster chic (reminded me of Urban Outfitters), but not pretentious.  The vibe was relaxed, the rooms were comfortable, and the food was delicious.

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25Hours has an amazing German breakfast spread with a few American favorites (bacon and eggs)!  It was sooooooo good!

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St. Peter-Ording, Deutschland 

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Who knew Deutschland had a beach?!  Well it does and the beach is beautiful. And super pet friendly. St. Peter Ording, Germany is a small, quaint, and beautiful beach town that is unknown and rare to many non-Germans. There were strictly German tourists here, which made it a more unique and blessed experience. Had I not had German friends I would have never experienced this beach town. Continue reading “St. Peter-Ording, Deutschland “