What’s that smell?!

You know those 1950s commercials where the man comes home with a briefcase and melodically states “honey, I’m home!” He is greeted by his made-up wife in a polka dot dress and a warm apple pie in her hands.
Well, I am the exact antithesis to this young gal. I’m a disaster in the kitchen. I’ve been given advice from a range of people including an Italian chef and my Polish grandmother. I don’t know how people grow and nourish this type of talent.
In Italy, they’ve got a show called “Junior Masterchef”. Basically it’s about 9 and 10 year olds from different regions in Italy who compete for their winning dish. Their hometown masterpiece. I hate these kids because they make me feel even more embarrassed at my level of incompetence at 24. I’m the age of two of these kids put together, yet I sometimes burn my toast a little too much.
Last night, I tried to cook something, and as usual, it went horribly wrong. The Spanish omelette or “tortilla de patatas” is a combination of potatoes, eggs, and onions, that are fried together in harmony. I used to eat it on a regular basis while living in Spain. The YouTube video made it look easy anyway.
The instructions said to add a “substantial amount of oil, but to be careful not to make it too oily.”
I went a little bold with the olive oil, then started freaking out that the potatoes were drowning in it, so I poured a lot of it out. Then I realized that I was unable to flip everything over to fry the other side because there was too little oil and it started burning.
The result was a smell that surprisingly avoided an emergency call to the fire department. Unapproved for human consumption, I may have unintentionally discovered a new brand of dog food because the dog was all over it like a new box of kibbles.
I present you, my piece-of-shit tortilla that smells like burned fossil fuels. Here is a comparison between my “creation” and a real one from Google images. RIP.

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5 foods you must try in Spain

Ok so before we start, it’s important to clarify that in terms of cuisine and fine cooking, I am about as inexperienced as they come. My cooking skills are to limited toast, and maybe cereal. However, I love to eat! Whenever I find myself in a new country, it’s the first thing I want to do! So here are some of my favorites in Spain, bearing in mind that I haven’t travelled to Galicia yet, which is in the north of Spain, and famous for its fantastic seafood. Here are my winners so far:

1) Jamón Ibérico de Bellota – In English, this is called “acorn Iberian ham” and it’s the higher quality of cured ham that you can order. It’s usually served with small breadsticks, on a platter with different cheeses, or with some bread. A tapa (appetizer sized) will cost an average of €5-10 euros. If you wanted to buy a larger portion you would pay around 20-30€, the entire pork leg would be a pricey souvenir ranging from 150-300€ depending on quality. You can find it in restaurants around the country, and it’s not specific to a certain region.  The pigs are raised eating only fine grains and acorns, and it’s how it gets it’s name.

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2) Patatas Alioli – Potatoes with Alioli – These may look like regular fried potatoes with some dressing on them, but you have to realize that alioli is the Holy Grail. It is used on seafood, like calamari and sepia (see below) or with potatoes. When you try alioli for the first time, it will change your life. If it were socially acceptable, I would eat alioli on top of more alioli. So what is this fantastic gift to humanity? It’s a sauce made if garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and egg yolks. It has many variations with other ingredients. They sell a version of it in supermarkets, but if you can get it freshly made at a restaurant you will definitely enjoy it.  Oh and you will have nasty garlic breath afterward that goes away only after you brush your teeth six times in a row, but it’s totally worth it.

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3) Carrillada – Pig’s Cheeks- The carrillada ibérica is usually served with potatoes in its own tender juicy sauce. The meat is very soft as it is slow cooked on very low heat for several hours. A traditional dish from Sevilla, and the best usually comes from acorn fed pigs. Try it at Bodeguita Romero, a restaurant found in the heart of Sevilla, in the south of Spain.image

4) Sepia – I didn’t even know the name for this in English until I googled it, and it’s cuttlefish. It’s usually fried, served in small marinated pieces with alioli on the side (yay!). In the south of Spain, it can also be served breaded before it’s fried. My favorite restaurant was Las Tres Bellotas, in Valladolid, Spain. I’m not a huge fan of seafood, but I thought this was great.

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5) Lechazo – This is the meat of an unweaned lamb and is a famous dish from the region of Castilla y León. Unlike the other “tapas” above, which are served in smaller portions, this is a full course meal, served with potatoes, salads, and wine. The price range is about 30-50€, but once again, definitely worth it. It’s roasted in a wooden stove, and the meat is soft and juicy (I know the baby lamb thing is sad, just don’t think about it). This is a dish served on special occasions, especially Christmas.

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