Mission Europe 2: Recipes and Regrets

Every time I make a commitment to post regularly it seems like my work schedule has other plans.  Regretfully I have neglected you all dear readers, but not without good reason.  I have been moving and shaking…making things happen.  Since my return from Texas I have been working wherever anyone will hire me.  As I mentioned before, I want you all to know I am working hard to pull my own weight and appreciate any support that comes my way.

Allow me provide to an explanation for my current absence…

Upon returning from Texas I began to file papers in an attempt to become an official resident of Costa Rica.  The papers are currently “en tramite” which is the Costa Rican term for “sitting in an office collecting dust for a mandatory 3 months until someone deems them ready for processing.”  I was hired to create recipes, cook and style them for a photo shoot for a Christmas cookbook.  50 recipes total, all yummy and full of holiday spirit.  A little too early for my taste though, there is just something weird about anything Christmasy before Halloween and Thanksgiving.

A week or so after I got back I was invited to develop recipes for a lovely hotel located in Tilaran, an area of this country I had not had the pleasure of visiting.  The Volcano Brewing Company is a unique all-inclusive microbrewery hotel that has some wonderful locally produced artisan beer.  I visited the hotel with a fellow colleague and spent the weekend cooking, exploring and of course drinking plenty of beer!  I highly recommend the place, it has an ambiance than is intriguing, stunning scenery and a very friendly staff.  I designed a cooking class where all the recipes showcased local artisan beer.  I was sponsored by both the Volcano Brewing Company and Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company.  Their support was a huge factor in the success of the class.

Other than that I did a culinary marketing event as the headlining chef, taught at least 15 classes, helped some college kids with a project, networked over a casual in home cooking demo/class and made some origami pieces for a Japanese theme magazine article.  Also, I finally found the Vivir y Comer magazine article about tea and the art of drinking it that I was hired as a culinary consultant for.  I made the recipes, styled the shoot and even got my name in the magazine credit column, which I have no problem admitting made me feel a little more awesome than usual.

But enough about how busy I have been, I know you are all more interested in the trip progress I have made.  So here goes: the dates are official.  I bought a British Airways ticket from Costa Rica to Turin with a layover in Madrid.  I leave October 14th, arriving the next day (due to time differences) and after 7 weeks, yes 7 weeks (the  words make me feel a bit giddy), I leave Italy bound for Costa Rica on December 1st.  My ticket cost was $1086, I also purchased travel insurance, which I hope won’t be necessary.

 I have gotten wrapped up in a travel group that is attending Salone del Gusto for the first time and I offered to assist them with travel arrangements seeing as I know the way things work over there from my last visit.  I have quickly come to regret this decision due to the fact that everyone in the travel group takes their sweet sweet time to decide, pay, arrange and answer anything.  Live and learn I guess.  So what is my next move you may be asking…  Or if you are not asking, I will tell you anyway…

I intend to continue to work my uniform clad behind off to make as much moola as I can so I can do more in Europe.  I have been offered a place to stay in Barcelona.  I intend to look into that full heartedly!  I think Spain will suit me quite well.  Other things on my current ‘To Do for Trip’ list are buy some luggage.  I don’t own luggage of my own, the ones my family travelled with in 1997 are no longer regulation and due to the length of my travel dates, very few people are willing to consider loaning me luggage for 7 weeks, particularly so close to Christmas.  I have looked around, made pro/con lists and already picked some out.  Extra light weight style so I can bring more goodies home.  I am working on some internship options and still looking for more classes to take.  You would think I would be happy with the 25 I have already booked, but nope.

So dear readers, as you see now, the wait was not in vain, as usual lots to report and tons of photos to follow.  I will be back soon with new news.  A little over one month to go and the excitement builds.  I am flexing my Italiano muscles, making lists, saving money and trying to get everything ready in time.  I leave you all today with a recipe from my beer class, you will most likely have to substitute the beer, but let me know which one you choose and how it goes.

Don’t forget that if you want to sponsor me the information can be found here, just be sure to give me a heads up so that nothing get lost and please feel free to request something from the list.  So now, go put on an apron and make yourself some Dark Beer Brownies!

Dark Beer Brownies
250ml (1 cup) dark beer
150g bittersweet chocolate
1 stick butter
¼ cup rendered bacon fat (or additional 1/2 stick of  butter)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon allspice
2 egg
Grease a 9×13 pyrex or baking mold.  Line with parchment paper and set aside.  Preheat an oven to 365ºF (185ºC).  In a bowl mix the flour, cocoa and allspice.  Set aside.  Separately combine the chocolate, butter and bacon fat.  Melt the chocolate over a bain Marie o in 30 second increments until you obtain a smooth mixture.  Add the sugar into the melted chocolate and beat on low for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated.  Pour in the beer and mix well.  Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until a smooth mixture is formed.  Pour the dough into the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean.  Let cool and cut to serve.
Makes: 12 portions

Buon Apetito!


One response to “Mission Europe 2: Recipes and Regrets

  1. Pingback: Mission Europe: All Roads Lead to Beer | The International Poor Chef School Project

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