Italian Weekend

Our Italian feast!

Starting with the first cheese and working clockwise: Taleggio, Gorgonzola, Abbruzzo salami, ciabatta, rucola wrapped in Carpaccio with Parmesan and lemon, 2 types of assorted olives, and Prosciutto

In September 2013 Koen, Christina, and I celebrated my birthday in New York with an array of Italian specialities and Italian wines from Di Palo in Little Italy. Since we’ve returned to Antwerp I’ve found another Italian delicatessen, Il Pastaiolo, and we decided to have an Italian dinner, which turned into an Italian weekend – our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we had a lot of food left over! So the next night Koen made pizza that we topped with all of the leftovers!

 

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Verloren Maandag (Lost Monday)

Appelbol en curryworst

An appelbol and a worstebroodje (a curryworst to be exact)

I’ve lived in Antwerp for over 3 years and never really understood Verloren Maandag. All I knew is that the Monday after Driekoningen, or Epiphany (Koen’s birthday) bakeries were open on Monday and closed on Tuesday (usually the opposite) and in every bakery there are mountains of appelbollen (apples wrapped in pastry dough and baked in the oven) and worstenbroodjes (sausage wrapped in pastry dough and baked in the oven). This year I decided to partake and learn more about the tradition.

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Fiskebar

Koen and me outside of the Fiskebar

Koen and me outside of the Fiskebar

For Koen’s birthday, we celebrated with lunch with the family at the Fiskebar in Antwerp! Even though it was cold outside, the sun was shining. So it was a perfect day to go for a walk and then enjoy delicious wine and seafood with great people!

 

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Aquatopia

Aquatopia - located at the entrance to Chinatown

Aquatopia – located at the entrance to Chinatown

Koen and I actually visited Aquatopia around Halloween 2013, but I haven’t had the time to post the photos! The entire aquarium was Halloween themed, so amongst the fish we found cobwebs, ghouls, ghosts, and grim reapers! I also don’t remember the names of the fish I took photos of, but I will describe them as best I can. There was also an incident where a snake slithered out of his habitat – so scary!

 

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Massaged Kale Salads

Massaged kale salad with grapes and pinenuts with a poppy seed dressing.

Massaged kale salad with grapes and pinenuts with a poppy seed dressing. (Served with ciabatta)

 

Massaged kale salad with avocado, quinoa,

Massaged kale salad with avocado, quinoa, chickpeas, walnuts, and peer with a poppy seed dressing.

I like to look at different cooking sites and blogs to find healthy recipes to try at home. Most often I read that kale is the king of the superfoods, but I don’t love the texture. When I was browsing one of my favorite food blogs, My New Roots, I found a recipe for massaged kale! By taking 1 or 2 minutes to massage the leaves with olive oil, lemon, and salt, the texture goes from being stiff and waxy to soft and lettuce-like. The combinations are endless and you can even top a sandwich with the leaves!

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