Look Ma! I can cook!

I have a new obsession. It’s called cooking classes.

Yes. You heard me correctly. I want to try delicious new foods and learn how to cook them!

I though now, the night before my first test, would be the best time to tell you about my experience!

My University of Maryland program took us to a place called Cook and Taste Barcelona, a relatively large culinary space in the windy streets of the Barrio Gotic.

We start right away after we put on our aprons.  It’s going to cook a long time to prepare everything. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many vegetables used in one meal, ever. But, that’s probably because I’m a meat and potatoes( carbs) kind of gal.

Now, these cooking classes are fun because everyone chips in and does a little bit of this, a little of that. I was responsible for the dessert primarily (Crema Catalana) but made sure to do a little dicing and cutting.

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After I separated the egg whites, Crema Catalan was coming along!
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Candids are necessary.

It’s like pudding, but better!

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She had to cut the pepper so small!
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the huge paella pan and all the veggies that had to be chopped next to it
Sarah, our official chef assisting with the chicken.
Sarah, our official chef assisting with the chicken.
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THE PAELLA
Portioning the Romesco Sauce
Portioning the Romesco Sauce

This sauce is freaking amazing! It was hard to make though. We really had to dissect the garlic, big time. But if you insist I make it for you, I might just have to give it a shot. I devoured that asparagus like no body’s business. Smother anything in that romesco sauce and I will eat it.

WHO THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE ME A BLOW TORCH?
WHO THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE ME A BLOW TORCH?
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It turned out ‘aight!


I’m totally kicking myself right now because I forgot to take a photo of my absolute favorite thing of the night- the tortilla de patatas con pan con tamate translated as Potato omelet and bread with tomato.

Yes mom, you heard that right, I ate an omelet and it was delicious! It was more potato than egg, and that’s the perfect proportion for me.

The bread was like this crunchy rustic bread with half of a tomato literally pulverized on each slice, finished off with a little drizzle of olive oil and salt. Sublime!

I guess I should go study now. I have a busy next couple of days ahead of me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever cook a meal this elaborate on my own from scratch anytime soon, but the effort was completely worthwhile, that and the refreshing glass of vino I got to wash my paella down with! 🙂

Four Weeks In

Four weeks. Wow. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I have been in the beautiful city of Barcelona for 4 weeks. It feels like yesterday that I arrived. I’ve done so much, but there is still so much to experience.

I would say that I have gotten into a little routine, and figured out the way of life in Barcelona.  I would say that studying abroad is literally the equivalent of starting college over again as a freshman: new surroundings, new people, and even new food. I’m not going to lie, and I was surprised that I was going to admit this, but being 4,000 miles away has made me homesick for my friends and family, especially as I know they are together, and I am, well, here.

Studying abroad is not only a traveling and educational experience, but a personal one too. I can already feel myself becoming more independent and self-sufficient. I’ve even been dabbling more in the kitchen! I’m experiencing an entirely new culture, meeting people and having conversations from all over (Belguim, Greece, Austrailia, Brazil), and trying to find my place in a city that views me as a foreigner. (I totally am though, and I’m ok with that.)

Those who know me are aware that I am a planner. I live by what my agenda says and plan around that. Thus far I’ve learned to be spontaneous! I’ve tried to make use of my afternoons twice a week after class by visiting a museum or walking around the city instead of coming home to take a nap from my “exhausting” day.

On my second Wedensday, I decided to check out a little photography exhibit at this place called Fundacio Foto Colectania in the Gracia neighborhood. I paid the 2 Euro entrance fee and pondered around the small photo exhibit that featured 6 photographers of artwork taken in the 1970s of life in Spain. Very Interesting to few, and there were some that really made me ponder.

The museum was very modern and had a small library upstairs of hundreds of photo books that I couldn’t help but peruse through. IMG_6921 IMG_6924 IMG_6923 IMG_6922

The next day after my long Spanish class, I headed over to my friend Rebecca’s for tacos and “Margaritas” aka tequila and orange fanta, but still delicious.  Her roommates made homemade guacamole, so I may be moving in. Afterwards, we decided to splurge for a spontaneous trip to the club. We ended up at a place called Shoko. It was fun, very smoky, I came home reeking of it the next day. However, I was so mesmerized by the fashion week catwalk videos a screen played to the music

The following Monday I had a UMD Community Meeting so I spent the two hours walking around the city. I found this awesome home goods/ stationary type store called Tiger that reminded me of a 5 Below, Target without the clothes and cleaning supplies, and a HomeGoods. I couldn’t resist a little berry colored mirror for 2 euros because I didn’t have one in my room. And I found pretzel sticks here! Let’s just say, I was so excited about the salty treat that it didn’t make it home.

Afterwards I found the bookstore called Come In, which is where I had to buy my Spanish textbook. It’s an all English bookstore, so if I ever find myself craving a new read, I will definitely check it out! Then, wandering the streets of Barcelona until I was near Ryan, the program director’s office.

Last Wednesday was my best adventure day, I must say.  My Creative Economy class visited a museum of design, that I had also visited on my own with my Spanish roommate Christina and Kenia. We had to complete a short assignment and could do what we wanted when we were done. Well, since I arrived early, I decided to check out this market that was across the street.

One of the most interesting places of my life. It’s like one big flea market where people sell their old antiques, clothes, and purses. Electronics, fabric, shoes and lingerie were also big sellers at this place.  So random, so crowded. And, I walked away with nothing, meaning I did something right.

After class I hopped on the metro to see Arc di Trompf, which was constructed for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. This beautiful monument near Parc de la Ciutadella.  I spent a good amount of time taking photos as we walked down the avenue to get to the park entrance.

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Arc Di Triomf

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While walking toward the park, there was a man making bubble art. I was so excited, I got a little snap happy. I probably should have given the guy a tip for all the photos I got from him. But, next time……

In my photography class that same day we practiced “freezing objects”- think water spraying in mid-air, so you know I had to try that out with the bubbles.

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And dogs.

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And the balloons from class.

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that wince

My favorite part of the afternoon was just gawking at the magnificent fountain in Parc de la Ciutadella.

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The fountain of dreams

I want to look at that masterpiece every single day. Apparently spanish children get to have recess there. Right when I went to start taking pictures of the fountain, these school aged children started bombarding me! They were so excited, but at first I was wary of their moves, clutching my bag tightly against my body. They were so excited to speak to an American, and spoke better English than I do spanish. As I moved back, they came closer. Must be a Spanish thing- no personal space.DSC_0687

Anyways, the girls were adorable and entertaining, and I enjoyed talking with them. I asked them the best places to visit, and they said the zoo and chocolate museum, so I know where I have to go next!

After this little excursion and lots of walking, I lunched at this fabulous Mexican restaurant called Rosa Negra with delish chicken and pineapple quesadillas and 3.50 euro MARGARITAS. I’m ready to go back. Who wants to go?

Well, I have plenty more to say, but I want to get ready for a short amount of super bowl viewing on my laptop!

Also, uploading photos on to this blog is a pain…. sooooo slow, but I think it’s worth it in the end.

All in all, can’t believe 4 weeks has passed. Time to start traveling and continuing to make the most of EVERYTHING!

xoxo