Now that it’s mid semester and my life has been spinning mess of work, school, home, and tutoring, I now have a constant state of half alive and half drowing. I can’t wait though for the summer when I will be soaking up Italian sunshine and gorging myself in countless pounds of pasta and pizza.
Until then I will be tutoring, house sitting, working, trying to get back in shape at the pool, and studying until the very last second. In the beginning of the semester I had a lot more time to think about the trip this summer, but unfortunately… for now I will be barely getting through it.
Yesterday, we had an impromptu birthday party for my mom who will be leaving with my dad for 14 days on a Latin American cruise during Spring Break while I will be here, house sitting at a cute little house in the countryside for a few days. Then I will come back home and tutor for a few more days before returning back to work. I’ve been tutoring to supplement extra income before my trip and it has been quite nice to have this little nest egg.
I’ll be hosting my first give away soon, so make sure you follow both my blog and instagram. I will post the rules soon.
Cinnamon streusel topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup organic cane sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (about 2 small) tart apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1-1/2 Tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 425℉. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease with butter or nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
Using a stand up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low, and add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl along with the chopped apples, and use a spatula mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. The batter will be very thick.
Use a cookie scoop to divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Top with the streusel mix, pressing the crumbs gently into the batter.
Bake at 425℉ for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350℉, and continue baking for another 12-15 minutes, until the muffin tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin, before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.
Make the vanilla glaze:
Whisk together the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over the warm muffins. Enjoy!!
School is almost done for the semester and so far I still feel like I have conflicting feelings about my Italian. I have been using my tutor for about a month and half now, and he is absolutely fabulous. I don’t think I could say anything negative about him. Being home with just my dad has been a real trial of my true patience because despite loving my dad, we are beyond polar opposites in about every aspect of our daily lives. He is very quick to temper and has a short fuse, me on the other hand, I try to avoid conflict and yelling. When someone raises their voice, I lower mine. Moreover, we just are like a cat and a dog trying to live in the same house unsupervised, being that my mom is literally the glue that keeps the house together… I can’t wait for her to return.
I leave for my trip in less than 23 days and I am beyond excited to be going back to Italy again! I will arrive in Bologna with my friend and his adorable mother who I am jealous of and want her as my mom. I will leave the day after Christmas and arrive on the 27th. I have to download a bunch of movies and things to keep me occupied during the flight. Any recommendations? I would love to know if Baby is on iTunes as I bingewatched that in like a two day time frame.
Ricette: Pappardelle with wild mushrooms 🍝
3/4 pound/350 g porcini mushrooms (fresh)
1 clove of garlic
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
Leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary
A few leaves of fresh sage
4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound/350 g canned diced tomatoes
3/4 cup dry white wine
Fine sea salt to taste
Black pepper (freshly ground) to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream (see below)
1 pound/400 g pappardelle (ideally fresh rather than dried)
Optional: freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Clean the mushrooms, brushing the dirt away from the stems, and separate the caps from the stems; dice the stems and slice the caps, keeping them separate.
Mince the shallots, garlic, and herbs and sauté them for about 3-4 minutes in 4 tablespoons of oil in a large pot. Add the diced stems, cook 1 more minute, and then add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the wine. Season with a little salt and black pepper and simmer the mixture over a very gentle flame for 30 minutes. Add a little more wine and a splash of water (or the liquid the mushrooms steeped in if you are using dried mushrooms), and the sliced caps.
Continue simmering the sauce over a gentle flame until the pasta is ready. Depending upon how much moisture the mushrooms contain, you may need to add more liquid — another splash of wine and a little hot water, or if you’d rather 1/4 cup of heavy cream, and if need be, a little water.
In the meantime, bring pasta water to a boil, salt it, and cook the pappardelle. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce; then serve with grated cheese for those who want it.
“BABY” (WATCH IN ITALIAN!)
Things I loved in November: