European Food Inspirations: Nine Easy Recipes to Make At Home

As 2022 quickly closes, I wanted to squeeze one final blog post in! This one, in particular, because it is the last of four things I wanted to share with all my teacher friends from our 28-day journey through Europe in the fall of 2022.

The first was a fun list of random observations and experiences – especially useful for anyone looking to do some travel in Europe.

The second was Episode #42 of The Piano Pantry Podcast, where I shared the entire story of the month of adventures, including when I lost my passport!

The third was a glimpse into 500 years of fabulous keyboard instruments we viewed at the Music Instruments Museum in Brussels, Belgium.

Harpsichord

The final thing I thought it would be fun to share in this post is a list of nine food items we discovered in our travels you could easily make in your own home!

While we had lots of excellent food, I tried to choose simple, delicious, and unique items you might easily enjoy.

 

France

First up is a Palmier. Translated “palm trees,” this simple pastry/cookie is shaped like a butterfly.

They’re incredibly thin and have a crispy, caramelized texture.

You can make them quite easily using store-bought puff pastry! (I’ve never made them this big! The recipe shows you how to make smaller, mini-size ones.)

Next is a classic baguette sandwich. Everywhere we went in France, most cafes had piles of these, sometimes only these. We had at least three in the two weeks we were there. Perhaps the most classic is the “Parisian Jambon Beurre Sandwich” with a sliver of good quality ham and butter.

In this photo, I think we had a classic ham and cheese and mozzarella and tomato. While there were varieties, the common theme I noticed is that they all had trace amounts of “filling,” unlike how we might stuff a sandwich full in America.

You may not be surprised to see quiche on this list. A classic Quiche Lorraine is made with bacon, heavy cream, and egg on a thin pie crust. Pair with a simple green salad.

(I’ll admit some of my photos aren’t picture-perfect, but I was just quickly capturing moments. Posing photos for a food blog post at someone else’s table was not the goal. LOL.)

The final French food item I thoroughly enjoyed and found to be a warm, simple, and delicious meal was French Lentil and Sausage Stew.

 

Netherlands

The Netherlands’ frequently cold and damp weather means they have some lovely comfort food! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this split pea soup at Amsterdam’s famous Moeders (Mothers) restaurant. (I scoured online for a recipe inspired by this restaurant!)

All their menu items are supposed to be comfort foods like mom would make. The restaurant is full of “mom” photos to set the scene!

If we hadn’t been visiting friends, I would’ve never thought to try this next one: Dutch Fresh Mint Tea.

Neither my husband nor I am tea drinkers, but this is not like traditional tea. It is a big handful of fresh mint leaves stuffed in a glass covered in boiling water. How simple is that?! It was so fresh and delicious!

Need sweetener? It came with small sachets of honey, but we liked it without.

 

Germany

The first item is not necessarily “German” specifically, but it was the first time we had heard of it! It’s a green called “lambs lettuce.”

It made a lovely, simple, and delicate salad tossed with slivers of red pepper and our friend’s delicious, simple vinaigrette (recipe below this picture).

Giesla’s Salad Vinaigrette (whip until you have a nice emulsion)

3 T. Oil
1 T. Vinegar (I like white or white wine)
1 T Dijon or whole-grain mustard
1/2 – 1 t. Sugar
1 small garlic clove, crushed (or 1/4 t. garlic powder)
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

It is from this same friend that I first learned about German Potato Salad years ago. I never liked American potato salad covered in mayonnaise, so I was in love when I first tasted this!

The primary liquid base is chicken stock, vinegar, and a touch of oil. The main ingredients, then, are just potatoes and bacon. It’s delicious and can be served either hot, cold, or at room temperature.

She made traditional veal schnitzel, potato salad, and lamb’s lettuce salad in the meal spread pictured below.

 

Brussels

The moment I realized we would be stuck in Brussels, Belgium, for a day due to a delayed train, I first searched for a place that served “liege waffles.”

In this photo, you see both what we know as a traditional fluffy “Belgian” waffle (those that are in a clean rectangle shape) and a “liege” waffle (those that have jagged edges).

The liege waffle is made with coarse sugar and yeast batter, creating a much more dense and caramelized waffle. They are amazingly delicious plain or with a light powdered sugar topping (which is how we usually eat them at home using this recipe.)

At this famous waffle stand, however, we went for the lot.

Drew had Nutella and banana; I decked mine out with Cookie Butter, white chocolate, and strawberries.

See those tiny little “forks” they gave us? They were awful! LOL, It was almost impossible to cut them and eat them.

This is probably the most involved of all the recipes I’ve recommended in this post. It’s not difficult, but you have to let the dough rest and rise a bit, similar to when making bread. It’s worth it, though!

 

Your Turn

Do you have any simple, easy, unique recipes you’ve discovered while traveling abroad? Share in the comments!

 


Interested in more food-related posts here on Piano Pantry? Check out:

Food Prep and the Studio Schedule

Music Teacher Eats: Fall Edition

Music Teacher Eats: MTNA 2022 Edition

 

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