After a traumatizing arrival in Brussels (mr. cab driver, how was I supposed to know I live on a "Rue" and not a "Boulevard?") and finding my studiously nouveau-bohemian sub-let in Ixelles, I immediately did the following:
-got lost for an hour looking for a simple grocery store in the neighborhood;
-almost cried when I saw how expensive mere essentials like bread and chocolate soymilk were;
-almost cried again when I saw the first perfectly ripe avocado I'd seen in Europe (this time, tears of joy);
-proceeded back to apartment with ungodly expensive essentials, to find that it was no use washing off veggies with brown chalky water from sputtering sink;
-just collapsed in a useless heap on the floor, stuffed food into my face for about two hours, stopping only to pour cheap red wine straight from the bottle down throat;
-prayed would wake up hungover in Berlin.
Ahem. So this was day one.
Day two was a little better. I found a knife. I fixed the sink. I put some food on a plate. This was to get my nerve up for an endeavor involving public transportation and meeting fellow students from my program. Notice the lovely avocado.
Although I still got lost, still speak nothing of French except some extremely un-useful anarchist quotes, and still almost had a panic attack trying to avoid insane Brussels motorists, I made it home in one piece and felt a good deal more civilized.
Day 3 I even ventured to cook something. Finding that the only things that are even *close* to reasonably priced are lentils and red wine, I decided to combine those two things for this simple and satisfying recipe.
Euro-Poor Lentil Stew - for the girl with no measuring cups or money
Simmer a diced shallot or a couple cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add in a half coffee cup of lentils along with a handful of diced carrots, red pepper, and mushrooms, or whatever is handy and doesn't cost and arm and a leg. Cook about five minutes, than add in a diced plum tomato and a palm-full of herbs de provence. Cook till tomato juices are simmering, than add in enough red wine to almost cover the lot of it. Cover and simmer until lentils are soft (10-15 minutes). Serve with crusty bread (and more wine.)
What will Day 4 bring? Lord knows... but hopefully more avocados...
Song of the Day: Pavement- Shady Lane