Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Thank you Ryan and Liam, it's like you just know. Keep telling me.
I think I need a run. Or a bath.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Found in the extreme south of the country, Faro Portugal is the capital of the cherished Algarve region. It was the last region to be taken by the Portugese king from the Moors in the late 13th century. Exceptional architecture such as chimneys, terraces and whitewashed homes are left behind by the Moors as remnants of the past and add much to the appealing nature of the region.
Excellent Portugal beaches and fantastic nightlife are both within reach in Faro Portugal. The Ria Formosa which is a beautiful natural lagoon can be found in Faro as can the ever-loved pink flamingo, often seen taking off from th different beaches. There are also numerous islands that are a favorite of visitors. Ilha de Faro is connected to the mainland by road. There are some amenities there such as restaurants, a scattering of beach houses and a few other facilities for travelers. Ilha de Barreta is the most loved of the island with its calm and peaceful atmosphere. There is no ferry connection so tourists must hire a boat to get there but it’s worth visiting this undisturbed location in Faro Portugal even just to have the beach almost to yourself.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Oh how I still long, so very much, to have, work on, and drive an old European roadster.
Top down, scarf on and sunglasses on, andare per un poco azionamento, ciao. Yes please.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Last night I spent time with a dear friend and her dear friend and was blessed so significantly. It was a truely a needed evening and well apreciated. He knows what I need and when I need it most.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Experience Bilbao & the Basque Country
Time in Bilbao may soon need to be identified as BG or AG (Before Guggenheim, After Guggenheim). Never has a single monument of art and architecture so radically changed a city -- or, for that matter, a nation, and in this case two: Spain and the semiautonomous region of Spain known as the Basque Country or by its official name, Euskadi. Architect Frank Gehry's stunning Museo Guggenheim, Norman Foster's sleek subway system, and the glass Santiago Calatrava footbridge, which allows pedestrians to all but walk on water, have all helped foment a cultural revolution in Bilbao, the Basque Country's commercial capital.
I'm going to Portugal via Bilbao. I'm bookending Faro with a little time in Spain to see Sheila's city, the Guggenheim, and hopefully San Sebastian. I have a night-long layover in Barcelona on the way home, hopefully I will be able to work it out to leave the airport and dance in the fabulous enchantress that is Barcelona, even if it's for just a few hours.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Tartiflette au Reblochon
Tartiflette is a French dish from the Savoy region. Historically, the tartiflette originates in the valley of Aravis, home of the Reblochon cheese.
However, it is not a traditional dish and was in fact invented and launched only in the 1980s by the Trade union of the reblochon in order to increase sales of the cheese.
Different valleys in the region have different methods of producing Tartiflette and there may even be one recipe per village. One example recipe is shown below.
- 1-3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (5 or 6 medium-sized ones, all the same size) or waxy boiling potatoes
- 5 or 6 ounces slab bacon, or salt pork, cut into lardons about 1" x 1/4" by 1/4"
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion (about 6 ounces, peeled), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- salt and pepper to taste, probably at least 1/2 teaspoon salt, possibly more
- 1/2 of a 1-pound Reblochon cheese
- Use potatoes that are all the same size so that they will cook evenly. Boil them in their skins for exactly 20 minutes, until they're just beginning to get tender. Do not overcook! Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
- While still warm, peel the potatoes with your fingers, then use a large, very sharp knife to cut them into slices about 1/3-inch thick. Then cut the slices into rough cubes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, slice the slab bacon or salt pork into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Then cut into lardons about 1/4-inch across.
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, then cook the lardons over medium-high heat until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the onions in the bacon fat over medium heat, stirring often, until wilted and slightly golden. Drain in a strainer, pressing with a spoon to remove as much fat as possible, and leave them there.
- Pour off the fat in the pan, return the bacon and onions, and add the wine. Cook over high heat until the wine is nearly evaporated.
- Add the diced potatoes and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly until all the ingredients are well mixed together.
- Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Try using a little more salt than you might think is necessary, at least 1/2 teaspoon. Stir all the ingredients together for a minute.
- Lightly butter the inside of an 10- or 11-inch earthenware baking dish. Add the potato mixture and smooth the surface.
- Cut the Reblochon in two down across the top so that you have two pieces in the shape of a half-moon. Put one of the pieces away for another use. Use a sharp knife to lightly score the crust of the remaining half-cheese about every inch, including its side. Then carefully slice horizontally through its center so that you now have two half-moon pieces.
- Place the two pieces of cheese crust-side-up on top of the potatoes so that they form a circular cheese again. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil and stir the cheese, including the crust, into the potatoes, mixing well.
- Place 5 or 6 inches under the broiler and cook until golden brown on top.
Skip the bacon, and the bacon fat, the butter works just fine, add another 1/2 C or so more white wine to the potatoes before adding the cheese. YUM. You'll want a salad to balance it out, and perhaps some mandarins for dessert.