January Recap!

What the hell happened to January?  How is it already February 1st?? (btw, Happy Birthday James!)

Oh, yeah…I got a new job.  Great for bank accounts and pesky things like paying rent and bills, bad for blogging!  Well, not bad–I just need to figure out a better blog strategy!

We took a very brief trip to Portugal and made some soup.  C’mon is there anything better when it’s cold and nasty outside?  And thanks to this Polar Vortex, it’s been really cold and really nasty!

I neither perfected my Kaliflower soup nor found the secret to unlocking the deliciousness of Jaime’s asparagus soup, but I will continue my efforts and when I know, you’ll know…you know?

But all is not lost!  And as a final tribute to January, I’m going to leave you with a delicious Tomato Basil soup (click the link because allrecipes.com has made it so much easier for both of us!).  It’s a specialty of my friend Tracy, who serves it with the most amazing grilled cheese (think cheese and bacon and avocado and turkey–everything that is right in the world!!).

Why should you make it?

  1. It’s easy to make!
  2. It’s delicious!
  3. It looks like this:

    mmm...mmm...good!

    mmm…mmm…good!

  4. It makes a light enough dinner you can splurge on dessert AND port (c’mon, you knew I was going to reference it somewhere)!
  5. It’s made with Bloody Mary mix and there’s enough left over for brunch 🙂  And if that’s not a great reason to make a soup, I don’t know what is!

Hopefully, you were able to find some warmth, comfort, and a little bit of tasty inspiration this January.  Saude!

Portus Cale

Sorry.  I, well, I have no excuse.  The thing is: I love research.  In that respect, I’m weird and slightly geeky.  I admit it.  But I got sucked into a wonderful world on the Iberian peninsula, along with trying to decide what I want to do with a rather large milestone birthday coming up later in the year…and then suddenly I realized that lo and behold! NO POSTS!

Of course, as per me and research, I have a lot.  And when I say a lot, I actually mean A LOT!  So let me give you some tidbits to tide you over.

Portugal’s name is derived from the Romans, who relieved the Carthaginians from their beautiful vacation spot (please don’t comment or email me to say that the Carthaginians didn’t vacation there–they lived there.  I know this, we all know this, but some how vacationing sounds more fun).  Anyway, there was a city called Cale at the mouth of the Douro river.  The Romans called this area Portus Cale, which evolved to Portucale, which eventually evolved to Portugal.

I’d like to interject at this point in time, all of my tidbits have been collected, compiled, and loosely translated from a plethora of websites found when I googled “portugal,” “history of portugal,” “port wine,” “things to do in portugal,” “things to eat in portugal,” “interesting facts about portugal,”…and well you get the idea.  The point being: don’t use this as a source for your term paper or your Portuguese test.  Okay?  Okay.  Continuing on…

The capitol is Lisbon (that you can use on a term paper).  And there are 10.5 million people living in a country about the same size as the Texas Panhandle.   It is the oldest European country, with its borders established in 1139.

Portugal is the world’s leading cork producer, contributing about 60% of cork used worldwide (this is important when we get to talking about my favorite thing I know of Portugal: port!).

Apparently The Pirate Code was created by the Portugese, specifically pirate Bartomolmeu Portugues (what? you can’t make this up…because in this day and age someone will call you out on it.  google it.  you’ll see…).

Other famous Portuguese include Henry the Navigator (where did he navigate?  apparently every where), a whole slew of soccer/football players, and someone you might have heard of called Magellan.

Home of the Portuguese Water Dog (shocking, right?), who accompanied fisherman on boats to retrieve nets, guard the boat, and take messages between boats.

I could go on, but I suddenly had a soup inspiration!  But before I go, let’s recap:  Portugal is the oldest country in Europe, home of port and supplier of cork, soccer players, and pirates & explorers (there’s a fine line between the two), creator of The Pirate Code and a cute, fluffy hypoallergenic water dog.  Whether by plane, train, or automobile, Portugal should definitely be on your travel itinerary!

Lisbon

Lisbon

Click on picture to see more great pics of Lisbon!

New Directions!

That’s not a band or a school or something fancy schmancy from GoogleMaps (or whatever might pop into your head).  It’s actually what I want to do with this blog.

Oh sure, when I started out, I wanted to talk about travel and food and drinks and whatever…and that’s not going to change.  What I’m wanting to do is give ET a bit more direction, resulting in more posts (which is one of my New Year’s Resolutions).

I’ll give you a minute to cheer or sob loudly, whichever you prefer.

So what’s the direction?  Well, each month is going to focus on two things:  a place (some I’ve been to and some are still on the To Do list!) and a featured food group (I’m not asking you to pull out your USDA Food Pyramid, I’m just going to focus my recipes a bit more).  Don’t worry, though, there will be plenty of rambling on and on and on and on and…well, you get the idea.

I’ve made my list and I’ve checked it twice, but I’m always open to suggestions–so feel free to comment about some things you’d like to see here–be it certain countries, certain recipes, or even more food and wine pairings. And if you don’t like this new direction, by all means let me know , so I can chuck a U-ie and try something else (I’m easy that way!!).  But please be nice/constructive…because quite honestly, if you’re nasty and mean, I’ll probably just ignore you.

Okay, first up:  January, which is going to feature Soups and Portugal.  Don’t roll your eyes, it’s cold here in New York in January (although not as cold as it is in other parts of the world) and soups are a great (and healthy!) way to warm you on a cold winter night.  Cliche’? Yes, but amazingly tasty!  And no, I’ve never been to Portugal, but I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE me some port (more about that later!), so off I go to do some research!

Adeus!