Monday, September 10, 2018

Slovenia and Vienna, July, 2018
Flew from Albania to Ljubljana and picked up my Sekt rental car across from the airport.  Really nice people even throwing in a GPS for free!!!  Drove easily into the city and found my cute little studio with free parking out front.  Host was there to greet me and show me around and then I took a beautiful walk along the river and over the bridge to the old town.  I loved Ljubljana immediately with its many bridges, cafes and its old town feel.  Another plus, i.e. almost everyone spoke English!!!

Found TaBar off on a side street where I had dinner outside overlooking the river, i.e. grilled octopus with tomatoes and sturgeon with leeks.  Really nice to be on my own for a few days…

Slept well in my quiet little airbnb.  Had delicious strong coffee and chocolate croissant at Cafetino on Stari Trg where I went everyone morning to start my day.  Walked to Joze Plecnik’s house, the famous architect who designed most of the bridges, to learn about his life.  Wandered around the old fruit and vegetable market and then to Preserven Square, across the cobbler’s bridge, butcher’s bridge, triple Bridge and dragon bridge – all so very beautiful!  Walked to the National Library which Plecnik designed but only peeked inside.

Stopped at an outdoor café for a lemon tart with lemon sauce and then walked up to the castle.  Not much of the castle per se to see but there are many great museums inside, i.e. Museum of Puppetry which was my favorite and an interesting photo fashion exhibit.  There were some old prison rooms as well as an exhibit on the importance of the dragon when Jason looked for the golden fleece and slayed the dragon.  It started to rain so I headed back, returning later for dinner at Julija.  I had Slovenian cheese dumplings with mushroom sauce and apple strudel with cream which were both heavenly, sitting outside…so very nice indeed.

The following morning after my delicious chocolate croissant I wandered around the open market and then drove out to Idrija, home of the famous bobbin lace and stopped to visit the school of lace.  I got a nice guided tour of the different patterns and techniques of lace making and then continued on to Kobarid for a delicious lunch at one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, Hisa Franko.

My choice was the 6 course lunch, i.e. pickled sardines with tomato water, goat cheese ravioli with corn and hazelnuts, trout with beets in tonka vinegar, octopus with potato polenta and smoked yoghurt, bear with honey and berries and summer pear with nasturtium.  It was one of the most delicious meals I have every eaten.  Ana, the chef was there as well and it was she who suggested I drive through the Vrsic pass, a high mountain pass which goes through the Julian Alps and the highest road pass in Slovenia.  I snaked my way through 50 hairpin turns (each marked!!), stopping occasionally to see the beauty and the Russian chapel at switchback #8.

Walked into town later that evening and sat by the river enjoying an ice cream cone for dinner.

In the morning I drove to Predjama Castle built on a cliff within a cave just to see it.  Had read it was nothing special inside.  Decided to visit to Skocjan caves instead of the more well known Postojna caves and really glad I did.  It is an exceptional system of limestone caves with some 6 kilometers of underground passages.  The guided tour took about two hours and the walk along the cave system was amazing!!!  Had a traditional Slovenia cake with apples, poppyseeds and cheese for lunch and then on to the Lupica Stud Farm nearby. 

I took a tour where I learned a great deal about the famous Lipazanner horses and we stopped by some stalls to see them up close.  Stayed for the fabulous performance at 3 p.m. where the horses galloped and danced to the music of Strauss.  Afterwards I spend about an hour in the museum which explained the history and bloodline of the horses, etc.  It was really an incredible day.

Dinner later that night in town at Marley & Me sitting outside, i.e. grilled salmon salad and a delicious cream cake.  Wandered around a bit afterwards to enjoy the evening.

In the morning I drove to lake Bled, a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by mountains and forests.  Walked up to the Medieval castle and enjoyed the various museums, especially the printing press.  Walked around the lake a bit and stopped at a nice hotel and sat on the terrace to enjoy a slice of cream cake before driving to Vintgar Gorge which was the highlight of the day.

The gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Borst hills and the trail leads you over wooden bridges with amazing views to the mighty Sum waterfall.  Made a quick stop of lake Bohinj, the largest permanent lake in Slovenia, which was also very beautiful.  Dinner later again at Julija, i.e. arugula salad with crisp polenta and cheese and apple strudel with ice cream – delicious!

Up early to return the car and fly to Vienna, Austria.  Arrived about 8:00 a.m. and stopped for a chocolate croissant and coffee before taking the train into the center and the U4 to Margaratgurdel near my airbnb.

Erwin let me check in early and it was an awesome studio, modern, bright and even had a great coffee machine!  Started out towards the center passing through the Nachtmarkt with all its great food and vegetables, arriving at the Opera House in time for the 1:00 p.m. tour which provided lots of interesting information about the history, architecture, etc. of the Opera House.  Built in 1869 and again in 1955 following the devastation of the war, it is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. 

Walked up to the Central Café  (which seems to be the place to go for Vienna pastries!) and had a delicious mille feuille with custard.  Walked down to the Albertine Museum and spent a couple hours viewing the current exhibition of Picassos, Monets, Derains, etc.  I was also able to wander through the old apartments where the king lived which I really enjoyed.

Walked to St. Stephens Cathedral on Kartnerstrasse, the symbol of Vienna and one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria.  Walked back to my airbnb which took about 30 minutes and had dinner at Mini nearby, i.e. smoked tuna carpaccio with diced melon and croutons and an apricot chocolate torta.

In the morning I found a nice pastry shop nearby and had a delicious almond croissant in my cosy airbnb along with two shots of espresso and some fresh raspberries I had picked up on my way back the previous evening.  Walked to the Kunst Historische Museum and spent about 3 hours viewing the Kunstkammer exhibit of all the beautiful things collected by the Hapsburgs, i.e. gorgeous gold ships, ivory and agate pieces, clocks, etc. etc.  There were books in each room describing each item and even little videos of how some of the clocks, etc. moved.  Really fascinating.  Walked back to shower and change for my Michelin star dinner at Loca near the Stadtpark.

Sat outside and enjoyed a delicious 6 course meal with a glass of wine, i.e. burrata cheese with pesto and tomato pieces, salmon trout with avocado puree, cold cucumber cream soup with shrimp, char fish with squid and green bean cream, beef with mushrooms and cheese with berries and sorbet.  A great finale to my last evening in Vienna!!

Pastry and coffee in the morning and then took the tram to the train station and a train to the airport.  Arrived in Budapest, Hungary about 12:30 p.m. where I would start my next adventure with Intrepid that very evening.  It was great having a bit of time on my own…

Friday, August 24, 2018

Eastern Europe – Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia – June/July 2018
Last year I met many travelers heading to Albania so decided to go there as well!  Had a bad experience with prime time shuttle that called 20 minutes before they were to shuttle me to LAX and cancelled!!!  Luckily my dear friend drove me to LAX and I was in time for my flight.  With a quick stopover in Munich for a smoked salmon sandwich and coffee I arrived in Tirana, Albania about 7 p.m.

Taxi driver got lost so after many stops to ask directions I arrived at my very spacious airbnb and was warmly greeted by my host.  He showed me the area, the green market nearby and how to get to the center.  He finally dropped me off at one of his favorite restaurants nearby called Oda, where I had a wonderful dinner.  Cute little house with cozy rooms, Oda was the perfect place to start my trip.  I had a slice of spinach phyllo “pie”, a cottage cheese and peppers dish which I was to see often and a  slice of honey nut cake…

In the morning I walked to the green market to pick up some oranges and had a delicious chocolate croissant and double espresso at Mulliri Vjeter.  Walked into the center and then to the south bus station to see about buses to Berat which seemed to leave every 30 minutes.  Visited the House of Leaves, an old house once a medical office but during the war with Russia turned into a spy center where many people were falsely accused of political crimes.

Walked into the Blloku area with its cafes and little shops and had a piece of cheesecake on the patio of E Jona where I would dine tomorrow night.  Took the bus to Bunk Art 1 and spent a couple hours in the 3,000 square meter underground bunker spread over several floors.  In every room there was history of Albania being taken over by Italy, Germany and Russia.  What a saga!!!

In the evening even though it was raining pretty hard I took a taxi to Uka Farm, an organic farm and restaurant a bit far from town.  Sat in the large patio where chairs and tables were set up and had antipasta platter with cheeses, grilled peppers and eggplant, spinach pie, etc., followed by grilled lamb chops and some of their locally made wine.  Would have been a better experience with more people…

Breakfast again at Mulliri Vjeter and then I took a local bus to the south bus station and a bus to Berat, a Unesco world heritage site because of its collection of white ottoman houses climbing up the hill to the castle.  Took a bus to the castle/fortress and while wandering around joined an Italian group who were very welcoming and enjoyed a little tour with them.

Visited the Ethnographic Museum to see traditional clothes, tools, etc. which I really enjoyed and then walked along the river to the stone bridge so I could see the 1000 windows.  Crossed the river and stopped at a little hotel where I sat outside and had some baklava before taking the bus back to Tirana.

Later that evening I walked to E Jona and had a lovely dinner, i.e. a salad with “frico”, raisins, spinach, nuts and tomatoes followed by a rich brownie with ice cream as I sat outside on the patio…

After breakfast at Mulliri Vjeter I left my nice airbnb to check into Hotel Kruja where the Intrepid trip would start and then took a local bus to Kruja to see the old fortress and visit the very extensive Ethnographic Museum in an old house with interesting nicely restored rooms where people originally lived. 

Walked down a tunnel to the old mosque, interesting as it had no minaret and finally wandered into the street bazaar the town is famous for.  Back in Tirane, I walked down to the “Pyramid”, originally the Enver Hoxha Museum about the legacy of this long-time leader of communist Albania, it is now closed and possibly will be demolished…

Met our Intrepid group of 10 and then walked to Era for dinner, i.e. arugula salad with parmesan and cheese stuffed peppers in a very cute little place.  Walked to Sky tower and up to revolving bar where I enjoyed the view and a crème brulee.

Nice hearty breakfast at the hotel with delicious espresso and then an orientation walk of Tirana where I saw many things I had missed so far.  Stopped for coffee at Kommiti, a cozy little coffee bar and they went to the sky bar and I walked along the river.  Had an arugula salad and brownie outside on the patio of E Jona and then we met at the hotel to take the bus to Shkodra.  Walked up to the Rozafa Castle founded by the Illyrians in antiquity and rebuilt.

Walking tour at 7 p.m. to see the town followed by dinner at President, i.e. grilled vegetable platter with arugula, sitting outside on the terrace. 

Early morning transfer to Lake Koman where we boarded a ferry and spent about 3 hours enjoying the beauty.  Arrived at a guesthouse in Fierza where we took a walk to the lake and then later had a lovely dinner at the guesthouse nearby, i.e. special cheeses, peppers, olives, beets, salad with olives and oranges, trout and potato pancakes.  Quite nice. 

After a simple breakfast of homemade bread, jam and Turkish coffee we took a lovely walk through the valley, stopping once for coffee and again for lunch, i.e. spinach phyllo pie and shepherd’s salad (tomatoes, feta, peppers and cucumber). 

In the afternoon we walked over to one of the uncle’s homes and he talked about life under communisim.  Later in the evening we drove to a local restaurant where we had a fabulous dinner, i.e. potato/carrot soup with local bread, mixed greens with tomatoes, etc., fried cheese and peppers with eggplant in a casserole, corn and creamed cheese, crisp potato slices, yogurt with peppers, lamb and delicious nut cake with a creamy topping for dessert. 

In the morning, we crossed the border into Kosovo, Europe’s newest (official) country.  Stopped at the Decani Monastery, built in 1327, and known as the final resting place of Serbian King Stefan Unos III Decanski.  It is a place of stunning art heritage where monks still live.  On into Peja, the gateway to the Rugova Muntains. 

Had a quick look around before our orientation walk en route stopping at the folk museum which was very interesting.  Free time to visit the old bazaar, mosque, blood houses where the northern Albanians took refuge, etc.  Dinner at Kulla e Zenel Beut recommended by Trip Advisor, i.e. grilled fresh trout and Greek salad.  A peaceful atmosphere and delicious food.  Stopped for a baklava on my way back to the hotel…

Nice breakfast in the morning, pastries, cheese, honey, fruit and espresso.  Drove to Relaj, a village deep in the Rugova valley.  The Rugova mountains are nicknamed the cursed mountains and were declared a national park in 2013.  Stopped at the Monastery of Patriarchate in Pec, this complex of churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs.

Took a very pleasant 3 hour hike, stopping for lunch at a local family home, i.e. spinach pie, 3 layer pie, cornmeal pie, stuffed peppers, potatoes, vegetables and the ever present tomato/cucumber/feta salad.  We sat outside and it was lovely. 
Went to Prince in the square for chocolate cake and coffee later in the evening.

On our way to Prizren we stopped in Gjokove and wandered through the street bazaar on our way to the Hadum Mosque which was quite lovely.  Arrived in  Prizren at the foot of the Sar mountains and spent a couple hours in the house of Albanian League of Prizren where a monumental document was signed.   Orientation walk along the Bistrica river, over the stone bridge and around the cobbled Shadervan square and then free time to explore on our own.

It was a great city to walk around in and had the most delicious tres leches cake I have every tasted with a caramelized topping.  Dinner at Marashi by the river was grilled trout, nice but not worth the #1 Trip Advisor gave it!

Walked up to the Prizren Fortress in the morning built by the Byzantines in the 12th century and it was the seat of power for the Ottoman rulers until their expulsion in 1912.  It started to rain so we headed down.  Went by van to the winery with an elephant on the label and tasted some of their wines along with a simple lunch.
Walked around the vineyards before heading back to town.  I walked up to the fortress again to really see it well and had another delicious tres leches cake before calling it a day…

Spent the day in the capital city of Pristina first heading to the Field of Blackbirds, which the country is named after and where the 1389 battle of Kosovo took place.  Visited the tomb of Sultan Murat, leader of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century and finally the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gracanica, a Serbian orthodox monastery filled with paintings and frescoes painted in the 14th century.  There are 24 nuns residing there who are active in icon painting, etc.

Enjoyed a delicious lunch at Liburnia, a lovely restaurant with nice atmosphere and had fresh grilled trout with eggplant, peppers and mushrooms.  Stopped by a bear sanctuary where dancing bears had been rescued.  Back into town for the evening.

In the morning we crossed into Macedonia and arrived in Skopje about 2 p.m.  Had lunch and an orientation walk into the center of this very large city, stopping by Mother Teresa’s house, church on the square and through the large marble statues, fountains, etc. associated with very large cities.  Walked across the beautiful stone bridge to the bazaar and up to the fortress and later that night had a lovely dinner at House Restaurant near the center, i.e. delicious “tava”, stew with veal, chicken, eggplant, etc. and a kadaif dessert with nuts, honey and syrup – divine!

In the morning we drove to Canyon Matka, a beautiful spot along the river in the mountains where a couple of us took a ferry across the river and climbed up to the little church on top of the hill.  It was small but filled with beautiful frescos.  Free time in the afternoon so I visited the bazaar and the great fruit and vegetable market, contemporary art museum up on the hill and the national art gallery which I enjoyed very much.  There was an exhibit of Amen Kastrati on Albania life.

Stopped for an ice cream before visiting the memorial house relating to Mother Teresa who was born in Skopje in 1910.  We all met at 8:00 p.m. and walked to the Debar Maalo quarter for dinner which was very lively. I shared a mezzo platter with a few others, i.e. fried cheese, eggplant, chicken kebabs, etc. as we listened to some live music which was a great way to end our stay in Skopje.

After breakfast drove to Ohrid situated on Europe’s oldest lake and one of the oldest human settlements in the world.  After an orientation walk of the city we stopped at Potpie overlooking the lake and shared some delicious fried sardines, pizza and a couple salads.  Free afternoon.

Visited the church of St. Sophia, originally a Synod church and subsequently converted into a mosque during the Ottoman empire.  Today the interior of the church has been preserved with beautiful frescoes from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.  Its superb acoustics make it very useful for concerts.  Walked up to the Tast Samoil’s Foress on top of Ohrid Hill and down to the 2,000 year old Roman theatre used for concerts in the summer.  Had a chocolate ice cream as I wandered back to the hotel along the lake.

Took a lovely walk along the lake in the morning and then we took two boats out to see the lake, stopping along the way for a nice swim.  Stopped by the Museum on the water, i.e. the bay of the bones which sheds some light on the life of prehistoric peoples living near the lake with its 24 prehistoric houses on a wooden platform placed above the lake. 

Visited the Sveti Naum monastery, an imposing sight on a bluff near the Albanian border.  There are some very impressive icons and frescoes inside.  Later in the evening we took a ferry to our restaurant and ate grilled trout outside on the patio listening to live music playing downstairs.  So very lovely…

Drove back to Tirana in the morning, confirmed my morning flight and then to E Jona for another delicious brownie and ice cream.   Stopped by Bunk Art 2 which was very similar to bunk Art 1 except a bit smaller and then walked to the artificial lake where I would have dinner later.  Returned to the hotel and met our group in the lobby to say good-bye.  They were dining together but I felt that our last night in Ohrid was really our last night…

Walked to Mullixhiu and had a lovely dinner outside on the patio, i.e. the six course metamorphosis menu with some variations.  Chef Bledar Kola makes wonderful dishes inspired by Albanian organic products.  He joined me while I was having dessert and it was delightful talking with him.

In the morning I walked to a nearby Mulliri Vjeter for a chocolate croissant and coffee before taking the bus to the airport where I caught a flight to Slovenia where I would spend some time before picking up another Intrepid trip in Budapest.  So far Eastern Europe has been a very pleasant surprise!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Arugula, Pear and Green Lentil Salad
1/2C French green lentils
1 bay leaf
½ small onion, halved
parsley stems
2 – 3C arugula
½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
1/2C ricotta salata or manchego cheese, shaved
1/3C toasted pistachios or almonds
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. raspberry vinegar
2 tsp. honey mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 Tbsp. olive oil

Put lentils in a pan, add plenty of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a minute only.  Drain.  Return to the pan, add water to cover.  Add bay leaf, onion and parsley stems and simmer until tender but not mushy.  Drain and toss with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette while warm.  Shake vinaigrette ingredients together in a jar.  Toss arugula, fennel and pear with vinaigrette to coat.  Add half the lentils and toss.  Add the pistachios and cheese and toss again.  Finally add the remaining lentils and toss again.  Divide among plates.
MAKES:  6 servings

Friday, June 8, 2018

Kauai – May 2018
Decided to visit my friend in Kauai as she planned to be around in May and is usually out travelling!!  Got a great fare on Alaska Airlines nonstop from San Diego, parked my car at Wally Parking and took a free shuttle to the airport.   Plane left about 7:05 a.m. and arrived at 10:45 a.m.  My friend met me at the airport and we stopped by Costco to get some fruit and cranberry walnut bread and then I settled in.  She has a lovely home near Anahola and I stayed in a little cabin behind her house.

Weather was balmy with some rain the whole time I was there which was to be expected on a tropical island.  We had a nice lunch together outside on the patio and then I took a walk to the beach nearby.  In the evening we sat out by the fire pit and had some delicious lentil soup which she had made and caught up with our lives…

Took a walk every morning and then fixed breakfast for us which we ate outside on the patio overlooking a field of goats and beautiful tropical plants.  So much great fruit to be had!!  She has papaya and mango trees and we found some great blueberries and pineapple along the way.  My first morning I headed to the sleeping giant trail, stopping at the Opaekaa Falls on my way.  The trail was very muddy which made the going difficult but it was a beautiful trail and took about 2 hours just to get to the 2 mile mark.  Stopped in coconut plaza for a delicious mung bean, cucumber, etc. salad with grilled ahi at the sleeping giant grill, a bit hard to find but well worth it!!!

The next morning after breakfast we drove to Kapa’a and rented bikes.  Rode a couple hours along the ocean which was so beautiful.  I felt like I could ride forever.  Met a friend of hers for lunch, i.e. shrimp pad thai noodles at a little Vietnamese café and later that evening we had dinner in Kapa’a at JO2, a little bistro in a shopping center I had read good things about.  She had the three course menu, i.e. wild mushroom pasta, mahi mahi with fresh vegetables and chocolate croissant bread pudding and I had a dish with poke and avocados on a tortilla underneath which was ceviche, a kale salad with duck confit and pistachios and a chocolate crème brulee.  Really nice meal.

Stopped by the Farmer’s Market in the morning and it was filled with great fruits, vegetables and all sorts of great things cooking.  We tasted some interesting macadamia nuts, cheeses, etc. before picking up some fresh kale and Swiss chard for later.  She dropped me off at the Kilohana sugar plantation and I visited the manor built in 1935 by Gaylord Parke Wilcox and learned all about sugar cane.  There is also a train you can take around the grounds and even have lunch at Gaylord’s Restaurant if you like.

Afterwards we spent a couple hours in the Kauai Museum which told the history of King Kamehameha and his dynasty as well as the history of old Hawaii – how the islands came to be and how they were ruled until Captain Cook discovered them.   Also listened to some ukulele music in the courtyard.  Drove back “home” and made a nice salad with the fresh kale we had bought and later we had lentil soup with the Swiss chard outside under the stars.

Even though it rained all night we got up early and headed to Waimea Canyon, stopping at Starbucks on the way for coffee and banana bread.  Entered the Koke’e State Park and stopped at some viewing points along the way but it was too foggy to see anything.  I hiked a beautiful trail down to Waipo Falls which took about 2 hours and there were some lovely views along the way.

Stopped at the Kauai Coffee Plantation to learn about the 4 million trees on the plantation that produce 60% of the state’s entire crop and then drove to Keoki’s Paradise near Poipu Beach for lunch on the veranda.  We shared a couple ono tacos which were delicious and so enjoyed the beautiful view of the palm trees, etc.

Got back just in time to change for dinner at Hukilau Restaurant in Kapa’a.  It was a five course menu, i.e. Sweet potato ravioli, Island gazpacho with basil sorbet, ono with quinoa pilaf, sesame linguini with crisp Kauai shrimp taro balls and vanilla crème brulee.  We sat outside and it was so beautiful…

In the morning I drove up to the Hindu Temple Monastery where I walked along the path to the temple, stopping at the giant banyan tree.  Inside the temple the swami was conducting a shiava pooja which was very interesting to see.  The grounds are lovely…A very peaceful place.

Drove down to the cute little historic town of Koloa and then stopped for lunch again at Keoki’s Paradise and enjoyed a local greens salad with macadamia nuts, goat cheese and grilled spicy shrimp followed by their famous hula pie, i.e. chocolate cookie crust, topped with macadamia nut ice cream and chocolate sauce with whipped cream on the side – decadent!!!

Drove to Poipu Beach and parked near the Grand Hyatt and then walked down to the beach to follow the Maha’ulepu heritage trail along the coast.  It was a challenging hike but very beautiful and took about 2 hours to complete.  Drove back and my friend made us a delicious pizza for dinner which we ate outside enjoying the sounds of the night.

Made a 9:30 a.m. reservation at Na’Aina Kai botanical gardens about 15 minutes away and chose the walk and ride tour which took about 3 hours.  We walked some and rode in a little cart through the beautiful unique gardens and trees and our guide pointed out the different flowers and plants.  There were also some lovely bronze sculptures throughout the gardens which made it unique.  We even saw a couple albatross!!!

Stopped at the Kilauea Lighthouse and wildlife refuge, an impressive 52 foot structure situated on a rocky peninsula 180 feet above the pacific ocean.  You can observe some red footed booby birds as well as wedge-tailed shearwaters through binoculars if you are lucky.  There is a lot of information about the wild life in the little museum/gift shop as well.

Took a nice walk in the afternoon and then we returned to JO2 for another nice dinner that evening.  We shared the seafood sampler, scallops in phyllo, salmon with butter sauce and caviar and ahi with linguini, the tempura vegetables and the warm chocolate cake.  A nice final meal and my flight leaves tomorrow…

Drove up to Princeville in the morning and saw a few albatross which seem to like to nest there.  On to Hanalei Bay to the pier where we parked and walked along the beach to see the flood damage.  So many houses were lost and even the land underneath was washed away…Stopped for breakfast at a cute little café and then drove back.  I took one last walk along the beach and then she drove me to the airport.  Lihue is such a small little airport that I was through security quickly so had enough time to have a couple delicious fish tacos at a little café near my gate. 

Called Wally Parking as soon as I landed and the shuttle came in minutes and drove me directly to my car.  A bit of a drive home, i.e. almost 1-1/2 hours but it went by fast.  It was a great trip and much too short!!!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Pizza dough ball

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. prosciutto
5 oz. package baby spinach, cooked and squeezed dry
10 basil leaves
1/4C parmesan cheese
1/4C shaved asiago cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water (egg glaze)

roasted pepper sauce
2 red peppers, roasted, pureed
2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, sliced

Mix roasted pepper puree with fresh basil leaves and set aside.

Place the dough on a wooden board, cover with towel and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 450F.  Roll out into a long rectangle about ¼-inch thick.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, top with one layer of prosciutto, spinach, basil, cheese and another layer of prosciutto, leaving a 1-inch margin on both short ends and one long side.

Begin rolling the dough over the filling on the side with no margins.  Roll the dough like a jelly roll, tucking in the filling as you go.  Pinch dough to seal seam and ends.  Coat a baking sheet with cornmeal; place Stromboli on baking sheet, seam side down.  Brush with egg glaze.  With a knife slash shallow diagonal vents every 2 inches to allow steam to escape.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.  Cut on bias
into 2-inch slices with serrated knife.  Serve with roasted pepper puree.
MAKES:  8 servings