Day One of Five in Rome
Day One–Arrive jet lagged in Rome and head to Trastevere, our home away from home for the next five days. The apartment is small but wonderful. Walk over the Punte Sisto to the heart of Rome. Walk to Piazza Campo De Fiori to have lunch. Piazza Campo De Fiori was once the site of public executions, in fact a statue one of the victims Giordano Bruno looms over the plaza. Now cafes and shops circle an open-air market that has been in operation since 1869. The statue of brooding Bruno becomes a mascot.
Rejuvenated by a nap and shower we endeavor to take one of Rick Steves walking tours. Fail miserably and get lost BUT that is when we discover the power of Katie Parla’s Rome app. We select Riscoli as a destination for a late dinner and by the GPS power invested in the Ms. Parla’s app we find the place. Rome was going to be great!!! Dine at Riscoli. To read about that experience click here.
By Judy Lyness on 04.16.2014
Still undecided as to what you’ll be serving this Easter Sunday? Here are some serving suggestions from this site and others.
A great way to start the feast without getting stuffed are vegetables, make that beautiful vegetables. I usually opt for olives, steamed asparagus plus hummus and crackers.
But if you really want to wow in taste and presentation check out Cooking on the Weekend’s Lemon Dill White Asparagus and Roasted Baby Carrots.
By Judy Lyness on 04.11.2014
Golden Fig Compote
Photo Courtesy of Kim Watkinson of The Ninja Baker
The final fig recipe of five days of figs is sinfully easy dried fig compote. This fig compote was paired with goat cheese ice cream and topped with candied pecans: A little bit of heaven in each and every spoonful. But I think any ice cream would be improved with the addition of this compote.
By Judy Lyness on 04.10.2014
Photo by Alison Ashton of Content Kitchen
Figgy Piggy Bars
One of the first discussions that Erika and I had for the menu of Figology Part One was dessert. Erika of In Erika’s Kitchen stated firmly, “I want a bacon fig newton.” I believe I rolled my eyes, pouted and muttered under my breath, “when will this bacon craze die?” Then, being the grown up that I sometimes am, set out to research how to create Erika’s idea which she dubbed “Figgy Piggy Bars”.
By Judy Lyness on 04.09.2014
Pepper and Fig Salsa on Endive Spears
Let’s face it, vegan and gluten free recipes are in demand. So when Erika and I were creating the menu for Figology Fest Part One we knew one had to be on the menu. This dried fig recipe is both, plus extremely flavorful. I got my inspiration, once again from the California Fig site’s salsa recipe. I wanted to spice it up a bit and then serve on endive spears. This dried fig, vegan appetizer was a real crowd pleaser. It takes no time to make and looks beautiful on a plate.
By Judy Lyness on 04.08.2014
What do you get when you toss cauliflower, dried golden figs and hazelnuts into the oven? The start of an incredible veggie meal. If you’re looking for a vegan and gluten free dish this is the one to make.
I was inspired by a recipe on the California Fig site but I wanted a little more substance so I added red quinoa and for a little more crunch roasted hazelnuts. This is a simple dish bursting with flavor and crunch.
By Judy Lyness on 04.07.2014
The Figology Fest Part One (Part Two will explore the world of fresh figs this summer) is the brainchild of Erika Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen and California Figs. Part One of this event showcased the incredible versatility of dried figs. It’s so much fun working with Erika to devise a diverse and delectable tasting menu using dried figs. Erika has an incredible imagination that pairs nicely with my technique and professional experience.
By Judy Lyness on 04.02.2014
Ten Lessons from My Travels
- Research the culture you are about to enter. If you’re going to a Muslim country, dress conservatively. If you’re in Spain don’t expect the shops to be open in the afternoon. If you’re in Buenos Aires and want to eat at 9:00 pm understand that you will be the only one in the dining room.
- No matter what country you plan on visiting, learn a few simple sentences in their language to show that you’re not an ugly American. My go to phrase is, “Hello, my (French, German, Arabic, whatever) is not very good, but if you speak slowly I will try to understand.” You’d be surprised at the positive reaction that your little bit of effort creates. Since I’m so bad at languages the reply I get most often is, “That is very sweet but let’s speak English.”
- My best experiences always seem to happen when something goes awry. Recounting your visit to the Vatican is great if you have visual aides. But getting lost and stumbling upon a hidden little place (restaurant, shop, bakery, museum, just fill in the blank) is an adventure that makes for a unique peek into daily life of the place you’re visiting plus a wonderful story.
- Don’t be afraid to go to lesser known towns or areas. Last year I traveled to Puglia, Italy. It was a totally different Italy than I had experienced before. The Adriatic Sea towns are a beautiful mixture of Greece and Italy. I would have never known if I kept to the guidebook’s top ten list.
- Don’t be afraid to use sign language or pantomime when you can’t find what you want. While I was in the south of France I would go to the farmers market and mimic French facial expressions and fake my way as a local—it worked. In Denmark I didn’t know the word for lamb so I blurted out “baa” to the butcher and was pointed in the right direction. I have no shame, neither should you!
- Churches and monuments are wonderful but sometimes it’s great to just sit, people watch and drink in the place. Take that well-earned pause.
- Travel in the off-season so you experience the rhythm of a place. Paris filled with tourists in the summer is a different city than Paris in April or October. Plus the lines at the Louvre are shorter.
- If you’re planning on visiting a huge historic attraction like the Vatican, the Alhambra or the Louvre make your reservations for the afternoon. The crowds thin out, this is when the cruise ship tourists return to the ship.
- Walk, walk, and walk some more. It’s the very best way to discover a new city. And in order to do so comfortably, spring for some good walking shoes.
- It’s your vacation. Enjoy it the way YOU want to. There is no right or wrong way to travel. There’s only YOUR way.