Cruising the Caribbean & Panama Canal with mom and dad 1978
My parents showed me enough of the world to whet my voracious appetite for travel forever. BTW, my sister Patty was on that cruise with us (being the sweet big sister I was…I probably knocked her overboard right before the picture was taken).
Dubrovnik July 2009
Growing up, my favorite author was Hemingway. His stories made me ache for adventure … deep sea fishing in Cuba, big game safaris in Africa, bull fights in Spain, Paris of the 1920’s….I couldn’t wait to live it all. I love to immerse myself in the sights, sounds, history, culture, and of course cuisine wherever I go. Luckily I passed the travel bug onto my daughter. Croatia has been a visual and oral feast.
The ports full of yachts and winding roads carved into the edge of the cliffs overlooking the azure sea of the Dalmatian coast are reminiscent of the Amalfi in Italy or the South of France…yet somehow less pretentious even with the fairytale medieval walled towns and storybook palaces steeped in history.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin
The Rector’s Palace
Strolling down the strohm you can find plenty the fruits of Croatia on display…
…Since industrial farming never caught up with Croatia on a large scale, most fruits and vegetables are already organic and have soooooooo much more flavor than what we buy in our local supermarket, because they are picked at peak of their ripeness.
Salt and herbs
Salt is mined in Croatia, and rosemary is abundant, and here they have combined them for a herbed salt. Black and white truffles can be found inland in Istria where a 1.3 kilogram (nearly 3 pounds) white truffle was found…the worlds largest and worth a small fortune. I was so tempted to make the journey inland, but alas…white truffle harvest is not until September.
Great wafts of lavender hit your nostrils whenever the winds (maestral) kick up. I received very strange looks when I asked if they ever cook with it…lavender is strictly for perfume, not food in Croatia. But they do eat the deliciously fruity olive oil…
Grappa and olive oil
…and drink local wine and Grappa. Then there are the beautiful jewelry and clothing stores interspersed with souvenir shops, and little restaurants tucked away in every square and side street.
Scampi Bouza style
Central and eastern Croatian cuisine is more heavily influenced by neighboring Hungary…with its rich meaty dishes, but along the Dalmatian coast seafood rules the menu along with pasta and delicious thin-crusted pizza thanks to it’s abundance of fresh fish and shellfish and it’s proximity to Italy.
The happy travelers
- 2lb.skid, cut into 1/3″ rings
- 1 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup for frying
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1). Clean and rinse squid, cut into rings, and pat dry.
2). Mix flour, baking powder, salt, granulated garlic, pinch cayenne, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in oil, milk, and egg and mix until just combined and smooth.
3). Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When you can see ridges in the oil, it is ready to fry the calamari in. Dip rings of squid (and tentacles) into the batter, and then carefully drop into hot oil, cooking until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with French fries and tartar sauce or spicy marinara sauce. I also love the contrast of the hot calamari against a cold tricolor salad tossed in balsamic dressing.