Boyfriend and I have this list. We made it when I caught myself saying “oooh, I want to go there!” for the millionth time while watching the Travel channel, even though we don’t have the time or money to go everywhere my little heart desires. So we made a list, and on that list is the 11 (yes, 11, not 10, because he shouted out “ONE MORE” after I had written down the tenth one, and he was adamant enough about it that it made it onto the list) cities/countries that we hope to one day visit…you know, in an effort to stay focused and not blow a bunch of money on a vacation we don’t really really want to take.
What’s on this list, you ask? Some repeats for both of us, and some completely new places. Take a look:
1. Ireland (two words: Jameson Distillery)
2. Spain and Portugal (Oooh, the tapas. Oooh, the rioja.)
3. Germany (Oktoberfest. And the castles.)
4. Chicago (which we are allowed to visit only during baseball season, as Boyfriend is dead-set on seeing a game at Wrigley)
5. Vancouver (really, this is a ploy to go snowboarding at a really cool mountain)
6. California (for the transplanted friends we have yet to visit)
7. Tuscany (for the obvious reasons of pasta and wine)
8. London (it’s LONDON, BABY!)
9. Greece (Um, hello? Have you seen pictures of Greece?)
10. Hawaii (the beaches, the surfing, the coffee)
(and yes, this one actually was the shouted-out-number-11)
11. Sweden(for reasons unbeknownst to me)
Now clearly some of these are much more feasible (Chicago) than others (Sweden), and clearly I’m pining after some (Spain and Portugal) more than others (Sweden). And I won’t lie to you – a lot of that has to do with the food we’ll find there. I Googled Swedish food the other day, and I don’t think it’ll be my favorite cuisine. I think that title will be a close race between Tuscany, Spain and Portugal, and Greece. What’s that you say? These are all Mediterranean countries who consume cheese, olive oil, and wine at most meals? Why, I suppose you’re right… I hadn’t noticed…
4 oz of feta, diced or crumbled
1/2 small green bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 (summery, in-season, Jersey) tomato, diced
4 slices of eggplant (the big eggplant)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little extra for grilling
Scant 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 large red onion, diced
6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp garlic, chopped finely
Salt and pepper
Brush slices of eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill until tender – flipping halfway through. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine feta, cucumber, tomato, onion, green pepper and basil. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, lime juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Cut eggplant into chunks similar in size to other vegetables. Add to the large bowl. Pour dressing over salad, and stir to coat.