Saturday, February 25, 2017

On the Road to Lisboa, Portugal

The Cork Oak is Portugal's National Tree

At the end of 2011, the cork oak was unanimously established as Portugal's National Tree. Around 23% of Portugal's forest area is made up of cork oaks, which support the country's main industry. And trust me this country has thought of  everything imaginable to create products out of cork. 
Shop after shop displayed their cork wares for the tourists.
Here's just a small sample of what's available in cork.  Clockwise: coin purses, postcards. business card holder and a trivet but purses in every size and shape are really the main attraction. I really expected a clothing line somewhere but didn't find one which doesn't mean there isn't one already out there.  
A quick stop on the road driving into a horse breeding Lusitano farm was an area of stripped down cork trees. I was fascinated by the stripping process of the trees and how each tree is marked with the year the bark was taken off. It takes ten years for new tree bark growth before it can be stripped again. 

The pastoral farm scene was a welcome change from the fast paced cities and crowded touristy towns we had recently been to.
After a wonderful lunch I really should say feast on the farm 
Vegetable Soup
Mixed Greens Salad
Basque Chicken (recipe below)
Rice, Carrot and Pea Side Dish
and wait one more thing...Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream 
we were treated to a horse demonstration and a talk about  the differences between the breeds of horses found on this working farm.  
Along the highway to Lisbon we spied a stork nest. Apparently they are plentiful along the telephone poles near the highway. It reminded me of the osprey ones I have seen in my hometown.  One of the things we have enjoyed so much about this tour is the variety of experiences and the knowledgeable local people in each location who join the group to do presentations. 
Last stop pronounced Lisboa, Portugal. Let me say for now it was an over the top weekend experience with a melting pot of cultures, a party weekend with the beginning of Mardi Gras festivities and phenomenal buildings and architecture everywhere.   
Looking Ahead: Lisboa Part One and Two 
Chicken Basque
  • 1-1/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  •  1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1-14. oz. can diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano
  • 12 oz. red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wide wedges and halved crosswise
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. each thyme and herbes de Provence
  • 1/3 cup small pimiento stuffed olives
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. 
  • In a Dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about 4 minutes or until lightly browned, turning to brown evenly. 
  • Add in  onions, pepper and garlic, cook 3 minutes.
  • Add in rest of ingredients except olives. Bring mixture to a boil , cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 40 minutes or until chicken and potatoes are done. 
  • Remove from heat, add in olives and serve with fresh thyme or parsley. 
bom apetite


  1. do you have a recipe for the spanish shrimp and scallop dish you had? Looks wonderful would like to try


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