Welcome Family & Friends

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting ~ a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last year as I was contemplating my 40th year on this big blue planet, that I have not seen nearly enough of, I thought that it was time to set some firm goals for myself rather than constantly saying “Wouldn’t it be nice to one day…”. Instead of having another blowout birthday bash, I have decided to opt for something a little more introspective. So, that’s it. 2011 is the year I’m doing my Pilgrimage on The Camino De Santiago De Compostela.

Why have I waited so long? Well to be truthful, I really had not heard about it until recently. I actually happened upon the idea watching an episode of "Burt Wolf's Travels & Traditions" on PBS one weekend. Then there's also the finances associated with such a long journey rife with logistics. This endeavor isn’t going to be cheap when you add up plane fare, hiking equipment, 50 euros a day, and time off from work. But my plans are slowly materializing. It’s going to happen - I can see it! I've even asked my friends and family to keep me to my word on this one. I plan on starting my trek in late September during the less congested season. If all goes well, I should end my journey close to the end of October 2011!

I created this blog to keep you all informed on my progress in the months leading up to my trip. This blog will give me a forum to educate everyone about the Pilgrimage and its history...and even comment on the French and Spanish cultures. I also plan on doing a lot of fundraising to help me pay for things I will need, so check back often as I announce events and opportunities for you to help me reach my goals. Speaking of goals, I will also be doing a lot of physical training to ready my body for the long walk. I will be sure to post all my trials and tribulations here as well. I know a lot of you will get a kick out of hearing how I "get back into shape" over the next few months. Please don't hold back if you have any tips that will aid in my fitness.

I will also utilize this blog to diary and chronicle my days while on the Pilgrimage. It will be my main mode of communication since I will be all the way in Spain. I will try and post daily musings of my travels, send out pretty pictures of the contryside, and tell you about all the wonderful people I encounter along the way. My path will take me across 350+ miles of beautiful landscapes starting near the Pyrenees and traversing all the way out to the Galician coast. I’m figuring on 4-5 weeks to reach the Cathedral where the remains of Saint James The Greater rest - I know, can you believe it?!!!

So thanks for visiting my blog! Please come by and poke around as I send out future updates and please spread the word - I want to share this story with everyone and anyone that is willing to listen and learn!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Love Always,
Richert Gordon

The Cathedral De Santiago De Compostela

The Cathedral De Santiago De Compostela
Click the above image to visit the Catedral de Santiago

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spain...On The Road Again

All this month I have been watching Gwyneth Paltrow hit the road with Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols in the foodie adventure of a lifetime: a 13-part television series, "Spain...On The Road Again", premiering on PBS. "Spanish food is not famous in America like Italian food," says Paltrow. "We tried to show the ethos of how the Spanish eat and live. There's so much soul that goes into food there." Gwyneth has been a devotee of Spanish food and culture since she studied in Spain at 15. The following are a few recipies that have been featured on the program that I wanted to share with all of you. Perhaps you could dazzle your family with your culinary prowess and try one out this weekend! _____________________________________________________

Hake with Clams and Parsley

Claudia had never made hake before and now this recipe, which Mark says is the most useful one in the book, is in her repertoire.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Four 6-ounce hake fillets (or substitute cod or haddock), skin on
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
10 Manila or other small clams, scrubbed

Combine the olive oil, half the parsley, and the garlic in a cazuela or sautŽ pan large enough to hold the fish and clams in a single layer. Sprinkle the hake on both sides with salt and add to the cazuela skin side down. Dust the fish with flour, then add the clams and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the fish, lower the heat and simmer very gently until the clams open and fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Divide the fish and clams among four plates, stir the pan juices, and spoon over the fish and into the clams. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.

Mixed Grill Catalan Style

You can grill just about anything. We were lucky to have some espardeñas (sea cucumbers) on our hands, so we mixed them with a few gambas (shrimp), peppers, and onions and had a wonderful lunch.

Serves 4

12 large shrimp in the shell
1 pound espardenyas (sea cucumber), cleaned and soaked in cold water for 5 minutes (or substitute 1 pound large sea scallops)
2 red bell peppers, cut into wide strips
2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse sea salt

Rub the shrimp, espardenyas, peppers, and onions with olive oil. Grill over a hot fire, turning once, until the seafood is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for the seafood and a few more minutes for the vegetables. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with salt, and serve.



The name of this traditional savory pastry comes from the verb empanar which means to coat or cover with pan (bread).

Serves 6 to 8

1/2 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed, cut into 1/4inch dice
1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 pounds pizza dough
Olive oil

Cook the chorizo and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until they begin to render their fat, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and peppers and cook until the chorizo and pancetta are well browned and the vegetables are softened, 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Cut the dough in half. Roll one piece out into a thin (1/4”-1/8” thick) 1/4 round. Line a baking sheet with parchment, rub paper with olive oil. Place dough on parchment and spread it generously with olive oil. Spread the chorizo mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border all around. Roll out the second piece of dough. Moisten the exposed edges of the bottom round of dough with water, place the second round over the filling, and crimp the edges together with a fork to seal. Brush the dough liberally with olive oil and cut a few steam vents in the center. Bake in a 450°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Serve hot or at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. Congratultions on taking the first step - now that your soul is on its way, you'll have to follow!
    Late October and November last year was very wintery so pack thermals and good waterproof in case of snow and rains.
    Check my blog post at:

    By staying in the pilgrim shelters you'll get by on 30euro a day, but some of the refuges are seasonal and close at the end of September - then you might have to stay in a posada (inn) or small hotel. Always check ahead in case the refuge your are heading for is closed. The Confraternity of St James in the UK publishes an annually updated guide to the camino which you can buy online from their bookshop. www.csj.org.uk
    You could join an online forum and have all your questions answered.
    www.pilgrimage-t-santiago.com is a good one with lots of experienced peregrinos to help you.
    Buen camino dear pilgrim


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