As I write this, my husband is out pressing our very first vintage of wine! It's harvest time here in Croatia, and for the first time ever, it's harvest time for us, too. We're like giddy little kids! that keep giving each other high fives. One of our biggest dreams together is to have a vineyard with a large family running around. Not just that, but we want to make really good wine from our vineyard. And have our kids work it with us (wink). While we're of course not there yet (we have a grand total of 8 vines... we have to start somewhere!) we've been given the most incredible opportunities to learn in each step of the way. I only have to look at our marriage and our children to know that the best and sweetest things in this life take time. Hopefully one day you'll visit our winery and drink an amazing bottle of wine and want nothing more than to enjoy it outside and to take a case home with you. Until then, we're working on a dream, and loving every glorious moment of the dream we're presently getting to live out in Croatia. God is good and God is gracious.
We were in Istria during harvest season last year, too. It's such a special time when you can be walking through vineyards, medieval villages and olive groves, watching tractors slowly go by (can you hear John Shea jumping up and down?) carrying loads of harvested grapes.
One afternoon, with Nana and Pops driving our Green Lantern behind us, we followed signs up a winding dirt road on our way to explore an abandoned medieval village. Tucked in between centuries old stone buildings half standing, covered in creeping ivy, were huge fig trees. I'm not kidding, the trees were so big and expansive they dwarfed the stone walls in comparison. I made a beeline to every one we passed, my tall love picking all of the ripe figs that I couldn't reach. That evening while Cam grilled vegetables and kobasice (an incredible sausage found throughout Croatia) I made an appetizer of crostini with melted brie, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and slices of those fresh, juicy figs we picked.
While putting together the photos for this post, I kept thinking about that simple meal and wanting it again, but different. So this amazing grilled kobasice sandwich was born. Simple, flavorful, so good we've had it two nights in a row! With the weather still warm, the last of the figs meeting the arrival of apples, and 70 liters of grapes gifted from our friends' harvest being pressed into our own wine... the end of summer might just be the most beautiful part of summer after all.
Grilled Kobascice Sandwich with Melted Brie
(makes two sandwiches)
2-4 high quality kobasice (called "kielbasa" in English)
1 baquette or 2 sandwich size baguettes
200 grams brie
red pepper hummus
Served with a salad, this makes a perfect end of summer meal that's both quick and full of flavor. Please feel free to leave off the hummus and spinach, but the brie, mustard and pickles really make this sandwich!
Preheat an outdoor grill and the broiler. Grill the kobasice until fully cooked and grill marks form. While they are grilling, halve the baguette and divide the brie between each top piece. Place under the broiler, also with the bottom halves. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly, being careful not to burn the bread. Remove from the broiler and spread hummus on the bottom halves, then pickles, then spinach. Once the kobasice is off the grill, slice each in half lengthwise and place on the sandwich. Spread on some mustard and top with the melted brie bread. Serve with a salad (I made caprese from the tomatoes in our garden) and a cold beer. Enjoy!