I started this post a while back with every intention of providing you with a super easy recipe for Prosciutto, Gorgonzola and fig flat bread with balsamic reduction – something I’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks – but I kept getting stuck. The words weren’t coming as I would have liked and I found myself deleting everything over and over again. I think this is the third or forth rewrite.
In one of the previous versions, I waxed poetic about my fig tree and all of the luscious fruit it has supplied me with this season, which has been wonderful by the way. The post was filled with all sorts of emotion hiding in the metaphors; a way of writing that I love and leaves me feeling creatively fulfilled. But I was writing from a place of irritation and frustration. It wouldn’t have made much sense to anyone else but me. So when I sat down to finish this post, I was in no mood for fluff. I needed to get down to the nitty-gritty about some things that have been clogging up my head and my productivity. I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time writing or doing anything productive when I have unresolved matters weighing on my mind. And I have a few of them at the moment.
So here’s the deal.
You know that high road we’re all supposed to take when life’s circumstances force us to find our higher moral ground? Well, I’m kind of sick and tired of being on that high road. I need a new direction, a new road to travel. Maybe it’s more of a slippery slope; I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But in the meantime, it pretty much comes down to this: I’m going to continue trying to be the most honest, fair and tolerant person I can be, but I can’t be selfless to the extent I have been thus far. I no longer want to forsake my own personal boundaries just to make someone else feel better about theirs.
As a willing listener and confidante many times over, I am content with the benevolent commitment that comes with relationships between friends and family members. The choice to “be there” or lend a hand to those who need it is part of the spirit of friendship that I don’t take lightly. But when I try to help anyone in my inner circle remove the monkey from their back only to find that monkey is also on mine, it becomes a strain that I can’t bear for very long. Believe me. I’ve tried. I’ve listened, I’ve observed and I’ve spoken. Many times. And when the words flowed from my mouth to ears that seemingly didn’t want to hear them, I became labeled as judgmental, a perfectionist, a poor listener. Or I was ignored.
We all need to be accountable for our actions, right? So, I’m accounting for mine. Right here. Right now.
I’m pulling over on the high road, taking a detour if you will, and creating a little emotional distance for myself. I’m not leaving the high road entirely; I still have to learn to handle some of the twists and turns in the road just like everyone else. But I need to avoid the hills that continue to leave me depleted to the extent that I cannot enjoy the inevitable ride down the other side. It means I need to follow the detour signs toward the path that provides me with a more acceptable route with a better view. It means the drama stays in the court of those who created it so they can truly feel the weight of their own monkey. It means it’s time for me to step back when I’m unable to squeeze out one more ounce of compassion for those who choose to live out a Montel moment.
Depending on which way you look at it, life can be as a series of setbacks or opportunities to dig deep and find your own inner strength. It works both ways no matter which side you’re on.
And as I envision the ride along the high road – the windows rolled down, the wind in my hair and the view in the rear view mirror getting smaller and smaller – the anticipation is very much a part of the joy.
* * * * *
Five years ago, I planted a small fig tree in my back yard. Evey year it grew and produced more fruit than the year before. But there came a point when I felt the tree wasn’t really living up to its potential. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the deliciously-sweet fruits filled with those unmistakable tiny seeds, I felt the tree should have been producing more than a handful or two of figs each season. The tree, while productive to a certain extent, was struggling under multiple factors. So I uprooted the still relatively-small tree, moved it to a very large pot where I hoped it would have a better chance to thrive. I removed the supports that had been holding the tree up for the past few years; it was time for the tree to develop its own strength, establish new roots and develop a stronger foundation. I knew it would take a period of time for the tree to adapt. Or it would never be the same again.
This season I harvested the greatest number of figs so far. I didn’t count, but there had to be more than 50 of them. And each one – with their purplish-black skins – was gloriously warmed by the sun.
They were the proof that the anticipation was very much a part of the joy.
I created this flat bread when I was pressed for time and used Trader Joe's refrigerated pizza dough, but you could make your own if you have a personal favorite. Prosciutto, Gorgonzola cheese and figs are a match made in heaven and the balsamic really pulls the flavors together to make a fabulous appetizer or light meal, if paired with a salad. Substituting fresh pears for the figs would be wonderful, too.
- Pizza dough
- 4 slices Prosciutto, torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 4 large fresh figs, quartered and then sliced into fourths
- fresh arugula
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and set oven rack on lowest level.
- On a lightly floured surface, quarter the dough. Keep one quarter on the board and place the remaining dough back into the refrigerator.
- Allow pizza dough to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling.
- Cut the dough in half, setting one piece aside.
- Roll the dough into a thin, narrow rectangle, approximately 4-inches x 12 inches and 1/4-inch in thickness.
- Place dough on baking sheet, lightly brush with olive oil and liberally prick it with a fork.
- Place in the oven for about 4-5 minutes. Remove.
- Scatter Prosciutto, Gorgonzola cheese and figs over partially cooked flat bread.
- Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the flat bread begins to brown along the edges.
- Meanwhile, place balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan set over medium high heat until it reduces by half, about 5 minutes but watch it - saucepan size matters here.
- When flat bread is done, remove from sheet pan and place on serving board or platter, scatter fresh arugula over the top, drizzle with balsamic reduction, slice and serve.
- Repeat process with the remaining dough.