“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” ~ Kahlil Gibran ~
There has been such an inexplicable complexity these past four years while being on the road, not as much in it’s logistical path as camping and the outdoors were never an unknown to me, but it’s mental array of a constant search I have always called it “therapeutically” fit. It has been Spirit and I, and along the way as time went on, many Friends joining in uplifting us with always the kind thoughts they themselves expressed. As Human nature dictates unfortunately, only at rare occasions, some not so kind words have been also send to us, words without a need to repeat. They have only created sadness within me, not for the impact they have had, but for the thought of the writers as to how can such Humans be so heartless. Without Love. It happens. It is part of this World we live in. Today I cannot hide the fact, so present in it’s actuality within my past entries, of a Friend, so Dear and close to us, having joined this stage we are on, more exactly for us to have created a new stage we now share even if a physical distance is at times present. She is “Robin”, with Spirit’s new buddy “Audrey” and the feline boss of all of us “Lovey” I call “Coolest Cat ever…”.
Brie Cups as I call them.
The filo cups can be bought ready made in the freezer section. I like to make my own. Cutting them in squares, keep them under a damp towel so they do not dry. With a dedicated paint brush and some melted butter they are individually brushed and pushed down in a mini-muffin pan leaving nice jagged edges. They are baked at 400 in a regular over and at 375 in a convection oven till golden brown. The frozen ones also should be baked on till the same color is achieved.
Some good Brie, triple crème will work well, without it’s rim is then melted very slowly in a pan filling the cups with a spoon. The topping mixture is then made. About a cup of chopped walnuts, a couple tablespoons of honey, a couple pressed cloves of garlic and a handful of chopped parsley. They will top the melted Brie after it has hardened a bit. Great blend of flavors in this one bite appetizer.
It is two Journeys coming together and yet they are each remaining as their own entity as I always consider it a priviledge to share a Life together without ever loosing one’s individuality. This is all so new, it is all so comforting and so filled with exchanges of not only knowledge, but everything that would create a good feel, this “fuzzy” feeling I have heard so much about in the past. The one if I dig into deep was once a reality watching my Son grow up and so soon vanish. Was it Lance who not too long ago decided for us to halt this path alone? Has it been because I have always felt this Journey is of and has been of a bitter~sweet one as today it’s “sweetness” emerges? Of course I have a theory of it all and yet, why wonder? We can only and should accept the fact that the empty space on the board is now being filled by pieces of a puzzle joining in so together that Mother Nature herself suddenly through my own senses has taken on different hues of brightness with her colors more vivid than ever.
Spanakopitas or also called “Beureks”.
These have to be hand made using the same filo dough. With a few sheets stacked up I cut them on their shorter end the width of the box with the point of a knife and cover them with a damp towel as to not dry them. They dry very fast. It is a two layer Spanakopita, each layer brushed with melted butter. The mixture is of Feta Cheese, steamed, drained and chopped spinach, a handful of finely chopped dill and a couple beaten eggs. About a teaspoon of the mixture is then dropped on the closest end of the doubled and buttered filo sheets and folded as a flag. They are then brushed with an egg wash which is a couple egg yolks and a teaspoon of water. Baked at 400 in a regular over or 375 in a convection till nicely browned. They can be kept overnight also and reheated at 400 till hot.
First day back at “The Oasis”. A bit rough I might say. Lifting water, a filled bottle of propane, my carry on bag, all is now a chore, more than that… a true “pain”. Even Spirit is laid off for the day as if calling it quits after his own 400 mile ride back on the last day in the sidecar. He amazes me, he leaves me speechless as he so seldom lays down as he could so easily. He has to be up sitting and watching were I am going, at the same time always glancing at me every few seconds with almost his nod of approval. He knows I have not been all together lately, I have no doubt that my physical pain has shown it’s own colors. Those eyes of his always gives it away, those eyes constantly keeping a watch on me regardless where we are, regardless who is around.
Making Risotto is simple, it only takes time and effort to stay on top of it and constantly stirring. It takes about 3 cups of chicken broth for one cup of nice Arborio rice. With a couple teaspoons of olive oil in the pan add the rice, flame on medium and do not stop stirring till cooked and creamy while adding the chicken broth never wanting the rice to be too dry or too watery while cooking. I added some sautéed mushrooms and some grated Romano at the end just to stir a couple minutes. Excellent side dish, one of my favorite when time allows…
I dare to say from the bottom of my Heart “Life is Good”. I try to come to terms with those three words as still the tears when I hear myself pronouncing them flow freely as so much better it would be with Lance’s presence. And yet, he is present. I know he is. It is only that my hugs return empty and are only of the mind and never enough. I know he is because he has held me up throughout the not so far past and does in these present times. He is always besides me as I see his own nod of approval, such an important aspect I always consider while taking any steps in any directions. He is a wise man and always will be as such in my Heart.
Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Sauce.
I grilled the Lamb Chops on Pecan wood. Their tail ends wrapped with foil as to not burn them. A hot grill for a nice seared result. The Mint Sauce is made with about half a jar of mint jelly, one bunch of mint leaves chopped in a chiffonade, a couple tablespoons of Stone Ground Mustard or Dijon and a tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar, all heated up and stirred. Below, I like to peel the asparagus. They take on a totally different and clean taste. Blanch them in boiling water for one minute and throw them in ice water to keep their firmness. Back in hot water for another minute when serving time comes.
A quick Pasta sauce.
This is unless one prefers to open a jar of Ragu or was it Ragou? Cooking comes to me often in images. When I found out Robin had bought some fresh Basil and was still holding on to some “real tomatoes”, this is the image that suddenly jumped out. A few freshly pressed garlic cloves, the more the better, chopped tomatoes, a couple tablespoons of sundried tomatoes also and stirred briefly with a couple tablespoons of Olive oil. Added a nice chiffonade of Basil, a few drops of Balsamic Vinegar to bring out the flavors and ending up adding also about a half a cup of heavy cream and half and half. Either or mixed will do it. Simple and tasty. Could these recipes done while camping? probably… would however take some doing! Enjoy… and please send in for questions if any.
Be well… enjoy!
Ara & Spirit
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