Granola starts with ingredients. Good, wholesome and often hippie-laden ingredients. A few weeks ago, Edge and I spent an afternoon chasing down dried fruit, stone ground oats, various nuts, and choice cuts of bacon. Bacon neutralizes the strong smell of patchouli oil and healthiness often synonymous with small batch granola. Here are the ingredients we used.
The finished result.
Thirty foot flames quickly illuminated the apple orchard and thirty or so people headed towards its heat like like Midwest bugs towards a light. Laughing and chatting, small groups of friends subconsciously experimented with their appetite for heat, eventually creating a twenty foot radius around the fire.
Intrigued by the promise of friends, Weber Grills, kegs of local beers and the beauty of the Maine countryside, people from around the Northeast descended on a small orchard in Limerick, Maine to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday, or as the title of the invite called it, turning 14 for the 27th time. Bringing camping gear and their meat of choice, the partakers eagerly set up shop in the rows of trees early in the afternoon and embraced the late April day with the same gusto as rednecks at a NASCAR race.
Red toes and leather sandals.
The sun lingered in the sky overlooking the farm like a parent picking their kids up from a party, nursing the proposed five minutes into an actual fifteen just to see the laughs and smiles.
The orchard and barn serves a sculpture workspace for Sandy Macleod during the day.
Comforted by the sun and the smell of budding fruit trees, people hooted and explored the rows of apple trees, marked by the occasional kinetic sculpture. Cheeks and noses turned pink as the season's first sun caught overzealous minglers off guard.
A well loved apple grinder.
I love the color red.
Feels Like Summer to Me (Picasa).
"Me gusta el plato de frutas y una Tona por favor," I gingerly said hoping my ear-to-ear smile would mask my butchered verb conjugations and gringo accent. Standing behind the wooden bar wiping the top down with a rag, the mid-thirties Nica women giggled, "....y uno grande agua?"
"Si si," I stammered, sitting shirtless and dripping salt water on a stationary stool made out of a tree trunk. I rubbed the two raw marks on my ribs from constant rubbing from the surf board and waited as the cook handed me a cold can of beer and a water. Swimming after waves for five hours a day like a dog chasing sticks works up an appetite, and for a week and a half, I indulged in the food area.
Classic Nicaraguan breakfast; Two Eggs, Pico De Gallo, Rice and Beans.
Five minutes and a few glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice later.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, a trio of three Nica women in this kitchen whipped up some of the most delicious meals I have ever had.
For dinner, I ate fish: fried fish, grilled fish, fish fillets, and entire fish.
Huachinango (Red Snapper).
Huff and Puff cooling; discussed by few, but known by many overzealous pizza eaters.
Food does not have to be complicated to taste good. Instead of relying on complicated recipes and presentation, the cooks in Nicaragua used quality ingredients and compassion to make their food. I like simple things.
Months of brutally cold nights starting at 4 pm make you appreciate lengthening days and warming temperatures with the same fervor as seeing your special lady friend, or special man friend, for the first time in months. In this case, I hadn't seen warm evenings in five months and took to the opportunity of spending time with close friends and grilling meats like an aging Trustifarian to a Ralph Nader book signing. Needless to say I was excited.
On Friday afternoon we stocked up at the local supermarket with the essentials: a few bottles of wine, sausages, rum and ginger beer, ground bison, chips, various hot condiments, chicken breasts, zucchinis and some Coors lattes, and headed to Tucker's house in Belgrade Lakes for an evening of gluttony by the campfire.
Kick starting spring one dark and storm at a time.
Zucchini and olive oil and chicken and ginger sauce.
As the sun crept below the horizon, we fed the fire and enjoyed the fruits of the grill. The last rays of light hit clouds coming off the coast, giving everything a pinkish hue. Conversations meandered from place to place like a group of unaccompanied ten-year-olds at a summer carnival.
Despite flirting with the mid 40's during the day, the temperature dropped well below freezing after sunset making the fire much more than an aesthetic contribution to the evening's festivities.
A taste of the Rockies on the lakes of Maine.
Grilling greed: premature consumption of burger or other meat that requires further cooking.
Lubricated by pounds of meat and a few beverages, we watched for occasional shooting stars, cussed about girls, whittled sticks and went on various outings in search of firewood. Our numbers faded as one member of the half circle surrounding the fire pit after another left for the comfort of bed and the promise of the next day's activities.