A life lived well includes adventures.
That's my philosophy. I believe life should be a series of exciting and unusual experiences. They don't have to all be dangerous or risky exploits but wouldn't it be pleasing to explore unknown territory on a regular basis? Think how much more interesting life (and you) would be if you stepped outside the box of your regular routine now and again. What would happen if you said yes to an adventure?
In Lake Oswego and West Linn we are poised just miles outside the zone of totality for the total solar eclipse occurring Aug. 21. A total solar eclipse is a rare occurrence, and Travel Oregon points out that many of us will not be alive when the next one falls over Oregon.
What we will experience in Lake Oswego and West Linn will be fascinating and unique, but it won't be the life-changing experience those in the zone of totality will experience. What's keeping you from traveling into the zone of totality?
Travel Oregon has posted events occurring throughout the zone of totality, at the beach, in the Willamette Valley, and in Central and Eastern Oregon. While it is too late to book motel rooms, camping is still an option. Visit traveloregon.com for trip ideas and updates as more events are added.
Those traveling into the zone of totality are encouraged to prepare as you would for any natural disaster. Traffic will be heavy; fill your gas tank, pack food, water and supplies to last several days, charge your phone and let others know your original and backup plans of where you are going to watch the total eclipse. It is advised to carry cash, as internet connectivity may be an issue and merchants may not be able to process credit/debit cards. If you are camping know the fire danger is high, so plan to cook on a contained camp stove rather than over a campfire. Be patient and courteous so all can enjoy the adventure.
Adventures come in small sizes, too. Eating new foods can be an adventure. Remember the first time you ate oysters on the half shell? Or enjoyed a farm to table dinner in a pastoral setting? Those count as pleasant adventures that refresh your soul and put a smile on your face.
The staff of the Review and Tidings had a culinary adventure last week. Needing a little R&R from the grind of deadlines we organized a potluck luncheon. As luck would have it the day we selected the temperature was to reach 105 F. There was smoke in the air from Canadian forest fires, but we persevered anyway and held our picnic under the shelter at Rossman Park.
The first part of the adventure was presented by West Linn Tidings Editor Leslie Pugmire Hole: mayonnaise, peanut butter and lettuce sandwiches, a delicacy she had shared stories of from her youth. The combination doesn't sound very tasty, but I had to try it. It was more pleasing than expected.
Next was the pulled pork West Linn reporter Andrew Kilstrom prepared. It received high marks all around, and he shares his recipe with us today.
Do you need a push to add adventure to your life? Consider this your nudge. Whatever it is that is nagging at you to do — seeing the total eclipse, fly fishing, riding a zip line or eating a new food— say yes to adventure. Try it. You'll like it.
Leslie shares her recipe for a Minty Cucumber Salad that was a great accompaniment to Andrew's pulled pork. Try both this week.
Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!
Minty Cucumber Salad
This cool salad is good year-round but seems most appropriate during the summer.
Makes 8 servings
3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
Cut the cucumber halves crosswise into crescents. Toss them in a bowl with the mint, parsley and orange zest.
Whisk the oil, vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl and pour over the salad. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Toss again before serving very cold.
Recipe courtesy of Leslie Pugmire Hole, adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
Andrew's Pulled Pork Extraordinaire
Serves an army
3-4 pounds of pork shoulder,
1 large onion, chopped
16 ounces root beer
16 ounces or more barbecue sauce (Andrew uses Sweet Baby Ray's)
Andrew's instructions: I more or less eyeball it, but the ratio I always go with is one pork shoulder (usually about 3-4 pounds), one large onion, 16 ounces of root beer (or Coke if you prefer) and whatever barbecue sauce you prefer (my favorite is Sweet Baby Rays). Just double ingredients if you're cooking for more people like today.
Simply chop the onion and place in the bottom of the Crockpot and place the lightly seasoned pork on top. I typically use garlic powder, and dump in the root beer. It's best when you cook overnight (10 hours), but I've also cooked it on medium for about six hours and it was good. When it's done you just pull it apart with a fork and add in as much barbecue sauce as you like (16 ounces per shoulder is probably a good guess). We usually make cole slaw and serve on buns, but that's about it.
Recipe courtesy of Andrew Kilstrom