Life on the creative side

Archive for September, 2012

Take It Outside: outdoors dining

food, toasting to dinning outside

On these lovely last days of summer, one of my favorite activities is outdoors dining.

great food and wine and outdoors dining

The season brings an abundance of fresh produce, inspiring causal alfresco meals.  During a visit to the beach an Italian friend  introduced us to dolce vita, preparing an easy delicious meal that our families took together under the seaside arbor. While Roberto didn’t measure ingredients, I have roughly estimated quantities so I can share this wonderful dish with you and your family, but by all means take liberty with the recipe to suit your tastes.  This has become a family favorite, it’s so simple and so good-especially with tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden.

Roberto’s Spaghetti:

roberto Spaghetti Food

½ box Spaghetti cooked al dente
While spaghetti is cooking mix the following together in a large shallow bowl
1 ½ cups Fresh mozzarella cheese (I prefer water packed if available) chopped into 1 inch cubes.
4 large tomatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
½ – ¾    cup olive oil
2 teaspoon Salt or to taste
Fresh basil torn or cut into rustic pieces

Strain spaghetti and mix into tomato mozzarella mixture serve immediately with hearty rustic bread, some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese for dipping. Throw together a simple spinach salad, great for outdoors dining.

Food, Roberto spaghetti perfect for outdoors dining

My brother and sister-in-law are pros at embracing dolce vita. They have created an amazing shelter, tucked into the trees at the edge of their yard, for gatherings that always seem to involve delicious food. A favorite shelter activity is grilling personal pizzas.

Super Easy Grilled Pizza:

pizza on the grill for outdoors dining

Pre-made Naan bread lightly coated with olive oil and grill until lightly browned (homemade or purchased pizza dough can also be used)

Toppings of your choice.  Pre-cut, sliced or shredded tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pineapples, pepperoni, ham, beef, sauce, cheeses…

Let your guest top the grilled naan bread buffet style,  then place the pizza back on the grill to heat, blend the flavors and melt the cheese. So easy and soooo yummy!

food outdoors grilling pizza

So before summer fades, gather up some loved ones, grab some great food and take it outside for some outdoors dining!

Up North Maine

mount kineo moosehead lake maine

mount kineo moosehead lake maine

If you ever thought about visiting Up North Maine I have a special place to tell you about.  A scenic two and a half hour drive north of Bangor, on a small but dramatic island on Moosehead Lake, there is an old Arts and Craft style lodge sitting in the shadow of the impressive rock face of  Mount Kineo. The historic Oak Lodge is owned and operated by some good friends of ours whose welcoming and laid-back style has cultivated a loyal clientele.  Many of their seasonal bookings are returning guests who come to enjoy the company of the proprietors as much as the golf course,  hiking and nature viewing. Having known the Musser family for many years we can certainly understand why.

moose on a maine road


dock at the oak lodge

flowers of the oak lodge

Our last visit happened to be over the 4th of July, so we got to participate in the annual golf cart parade and island lobster boil and picnic.

kineo Island golf cart 4th of july parade

4th of July parade pup participant

4th of july picnic


We had a great time visiting, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and fishing.

hiking in maine

high hike in maine

repelling mount kineo

canoeing moosehead lake

So if you ever have the opportunity, take a trip up north to Maine, Moosehead Lake and the historic Oak Lodge. fishing in maine

the oak lodge maine

The Oak Lodge, Kineo Island, Moosehead Lake, Maine

historic marker oak lodge