The Long Walk

… I see an unexpected benefit of thru-hiking. It is an escape from me. It is a forced simplification of my life; being on the trail limits the opportunities for me to pull myself in multiple directions.” David “AWOL” Miller

Random notes about The Long Walk that starts at Katahdin in Maine and ends at my lovely home in Landaff, NH and is a section of the south bound Appalachian Trail (AT SOBO) thru hike. Should this walk become a reality it will be around 370 miles long and take about 40 days.

I have many doubts about whether The Long Walk will actually happen. There are my own personal doubts: can I really walk all day in the rain and mud then wake up to do the same the next day? And the next? Can I tolerate sleeping in areas with groups of people, some smoking, some listening to music, some talking very loudly or partying into the night; areas overrun by mice and other vermin? Can I tolerate stealth camping – sleeping utterly alone in the woods? I tried this once and learned how primal we humans are when it comes to feeling safe after dark – I was irrationally terrified my first night and didn’t sleep; the second too tired to not sleep but it was a restless night. Do I really want to sleep on the ground when comfort and luxury at home is so much easier? Then there’s my husband who continues to have one serious accident after another with major health problems as well. His lizard brain will surely do what it can to keep me off the trail (but he is a nice guy).

I spend my downtime reading blogs and other online information about walking in the woods over a long period of time. Maybe The Long Walk is really just an escape; a fantasy.

Yesterday, May 17, The Long Walk became a tiny bit closer to reality because I made and paid for a reservation at the Katahdin Stream campground in Baxter State Park. I will reserve 2 nights at the AT Lodge in Millinocket. These guys provide an amazing service as they shuttle hikers to the lodge from the Medway, ME bus terminal and provide the shuttle to the Katahdin Stream campground, the start of the SOBO adventure for many, all for a very reasonable price – breakfast included. It’s my understanding that advice and wisdom from Ole Man and NaviGator, the owners, is free.

This indulgence at the AT Lodge Cafe is more appropriate for NOBO hikers who have finished the entire AT from Georgia and have likely lost way too much weight:

Ice Cream Sundae at AT Lodge

Posted in Other Adventures

Italian Baked Cannelini Beans

I was looking for a recipe to try baking in my Ooni Koda and this was a success:


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Crushed red pepper flakes optional
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cup shredded Fontina cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes, basil and rosemary. Bring to boiling; boil gently, uncovered, 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Stir in beans and half the Parmesan. Season to taste with crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper.

Top with remaining Parmesan and the Fontina. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is lightly brown.

Notes: the Ooni is hotter at the back than front so baking is uneven. Rotating the pan fully is not possible due to the handle. Try doubling the recipe.


Posted in Beth's Recipes

La Pizza Napoletana

This video shows why Napolitana pizza is eaten with a fork and knife:

What happens when you pick up a genuine Neopolitan Pizza slice

Neapolitan dough has no sugar and no oil – they burn at high temps – only flour, water, salt and yeast.

First Pizze:

200 gr acqua
10 gr sale (2.5 tsp)
0.6 gr di lievito
340 gr farina: Caputo 00 Pizzeria

for 2 pizzas, 58% hydration

Put salt into the water and mix. Mix 30% flour into water. Crumbled yeast into the remaining flour and mixed well. Added remaining flour to the dough mixture. Kneaded the dough ball using the Richard Bertinet slap and fold method (the dough was more dense, less water, so it was more stretch and fold). Covered the bowl with plastic and rested for 4.5 hours @ about 68 degrees (house temp). Placed dough on floured surface and divided into two (should have formed large ball first ??). Formed into small balls tucking the edges underneath the ball while ball is between both hands. Pinch the seam on the bottom. Set balls in floured container and allow to rise for ??? hours.

Place dough on floured surface and press from near the center to the edges pushing the air and bubble to the rim leaving the center alone. The center should be 1/2 cm max thickness, the edge 1-2cm. See the video by Enzo Coccia to stretch the dough.

RESULT: this dough was overproofed and broke with holes at stretching. tossed one out.

Seconde Pizze:

method: water then disolve yeast into water, then 50% flour, mix by hand, then salt, then remainder of flour. knead. 5-6 hours rise in bowl. small balls for 18-19 hour rise.

Posted in Beth's Recipes

New York Style Pizza

This is the Tom Lemann recipe (or close to it) for lower temp NY style pizza. The malt in the AT flour burns at very high temperatures.

April 30th: Learning is coming in small increments. NY style pizza is not the very high temp I thought but rather about 600F. Neapolitan pizza requires the high temp ovens of about 850F.

The Dough for one 12″ pizza:

revisit based on (notes to adjust/correct amounts)
170 grams flour (All Trumps flour, unfortunate name)
105 grams water @ 70F
3.5 grams oil (3/4 tsp?) (Typical oil values are 1-3% of the weight of the formula flour)
3.5 grams salt (0.63 tsp?) (typical range for the NY style is 1.5-1.75% of the weight of the formula flour).
.68 grams instant yeast (about 1/4 tsp) (typical amount of IDY might be 0.25% of the weight of the formula flour)

Thickness Factor: a typical NY street style has a thickness factor of around 0.10-0.105. For the elite style, it is around 0.075-0.09. These are just guides. A “cross” between the two thickness factors might be 0.085. weight/surface area; ounce/in^2. If you know the TF and the size of the pie you want, you can calculate the weight of dough you need.

Add the yeast to the flour. Put water in mixing bowl, add salt, add flour/yeast. Mix just until you don’t see any dry flour in the bowl, then add the oil and continue mixing just until you get a smooth dough appearance TRY: mix flour and other ingredients together with the water for two minutes before adding the oil to allow for complete hydration of the flour before the oil is introduced, resulting in improved dough consistency and uniformity (lehmann 2012 post).

Divide into desired weight pieces, round into balls if making more than one pizza. Oil the dough balls, place into individual plastic bread type bags. Twist the open end of the bag to form a pony tail and tuck it under the dough ball as you place it in the fridge. Allow to cold ferment for at least 24-hours, 48-hours is better.

This is a 62% moisture dough.

The Sauce:

This is a modified Chef John recipe.

3 tbsp olive oil
2 anchovy filets or paste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled “San Marzano” tomatoes
2-3 tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp sugar

Blend the tomatoes in a blender until just smooth.

In a pan heat the olive oil on medium/low and add the anchovies. When the anchovies start sizzling add chopped garlic until it just browns (or shorter time if you don’t like roasted garlic taste) then add the fresh chopped oregano and turn the heat to low. Add the red pepper flakes and dry oregano. Add the blended tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn heat up to medium and add salt, sugar, black pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

The Cheese:

4 ounces whole-milk, low-moisture mozzarella per pizza
Grated parmisiano for dusting

Top dough with sauce, dusting of parmisiano, and then the mozzarella.

Pizza: V2 All Trumps flour
Malted flour + 900F oven = fire! The dough ignited due to malt in the flour burning the crust (tasty nevertheless)

The Oven: V2 Pizza V1. Ooni Koda

The Oven: version 1

I built this pizza oven on the grill hoping for hotter temps on top of the pizza. The floor reached 600 degrees but the top only 350. Not even close to the 900 degrees needed for NY Pizza. The final pizzas, made with Adam Ragusea’s recipe, were tasty but not the leopard-spotted pizza of NY. I also prefer weight-based recipes.

Posted in Beth's Recipes

Cottage Pie (aka Shepherd’s Pie)

2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 3/4 pounds ground beef (cottage pie) or ground lamb (shepherd’s pie)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup mushrooms, coursely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Boil potatoes and garlic in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture and 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble the meat. Drain off excess fat. Add chopped carrot, onion, mushrooms and thyme to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.
5. Fill a 2 quart casserole dish with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. With a fork, spread potatoes to form the top layer. Top potatoes with paprika and remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden. Placed it under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese on top nice and crispy. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Posted in Beth's Recipes

Green Chile* Frittata

5 eggs
1/4 cup (try 3 tbs) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained
1/4 cup roasted bell peppers (jar)
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup onions
8 ounce cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/8 cup melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 7×10 inch baking dish.

2. Beat the eggs. In a bowl, mix the eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the green chile peppers, roasted peppers, sauted onions, sauted mushrooms, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, and melted butter. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F, and continue baking for 20 (?) minutes. Cool slightly, and cut into small squares.

*any combo of veggie and/or meat

Serve with salsa, avocado, sour cream and/or cottage cheese …


Posted in Beth's Recipes

Salmon With Anchovy-Garlic Butter


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 anchovy fillets, minced, or anchovy paste
1 large garlic clove, minced (or 2 small ones)
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
2 tablespoons drained capers
Olive Oil
½ lemon
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving


In a small bowl, mash together butter, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper.

In a small sauce pan melt the anchovy butter and cook until light brown in color. Add the capers.

In a large skillet add olive oil over high heat. Place salmon skin side down and press down with spatula to prevent curling while immediately turning heat to low. Cook entirely on the skin side, cook to 120F in the center using digital thermometer. Flip fish and briefly sear the non-skin side.

Place salmon on plates and spoon buttery pan sauce over the top. Squeeze the lemon half over the salmon and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve.

Posted in Beth's Recipes