Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes with toasted baguette

Gone Fishin’
We’re going camping with friends this weekend which means I am knee-deep in planning. The packing is the easy part because most of what we need lives in our little teardrop. The bulk of the planning energy is focused on the food.

You don’t have to be a foodie to struggle with what to bring to feed yourself when off the grid. It takes quite a bit of thought as to what will hold up over a number of days—regardless of how good your cooler is and how much ice you have. Some things are just not camping-appropriate. And, giving your family food poisoning is not my idea of a good time. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my bougie favorites for camping.

For example, Happy Hour with adult beverages and snacks is non-negotiable. When five o’clock rolls around and we are back at the campsite relaxing in our chairs after a day of hiking, I want a legitimate reward for my hard work. I have nothing against Wheat Thins. In fact, I love Wheat Thins. But, after a day of toiling up a mountain in the sun, I’m looking for something more. A lovely dip. Some nice cheese. A crisp glass of white wine….

One of my favorite options for camping is this Salmon Rillette recipe. It’s great for camping because the process you use to make it is similar to making a confit, which historically has been used for preserving food without refrigeration. Granted, you will need to keep this cold but if you pack the container low in the cooler with the ice you should be just fine.

Salmon Rillettes Recipe
Adapted from Food and Wine
Yields 2 Cups Read more…

Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit and Onions

A plate of Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit

Stone Cold Abundance
I tend to go a little overboard at the changing of the food seasons. I will buy more corn than I need out of excitement for the fact that the good local stuff is back. And, nine times out of ten, I end up freezing some because I can’t get to it all.

I do the same thing with stone fruits. I will taste a peach or a plum and be so blown away by its sweetness that I must, must, I tell you, have an entire bushel to take home with me believing unquestionably that I will actually eat all of them. News flash: That rarely happens. Inevitably I will have to find a different way of consuming my bounty. Sometimes I turn the fruits into jam. Sometimes I can the vegetables. More often than not, I will throw them in the freezer for later use.

That isn’t to say I don’t come across new and interesting ways of using my largess. Many stone fruits pair well with chicken or pork—especially when grilled. My most recent find, however, uses my favorite method for mid-week dining, the sheet pan.

This recipe for Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit and Onions comes from NY Times Cooking but I have adapted it more to my taste. It’s easy and goes great with some creamy polenta. Feel free to use something other than plums like peaches, apricots, or nectarines.

Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit and Onions Recipe
Adapted from NY Times Cooking
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Cherry Barbecue Sauce

Cherry Barbecue Sauce in a heart-shaped bowl with ribs on brown paper

Rack Em Up
It is officially barbecue season. This means it’s time to talk all things smokey and saucy. I have been in smoker mode lately—mostly because I am still trying to get the hang of my electric smoker.

Don’t come at me for the electric smoker. Yes, real BBQ masters always go with live fire and wood. Truth be told, I like smoked meats, but I wouldn’t say it’s a passion. I’m not getting up at 3 AM to fire up the wood smoker. I’ll leave that to the folks who know what they are doing and enjoy that process. I am happy to hand my money over to them for some juicy brisket anytime.

With the electric smoker, I can smoke some ribs or chicken relatively quickly when I have a hankering. I’ve even smoked some chicken on a Wednesday night after work…and it was glorious. Best part is, when I’m not using it, the smoker is stored out of the way ready to pull out for the next use. Win-win.

Why am I bringing this up you might ask? Because while the smoked meats are the main attraction, I want to talk about the sauce…

I have never met a rib I didn’t like. I like baby backs. I like spareribs. Whatever rack you have cooking I will eat. I will say though that I am a sauce-after-cooking kind of gal. Meaning, I like to put a dry rub on a rack of ribs, cook ‘em, slice them up, and let the person eating the ribs slather on their sauce of choice. That doesn’t mean I won’t eat them the other way. It’s just a preference that does necessitate having a good sauce.

My hands-down favorite sauce for ribs is this one for Cherry Cola Ribs  Cherry and pork go very well together be it ribs or a roasted pork loin. Now that it is BBQ season and fresh cherries are in the market, I’ve been thinking about using fresh cherries in a BBQ sauce. I found this one which uses balsamic vinegar for a little bit of pucker and sweetness.

Cherry Barbecue Sauce Recipe
Adapted from The Recipe Rebel
Yields about 30 servings

This recipe makes quite a bit, but the good news is you can throw this Cherry Barbecue Sauce in the freezer and enjoy the taste of cherries long after the season is over. And, if you want to make it out-of-season, you can always use high-quality frozen cherries. Read more…

Stone Fruit Summer Salad

A photo of a bowl of Stone Fruit Summer Salad

Senior Salad
My daughter is graduating from high school this week. It goes without saying, that a lot is happening in our household. There have been awards dinners, championship softball games, the final this, and the final that. All of which leads up to the grand finale of the Graduation Ceremony.

The whirlwind doesn’t end there though. What comes next is a weekend of party hopping from house to house to celebrate not only your kid but all of the others who spent hours in your living room and backyard and who are for all intents and privileges, your family too.

So, when asked to bring something to said soirees, I immediately thought of this Stone Fruit Summer Salad that we talked about before. Stone fruits are just now coming into the market and are the perfect way to celebrate the season and your graduates.

Feel free to mix it up with the fruit you choose. The cherries are good right now and add a nice pop of color alongside some sweet fleshy apricots or peaches.

If I am making this for just my family, I will add some toasted pecans, or hazelnuts, or whatever you prefer for some crunch. (I leave them out for big gatherings to avoid problems with nut allergies.)

And even if you aren’t celebrating a graduate, this salad makes for a lovely warm summer evening meal.

Stone Fruit Summer Salad
Adapted from Joanne Weir’s More Cooking in Wine Country
Yields 6 servings Read more…