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…

Marseille Style Shrimp Stew

Marseille Style Shrimp Stew in a cast iron skillet served with toast

Seafood Summer
When the mercury starts to climb, my diet becomes sushi, ceviche, and shrimp cocktail heavy. Maybe it is because the high temps outside make a lighter meal sound more appealing. Or maybe it’s because I spend more time at the beach. And, you can’t not have seafood at the beach. But, during the summer months, I eat a lot of seafood.

I am especially fond of anything steamed or stewed in a light broth that requires some gorgeous crusty bread for dunking. Mussels, clams, shrimp…? Bring ‘em on. They are tasty. They are fast. And, any of the possibilities pair well with a salad and a cold glass of white or rose.

The added bonus? There is just something about a tasty bowl of mussels or shrimp that immediately transports you to a seaside village in the South of France. The smell of the salty air. The sound of the boats rocking on the water. Ahhhhhh!

Marseille Style Shrimp Stew
Adapted from Melissa Clark for Food and Wine
Yields 4 generous servings

In our recipe for Marseille Style Shrimp Stew, jumbo shrimp are stewed with savory fennel, cloves, tomatoes, orange zest, and wine. It is served with a rouille, or delightfully flavored mayonnaise, spread on a toasted baguette slice. Read more…

Homemade Merguez Sausage

Homemade Merguez Sausage on a board with grilled veggies

Fiery Fourth Of July
This Fourth of July weekend is a hot one, people. So hot, in fact, that the tradition of being outdoors and grilling might be in question. True, you could escape to the coast or up to the mountains but even then, you might want to limit the time you spend outside. This means having to watch over a larger piece of meat on the grill might not be ideal. I offer you a solution: sausages.

Sausages are the perfect pivot. They fulfill the traditional requirement. (Hot dogs ARE sausages after all.) Sausages are extremely portable and don’t really require any extra seasonings. Sausages can be eaten in a bun or not depending on preference. Sausages take almost no time to cook but the best reason to throw some sausages on the grill this 4th of July would be the amazing variety available.

4th of July purists would tell you to go with tried-and-true classics like beef franks, brats, or bockwurst. And, don’t forget about a lovely smoked kielbasa. I think you could never go wrong with a Polish sausage, a nice and spicy hot link, or some andouille for Cajun flare. Then there are your fancier flavors like spinach and artichoke or chicken and basil. Variety is the spice of life. Go crazy…

For those who really want to shake things up, I offer you this suggestion, Homemade Merguez Sausage. Merguez is a North African staple made of ground lamb and a mix of fragrant North African spices. Merguez is the sausage of choice when grilling in France, so it is definitely not your typical 4th of July offering but the flavor is worth going rogue—especially with a dollop of fresh harissa for some fireworks.

Merguez sausage can be found at our store. But, it is so easy to make that it is worth the minimal time to make your own.

Our recipe for Kitty’s Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Salted Lemon Relish would work as a side for these as well.

Homemade Merguez Sausage Recipe
Adapted from NY Times Cooking
Yields about 1 pound of sausage Read more…

Nectarine Tart with Frangipane

Placing the fruit in a Nectarine Tart with Frangipane

Almond Joy
My great-grandmother was a big fan of marzipan. And, as a kid, I struggled to understand why. I do not like the consistency of marzipan nor the flavor even though I can appreciate the artistry of the master confectioners who use all sorts of colors and shapes to make beautiful pieces. Marzipan candy can be absolutely stunning to look at, but you will never see me eating it.

The funny thing is I love frangipane which has the same basic flavor profile as marzipan. It is also made with almonds, though frangipane has a more delicate flavor. The two are wildly different—but it still makes no sense. You would think if you liked one you would like the other, right? That would be a no for me. Who knows? Maybe I was just mentally scared by the abundance of marzipan available around Christmas and the decided lack of chocolate…

Frangipane can be used in so many ways. A personal favorite is to use it in fruit tarts, especially during the summer months when the fruit is at its peak. (Though I would never refuse an almond croissant. Hint Hint.)

You could use any fruit you like—but the almond flavor of frangipane is a natural complement to any stone fruit, especially cherries, apricots, and nectarines.

This Nectarine Tart with Frangipane is my adapted version of a recipe from David Lebovitz of Chez Panisse fame. The tart shell recipe he uses is unconventional but worth a try if only for that reason…the results are superb.

Nectarine Tart with Frangipane Recipe
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Yields 8 servings Read more…