An Impromptu Picnic: Salmon & Quinoa Salad and Meringues With Creme Fraiche & Berries
It’s been a game of hide and seek in our household for the past month or so. My better half has been playing music jobs left and right, on top of his day job. I, on the other hand, have been buried in the studio either shooting and editing until early evening, hoping for an evening when we can just chill. There have been a lot of "just changing clothes and heading out! I love you!" and "I won’t be home for dinner" exchanged.
It’s ok. After so many years, we are used to the fact that some months his schedule makes him a passing ghost and some other months, well, it’s my turn to hop from plane to plane for work or workshops. On a side note, for an updated workshop schedule, click here. It’s a rythm we understand and adapt to happily. His passion for playing music brings him so much that I would be the last one to complain. Same goes the other way. He knows how much I love to travel and share my passion about photography with others and help them as much as I can, and lets me be where I need to be. A happy mate is a happy house…
Well, even with our motto of "doing things independently together", there are those moments when the in passing "love you" needs to turn into a long hug, a conversation. A sit down and a cup of coffee. A date night. Whatever it is that makes it worth it. There are so many nights with a single plate on the table, so many girls night out or in, so many chick flick marathons that one can take before the string starts wearing thin. My best way to fix that is to pack some food, a blanket, our kite and our fishing rods and head to the beach. A picnic. A moment that we create.
I started planning some of our favorites to take along. A Salmon & Quinoa Salad, a big bottle of lemonade, and to finish a cross between a Pavlova and Eton Mess. A Meringue with Creme Fraiche and Berries. Something healthy and light and something completely decadent but just as light to the palate.
I was about to put all our victuals in the car when the sky became black and thunder rolled up its big drums. Within minutes, it started pouring. So much for a picnic at the beach. Well…c’est dommage (too bad) but I was not going to let this one day off together slip away. I pushed the furniture in the living room, spread our picnic blanket on the rug and laid out our meal.
We sat there, with the pups sleeping soundly, listening to the sound of the rain and feeling grateful for this one little moment alone. And…grateful to be only steps away from the kitchen to go for seconds…!
And on a final side note: if you are in Charleston or plan to visit soon, the opening reception of my gallery show at Heirloom Book Company will take place Friday March 2nd from 5.30-m til 8pm. The exhibit will run from now through the end of the Spoleto Festival.
Salmon and Quinoa Salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 sprig oregano
1 garlic clove, smashed
One 6 oz salmon fillet
1 to 2 cups arugula leaves
1/2 cup edamame
6 to 8 medium radishes
olive oil and vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and oregano. Ad a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa is translucid and soft. Remove the oregano and garlic. Let cool.
In a sautee pan heated over medium high heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil and cook the salmon for about 3 minutes on each side (longer if the fillet is thick). Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Assemble the salad by dividing the quinoa arugula, edamame, radishes, and salmon among plates (or cups that you can place a lid on if traveling). Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar to taste.
Meringue With Creme Fraiche and Berries:
Note: Start this dessert the day before you serve it. The meringue needs to sit in the oven overnight (off) and the homemade creme fraiche requires you start it the day before you assemble the dessert. It is so easy, I wonder why I don’t make it more often..oh yeah… not as calorie free as it tastes! You can purchase your own creme fraiche if you wish.
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon buttermilk
Place the heavy cream in a non reactive bowl. Stir in the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the countertop overnight. The next day, refrigerate until ready to use.
2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites to a thick foam at medium speed for about 3-4 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and form circles of meringue with about 1/4 cup of the batter for each. You can make them as thin or fluffly as you wish, smaller or larger. Mine were about 3 inches round.
Place in the oven, turn the oven off and leave them overnight.
For the berries:
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 tablespoon honey
juice of one lemon
Mix carefully all the berries together with the honey and lemon juice. Reserve until ready to use.
Place a meringue round on a plate. Whip the cream fraiche for a minute to fluff it up and spoon some on the meringue. Top with the berries and drizzle with some of the juice they gave out while sitting.
You can also, layer the meringue, creme fraiche and berries in glasses and pack them up in your picnic basket.