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An Impromptu Picnic: Salmon & Quinoa Salad and Meringues With Creme Fraiche & Berries

Salmon Quinoa Salad

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.

Salmon Quinoa Salad

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.

Meringue, Creme Fraiche & Berries

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.

Meringue, Creme Fraiche & Berries

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 Quinoa Salad

Salmon and Quinoa Salad:

Serves 2

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:

Serves 6

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.

Creme fraiche:
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.

To assemble:
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.

Rosemary Roasted Radishes & Turkey Brie Panini

Roasted Radishes

Little announcement…The giveaway winners are: ReL from The Dedicated Flash and Elissons from Sugar Symphony (all the way in Latvia!) who won a copy of Plate To Pixel. Congratulations also to Colorado76Gal from Baking Doux who won the set of 4 plates by Asya at Email me with your mailing addresses at mytartelette at gmail dot com. Thanks!
What a discombobulated week this has been! Life at its finest. It pushed and it pulled. And challenged. It gave and took away. The joys of many followed by the sorrow of others. Chances are that yourself can apply any one of these circumstances to your week I am sure. It happens everyday and we are left to keep going.

Moments like this, all out of sorts, caught between joy and pain, make me want to celebrate the simple things. Friendships, love, crushes, food, images,… Things I can count in my life as well as those I am working towards. People without a home or a loved one this week have little use for the romantic idea of the "unknown". I sympathize with that.


I have the greatest partner, a wonderful relationship with my in-laws, parents I adore, and the unconditional love of two crazy dogs . I have friends who keep me straight and make me laugh. I take timeouts just so that I can be there for whatever they need of me in return for all the wonderful days and warm fuzzies they give me.

Then there is work. Things tangible and things in project. Whatever we need to do to keep a roof over our heads. These are the only truths I know and the the ones I can have an impact on by keeping at it well and diligently.

Easter Egg Radishes

One thing I do, even more than usual, is to keep things as simple and clear as possible. Starting with the food. We had friends over for dinner just about everyday this week. Every one wanted to help me celebrate the release of the book and raise a glass of Champagne. Or two. It was kind of surreal. Still…

You guys sure knows how to make a girl blush. Everytime I’d see on Twitter or Facebook a picture of the book barely out of the box, my heart went pitter patter. I love that you are grasping the sheer amount of work that went into it and information I included. My friend Ez at Creature Comforts summed up the core of the book in this very touching post.

Easter Egg Radishes

I wanted to give you as many tools as possible to get the shot that makes you giddy, getting things right before you pressed the shutter button so you’d spend less time "fixing" in post processing and more time playing with your camera or with your loved ones. Or time in the kitchen fixing great foods to shoot…!

Sneaky segue to announce the winners of this week’s giveaway…ah!
Well..Tada! Congratulations to ReL from The Dedicated Flash and Elissons from Sugar Symphony (all the way in Latvia!) who won a copy of Plate To Pixel. Congratulations also to Colorado76Gal from Baking Doux who won the set of 4 plates by Asya at Email me with your mailing addresses at mytartelette at gmail dot com. Thanks!

Brie, Turkey And Spinach Panini

Out of all the great dishes we shared with friends this week, I made Roasted Radishes and Turkey and Brie panini more than once. I picked up these colorful Easter Egg radishes (yep, not making this up) at the farmers market and after roasting them with rosemary, olive oil and salt, I was glad I had picked up more than one bunch.

We usually eat radishes as I did growing, with some butter and sea salt. But, the simple act of roasting releases the natural sugar of the radishes, changing their spicy and peppery nature to pure savory like candy.

Watermelon Radishes

We had them as a side dish, snack and mixed with local goat cheese for vegetarian ravioli (using this dough). Can’t get enough. This week however I picked some watermelon radishes (pictured right above) for a change. These are so peppery, they will be wonderful thinly sliced in veggie sandwiches such as this one.

Talking about sandwiches…I was shooting a feature on paninis so it wasn’t too difficult throwing an extra one on the press at the end of the day. And when it involves thinly sliced roasted turkey, fresh arugula and melting Brie…it’s hard to say no. We did not. No regrets there. Even done in a pan grilled-cheese style. Oh yes!

I hope you’ll give both these ideas a try. Would love to hear what’s on your menu this weekend!

Roasted Radishes

Roasted Radishes:
1 bunch radishes
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 -2 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400F – 425F.
Wash and pat dry the radishes to remove fuzzy hairs and dirt.
Place the radishes in a 8×8-inch roasting pan (or other you prefer), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until they start getting golden on the edges. About 20-25 minutes. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

Turkey and Brie Panini (adapted and with permission of Carrie Vitt in Deliciously Organic, IFP, 2010)

Serves 4

8 slices whole grain bread (regular or gluten free)
softened unsalted butter for spreading
1/4 cup raspberry jam (I used homemade strawberry jam)
8 oz thinly sliced turkey
1 cup arugula
6 oz Brie, sliced thin

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Spread a thin layer of jam on the unbuttered side. Top with some turkey (about 2 oz), a few leaves of arugula and a couple slices of Brie. Top with another slice of bread, unbuttered side toward the filling.
Heat in a panini press, pan or skillet until both sides are golden brown and he cheese has melted inside.