Remember way back in February when I announced my official collaboration with Things I Made Today and Wisconsin From Scratch? We’re back with more developments. Developments that might even include you! We’ve been gradually working on this behind the scenes for over half a year now, and today we’re excited to make some major new announcements! Together the three of us have formed Whisk, a collaborative project for Wisconsin-based food bloggers and other media folks. We have a lot of long-term plans to grow this community, helping us support each other and build new skills and offering opportunities to partner with local producers and businesses.
For now? The most exciting part of this announcement is that we are accepting member blogs as of TODAY! If you’re interested, head over to our website, see what we’re offering, submit your info, and we’ll be in touch soon. Whether you send us your info or not, we’re also hosting our first meet-up on Thursday, September 3 from 5-7 p.m. (location tbd). Join us to chat with other local food bloggers and hear what Whisk is all about! (The sad news it that it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll actually be there, since that’s nearly two weeks after my due date … but Vicky and Sarah will host you excellently.) We’ll post more details on our website and on our respective social media sites as more details come together.
In celebration of this launch, we recently hosted a little picnic for ourselves featuring a collaborative summer menu perfect for all your remaining summer picnic plans (even our amazing intern Alice got in on the action – that’s her delicious kale salad with crispy chickpeas you see in some of the photos).
Want to picnic with Whisk? Here’s what you’re in for:
Fava bean falafel w. mint-yogurt sauce
Lebanese-style falafel, packed with chickpeas and fava beans, and paired with a cooling mint-yogurt sauce.
Cucumber mint agua fresca
A pitcher-worthy cooler packed with garden-fresh cucumber and mint.
See recipe below
Mini peach almond cakes
Handheld sweets packed with fresh peaches make sharing easy!
I chose to contribute a beverage for the event as somewhat of a challenge to myself, struggling to get excited about fun summery beverages that are non-alcoholic. As cucumbers flood into gardens and farmers’ markets this time of year, this is a perfect one to bring to your next picnic or party or to have stashed in a big jug in the fridge. (And if you wanted to add a splash of gin or vodka, heavens knows I wouldn’t stop you … I have it on good authority that it’s delicious.) Read more
Today it’s a little difficult to look at these photos I took last week, since on both Monday and Tuesday mornings this week we woke up to a layer of snow on the ground. On Tuesday, it didn’t even melt before the day was over. It was a harsh reminder of how unsure we should be about the season ahead of us. But we wait, patiently, knowing that nothing is certain, trying to keep the faith that days will come again when everything will look like this:
I realized recently that this move to Madison is really only the second time in my life that I’ve had a significant move. The first was moving to California for college. I’ve moved up and down to Oregon a few times, but always for a defined period of time, and even the first few times it was with someone who already knew the lay of the land. College was a pretty easy transition, complete with a summer camp-like few weeks of orientation and activities, but this is an entirely different beast. We have little idea of where even the simplest things are in town, and the list of administrative tasks to take care of (e.g. new driver’s licenses) is about a mile long. We sold or otherwise disposed of most of our household items when we left California last summer, meaning we’re starting almost from scratch in a lot of ways, and after five days of driving across the country we were left with mountains of boxes to unpack and an ever-changing collection of shopping lists and errands to run.
It’s been a little exhausting.
More than a little. Read more
We’ve camped a lot this year. A lot a lot. We realized, in fact, that we have probably spent more nights in our tent over this past year than in any other place. It’s been fantastic, in part because we’ve camped in some amazing, jaw-dropping places (like the Canadian Rockies, the Boundary Waters, and Yosemite), but also because we spent most of our years in Southern California wishing we had more time to head into the wilderness, pitch a tent, and spend days doing not much of anything but hiking.
So these days I have pretty good footing on matters of camp cooking. I get a lot of questions both on this site and from friends and family about how to plan for camp meals, and this page from last year has been by far my most popular this summer, so soon I’ll put together a new site feature all about planning camp meals and menus.
But first, I want to talk about trail cooking, an entirely different beast. Read more
One of the weirdest things about this crazy year we’ve had is that my concept of seasons and time is completely off. We spent most of what should have been winter in South America and Southeast Asia, where it was plenty sunny and warm, then most of what should have been late spring/early summer in wet, cold, waterlogged Central Europe (aside from our last few blisteringly hot days in Budapest). We’ve been moving so much that we’ve become a little untethered, and I regularly find myself blanking on what day it is, what month it is, and sometimes even what city or country I’m in at the moment (that last one is a little disarming).
But now we’re back in the United States, and back for good, and I’m finally feeling a little more grounded in time and space. Here in Portland it’s definitely summer, despite a bit of rain. The markets are full of berries and tomatoes, there’s plenty of light late into the evenings, and the stores are full of supplies for picnics and camping and outdoor adventures.
So the recipe I’m sharing here is perfect for summer, wherever you are – quick and easy to do with no heat, great for entertaining or bringing to parties or picnics, and light and refreshing for when things are a bit hot and steamy outside. Read more