Guest post from Ashley Rodriguez, Not Without Salt
While each cooler in the collection has its purpose, I can’t help but play favorites. Most often I’m reaching for the Backpack Cooler. It’s perfect for a small picnic down on the beach, a few snacks for the baseball game, or a light meal while spending the afternoon foraging. The contents of the cooler vary from adventure to adventure, but there are definitely a few items most often repeated.
First of all: a cold bottle of rosé. It’s pink wine season, and a sunny day just doesn’t quite feel the same without a chilled glass for sipping. I start by packing the cooler with an ice pack on the bottom then tuck the wine and a bottle of water next to that.
Next I’ll tuck in a few snacks: a simple dip, cheese and meat, fresh fruit. Then I shimmy in a small cutting board for slicing the cheeses and meat or other simple food preparations. I rarely leave for an adventure without a field guide for local foraged goods because you just never know when you’ll need a quick identification. Finally a simple set up with a plate, glass jar for the wine, a fork and napkin. Into the side pockets I tuck in a knife or two for food prep and foraging assistance. I’ll also bring scissors, matches, and possibly a small journal and pen.
I love the ease of being able to carry my cooler right on my back so my hands and arms are free to explore and gather more ingredients along the way. For this outing, I made Smoked Trout Dip and Strawberries & Cream with Wild Flowers. Recipes below. Don’t forget to share with us where you take them.
Smoked Trout Dip
This is a delightfully simple dip that packs beautifully into a jar for a quick picnic lunch. Smoked trout is available at fine grocery stores or your local fish market.
1-1 ½ pound whole smoked trout
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely diced red onion
¼ cup roughly chopped dill
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Remove the bones and skin of the trout and gently flake the smoked flesh into a bowl. Add the sour cream, olive oil, onion, dill, lemon zest and juice then add a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the flavoring to your liking.
Serve with crisped bread or crackers. Also makes a great sandwich spread.
Strawberries and Cream with Wild Flowers
When the berries are at their peak there is really nothing that needs to be added in order to make them a more perfect dessert. But I’m never one to shy away from cream so here we have a simple twist on a classic pairing of strawberries and cream. In place of the honey, you could also try maple syrup or simple leave it off – the berries are plenty sweet.
4 ounces sliced strawberries
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons honey
A few assorted edible wild flowers (pansies, nasturtium, marigold, chamomile, fennel, etc.)
Add the cream to a glass jar. Add the strawberries then drizzle on the honey. Finish with the flowers. Pack in your cooler on ice.