I made that!

How to picnic like it’s your wedding day.

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Don't BUY it, MAKE it!, I Like Salt Too by brandi on November 20, 2012

So this year was a big one for me. The Pantry turned one, I finally went to Canada, and after dating for 6 years, me and John got married.

I know, I know: A) this post is over due (sorry, yet again!) and B) It’s frickin’ Thanksgiving, all you want to hear about is another variation on sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. But think of this as a holiday oasis post, a place you can come to forget about the will-it-EVER-stop rain (if you live in Seattle) and instead remember summertime, picnic blankets, sundresses and adorable foods on crackers.

It was a gorgeous August weekend in the Cascade Mountains, 80 degrees and sunny, with the crisp waters of Lake Wenatchee a five minute drive away. It was a weekend filled with friends, singing, dancing, and of course, whole lot of food.

I was never going to be a traditional bride — white ball gowns and pretty pictures of me gazing into the sunset are definitely not my thing. And I’ve got plenty of political ideas about marriage and taxes and civil rights that have kept me from taking the idea of a wedding seriously for most of my life. It really took a mental shift, reframing the idea of a wedding ceremony to get me on board. It doesn’t have to be about poofy dresses and until sickness and death parting us, or about weird beef dishes from the 60s and the electric slide. It can be about friends. And our rather tiny families. And celebration. And where there’s celebrating, there’s food. And board games. And lawn games. And a lemonade stand. And midnight re-enactments of frogger with hacky sacks. And karaoke with lots of dancing.

Since so many of our guests were coming from far away, we wanted the wedding to to take over a weekend, giving us as much quality time as possible — and, of course, providing us with plenty of opportunities for meals.

I like to dream big, and I’ve never met a culinary challenge that was too intimidating. So as you can imagine, the days leading up to the wedding were slightly insane. I am forever indebted to all my friends who spent many hours cooking, pickling, packaging, and labeling all the food that would become welcome snacks for our guests, breakfast baskets that got delivered to everyone’s cabins, and finally make it into the main event: a wedding picnic in the mountains.

We spent months scavenging for picnic baskets, vases and picture frames at the thrift stores, and then painted them all bright aqua blue. We filled them with all of our favorite things, and sewed napkins, streamers and pillows out of vintage fabric I found at my great-grandmother’s house in Alabama. Actually full credit for napkin sewing goes to Mariah, my close friend and inspiration for all things domestic, because she didn’t even blink when I dropped a box of vintage fabric on her porch before hopping on a plane back to Seattle. It was not a white wedding. It was bright. It was patterned. And nothing matched. It was perfect.

We had olives marinated with rosemary, orange and chile flakes, and herb roasted nuts.

A tuna salad with tarragon, fennel and celery leaves, concocted by my business partner Olaiya Land, that pretty much stole the show.

Some Olympic Provisions salami and our favorite cheeses: Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and Jasper Hill’s clothbound cheddar.

Pickled cucumbers with fennel fronds and some red pepper jelly that my family is still asking about.

Smokey baba ganoush, which I think is responsible for keeping me fed the entire weekend, and a white bean and kale salad dressed with a preserved lemon vinaigrette, recipe courtesy of our friends at Picnic.

And since I’m a pastry chef and John has an unrivaled sweet tooth, there was plenty of dessert: lemon pound cake and my most favorite banana bread ever, and rhubarb ginger jam made by Rebecca of Deluxe Foods. Three days before the ceremony I let go of the plan to make homemade nutella. It was the right decision.

I still think about that weekend. Having everyone with us, being able to feed them. Swimming in the lake, playing kickball in the sun, eating dinner under the stars – I can’t even imagine a different kind of wedding. Thank you to all of my friends, for being there and for being so awesome. And a special thank you to Gabe and Ashley Rodriguez, for taking such beautiful pictures that will make me remember that weekend in visual style.

Marinated Olives w/ Rosemary, Orange & Chile

8 cups caselvetrano olives

4 cups olive oil

4 oranges

4 six-inch sprigs rosemary

1 tsp chile flakes

8 garlic cloves

- Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from orange in long, wide strips. Smash garlic cloves with the edge of a chef’s knife.

- Place the olive oil in a small saucepan along with the orange zest, rosemary, pepper flakes and garlic. Warm over medium heat until fragrant but not boiling or simmering. Turn heat to medium-low and add olives. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Do not cook olives. Pour olives and oil into serving dish and accompany with crusty bread for dipping in the oil.

—————————

Roasted Mixed Nuts

8 oz pecans

8 oz cashews

8 oz almonds

6 oz hazelnuts

6 oz walnuts

1/4 cup chopped rosemary

1 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp dark brown sugar

4 tsp Maldon salt

1 oz butter, melted

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

-Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

-In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

-Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm.

—————————-

Tarragon Tuna Salad

15 oz good tuna in oil, w/oil (I like Tonno brand)

3 TBSP chopped tarragon

2 tsp chopped parsley

1/2 cup finely diced fennel

1 stalk celery, finely sliced

1/4 cup minced red onion

2 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 cup loosely packed celery leaves

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Pinch sugar, to taste

- Break the tuna into rough chunks.

- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the salt, pepper and sugar. Mix gently, to combine. Season with a generous amount of black pepper and a pinch of salt and sugar, if needed.

———————————

Red Pepper Jelly

1 1/2 lb red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 TBSP red-pepper flakes

1 tsp smoked paprika

3 TBSP Sure-Jell less- or no-sugar-needed pectin

3 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup white-wine vinegar

1 TBSP unsalted butter

3/4 tsp kosher salt

- Pulse bell peppers with red-pepper flakes and smoked paprika, if using, in a food processor until finely chopped. (Mixture will measure about 2 1/2 cups.)

- Whisk together pectin and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.

- Stir together pepper mixture, vinegar, butter, salt, and remaining 3 cups sugar in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot. Bring to a vigorous boil over high heat, then continue to boil vigorously, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Gradually add pectin mixture, whisking constantly. Return jelly to a vigorous boil, stirring constantly, and boil, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly). Remove from heat.

——————————–

Best Banana Bread Ever

1 lb peeled, very ripe bananas

9 1/2 oz sugar

1 vanilla bean

5 1/4 oz melted butter

2 eggs

7 1/2 oz AP flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 conv.). Butter loaf pans and line with parchment. Set aside.

- Rub the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar to make a vanilla sugar. Beat bananas and sugar well with paddle, then add the butter slowly.

- Add the eggs one at a time.

- Sift the dry ingredients and then add.

- Spoon into the prepared cake pans and bake until the cakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool before removing from the pan.

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21 Responses

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  1. Kasey F Hickey (@kfleisher) said, on November 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Brandi, your wedding sounds amazing! And you were a gorgeous bride- no fluffy white dress required! Thanks for sharing your day, and some delicious-sounding recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Sophie said, on November 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    This is the best post ever. So many beautiful dishes! And all so relaxed and sunny. Congratulations!

  3. Payal said, on November 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Can’t wait to try the banana bread! I have tried your nutella recipe and it makes some pretty damn good nutella! Thanks for all the homemade deliciousness.

  4. Payal said, on November 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    The banana bread recipe calls for pecans. What is the recommended amount for pecans?

    • brandi said, on November 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Hi! Sorry about that, I forgot to write all the adjustments that I made in the ingredients into the directions! The directions are accurate now. The original recipe called for pecans, but I like my banana bread completely unadulterated. :)

  5. Amy Hedman Turnbull said, on November 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I love this Brandy! I am saddened by the “fast food” weddings that are so common, yet I realize that is sometimes all people can afford. Its so refreshing to see your celebration. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your dream wedding and inspiring other couples as they plan! Also, I’m a little bit even more ecstatic as I was literally just searching for a roasted cashew recipe for the hubster’s idaho family….but decided to check my email and BAM…..your post and roasted nuts recipe! AND on top of that I’ve had dreams of a tuna salad sandwich I had at one of Olaiya’s class….and I’m pretty sure this is it! I’m in a food coma just thinking about the sandwich. :) And I love Olives & Banana bread. Its like an early Christmas stocking full of unexpected but perfectly needed surprises. This post speaks my love language :: weddings, events, pictures, and literally all recipes I adore to try. Thank you!

  6. Jodi Olson said, on November 21, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Dear Brandi, Thank you for sharing your special day pictures. A true inspiration for all of us trying to make our lives different and special. Congratulations! Jodi

  7. Rebecca Staffel said, on November 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

    So beautiful! So happy! So tasty! Thank you for sharing this with us! Best wishes for a thousand future happy picnics together! XOXO

  8. The Troika Table said, on November 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Congratulations! The food all sounds wonderful, and what a great celebration. I grew up in central WA and reading about your wedding brought back many happy memories.
    Tami

  9. Tomi said, on December 6, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Stumbled across your blog (okay, so I really stalked you from my son’s Instagram). This is absolutely the best looking/sounding wedding celebration. Ever. If I were in to Pinterest I’d pin everything. Instead I think I’ll try handing out some olives and freshly baked bread for the holidays. Thanks:)

  10. Kathryn said, on December 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I always love it when people have totally unique weddings that truly reflect who they are, rather than the cookie-cutter variety. My BF and I have been together (unmarried) for almost 17 years for some of the reasons you state in your blog – we might take the plunge someday, but I guarantee if we do, there will be no white dress, and definitely no 1960s beef! Congrats on your amazing weekend, and thank you for sharing it with us!

  11. hipfoodiemom said, on December 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    A wedding picnic in the mountains? Sounds and looks beautiful!!! :) And yea! the recipe for those amazing olives we devoured in our doughnut class! :) Thank you!!

  12. Chris said, on January 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Wonderful photos. Agree with the unadulterated comment but am applying it to Castelvetrano olives. Never was an olive lover until I tried these 7 years ago – instant convert to their crispiness, like the crunch of a good pickle. Are they really better with the added marinade?

    Looking forward to making the tuna salad.

    Best to you in 2013.

  13. Sara said, on January 5, 2013 at 10:50 am

    congratulations on your marriage, and what an elegant, yet simple (authentic) wedding you made!
    Also, has your site ever had a recipe archive? Thinking of you, and all the great things you have made and shared, thank you for all of this!

  14. Jen @ The Well Read Fish said, on January 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Incredibly lovely and personal! I just made reservations for Valentine’s day at Pantry. . .which led me to your blog here. Now I’m scouring all the back recipes. Holy moly! I cannot wait until 2/14!!!

  15. bluejeangourmetshta said, on February 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    so very happy for you–thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding! love all of the thoughtful details–it’s clear from the photographs that the day was authentic to the two of you and a damn fine celebration :)

  16. Steph said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I know this is late coming to your blog (I found my way here via notwithoutsalt.com posting your cupcake recipe) … but I have to say, that if I could go back and do my wedding over again, I’d do it nearly this way. I know I’m not a traditional bride, but fought so hard to force myself into that mold. We did let go of some of the traditional fru-fru, but not enough, and we both were pooped and kinda miserable about the whole thing… but in the end, all that matters is we are married and I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend! That’s a very happy thing. (5 years in June!)

    Congrats on the nuptials and I know you will have many years of amazing happiness!

  17. Chris said, on February 24, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I’ve made that tuna countless times since discovering the recipe – it is so good with Stacy’s naked pita chips. Cannot locate the brand of tuna cited, but first made it with tuna in olive oil we brought home from Rome – relatives gave it to us. Is Tonno available at Whole Foods or ? Thanks.

  18. Dorie {Brooklyn Salt} said, on March 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    It’s my first time visiting I Made That! and I’m already hooked. I am an olive lover and can’t wait to marinate my own with your recipe. Be back soon!

  19. Amber said, on September 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    The banana bread is so good! Does it freeze well or do you have any tips on the best way to store?

  20. Claire @ The Black Cat Kitchen said, on December 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

    What a beautiful day! Looks like the perfect wedding to me. Love that you got everyone involved and got to actually cook for your guests yourself! Would love to do something like this myself but then picnics in the UK don’t tend to be the most predictable!!


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