Yesterday Mother Nature smiled upon the Rocky Mountains, gifting us with a glorious June day. Because I was joining a colleague for my inaugural hike of the season, her sunshine was a joyful omen. As most of you recall – but, it bears repeating – I am a volunteer USFS Ranger. At a period in my Life when I can ‘ask not what my country can do for me but what I can do for my country,’ I’ve chosen to answer Smokey Bear’s call to service. It’s my career. I have a uniform!
Do you also recall that Lights on Bright No Brakes has become another career? I write about food and wine and Life. Admittedly, dual careers are a bit of a huff. A crazy juggling act. Hey, I’m into the “If not now, when” period of life. About that stack of books I intend to read during retirement? “Intend to” has become “NOW”. I’ve traded “Have to” for “Want to”. My past six decades of Goals, Bucket- and Must-do’s Lists have been replaced by “Do It” or “Forget It.” Because, damn it, my energy is no longer an endless commodity, I’ve learned to say, “No.”
When my husband died two years ago, my life, in many ways, became a blank slate. My task was to paint the canvas smiley-face or morose? Admittedly, the odds were not good. I was done. (Before we get too maudlin, please know this story ends well.) But after two years of trade-offs and compromises and detours and fails and disappointments and try-again’s, guess what’s happened? I’ve won. I’ve won big. When I look in the mirror, I see Joie de Vivre staring back.
Factored into this joy equation, of course, is food and French Fridays with Dorie. This week’s recipe choice is Salmon Rillettes, a delectable combo of smoked and fresh wild salmon. Serve it as a savory spread or, as I did, a very classy sandwich mixture. After assembling the additional ingredients – spices, lemon, onions and butter – poach the fresh salmon and mix everything together. It takes 15 minutes to make and a two-hour fridge visit. With an apple and carrots it made a healthy lunch for my premiere hike.
Now I may be the happiest food blogger on the Internet but admittedly, not the most talented. When I joined FFWD, I’d been on kitchen-hiatus for years. Rusty says it best. Having nothing to lose but my pride, I jumped into this French Fridays/blogging business, full on and feet first. That’s where these trade-offs, compromises, detours, fails and try-again’s played out.
This is what I learned. I cannot create recipes like Liz or Chris or Trevor or Andrea or Susan. I’ll never make biscotti like Kathy or pastry like Mardi and Cher. (I’ll go to my grave blaming the altitude for that.) My FFWD administrative partner, Betsy, is my trusty wiz kid of the keys. Honestly, I will never have the artistry and talent with food that most of my friends here and in Las Vegas possess. What I can do well is read a recipe and follow the rules. I’ve nailed Copycat. As you can see from this week’s photos, I glean tips and advice and ideas from my blogging colleagues. Thankfully and graciously, my friends and family have enthusiastically embraced this passion of mine if only to make me happy. Good Sports is an understatement.
While the nugget from this week’s Post is Never Give Up, you’ll find the recipe for the amazing Pipérade, last week’s FFWD choice, here. I served it both as a topping for Sea Bass and stand-alone relish. Here’s the recipe for Smitten Kitchen’s bundt. Try Dorie’s classic Banana Bundt, Susanized. Here and Here. Interested in scalloped potatoes in a crockpot? Here. Finally, to see what other Doristas created this week, try this link.