How to picnic like it’s your wedding day.

How to picnic like it’s your wedding day.

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

Ingredients

  • 8 cups caselvetrano olives
  • 4 cups olive oil
  • 4 oranges
  • 4 six-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tsp chile flakes
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 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
Read the whole recipe on I made that!