“I’ll pack the lunch!” is how I usually respond when I get invited to go fishing. After all, I’m not skillful enough to hitch a drift boat to the truck, back down a boat ramp and row down the river, hitting all the perfect eddies and ripples along the way. Yet. I do enjoy fishing and I’ve recently learnt quite a lot about it on websites like fishingrefined.com, but I’ll leave it to the professionals for now and stick with making food.
And I love to pack up a fancy picnic in my summer lunchbox, a cooler/picnic basket given to me by my best fishing buddy, that is clearly designed for fishing with friends.
My girlfriends and I all seem to agree on the essential elements of a successful fishing day. There should be great snacking food, like rosemary sea salt flatbreads from Persephone Bakery to scoop up my sweet pea guacamole — the crunchy crackers and the bright green herbal dip are the yin and the yang of a healthy indulgence.
There should be a break for lunch — unless of course the fishing is on fire — so we can anchor the boat and take time over a nice meal, eaten with a plate and fork.
Sandwiches are surely the perfect portable fishing day meal —my grab-it-and-go lunch to stow in the back of my fishing vest while hiking up mountain streams. (Personal favorites: The Sherpa Wrap from Backcountry Provisions, the Caprese from The Bread Basket, and the BLAT from Pearl St. Market.)
If it’s a float day, though, I take the time to pull out my summer lunchbox and pack it with picnic provisions fit for a beautiful day.
Chicken leftover from the previous night’s kebabs gets tucked into whole-wheat pitas with mint and a drizzle of lemony yogurt sauce. Leftover brown rice gets tossed with grape tomatoes, slivers of basil, and tossed in a champagne vinaigrette. For an easy fruit salad, chunks of cantaloupe and fresh mint are packed up with a wedge of lime.
Almond flour chocolate chip cookies that have been stashed in the freezer are the perfect dessert, for who doesn’t love a cold chocolate chip cookie on a hot summer day?
After lunch, my girlfriends and I all agree: A nap is essential, just twenty minutes of dozing in the gently rocking boat, listening as the river laps the bank, feeling the sun warm your face.
My summer lunchbox holds lots of our favorite drinks: San Pellegrino in a can (Pompelmo my favorite), Arnold Palmers made at home (or picked up at Elevated Grounds) stored in an ice-cold Kleen Kanteen, and a lots of fresh water.
At the end of the day there is much to celebrate: The beauty of the fish and the river, the sweet, fleeting, mild summer weather, and the accomplishment of carving out an entire day to hang out with girlfriends.
My summer lunchbox is conveniently equipped with a corkscrew, stemless plastic wine glasses, and an insulated sleeve for tucking in a bottle of crisp white wine, such as the 2010 Chardonnay from Jackson Hole Winery, created and bottled right here in the Valley.
Oh, happy summer picnicking.
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe can be found at www.jacksonholefoodie.com.[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last][/twocol_one_last]
Brown Rice, Tomato and Basil Salad
Toss 2 cups leftover brown rice, 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, and a chiffonade of 6 basil leaves with champagne vinaigrette: ¼ cup champagne or rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.
Grilled Chicken Pita Sandwiches with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
Place leftover grilled chicken between whole wheat naan or pita bread, top with salad greens, fresh mint, chopped tomato, and cucumber. Drizzle with yogurt sauce: ½ cup plain yogurt, juice from half a lemon, 1 minced garlic clove, and a generous pinch of Kosher salt.