travel, a reading list, and a smoked salmon appetizer

Here we are in the first week of June, and already I’m overwhelmed with all the activities that this month holds. Overwhelmed in a good way, mostly, since most of the items on my agenda include a fair amount of fun. So, what’s up first?

The Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago, also known as "The Bean"

The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago


I’m headed to Chicago for a meeting, but trust me, it’s not going to be all work and no play. The weekend gets kicked off with dinner at Chef Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Topolobampo. I’ve had a craving for his mole sauce ever since watching him prepare it on Top Chef Masters. I’m also spending some time with my sister – something I only get to do once a year or so.

While I’m away, I thought I’d leave you some suggestions of food blogs you ought to be reading. My Google Reader is filled with inspiring sites, but I’m only going to suggest three for you. That should keep you busy over the weekend.

  • Kitchen-Confidante – A beautiful site, recently renamed, written and designed by Liren, a California mother of two. Her food is simple yet elegant, and her photographs reflect that. Plus, she’s a Ridge wine fan, proving she has excellent taste.
  • A Sweet Spoonful – I’ve recently discovered Megan’s site, and I’m hooked. It’s just a beautiful place to spend some time, and her writing just draws me in.
  • In Jennie’s Kitchen – Jennie is a New York writer and mother of two little girls. I can completely relate to her struggles to find that work-life balance that really becomes an issue after having children. Her posts are inspiring, and you’ll want to make homemade pasta after reading them.

But, before you head away to those three blogs to start your reading – and then cooking and baking — make a snack to take with you. This smoked salmon appetizer is incredibly easy to throw together at a moment’s notice, and the contrasting textures of the kettle-cooked chip and silky smoked salmon are a delight.

This appetizer is a fabulous reason to buy potato chips.

Yield: 4 servings.

Smoked Salmon on Chips with Lemon Crème Frâiche


1/4 cup crème frâiche
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
16 large black pepper or salt-and-pepper kettle-cooked potato chips
1 4-ounce package of thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 16 pieces
Chopped fresh chives


Stir crème frâiche and lemon peel in small bowl. Arrange potato chips on plate. Divide salmon among chips. Spoon rounded 1/2 teaspoon lemon crème frâiche atop salmon on each chip and sprinkle with chives.

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10 Responses to “travel, a reading list, and a smoked salmon appetizer”

  1. 1
    Jason Phelps — June 3, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    I’m new to smoked salmon for at least consuming it. I’ve know of it for some time but I just couldn’t get over the fact that many selections just don’t look cooked. I tried some in Seattle last week and found it to be much more like cooked salmon in appearance and with a nice smokiness that made me sure it wasn’t raw. What should I be expecting when I go looking for this treat? What other ways might I use it?

    Enjoy your trip!


    • 1.1
      merrygourmet — June 3, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

      Jason – I found my smoked salmon in the grocery, near the seafood section. It’s prepackaged in little 4 ounce flat packages, ready to be sliced. You could use it as a pizza topping, pair it with eggs, pair it with goat cheese…the possibilities are endless!

  2. 2
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — June 3, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

    Love Megan and Jennie’s sites too – now will add the third to my Reader too!!! Bon voyage!

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  4. 3
    Jennie — June 3, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

    Merry Jennifer—thanks for keeping me in such good company, and your support constantly adds a ray of sunshine to my day. I can’t wait to finally meet you this October. Have a great time in Chicago!

  5. 4
    Liren — June 4, 2010 @ 1:18 am

    Merry Jennifer, you are the sweetest! I am so honored to be placed in wonderful company, and I am grateful that you have introduced me to wonderful reads to add to my reader! Have a safe and fun trip to Chicago – this is a beautiful time of year to visit. I have such a soft spot for that fantastic city.

    Oh, and smoked salmon + chips? Genius.

  6. 5
    Magic of Spice — June 4, 2010 @ 1:55 am

    This is a wonderful appetizer/snack 🙂 Love, love smoked salmon (actually all salmon) and this is a delightful treat:)

  7. 6
    s. stockwell — June 4, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    Great post! We loved Chicago on our last visit. Great architecture and style everywhere. Thanks and best from Santa Barbara. s

  8. 7
    jen cheung — June 4, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

    hellllllllllo there! found you on foodbuzz! 🙂 your page is lovely! feel free to drop by my page when you have the time! thanks a bunch.

    jen @

  9. 8

    This looks delicious 🙂 Chicago is such a ball– have a great time, despite the work obligations.

    So happy to have found your site!

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