Category Archives: picnic food

A Reason to Love Lattes

I was unexpectedly free on Wednesday morning because I am locked out of work due to the government shutdown.  On my way to the Green City Market in Chicago’s Lincoln Park,  I stopped for a latte at Elaine’s coffee shop in Hotel Lincoln where I was surprised and excited to see Irish singer-songwriter and Oscar winner Glen Hansard of “Once” fame ahead of me in the line. I celebrated my birthday last June with a picnic at his Millenium Park concert with the Frames. I told him how much I had enjoyed the show and the eerie finale when they played the “Ould Triangle” as the fog  from Lake Michigan enveloped the stage.  He said that it was certainly one of the band’s most memorable shows.  “Once the Musical” opens next week at the Oriental Theater.  Watch videos of songs from Glen Hansard’s new solo album”Rhythm and Repose” at:[1]


Bumping into Glen Hansard reminded me of the lovely Millenium Park picnic I shared with friends last summer. The spread included Irish snacks such as mini sausage rolls (recipe posted here and salmon pate with brown bread.  This simple salmon pate recipe is from Darina Allen’s “Simply Delicious” cookbook and RTE television series of the same name.  Since sweet Irish salmon is not available here, I added more lemon juice and salt and pepper to boost the flavor of the pate.

Salmon Pate

Yield: 6 servings


  • 4 oz. cooked salmon without skin and bone
  • 4-6 tbsps. softened Irish butter
  • 1/4 tsp. finely chopped fennel frond
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or mash together in a bowl. Place the pate in a bowl, decorate the top with fennel fronds. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.


Serve with slices of Irish brown bread, toast or crackers.

This is a good way to use up leftover cooked salmon. Irish butter is higher in fat, more golden in color and richer in flavor than American butter.