camping

The Ultimate Sandwich - Pan Bagnat

So you want to go hiking/camping/road tripping but you don’t know what to do about lunch? Are you miles from civilization (but blissfully deep in wilderness) and your granola bar is just not going to cut it? Want to totally win the glamping game and make all the other campers jealous?

Never fear, the days of snack lunch and smashed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are over. Let us introduce you to the most amazing sandwich on the planet. It is gourmet, packable, and gets better with age. Behold, the pan bagnat! (Sorry to be overly dramatic, but I really love this sandwich).

Is this a beautiful sandwich or what?

Is this a beautiful sandwich or what?

Pan bagnat is a sandwich that originates from Nice, France and traditionally is comprised of day-old bread and salade niçoise (raw vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, anchovies or tuna, olive oil, and salt & pepper). It can also include basil, artichokes, olives, garlic, and vinegar. We have adapted the traditional construction into a culinary masterpiece that accompanies us on pretty much every hike and camping trip. We’ll share our recipe but the beautiful thing is the combinations are endless, making it a sandwich that everyone can make their own.

Mix and match all your favorite ingredients! Ours are never complete without egg, peppers, cheese, olives, and capers. Other than that, it’s whatever we have laying around.

Mix and match all your favorite ingredients! Ours are never complete without egg, peppers, cheese, olives, and capers. Other than that, it’s whatever we have laying around.

What makes pan bagnat so amazing for picnicking? First, it tastes better the next day. Make them the night before, store them in the fridge, and pop them in your pack the next morning as you head out. It saves you time in the morning AND you’ve given all those lovely ingredients a night to meld together. Yum.

Good quality ingredients are important, too. Like  Baia Pasta  Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Oakland, CA.

Good quality ingredients are important, too. Like Baia Pasta Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Oakland, CA.

Second, this is a sandwich that actually likes to be squished. You’ll notice we put A LOT of stuff between those slices of bread and squishing it down helps keep everything inside the sandwich and manageable to eat. Sometimes we even put weight on it (a plate or can of beans) to squish it even further. So it can totally withstand a long drive between two cold bottles of IPA or buried in the depths of your day pack. Hearty in more ways than one.

Third, it can get a little warm. We don’t put fish in our version (which would definitely spoil) solely so that it keeps better for our hiking adventures. The lack of mayonnaise and super heat sensitive cheeses like mozzarella or chevre mean it can hang out on your sweaty back all morning and be totally fine without an ice pack. At least in our experience. It still has a shelf life, so don’t go nuts or anything. But for two people who have hiked with Bánh mì and caprese sandwiches, the pan bagnat definitely wins the longevity award.

Pan bagnat picnic after a long day of driving and hiking around  Point Reyes National Seashore .

Pan bagnat picnic after a long day of driving and hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore.

And fourth, you will be the envy of every other hiker and camper within range. Imagine reaching the pinnacle of the hike: the viewpoint, the waterfall, the deep blue pool and while everyone else is munching on their trail mix (if that), you pull out the sandwich of all sandwiches. Lean back on your mossy rock or hammock and bask in the envious glow. Enjoy your culinary creation, and know you’ll be well fueled for the miles (and adventures) ahead.

You will definitely have the best lunch while sitting with the masses at Panorama Point,  Mt. Rainier National Park  (insider tip, pass up the official viewpoint and keep going to the height of the High Skyline Trail. The views are even better and it is sometimes a little less crowded).

You will definitely have the best lunch while sitting with the masses at Panorama Point, Mt. Rainier National Park (insider tip, pass up the official viewpoint and keep going to the height of the High Skyline Trail. The views are even better and it is sometimes a little less crowded).

Lisa and Wendy’s Pan Bagnat:

  1. Start with 2 slices of good bread (like Grand Central) or 2 rolls. Something substantial enough and not too hole-y.

  2. Drizzle bread with olive oil. Not so much that it soaks through (messy!) but if it does a little, that’s ok.

  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Add pretty much anything of your choosing. Our favorite components include: spinach/arugula/any green, sliced hard boiled egg, cucumber slices, bell pepper, basil, kalamata olives, capers (because everything is better with capers), and thin shavings of parmesan cheese.

  5. Wrap sandwich in parchment paper or Bee’s Wrap (this stuff is amazing). Be sure to wrap it tightly and even squish it down a bit so all those ingredients get real cozy with each other).

  6. Refrigerate overnight and keep cool for as long as you can. It should be fine away from a cold source for several hours.

Note: these can be messy and there is a high probability some of your components will fall out. Please protect wildlife and pack out any bits that may have found their way to the forest floor.

Enjoy!

If you really want to show off, start it all with a homemade loaf of bread. But I think we are the only ones crazy enough to bake while frantically preparing for a camping trip.

If you really want to show off, start it all with a homemade loaf of bread. But I think we are the only ones crazy enough to bake while frantically preparing for a camping trip.

All content copyright Lisa Goshe Photography, 2019

Now's the Time to go Camping in the Pacific Northwest

by Wendy Cluse

We are dusting off our camping gear and strategically planning out every trip we hope to squeeze in this year. Now, the nice thing about the Pacific Northwest is that it’s mild enough somewhere nearby to camp year round. But we’re not really those kind of campers. We don’t mind the cold but don’t want to freeze, we are avid tent-only campers so staying relatively dry is important, and we love the long days of summer. Which means now is a great time to pitch our tent and commune with nature.

We both grew up east of the Mississippi and camping was never a big thing for either of us as kids. Sleeping in a tent in the backyard was what was considered camping to us. We didn’t really have an interest in camping until we moved West. I 100% credit that to one thing: bugs. Or, lack thereof. If you’ve ever spent much time anywhere on the East Coast at dusk or later in the summertime, you know what I mean. Yes, the West has bugs. But not in the menacing, fly-up-your-nose kind of way (we lived on a marsh in North Carolina where the mosquitos were as big as hummingbirds. No joke). Sitting around a campfire in the Pacific Northwest after dark is blissful. Just like Sunset magazine.

Besides going DEET-less, we’ve grown to really appreciate what West Coast camping has to offer. Minimal distractions, fresh air, forest smells, and peaceful quiet. We love that we naturally wake up early with the sun and get to see some fantastic scenery during the golden hours of just after sunrise and just before sunset. Some of Lisa’s best nature photography has been taken on camping trips. We can experience the parks, mountains, and beaches we’re visiting at times other than high noon when trails are crowded and parking lots are full. We can go on much longer hikes and take our time, knowing we don’t have to squeeze it in between a 3-hour car trip there and back.

This early morning light at  Timothy Lake  was pure magic.

This early morning light at Timothy Lake was pure magic.

Sunset at  Cascadia State Park , OR

Sunset at Cascadia State Park, OR

Why is now a good time to go camping in the PNW?

So we are officially in the camping calendar sweet spot. It’s warming up nicely but is still cool and crisp in the mornings. We won’t have to worry about the heat just yet — no one wants to be a sweaty mess if showers are not an option. The kids aren’t quite out of school yet, which means our chance of grabbing a camping spot is far greater than in June when everyone is in serious summer vacation mode and campgrounds get booked up months in advance. Plus, it is early enough in the season that wildfires are less likely to ruin your experience by either a) lowering the air quality to that of a smoker’s lounge, b) closing your campground completely, or c) forcing a ban on all campfires. If you can’t have a campfire, there’s no point in camping. QUICK PSA: always follow the rules regarding fire restrictions and precautions. Don’t be the jerk that starts the next Hell Fire.

Our favorite places to camp

There really are so many amazing places to camp, but here’s a short list of places we would go back to (or already have):

  1. Cape Perpetua, OR (Rock Creek Campground)

    This area of the Oregon Coast is stunning. And this little gem of a campground was a great find. It’s small, the campsites sit along a tiny stream, and the pit toilets were the cleanest I’d seen anywhere. Seriously.

  2. Timothy Lake, OR

    There are many amazing campgrounds surrounding this lake, but if you get lucky and snag a late cancellation of one of the few lakeside sites in the Gone Creek loop, you won’t be disappointed.

  3. Mt. Rainier, WA (White River Campground)

    The best jumping-off spot to hike Burroughs Mountain, the most amazing hike we’ve done yet. Plus Mt. Rainier is just incredible the whole way around, so camping or not, get there if you can.

  4. Cascadia State Park, OR

    This is a tiny gem of a park on the South Santiam River. The campground is adequate, but seeing the river at sunrise and sunset made us want to go back.

  5. Lake Quinault, WA (Willaby Campground)

    Right outside of Olympic National Park, this campground does not have one bad site. Some are along the lake, and others are tucked up in the trees. And we’ve yet to see it busy.

This campsite was so huge, we could have had a party.

This campsite was so huge, we could have had a party.

What makes for a good camping experience?

Everyone has their essentials that make their camping trip that much more comfortable and enjoyable. For us, we’re pretty simple and don’t like (read: don’t have) a lot of gear. As long as we bring an extra tarp for when it rains, our camping mats, and a deck of cards, we’re pretty much good. But adding a hammock to the pile has been the cherry on top. We now scour campsites solely on the presence of good hammock hanging trees. A great campfire is of course essential, not just for ambiance but because we don’t have a camp stove. Which leads us to another essential: campfire burritos. Make them ahead of time, wrap them in foil, and freeze them. They’ll keep your cooler cold all day and come dinnertime we just set them on the fire. Easy clean up, too. Of course, we would never forget the beer (or cider). And Lisa will always bring her camera.

We can’t wait to get out and sleep with the stars, wake with the piney morning air, and explore all the beauty that surrounds us here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll be slightly dirty for a day or two, but it’s worth it.

Don’t forget the homemade scones!

Don’t forget the homemade scones!

All content copyright Lisa Goshe Photography, 2019