Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Triple Creek Ranch Photography Workshop Recap, and Cooking Inspiration from Triple Creek's Chef - Steamed Mussels and Clams

Executive Chef, Jake Leatherman, absolutely spoils guests vacationing at Triple Creek Ranch, in Darby, Montana, just voted the #1 Inn in the continental United States and Canada and #2 hotel overall, in Travel + Leisure's 15th Annual World's Best Awards Reader Survey.

John and I splurged for a return visit to Triple Creek last month, for a much deserved vacation and three-day photography workshop led by international, award-winning nature photographer, Kenton Rowe. In between three, gourmet meals a day (enjoyed in the dining room, packed for a horseback ride, or served atop mountains and on the banks of rivers), we spent our days photographing wildlife, scenic vistas and flowers.

Montana draws me back, year after year...One day, when I can't take the Southern California rat race any longer, hopefully you will find me happily retired, and operating There's a Newf in My Soup Bed & Breakfast!

A young buck ventures out from the forest to enjoy the late afternoon sun

Our day at the Big Hole River Valley offered stunning landscapes, wildlife and bird watching

A group of Big Horn sheep and lambs allowed us to hike up the hill and get very close

One of three fox kits played outside the den

Sunrise shoot of Trapper Peak, the highest point in the Bitterroot Mountains

A stop in the horse pasture to capture the early morning light and mist

Of course, we also photographed every delectable dish, and I saved all my dinner menus for inspiration! One of the starters included these Steamed Mussels with Green Tomato Chutney, Roasted Jalapenos and Benton's Bacon Broth. The smoky bacon featured in the broth is wonderful and I just couldn't get this out of my head when I returned home.

I also used bacon in our version, but I need to contact Daily's Meats to see if I can order some of their smoked bacon. I used mussels and clams, and served Rouille on the side (discovered when our group did Challenge Provence as one of our Concert in the Park culinary theme picnics)

Steamed Mussels and Clams with White Wine, Shallots, Tarragon and Bacon
Served with French Bread and Rouille


2 cloves garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4" pieces
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cups white wine
1 lb. cultivated mussels, scrubbed
1 lb. Manila clams, scrubbed
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 baguette, sliced, one side of slices drizzled with olive oil, and toasted lightly under the broiler


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Sauté until the bacon releases its fat and gets lightly golden. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for another two minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and stir in the clams and mussels. Cover the pot and cook until all of the shells have opened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Discard any that do not open.

Remove the clams and mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer, reduce slightly, and then whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in the tarragon. Pour the mixture over the clams and mussels and serve immediately with toasted bread and rouille (recipe follows).

Rouille (Saffron-Garlic Mayonnaise)
Slightly Adapted from Clifford A. Wright

1 1/2 cups diced French bread, white part only
1/2 cup fish broth, or bottled clam juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red chili pepper
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 large egg yolk
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil


Soak the diced bread in the fish broth or clam juice. Squeeze the broth out. Mash the garlic cloves in a mortar with the salt until mushy. Place the bread, mashed garlic, red pepper, saffron, egg yolk and black pepper in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds, then pour in olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, thin, steady stream while the machine is running. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Store whatever you don't use in the refrigerator for up to a week. The rouille, my new favorite condiment, is amazing spread on the bread and/or used as a dipping sauce for the shellfish.


You can visit There's a Newf in My Soup! Facebook page to see my Triple Creek Ranch Album



R. said...

Stunning photographs oh my goodness! Gasp!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the mussel/clam dish too - one of my favorites.

Carmen said...

Beautiful photos!

Sandra Younger said...

Oh Denise! Great wildlife shots. I'd love to go. But only in summer.

Kristina said...

Your photos are beyond gorgeous. I would love to be half the photographer you are! That workshop sounds like a great experience, too.