How a creative duo cooked up a memorable sunset meal on the Oregon coast.
When Christiann Koepke and Eva Kosmas Flores plan a meal, everyone wants to be on the guest list. As hosts of a private meal series (Secret Suppers), the creative duo have perfected the art of combining fresh recipes with thoughtful entertaining ideas in their natural Pacific Northwest surroundings. On a recent summer night, they planned a special supper for friends on a secluded beach along the Oregon coastline. Using the color palette of the coast as their inspiration—soft peaches of the sunset, the gray greens of the sea, and the soft blue of the sky—they laid out a spread that was downright dreamy. And while summer may be waning, the weather will still be nice for a few more weeks (or months, depending where you live). Just pack an extra blanket or two to keep guests warm, and follow along as Christiann and Eva share their other secrets below.
Light an open fire. Fresh vegetables, fruit, and seafood are abundant during the summer months and incredibly easy to prepare over an open flame. “And I love the smoky flavor that wood-fire cooking adds to meals,” says Eva. So they grilled a whole trout for the main course (get their recipe below), then served it with vibrant plates of grilled and fresh veggies, fruits, and bread.
Expand your seating options. The ladies encouraged guests to get comfy on the sand, but also placed some chairs near the fire for those looking to get warm.
Lay out a soft “table.” Our overlook throw is so versatile that it can sub in as a soft surface for your table settings. Once you’ve packed up, shake it out and throw it around your shoulders as a shawl.
Plates, napkins, silverware, and even glassware can be beach friendly. Christiann and Eva selected a mix of products that perfectly aligned with the outdoor setting: soft pinks, creams, light blues, and gold that brought out the natural backdrop of the sand, setting sun, ocean and rocks. “These pieces—natural clay plates, poplin dusk napkins, copper flatware, picket bread basket—are so classic and elegant that they’d fit in in a variety of settings and uses, from a family gathering to a normal weeknight dinner,” says Eva. Just be sure to pack them appropriately for safe transit from your house to the beach.
Cocktails are always crucial. The duo served a a refreshing citrus rosemary gin cocktail made with bitters and muddled fresh herbs in our nouveau old-fashioned glasses.
Candles allow supper to stretch late into the night. All you need are a few hurricane holders to make it happen. “We knew it would be windy at the coast and didn’t want anything tipping over or blowing out, and the roundabout hurricanes held up perfectly,” says Christiann.
Photography by Christiann Koepke
Fire-Roasted Trout with Lemon and Herbs
Recipe by Eva of adventuresincooking.com
“I made stuffed trout with rosemary, lemon, and sage and we tied it onto a large piece of foraged driftwood with some cooking twine. (It’s best to soak the twine in some water first if it’s going to be used close to the fire). We also tied some stone fruits to the driftwood and hung them over the fire so that they could roast in their own skins. Their flavor concentrated down into the richest, most delightfully sweet and smoky taste.”
1 whole trout, cleaned
1 large lemon
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh sage
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon flake sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Cooking twine, soaked in water
Get a fire going and allow it to burn down until the logs are glowing red, white and ashy around the edges, and no longer shooting out large flames. Rub the interior and exterior of the trout with the olive oil, then rub the interior with the salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in half and cut one of the halves into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Arrange the lemon slices and herb sprigs inside of the trout, it’s alright if they’re sticking out a little. Tie the trout to a stick to hold over the fire. Roast until the fish is completely cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the stick, cut the fish open, and squeeze the remaining lemon half over it. Serve immediately.
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