In light of the joyous beginning of picnic season I thought I would give you all my take on how to put together an awesome picnic, follow these simple (I promise) steps and your friends and tummy will thank you;
– make a fabulous cocktail (preferably one that can be boozy or not). I personally enjoy making roasted lemonade which you can then mix with prosecco or bubbly water for a bright and bubbly beverage. To make roasted lemonade cut 12 lemons in half, lay them cut side up in a pan, fill the pan with water till it reaches just below the lemons. Sprinkle with 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of cumin (and 1 tablespoon of cayenne if you like spicy). Roast in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes, then let the lemons cool, squeeze them, and strain the liquid (including the water).
-bring some delicious finger foods that can be eaten while holding said cocktail in the other hand (and if you are me gesticulating wildly). Fridge pickles are delicious, and easy as can be. To make fridge pickles cut cucumbers (I prefer Persian cucumbers) into spears, then boil 2 cups of vinegar (I mix white and apple cider), with 1 cup of white sugar, 2 tablespoons of tarragon, and 1 tablespoon of peppercorns. When the mixture boils pour it over the cucumbers and refrigerate overnight.
– buy cheese. Go with whatever cheese strikes your fancy
– add some crusty bread to layer the cheese and its accouterments upon. Get your bread as fresh as possible for optimal deliciousness.
– include something sweet to end the meal with. While I generally opt for chocolate it sadly tends to melt in the sun, so I tend to opt for berry cup pies (like cup cakes but pies!). To make cup pies buy some pie crust, cut into circles the same size as you muffin tin (I use a rocks glass I stole from a club), lay the dough circles in the muffin tin and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes till they start to brown. While the crust is baking combine 12oz of berries (fresh or frozen) with 3-4 tablespoons of real maple syrup and bring to a boil. Then spoon into your tiny crust and bake 5 more minutes. To get the wee pies out of the tin let them cool, then run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen.
In terms of taking your food mobile there are a number of super excellent picnic baskets, such as this one, or this one, or THIS ONE. However, I use a LL Bean tote with ice packs around the side, just as good and all your yummies fit inside (unless you want to buy me one of the other ones and then we can go picnic together).
Now, go forth and picnic!