Spring and summer are great times to make your way to a quiet space and enjoy a picnic. Whether it is a mid-morning brunch or an evening affair, sharing delicious summer foods with family and friends is a unique way to creating fond memories of the season.
One may feel that it is too much work to set the scene for an intimate setting; however, it is well worth the time spent fashioning an ambiance that takes you to another time and space.
My blog image shows how a few rugs, pillows and a lovely table setting can turn an ordinary picnic into a fairy tale gathering that soon won’t be forgotten!
A few suggestions that I love to prepare for the magical eat al fresco:
Good bread is a must. Try a hearty peasant loaf.
Bring a bottle of high-quality olive oil for breads and salads.
Elevate sandwiches to an art. Spread the bread with Dijon mustard, pesto or tapenade. Instead of standard cold cuts, bring grilled Portobello mushrooms, prosciutto, smoked salmon and roast turkey breast. Top your sandwiches with brie, salty gruyere or tangy goat cheese with the added favor of spinach, watercress or arugula.
For color, flavor and ease of preparation, it's hard to beat fruit. You don't need much more than a good cheese pairing to have a splendid meal. If you're grilling, remember that fruits such as pears and nectarines grill well, and they're wonderful complements to poultry, salad or ice cream.
Cut the fruit in half, brush or mist it with a little grapeseed oil and put it on the grill just long enough for dark brown grill marks to appear.
Salads are wonderful ways to combine summer flavors. Consider a classic, simple Caprese salad -- sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and leaves of fresh basil. Everything depends on the quality of the tomatoes, which should be vine-ripe and never refrigerated. Heirloom and grape varieties have reliable flavors.
Try a tasting picnic, with a variety of bite-size appetizers. A great way to go: a nibble-based food tradition, like Tapas, Antipasti or Pâté.
There is something special about taking the time to dine amongst the beauty of nature… Cinthia~