Tag Archives: picnic

Davis Island Picnic rainbow

Rainy Day Picnic

Hello!  I am so glad to be back; I have really missed being here, chatting with you.  Both of my surgeries went well and I’m about five or six weeks in to physical therapy.  The hip arthroscopy, which I expected to be shattering, was actually the easiest in terms of the surgery itself and the initial home recovery.  My biggest concern was getting home and up the stairs on crutches after being released (hip arthroscopy is a same day surgery around here).  That concern was seriously heightened by the trip home following the ovarian surgery.  I won’t be graphic but. . .so sick, so. many. stairs.  However, amazingly, for the first time ever, I wasn’t even the slightest bit nauseated following the hip surgery!!  That really does deserve gratuitous use of exclamation marks.   The long term lack of mobility and general inability to do for myself have gotten me down a bit at times, but overall it has been so much easier than anticipated.  The last three months have also allowed me to see, yet again, how amazing my family is.  I feel absolutely soaked in love and uncomplaining care.

To celebrate being back on my wobbly pins, and to kick off our twelfth wedding anniversary weekend, I thought I would throw together a Friday night picnic.  We were both going a bit stir crazy being trapped inside all day, so an evening in the out-o-doors sounded just right.  Things didn’t turn out exactly as planned, as you will see, but it was a pretty great night nonetheless.  Scroll down past the video to find links to the inspiration recipes, as well as to see the changes I made.  If you would like to see how the rest of the night went, click over to Jason’s video.

Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Changes I made: zest of 1 lemon added to dressing

Changes I would make next time: the only kale I could find at the shop this time was red kale.  Next time I would definitely hold out for lacinato kale, or switch to spinach or arugula.  I did not have three hours to massage the red kale into submission (the ten minutes I did put in just didn’t cut it)!

Farmer’s Market Cornbread

Sean Brock’s Cornbread Recipe

and, my version. . .

Cornbread before and after

Garden Cornbread

base-

5 Tbs melted, unsalted butter

2 cups of medium grind cornmeal (I used this)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 C goat’s milk yogurt

1 C almond milk

1 tsp vinegar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 C corn kernels

1/4-1/3 C grated cheese (I used a firm sheep’s milk cheese whose name I do not know, but you could use just about anything you find tasty)

toppings-

1 pint (more or less) cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 red onion, sliced

basil, chiffonade (fancy way of cutting up; do what you want)

crumbling cheese (I used some cojita that was hanging out in the fridge)

directions-

  • heat cast iron skillet in 450 degree oven while preparing ingredients
  • combine dry “base” ingredients in medium bowl
  • combine wet “base” ingredients, stir into dry mix
  • add shredded cheese and corn kernels, stir until evenly distributed
  • removed skillet from oven, place on burner over medium heat (you will definitely want to turn on your fan)
  • pour base batter into pan, sprinkle with toppings
  • turn off burner
  • return skillet to oven, cook for 20 minutes
  • check for color (you are looking for a golden brown; the edges of your cheese will be picking up some color as well.
  • eat lots!

Davis Island Picnic plate

 

 

melonsalsa

Melon Salsa

And we’re back! Greetings, y’all. Last month I shared with you that, in the wake of losing a dear friend, my husband and I were taking some time to simply enjoy life and each other. As we were experiencing all of these tumultuous emotions and trying to make sure we were being intentional about living life to the fullest, not allowing days and opportunities to slip away, we decided it was time to take the vacation we have been saving up time and money for. So, for a large part of the last month, while silence has reigned supreme here, we have been in Mexico (or fighting an epic battle royal with our internet service). We met some incredible, wildly creative, and interesting people, and had an overall fantastic experience. If you are interested in hearing about our trip to Playa Viva, in Julachuca, Mexico (near Zihuatanejo. . . yep, that clears everything right up, huh?) head over to Jason’s site, Good Brown Gravy. Part 1 and Part 2 are already posted; look for more to come in the days ahead. Since he has that covered (and I don’t want to lay out any spoilers), I’m free to get back to food.

Hot weather has me wanting light, refreshing foods. In the town where we went to college there was a cafe called LeAnn’s. For the few years its doors were open, LeAnn’s offered wraps, a few light salads, and a melon salsa unlike anything else available in that small southern town. LeAnn’s is long gone, but this stuff is too good to be lost in oblivion. Serve with tortilla chips, or try it as a topping for fish, shrimp, chicken. . . heck, even pork.

melon salsa at www.oneishungry.com

Melon Salsa

make a lot, a whole lot (unless you are having a party, cut down recipe or prepare to share)

1 small cantalope in small cubes (size of medium dice)

1 small honeydew melon cut same as above

1/2 red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 Tbs to 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (this is largely a matter of preference)

juice of half a lemon (feeling crazy? try half a lime instead)

dualcantalope

Cut melons into small cubes in whichever way is easiest for you. I like to halve mine, scoop the seeds, halve again (now I have a melon, quartered). Cut through the flesh, but not the rind, lengthwise, then crosswise. Then, running the knife through the flesh (parallel to the rind, if that makes sense) at 1/2 inch lengths, slice off perfect little cubes! As you get into the deeply curved part you can even turn the melon quarter inside out to make the remaining flesh easier to cut. Combine all ingredients in a very large bowl, folding well to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Want to add a little kick? Mince up half of a jalapeno and toss in the mix.

Sweet Slices

Feast

Feast.  To me that word is redolent of picnicking Pickwickians, the overflowing hampers and larders of Ratty and Mole, and Hobbits (classic British authors have a way of describing food with a most wonderfully sympathetic, gleeful greediness).  One of the favorite meals in our house is something we call Feast.  Feast has many forms around a basic formula.  Meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread and/or crackers.  Nuts, chocolate, and jams, pastes and pickles are optional.  It is roughly akin to the classic cheese board, but so much better!  Feast is the base for the perfect, quick picnic, an elegant,yet casual dinner with friends or a cozy tête-à-tête with the one you love.

After a solid week and a half of eating out here in Canberra, we were ready for a quiet meal at home (don’t get me wrong, the food here in Canberra has been outstanding, but it is nice to have a break from going out).  One of Jason’s co-workers was flying in Sunday and we found a wonderful market during the week, so out we ran to get feast for three.

Rockmellon (American English: Cantalope)

Sweet Slices

Forbes Nectarine

The Pink Lady

Crudités

Feast

Our Basic Feast

Herbes de Provence Roasted chicken

fresh goat cheese

sharp cheddar

apple slices (tart in our house)

“carrots in sauce”  that is a Jason term for carrots and other crudite style vegetables tossed with a champagne vinegarette

Wasa crackers and brown rice crackers

Amazing Additions/Substitutions

smoked salmon

deli meats (ham, turkey, etc)

hard salami

boiled eggs

any and all of the vast world of cheeses (though we have yet to find a place for blue cheese in Feast. . .or much of anything)

grapes

grapefruit

mango

any fruit!

crudité style veggies

cornichons

quince paste

honey

nuts

dark chocolate

whole grain mustard

Have a feast of your own?  Write or send pictures and share!