Showing posts with label picnic food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picnic food. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jacques’ Cucumber Salad (but) with Onions #SundaySupper

Cucumber salad, made Jacques Pepin’s way, stays crunchy for several days, making it a great make-ahead contribution for your next potluck or barbecue party. You’ll want to double or even quadruple this recipe for a crowd. 

This week Sunday Supper is going to a barbecue party and bringing along everything you need from drinks to salads to ribs (You gotta have the ribs!) to make it just perfect. I love a fresh dish, but sometimes time does not allow for in-the-moment creations. That’s where Jacques Pépin and his cucumber salad come to the rescue. In the chef’s own words, “The salt, you will discover, draws the juices from the cucumbers, making them limp, and, paradoxically, very crisp at the same time. Prepared this way, the cucumbers will stay crisp for several days.” And so they do.

Many thanks to our hosts today, Jennie from The Messy Baker and Melanie from Melanie Makes! This recipe is adapted from Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques.

4 cucumbers – weight 1 1/3 lbs or 585g
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt – I used sel gris.
1/2 small purple onion – about 2 oz or 55g
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Jacques’ ingredient list calls for three cucumbers, which he says will give you five cups sliced. I got two cups out of my four cucumbers so I don’t know where we went wrong but I reduced the rest of the ingredients proportionally to fit what I had. After all, you can’t salt two cups of cucumbers with the same salt that’s meant for five!

See? His aren't bigger than average. 

Peel your cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Cut them into slices about a 1/4 inch or 1/2cm wide.

Pop them into a colander, over a bowl to catch the juice. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and mix well. Allow to drain for at least an hour but preferably two, at room temperature.

Meanwhile, slice your half onion as thinly as you can manage and soak the slices in a small bowl in the lemon juice. Stir it occasionally as it sits.

When the time is up for the cucumbers, rinse them thoroughly under cold water and then press them lightly to get rid of excess water.

I laid them out briefly on some paper towels.

Mix the sour cream and the peanut oil into the lemon juice and onions, along with a good few grinds of fresh peppercorn.

Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and stir.

Jacques says more salt won’t be necessary and he is absolutely right. Because of the sour cream, refrigerate this salad if not eating immediately.


Are you looking for more barbecue party recipes? Sunday Supper’s got you covered!

Sides and Accompaniments
Main Dishes
Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rosemary Nectarine Sparkling Cocktail #SundaySupper

Herb-infused simple syrup is an easy way to make a cocktail special, adding flavor and freshness to the original mix.

Every summer I go for what I call the Annual Mashing. I lost one precious maternal aunt to breast cancer and my paternal grandmother was a survivor so I know there is potential from both sides. If you are my friend on Facebook, you’ll know that I always post a message when I go, reminding everyone to make an appointment too. If only one person takes heed and gets a mammography in time to catch something before it gets bigger and less treatable, then the message is worth sharing. (In case you weren’t paying attention, here’s my public service announcement: Make your appointment NOW. Your family will thank you.)

One upside of the Annual Mashing is the nice magazines in the waiting room. This year I thumbed through a beautiful issue of Saveur while I waited for my turn and came across an article on a peach farmer in California, complete with recipes using fresh peaches. I couldn’t wait to get home to try the sparkling cocktail. And, after the mammogram, I figured I deserved it!

This week Sunday Supper is sharing picnic food and this lovely cocktail is perfect for serving outdoors. You make up the rosemary simple syrup and nectarine puree and transport them in clean jars in a cooler with the bubbly, mixing each glass as needed. Many thanks to our host Jane from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner and Heather from girlichef for her behind-the-scenes help.

For the simple syrup:
4 sprigs rosemary
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

For the nectarine puree:
2 medium nectarines
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 bottle (750ml) sparkling wine or Champagne

In a small pot, heat the water, sugar and rosemary sprigs until the sugar completely dissolves and cook for a further few minutes at a low boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

Once cool, discard the rosemary sprigs and pour the simple syrup into a clean jar. Yield: about 1 1/4 cups or 300ml of rosemary simple syrup.

To make the nectarine puree, simply cut the nectarines up in chunks.

Mash with a hand blender until smooth. You can peel them if you want to but I like the pink shade that the peels add and don’t mind the little bits of peel in my drink.

Pour the puree into a clean jar and add the lemon juice.  Shake to combine. Yield: Just over 1 cup or 250ml nectarine puree.

To serve the cocktail, add 1-2 tablespoons nectarine puree and 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons rosemary simple syrup to each glass.

Top up with chilled cava, sparkling wine or Champagne.


Are you planning a picnic for Fourth of July or just to celebrate summer? Check out the fabulous list of picnic friendly recipes we are bringing to the Big Virtual Picnic!

Sandwiches and Wraps
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter tonight! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spicy Southern Fried Chicken #PicnicGame

A picnic in the southern United States just wouldn’t be complete without some fried chicken. My grandmother always fried hers in peanut oil because of its health benefits with the added bonus of a very high smoke point, ensuring the chicken will get crunchy on the outside, keeping it tender on the inside.

Did you know that today is International Picnic Day? Yep, that’s right. Why it falls on a Wednesday is anybody’s guess but at the very least, even if you have to work today, let me encourage you to take your lunch outside and find a picnic bench and enjoy it in the sunshine. In celebration, I'm playing the picnic memory game with my Sunday Supper friends. Starting with the letter A, we each bring something, going around the circle, trying to remember all the things from A to Z.  As you can see from the title, I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing something that starts with an S: Spicy Fried Chicken! If you’d like to play along, make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see what everyone else is bringing to share. Read through the list and see how many you can remember!

If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that my grandmother’s fried chicken is one of those things I keep trying to duplicate. Mine’s good, because all crispy fried chicken is good, but it just isn’t the same as when she made it for me. I am also open to trying other people’s fried chicken recipes. Because, once again and repeat after me, there is no bad fried chicken. A number of years ago my daughters gave me Maya Angelou’s memoir/cookbook, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table.  *Affiliate link* Her fried chicken recipe calls for marinating the chicken for an hour in a generous quantity of fresh lemon juice. I was a little skeptical at first, but I can tell you, it brightens the flavors beautifully without being overwhelmingly lemony. I like to add a bunch of cayenne too to make it spicy but otherwise, this is essentially Maya Angelou’s fried chicken. Just one more reason to admire our late poet laureate and mourn her recent passing.

1 chicken (Mine was a huge fryer, about 6 lbs and a pack of just wings)
2 cups or 480ml fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons cayenne

For dredging the chicken:
2-3 cups or 250-375g flour

For frying:
3-4 cups or 710-950ml peanut oil

Wash and dry the chicken with some paper towels and cut it into pieces.  Put all the pieces into a big Ziploc bag or a large bowl and add the fresh lemon juice.

Put it in the refrigerator for one hour, turning the chicken halfway through to make sure the top pieces get their share of lemon juice time.

Rinse, dry and season the chicken generously with salt, black pepper and cayenne.  I say three teaspoons of cayenne in the ingredients list but truth be told, I just keep sprinkling it on until the chicken is covered in red. We like our chicken spicy.

Put your flour in a paper grocery bag. This was something my grandmother insisted on. Plastic would not do.

Dredge the seasoned chicken in the flour.

Heat your oil in large pot. I use a heavy roaster, just like my grandmother did. Ideally, the oil should be at 375°F or 190°C when the chicken is added. Add a few pieces of the chicken and cover.

Fry on high until brown on both sides.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pot leaving just a small gap, and cook for 30 more minutes.

Remove from heat, drain on paper towels (an extra paper grocery bag also works well) and serve hot.  I pop mine into a warm oven if I am not serving immediately and to keep the first batch warm while I fry the rest.

Repeat the process until all the chicken is cooked.


Today we are celebrating International Picnic Day by bringing you a basket packed with goodies from A to Z, in the style of the picnic game!

I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...

Asian Chicken Salad from Try Anything Once Culinary
Beautiful Beet Salad from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Chicken Muffuletta from Marlene Baird
Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups from The Dinner-Mom
Elote from Peaceful Cooking
Fennel Slaw from FoodieTots
Greek Farro Salad from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Honey Porter Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Skewers from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Italian Pasta Salad from Casa de Crews
Japanese Plum Sushi from
Kudos Kitchen Kolaches from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake from In The Kitchen With KP
Molasses Lovers Baked Beans from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Northern Bean Salad with Egg and Prosciutto from Family Foodie
Orzo Salad from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
PICOBLAT from Simply Healthy Family
Quinoa-Stuffed Grape Leaves from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Roasted Fingerlings with Capers and Dill from Peanut Butter and Peppers

and Spicy Southern Fried Chicken! 

Drop by the Sunday Supper Movement to see the rest of the alphabet and the whole picnic spread out on our virtual blanket.

This leg is for you! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chickpea Tabouli #KickOffToSummer2014 #GourmetGarden #Glutenfree

Tabouli is a picnic-friendly, make-ahead salad of fresh herbs and tomatoes, which is usually made with bulgur or cracked wheat. This simple gluten- and wheat-free version substitutes chickpeas for the bulgur, upping the protein and adding extra flavor, making this salad a great choice for everyone at your party, barbecue or picnic.

Welcome to Day #3 of Kick Off to Summer Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Lauren of From Gate to Plate and Summer of Summer Scraps. With summer quickly approaching and the US holiday Memorial Day in less than two weeks, we wanted to make sure you had plenty of ideas for your Memorial Day and summer activities. Each day we will be serving up a variety of different appetizers, main dishes, desserts, decor, printables and more all centered around the upcoming holiday. We hope you enjoy all of these wonderful ideas. Tune in each day starting with Monday, May 12 and ending on Saturday, May 17. We have great prizes up for grabs throughout the week so you will not want to miss out on any of the days! Follow #KickOffToSummerWeek2014 on Twitter to keep up to date with all of our spectacular ideas and giveaways!

A few weeks ago I was researching recipes that would be appropriate for the Jewish Passover celebration for a post with my Sunday Supper group. I came across a rendition of tabouli made with chopped almonds instead of the bulgur wheat, because all grains, including wheat, are prohibited during Passover. Now, I’m a fan of almonds and I even like them in salad, but one of the reasons I love tabouli is the way the wheat soaks up the flavors of the dressing and the herbs and even the tomato juice, becoming more delicious with time. I just didn’t see almonds doing that. So I pondered. What would absorb the dressing? What else would GO with tabouli?  You already know what I decided from the title here but you are probably asking yourself why this didn’t become my Passover post. Well, after I had made the salad, more research revealed that are certain Jewish sects that don’t allow any legumes, including chickpeas, during Passover! So I found another recipe for chocolate chip bar cookies with ground almonds, which was absolutely delicious and didn’t violate any Passover rules for that post.

But you know what this salad IS perfect for? Kick Off to Summer Week! It looks remarkably similar to regular tabouli so make sure to put a gluten-free label on it so everyone knows they can eat it!

For the salad:
2 cans (8 1/2 oz or 240g each, drained weight) chickpeas
Large bunch green onion tops (2 1/2 oz or 70g)
2 bunches cilantro or coriander (4 1/4 oz or 120g together)
Medium bunch of fresh mint (3 oz or 85g)
5-6 medium tomatoes (1 1/4 lbs or 570g)

Note: I’m giving weights for the herbs and tomatoes but know that these are just what I used and if yours weigh a bit more or a bit less, it’s all going to be good.

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons or 45ml fresh lime or lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic (I used two – because we like it garlicky!)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons or 90ml olive oil

First thing in the morning, or even the night before you are planning to make this salad, strain and rinse your chickpeas and leave them to dry for an hour or two spread out on a kitchen towel. I don’t know that this is absolutely essential but remember, we want the chickpeas to absorb dressing, so drying them out a bit increases that ability.

In a food processor, pulse your chickpeas in batches until they are small crumbles and resemble bulgur wheat if you hold your head just right and squint a little. Do not overfill the processor or overpulse or you’ll end up on your way to making hummus.  (Which is a good thing, but just not today.)

As you finishing pulsing each batch of chickpeas, put them in a big salad bowl with plenty of room to stir.

Chop your green onions finely and add them to the chickpeas and stir.

Pick the mint leaves off the stalks and cut the hard part of the stalks off of the cilantro.  (The little narrow stalks near the leaves are fine to leave in.) Wash both thoroughly several times and dry in a salad spinner or a dry dishcloth.

Cut the tomatoes in half and cut out and discard the core. Chop the tomatoes into little pieces.

Chop the herbs thoroughly, rocking your big knife back and forth on a cutting board.

Next add the herbs and then the tomatoes to the chickpea bowl.  Stir well.

Now to make the dressing: Mince your garlic cloves and combine them in a small bowl with the fresh lime juice.

Sprinkle in about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a few generous grinds of fresh black pepper. Add in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing is thoroughly mixed.

Pour this over your salad and stir well and you are ready to eat!

Like traditional  tabouli, this chickpea version gets better and better as it sits so you can make it ahead without any problems. It was great the first day, then it went out sailing with us the day after I made it AND it was just as good three days later when I finished the last serving. That’s why I always make a big batch.


You can find my recipe and instructions for traditional tabouli here

Need more recipes and ideas for Memorial Day and making the most of summer? Check out these links from my fellow Kick Off to Summer participants. And make sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway draw from Gourmet Garden!

Now, let's talk about the great giveaway!

#GourmetGarden #Giveaway

Our sponsor for today is Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices. If you enjoy cooking with fresh ingredients, you will just love Gourmet Garden! Gourmet Garden herbs are organically grown then simply washed, chopped, blended and packed into tubes to maintain the herbs' freshness and nutrition. With Gourmet Garden you will be able to keep fresh herbs in your fridge for months with no waste. They have a variety of spices and herbs such as garlic, basil, cilantro, chili pepper and much more! You can find Gourmet Garden in the fresh produce section of your supermarket. Be sure to keep up-to-date with Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

 **Giveaway runs May 14 until May 21, 2014 at midnight EST. Giveaway is open to US Residents only. Winner must be 18 years of age or older. No cash value available**

#GourmetGarden Product #Giveaway Package
Gourmet Garden has so graciously offered a cooler full of herbs and spices, perfect for your next cooking and baking experience. Your cooler will include one 4-ounce bottle each of
Garlic, Basil, Chili Pepper, Dill, Oregano, Cilantro, Ginger, Italian Herbs, Parsley and Lemon Grass

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Disclaimer: This giveaway is being sponsored by Gourmet Garden. #KickOffToSummerWeek2014 bloggers have not received product or been compensated in any way as part of this giveaway!**

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tabouli - Middle East Meal, Part 2

Bulgur wheat, fresh herbs and tomatoes in a garlicky vinaigrette, tabouli is the perfect salad to bring for potlucks or picnics because it can be made ahead and travels well. 

I’ve mentioned before that we lived in Abu Dhabi for a couple of years, way back when.  And that is where we first ate shawarmas and falafel and hummus.  (A freshly fried falafel is a tender-inside, crispy-outside bite of toothsome heaven.  As we would wait for the shawarma guy to build our sandwiches, the falafel guy would hand us each one to eat while we waited – on the house.  As you can imagine we went back often!)  But I honestly don’t remember tabouli from those times.   I know that seems crazy and I must have eaten it – how could I not? – but I just don’t remember.  My earliest memory of tabouli is from Macaé, Brazil.   

Anyone who has ever lived in a little oilfield town knows how close friends can get.  We become like family.  We are each others’ entertainment and we help raise each others’ children.  This expat life is full of the joy of newcomers being welcomed into the family and the sadness of departing friends wrenched away from our tight circle.  In Macaé, one of the members of that circle was my friend, Jenny.   The mother of two daughters very close to the ages of my girls, we spent a lot of time together.  She was raised in Jerusalem, in a family of Greek heritage so I believe she spoke Greek as well as Arabic, Portuguese and impeccable English. Possibly other languages.  She is very smart.  Jenny taught me how to make tabouli and I am forever grateful.  She said that back home, all the women in the family would get together and make massive amounts of tabouli together.  It was a social event.  Sounds like my kind of good time!  Now that I live only a two-hour flight from Jenny’s current home, I hope to get to see her again soon.  Meanwhile I just think of her fondly whenever I make tabouli.   Even after all these years.

For the salad:
3/4 cup or 130g bulgur wheat
1 bunch green onions
1 very large bunch of cilantro (coriander) or flat leafed parsley or a mixture of the two (If my memory serves, Jenny’s husband wasn’t fond of cilantro so she used all parsley.  Parsley is not my favorite so I tend to use all cilantro.  You can mix and match as you see fit.)
1 large bunch of fresh mint
About 13 oz or 375g tomatoes

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons or 45ml fresh lime or lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper
6 tablespoons or 90ml olive oil

In metal or heatproof bowl, cover your bulgur wheat with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and cover the bowl with a bit of cling film.  Set aside.

Chop your green onions finely and set aside.

Pick the mint leaves off the stalks and cut most of the stalks off of the cilantro/parsley.  (The tender, narrow stalks near the leaves are fine to leave in.) Wash the herbs several times and dry in a salad spinner or a dry dishcloth.  Chop them thoroughly, rocking your big knife back and forth on a cutting board. 

Cut the tomatoes in half and cut out and discard the inner core.  Squeeze out the seeds and discard them.  Chop the tomatoes into little pieces. 

Once the bulgur wheat has absorbed all of the water it can, drain it in a strainer and push down on the top to get rid of any excess water.   Put it in a big salad bowl with plenty of room to stir. 

Add in the green onions and squeeze them into the warm bulgur wheat with your hands.  Jenny said it helps the onions release their flavor into the wheat.  Or something like that.  Just do it.  You do not argument with the wisdom of Greek mothers.

Next add in the tomatoes and then the herbs.  Stir well. 

Mince your garlic cloves and add them to a bowl with the fresh lime juice and about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste) and a few generous grinds of fresh black pepper. 

Add in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing is thoroughly mixed. 

Pour this over your salad and stir well and you are ready to eat!  

This tabouli gets better and better as it sits so you can make it ahead without any problems.  It is the only salad I have been known to eat for a day or two after.  Sometimes three, if it lasts that long.


Looking for parts one and three of the Middle East meal?

Part 1, Shish Tawook

Part 3, Hummus