and the lost art of picnics!
What happened to picnics??
Convenience food happened. These days you can get a sandwich, wrap or salad at every coffee shop and convenience store, so the necessity of packing a picnic has disappeared. When I was a kid and we drove to a beach in Maine every summer, my mom had to pack a cooler of drinks, snacks and sandwiches because there just wasn't anything else to eat on the 10-hour drive.
If you're like me and often find summer just evaporates and suddenly it's the night before school.....stop for a second and plan a picnic. Picnics make you feel like you're experiencing summer. Really! Some ideas:
A day at the beach or pool or a trip to the park with the kids. If you're going to an outdoor concert or a play with friends, meet up at a park nearby beforehand.
A date, a little league tournament, a birthday or anniversary, amusement park, sightseeing.
And of course you can stay close to home, too -- pack a picnic then lie in the backyard to for some late-night stargazing or for local fireworks on a long weekend. These don't require a full meal, maybe just snacks like popcorn and homemade cookies with some special drinks.
We tend to think of picnics as a group activity, but I'd personally love to carve out some me time, pack a picnic and head out for a solo hike.
And now....for the FOOD!
For a really hearty meal, I love to grill a flank steak and slice it up, and bring some sliced buns with horseradish mayo. I’ve discovered a salad called Cowboy Caviar (black beans, corn, peppers, jalapeños). Plus my fave Wicked Good potato salad with lots of “stuff” in it – I pickles, hard boiled eggs, fresh herbs. Finish it off with a pan of brownies!
Wicked Good Potato Salad
Serves 8 - 10
Prep time: 30 minutes You'll be eating this in: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Half a large red onion, thinly sliced
3 pounds (1.35 kg) red-skinned potatoes (4 giant ones or 6 to 8 medium)
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon
½ cup chopped pickles
4 stalks celery, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the onions and let stand for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours) to pickle.
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Carefully lower in the eggs, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 9 minutes for hard-boiled. Transfer the eggs to an ice bath once they’re done.
Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until a knife poked in each potato meets no resistance. Drain and cool to about room temperature.
Combine the mayonnaise and Dijon in a large bowl. Stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons of the onion pickling liquid. Add the celery and pickles. Cut in the cooled potatoes (make the potatoes chunky). Gently stir everything around so it’s all well-coated.
Peel the eggs and cut into quarters (or chop them more finely if you prefer). Drain the onions. Gently stir the onions, eggs and parsley into the potato salad. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Stir well before serving.
Click here for a printable download of this recipe!