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How to organize a seize-the-day picnic.

How to organize a seize-the-day picnic

Even if you purchase the foods needed for the spur-of-the-moment picnics on page 76, you'll have to do a little organizing; directions follow. If you decide you'd like to cook some of the foods yourself, those directions are here, too.

The picnic planned for California's Central Valley has the most time-consuming cooking projects: roast duck and a pastry. Remember, you can instead buy Chinese roast duck (a roasted chicken from the deli will do in a pinch) and a bakery pastry. The onion mixture, savory butter, and salad dressing are quick to make.

Sandwiches for the bicycling picnic need marinated peppers, but you start with peppers in a jar.

For the snow picnic, nachos can be made with canned chili, or make the family's favorite and take a quart of it. Heat the chili at home or at the cabin.

Roast Duck

Rinse a 4 1/2- to 5-pound duck inside and out and pat dry; reserve neck and giblets for other uses. Prick duck all over (heavily in fattiest parts) with a fork. Rub with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. If desired, quarter 1 medium-size orange and tuck into the body cavity (the fruit adds more fragrance than flavor).

Place duck, breast down, on a rack in an 11- by 13-inch baking pan. Roast in a 500| oven for 25 minutes. Turn breast up. Continue to roast until breast is a light pink at the bone near the wing joint (cut to test) but no longer soft and wet-looking, 25 to 30 minutes longer; discard drippings. Seal hot duck loosely in foil or baking parchment, then wrap in several pretty towels and pack in an insulated chest; serve within 3 hours. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Onion Confit

4 medium-size onions, sliced

8 sprigs (each 2 in. long) fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

3 bay leaves

6 sprigs (each 2 in. long) fresh marjoram or 3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

1/4 cup olive oil or salad oil Salt

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on medium-low heat, simmer onions, thyme, bay leaves, and marjoram in oil, covered, until onions are very soft and golden, about 1 1/2 hours; stir occasionally. Add salt to taste. Let cool; serve at room temperature. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days. Transport in an attractive jar. If picnic is for 2, leftovers hold well and don't require chilling until you get home. Serves 4.

Prosciutto Butter

In a food processor or blender, whirl 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) room-temperature unsalted butter or margarine with 1/8 pound (about 4 thin slices) prosciutto and 1/4 cup parsley. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 5 days. Transport in an insulated chest. Makes 1/2 cup.

Mustard Flower Vinaigrette

In a small jar, combine 1/4 cup olive oil or salad oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon each Dijon mustard and honey. Cover tightly and transport to the picnic. Mix with 4 to 6 cups salad greens (rinsed and drained miner's lettuce or butter lettuce) and 1/4 cup freshly gathered, rinsed, and lightly packed mustard flowers, optional. Add salt to taste. Makes about 1/3 cup dressing, to dress salad for 2 to 4.

Aromatic Spice Almond Tart

1 1/4 cups each whipping cream and sugar

1/4 teaspoon each ground cardamom and ground coriander

2 cups (about 11 oz.) whole blanched almonds

1/4 teaspoon almond extract Press-in pastry (directions follow)

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine cream, sugar, cardamom, and coriander. Stirring, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in almonds and extract. At once, pour nut mixture into press-in pastry.

Bake in a 375| oven until a rich golden brown, 50 to 65 minutes. Set tart on a rack and let stand until just warm to touch. Remove pan rim and slide a long slender spatula between crust and pan bottom to free pastry from pan; replace pan rim and leave tart in pan to transport. Wrap airtight when cool; it keeps up to 2 days at room temperature. Cut into wedges. Carry extras home. Serves 6 to 9. Press-in pastry. Combine 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2/3 cup (1/3 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks. Whirl in a food processor or rub with fingers until fine crumbs form. Whirl in (or stir in with a fork) 2 large egg yolks until dough holds together.

Press dough evenly over bottom and sides of a 10- to 11-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Bake in a 325| oven for 10 minutes; color will be vary pale. Use hot or cold.

Pan Bagnet Makings

For each sandwich, provide 1 crusty roll (about 6-in. size); about 1 ounce thinly sliced dry salami, corned beef, or cooked ham; about 1 ounce thinly sliced Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese; and 1 or 2 washed and crisped lettuce leaves. All these ingredients, except the bread, need to be carried in an insulated chest.

At the picnic, split the roll; fill with meat, cheese, and lettuce; then add marinated roasted red peppers (directions follow) with enough of the dressing to moisten the bread. Press shut and eat. Another option: bring thinly sliced red onions in a plastic bag to add to sandwiches. The peppers and onions don't need insulation to travel. Allow 2 sandwiches for a serving.

Marinated roasted red peppers. Empty 1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers into a 1- to 2-cup leakprioof container. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 1/4 teaspoon dry basil leaves, 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes about 1 cup, enough for 3 sandwiches.

Nachos in a Bag

3 cans (15 oz. each) chili con carne or 4 cups homemade

1 carton (8 oz.) refrigerated avocado dip

1 green onion, ends trimmed and thinly sliced (optional)

1 package (8 oz.) or 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese Prepared salsa

12 bags (1 3/4 oz. each) corn chips or tortilla chips

Pour chili into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan and stir over medium-low heat until hot, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart or larger wide-mouth thermos; hold in thermos no longer than 3 hours before serving.

Open avocado dip and sprinkle onion on dip; replace lid securely. Transport in an insulated bag along with cheese and salsa.

To eat, cut open bags of chips. Each diner adds chili, avocado dip, cheese, and salsa to his or her bag; eat directly from the bag. Makes 12 packets; allow 2 or 3 for each serving.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1988
Words:1160
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