A Gourmet Picnic
by Julie Badger Jensen

A gourmet picnic can be an elegant excursion for two or a glamorous gathering for many. The setting can be anywhere your imagination takes you . . . a wooden table under blossoming trees, a pleasant porch, a dreamy beach, or a grassy hillside by a forest stream. Experience a serene afternoon or evening celebrating petals blowing in the breeze, sailboats in the sunset, a changing sky, or the sound of a brooklet passing by swaying pines.

You will be captured by the enchantment of nature . . . cascading roses spilling over a garden gate, ivy climbing stone walls, bird songs and budding greenery of the warm earth. Let botanical masterpieces generously fill your senses. Wander in willows or hunt hollyhocks. Feel tranquility and peace. Give yourself and someone else this precious gift. “Seize the moment” and celebrate spring. Reaffirm the quality of life you long for.

Menu, accessories, and outdoor charm add up to a memorable feast that looks beautiful and travels well. Treat the family to a special occasion that will be long remembered. Celebrate a graduation, Birthday, or just any day. If you’ve been waiting to host a lunch or dinner for a dozen or more, but lack the seating space, consider this outdoor alternative in your own backyard or a mountain setting.

For a sparkling beginning, enjoy Shrimp on ice, served with Zesty Sauce and lemon wedges. Follow with delicious French Dip Sandwiches, easily assembled at the scene. Create a stunning Vegetable Basket. It’s a crowd pleaser and delightfully simple.

Deviled Eggs are a winning accompaniment to the hot sandwiches. Make ahead of time and return to the egg carton for refrigeration and safe travel. Transfer them to an attractive serving piece upon your arrival. Refresh your guests with raspberry or pineapple frappe. Bring along footed tumblers or clear plastic glasses to serve in style. A spectacular conclusion to the Gourmet Picnic is the dazzling and colorful Fruit Tart . . . sure to draw rave reviews.

Accessories add the final touch. Linen napkins, a country fresh bouquet of flowers, and well-chosen serving pieces all set the mood. Add a beautiful tablecloth or colorful blanket to create a spectacular backdrop for this glorious feast and gather AROUND THE TABLE.

SHRIMP APPETIZER

A great beginning

Large fresh shrimp, cooked and pealed (allow several per person)

Ruffled leaf lettuce

Lemon wedges

Line an attractive bowl with ruffled leaf lettuce. Arrange shrimp around sides of bowl. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with Zesty Sauce.

ZESTY SAUCE

A milder dip can be created by substituting

1 / 3 cup mayonnaise in place of horseradish sauce.
1 cup chili sauce
1 / 3 cup horseradish sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice

Blend and serve with shrimp

FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES

Simple, yet elegant and flavorful
2 pkgs. Au Jus Mix (1 oz. each)
1 can beef consomm soup (10 1 / 2 oz.)
1 cup water
6 or 7 lb. beef roast (Sirloin Tip works well)
1 dozen large soft rolls or 1 loaf French bread

Bake roast in Dutch Oven or heavy roaster at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for about 2 1 / 2 hours or to desired doneness. Using a foil tent during cooking helps keep in juices

Remove from oven and cool in refrigerator for two hours or over night. Place roast in plastic bag and return roasting pan with juices to refrigerator. Take roast to your butcher for thin slicing, if desired. Return meat to roasting pan and warm meat and juices over low heat or briefly in warm oven.

Prepare Au Jus Mix (2 packages) according to directions and add meat juices, consomm and water. Mix well and heat. Transport meat and Au Jus in thermos. Pour into individual cups for dipping. This size roast will serve 10-12.

VEGETABLE BASKET

Create a glamorous basket filled with

your favorite vegetables.

Romaine or green leaf lettuce

Assorted vegetables of your choice

Such as: Zucchini sticks, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots and celery, purple leaf cabbage, green onions . . . whatever vegetables you enjoy.

Cut up vegetables in desired amounts the night before. Place in plastic bags. Add water to crisp them. Refrigerate. Before leaving for picnic, line basket with foil. Cover with lettuce. Begin at the back of basket, clustering vegetables in colorful array. If you wish to serve with dip, place in hollowed out red pepper or purple cabbage. Overlap long stemmed green onions and wire onto basket handle.

DEVILED EGG BOATS

Worth “stowing away” for your gourmet picnic

12 hard cooked eggs
3 Tbs. Miracle Whip salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices cheddar cheese (1 oz. each individually wrapped)
Dill or sweet pickle, as desired

Peel eggs and slice in half. Remove yolk and mash with a fork. Blend in other ingredients except cheese. Fill egg whites with mixture. Put egg halves back together and place in egg carton for easy transport. When you arrive at destination, set eggs on serving plate. Cut each cheese slice into 8 triangles. Push toothpick through cheese “sails” and place one in each egg half to make your boats.

SHERBET FRAPPE

Oh so refreshing

1 gallon sherbet of your choice
2 liter bottle of Sprite

Transport in cooler. When ready to serve, add desired amount of Sprite to sherbet and enjoy.

FRUIT TART

Spectacular pizza style dessert
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 / 2 cup butter or margarine
1 1 / 4 cup flour
1 / 4 tsp. salt
1 / 3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup frozen whipped topping

-or-

1 / 2 pint whipped cream

Assorted fruits:

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 fresh peaches, sliced or 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

Combine 1 / 2 package cream cheese and butter or margarine, mixing well until blended. Add flour and salt; mix well. Form into a ball and chill.

On a lightly floured surface, roll ball to form a 14″ circle. Place in 12″ tart or pizza pan. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Combine remaining cream cheese, sugar and juice, mixing until well blended. Fold in whipped topping; spoon into crust. Arrange fruits in circles, working toward the center. Arrange strawberries around outside of pan, then kiwi fruit slices, fresh peach slices or mandarin oranges, and strawberries in the center. Transport in a cooler.

ENJOY YOUR PICNIC!


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