We’ve all seen the photo…. you know the one…
A happy family is gathered on a lush, perfectly manicured lawn with a perfectly ironed red and white checkered blanket all wearing smiley faces on a bright sunny day.
The picture is complete with a wicker picnic basket, a bottle of wine, a French baguette and all the usual suspects, including cheese, crackers, grapes and scrumptious “gourmet” fare. Have you ever been to a picnic like that? I haven’t?
I’ve imagine one, planned one…just have never been to one.
JUST WHAT IS A PICNIC?
Food historians tell us picnics evolved from the elaborate traditions of moveable outdoor feasts enjoyed by the wealthy in Europe and other “civilized countries” many hundreds of years ago and quite often involved medieval hunting, high-brow socializing and games.
The word “Picnic” is thought to be of French origin (the French piquer means to pick at food; nique means something small of no value.) The word was accepted by the Academie francaise in 1740 and thereafter became a universally accepted word in many languages
Typical picnic fare in those days consisted of large displays of roasted game, a variety of fruits, vegetables, breads and enormous displays of sweets and pastries.
Pesto Chicken & Farfalle (Bow Tie Pasta) Salad with Vegetables: Serves 4 to 6 Persons
2 Cups Farfalle Pasta ( Bow Tie)
6—8 Cups Salted Water ( To Cook Pasta)
2 Tbsp Ex. Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Medium Sweet Onion,
1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, Cut Matchstick
8 to 12 Spears Fresh Asparagus, Cut in 1” bias pieces
6 to 8 Mushrooms, Med/Lg. White, Quartered
1/2 Cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
2 to 3 cups Pulled, Cooked Meat from 1 Rotisserie Chicken
3/4 Cup Basil Pesto (Cibo Brand, Delallo Brand or Homemade)
To Taste Salt & Pepper
1/4 Cup Toasted Pinenuts
1. Cook Farfalle Pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water until well chilled, drain once again then place in a medium-large bowl and chill.
2. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil then sauté onion, red bell pepper, mushrooms and asparagus approximately 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened and glazed but still crisp and al dente. Remove vegetables from the heat, spread out on a plate or platter and immediately chill.
3. Toss the pasta with the sautéed vegetables, grape tomato halves, pulled chicken meat and basil pesto. Season additionally with salt & pepper and garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve.
Zesty Sweet Corn Salsa:Makes approximately 8 cups.
This delicious Corn Salsa is great both as a snack and as an alternative to sauce on Grilled Chicken or Fish.
2 Cups Sweet Corn Kernels, raw
2 Cups Black Eyed Peas, cooked or canned and drained
2 Cups Red Onion, diced 1/4″
2 ea. Red Peppers, seeded and diced 1/4″
6 Stalks Green Onion, chopped
4 ea. Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced 1/4″
4 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. Jalapeno Pepper with Seeds, minced
1 Cup Zesty Italian Dressing
1 Cup Sweet & Spicy French Dressing
1. Combine the first eight ingredients (all except dressings) in a non-reactive bowl (stainless steel, glass or plastic) and stir. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours (chilled) before serving to allow all the flavors to blend together.
2. One hour before serving, stir in the dressings.
3. Also, enjoy with crispy tortilla chips or Frito’s Brand Corn Chips for a nutritious snack!
Fresh Herbed Watermelon Salad: Serves 6
1 Red Onion, Julienned
½ Cup Salvaggio’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Fresh Limes, Juiced
½ Cup Fresh Mint, Chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Basil, Chopped
1 TBSP Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
2 TBSP Honey
2 Qts Watermelon, Seeded, Cubed
1 Cup Feta Cheese, Crumbled
½ Cup Kalamata Olives, Pitted, Halved
1. In a medium size bowl, combine onion, olive oil, lime juice, herbs and honey to make a dressing.
2. Place watermelon in a large mixing bowl and toss with dressing.
3. Place mixture in a serving bowl and garnish with feta cheese and olives.