With warmer, longer evenings in our future, why not take advantage and pack a picnic to enjoy and take advantage of the season? The suggestions below are quick, affordable, and easy to prepare, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy what you’ve prepared. Pack everything up in a tote bag, add a bottle of wine and a blanket, and you’re good to go!
By Elizabeth Palmer Starnes
Pick three different cheeses, being mindful to include a mix of hard and soft cheeses, and a mix of mild and sharp cheeses. I’d go for Manchego, Maytag Blue, and Taleggio. Pack your favorite crackers or a baguette, and some fig jam or quince paste for sweetness. Bring along a small cutting board and a knife to cut and spread the cheese. You can also add in some nuts, charcuterie, and dried or fresh fruit.
Many supermarkets sell these already skewered and seasoned; if not just thread four or five shrimp on each skewer, season with olive oil, garlic, and fresh green herbs, then grill briefly on each side until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and wrap all the skewers together in foil to transport.
Grab a bag of pre-shelled frozen edamame at your supermarket, pour the whole bag into a colander, and run under hot water until they’re tender. Drain, toss with a splash of olive oil, black pepper, and sea salt. If you have fresh basil, chop up some of that and add it in too.
Grilled Peach Skewers
Core and thickly slice three peaches, and thread them onto a few wooden skewers. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, and a few cracks of black pepper. Grill briefly on each side until slightly charred and tender. Sprinkle over some chopped fresh basil if you’ve got it. For extra points, bring along some mozzarella to eat with the peaches.
Make up a few skewers alternating cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and little mozzarella balls (just tear off chunks of mozzarella if you can’t find the little ones). Drizzle them all with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a bit of black pepper and salt.
Bring along some mixed berries (think strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) and a batch of your favorite homemade or store-bought brownies or pound cake for a heat proof, unfussy end to your meal.
* photo credit: grimlockanddrillhead.wordpress.com