5 Pro Picnic Tips From the Kitchy Kitchen
Picnics are meant to be a bit rustic and casual, but packing up for one requires attention to detail. These are my favorite tips for a picnic that you can spend enjoying rather than trying to keep the ants away.
For more from food enthusiast and cookbook author Claire Thomas go to The Kitchy Kitchen.
1. Blankets are not enough. One of the great pleasures of a picnic is laying in the sun - so make your neck and back comfortable by packing a little extra support. Brings pillows, ottomans, or, in a pinch a few extra blankets to roll up. It will make it much more comfortable.
2. Prepare for easy cleanup! Pack two disposable bags, one for trash and one for dirty utensils. It's so much easier to have everything separated and organized.
3. Pack smart. Now is not the time to serve something with a bunch of different components and sauces, or that anything that requires knife work. Simple salads, sandwiches, and finger foods that can be served at room temperature work best.
When You Get There
4. Bring something to do I always have a few books, magazines, or crossword puzzles kicking around my car, and I always throw a deck of cards into the picnic basket. It's so fun not only relaxing and enjoying a meal, but putting down the phone and connecting with someone in a beautiful setting.
5. Plan ahead. If you want to have a beach picnic, make sure to check the tide schedule. Check the weather - if it's a crazy hot day, bring extra water, if it's surprisingly cool, have an extra sweater on hand - you don't want poor planning to cut a lovely afternoon short.
And now a couple picnic friendly recipes to take with you...
Spiced Yam Potato Salad
1 pound yams, peeled, cut into eighths
1 pound rose potatoes, peeled, cut into fourths or eighths
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon Harissa (or Sriracha if you can’t find it)
1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and Pepper
In a pot of room temperature water, add the cut up yams and potatoes and a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender (but not mushy). Drain the yams and potatoes and cool to room temp.
Mix together the spices, harissa, and Greek yogurt. Set aside.
Add the remaining ingredients to the yams and potatoes. Mix together, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Chicken Mole Sandwiches
For 2 to 3 sandwiches
2 poached chicken breasts, chopped or shredded, cold
1 cup mole sauce, plus 3 tablespoons, cooled
6 slices whole grain bread, lightly toasted
Place the shredded chicken in a bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. Add a cup of the mole sauce and stir until the chicken is coated. Spread a tablespoon of mole over the two interior sides of the toast, add the chicken, and press into a sandwich. Enjoy!
Grilled Pineapple Agua Fresca
For 1 quart (4 cups)
1 pineapple, cored and sliced into fourths
1 cup lime juice (about 8 limes)
2 cups hot water
6 tablespoons agave nectar
On a hot grill, grill the pineapple until marked (about 2 minutes a side). Pop into a blender, and puree. Add water if needed to help the blender get going. Strain into a pitcher. Juice the limes, and put all of the used halves into a bowl and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. The hot water pulls all of the natural oils out of the citrus skins and adds so much flavor. Add the water and juices to the pitcher, and finish with the agave nectar. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.