I love the idea of a picnic. Or a Piquenique, as the French call it. The French version of the word is much more amusing to say though, isn’t it? It’s a great thought, this picnic. Gather together some of your favorite (easily mobile) foods, lay out a blanket in a favorite spot (with or without live music…oh, those summer evening concerts or shady spots under the trees), invite a special someone and it’s an instant, Unique Piquenique, which is even more fun to say. And that’s before the mimosa.
I WISH it were that easy. When my husband and I were first married, we had an uber-picnic basket. I think it was a gift from someone as one of those you’re-newlyweds-therefore-everything-is-romantic gifts. It was a lovely rattan basket and contained all the parts of a good picnic basket. Checkered cloth, silverware, dishes, wine glasses, napkins…all strapped in for easy toting. If I remember correctly, we used it once.
Not that the romantic intentions weren’t there, it’s just that a picnic is so much easier in thought than in practice. Let’s be honest here. Yes, you have your fabulous rattan basket. But then you have to also to juggle the food and your drinks, because those snazzy piquenique baskets don’t factor in room for that. There’s a mis-design if ever I’ve seen one. Add to that a zillion tupperware containers and ziplock bags. Maybe you did manage to pack some really romantic food but did you remember the wine bottle opener, honey? No? Arrrg. And don’t forget to tuck under your arm a real blanket because as cute as that checkered one is, it’s really the size equivalent to a college twin bed. Grossly undersized.
So, there you are . Juggling the cute basket, the clunky plastic cooler, the blanket, probably a purse or backpack. Phone. Don’t forget a garbage bag. The movie-magic is seriously lacking at this point. We haven’t even discussed finding the perfect spot with a great view, no rocks or annoying animals. Maybe someday we’ll have a lovely picnic worthy of a scene from a movie. For now, I’ll just make the food and serve it in my garden. So much easier. But maybe I will throw down a blanket, though. Just to be more romantic.
Here are two things for nice little piqueniques….
I’m not usually a roast beef kind of gal, but this sandwich is one that we have each summer while in New Hampshire. There is a great little cafe called The Black Bear Cafe and this wrap is just divine. Killer, actually. I love it so much that I took one of their menus so that I would remember exactly what’s in that sandwich so that I could make it once in a while. That’s love.
Super easy. Use your favorite wraps. Spread with light cream cheese, sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste. Maybe a tad of garlic salt. Add a little bit of finely (finely!) chopped red onion. You don’t want onion breath on that picnic blanket. Then add thinly sliced cucumbers, lettuce and tomato and some good roast beef. Wrap it up, snuggle it in and give it a quick grill (on the ol’ panini maker) if you want to get the cream cheese a bit creamier. You can also skip the grilling if you like or are in a hurry. LOVE!
And for dessert because every picnic needs something sweet…
Orange Brownies, or what one of my friends calls the Orange Thingies. I believe this is a Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist from some recent year. Author unknown. And yes, they will kill you but they are worth the splurge. Honestly, how often do you picnic?
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
4 large eggs
2 tsp. pure orange extract
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tb. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Stir together flour, sugar and salt in bowl. Add butter, eggs, extract and zest. Beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven and pierce entire cake with fork.
For glaze, mix all ingredients together and stir until smooth. Pour glaze over cake. Cool and cut into squares.