Although sandwiches seem like a given for a picnic, they’re tricky because you run the risk of ending up with soggy bread. However with certain sandwiches, it isn’t the worst thing to have the sandwich sitting around for a while – in fact, it makes it even better. The muffaletta, a classic New Orleans sandwich, is a great example and is super easy and convenient to make. You start with bread (which, yes you purists, I know this isn’t the authentic round muffaletta loaf, but a focaccia or other Italian round bread does just fine). Then, spread generous amounts of an olive spread and just layer all kinds of delicious cold cuts and cheese. The longer the olive spread and cold cuts can mingle with the bread, the better your muffaletta will be. I love serving these sandwiches cut into rectangles or into wedges so a beautiful cross section of meats and cheeses is exposed!
1 loaf of focaccia or other Italian round bread
1/3 lb of Genoa salami
1/4 lb of Coppa
1/4 lb of Mortadella
1/2 lb of sliced ham
1/2 lb of sliced provolone
1/2 lb of sliced mozzarella
1 cup of green olives, finely diced
1 cup of kalamata olives, finely diced
1/2 cup of marinated artichokes, finely diced
1/3 cup of roasted red bell peppers, finely diced
3 green onions, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of celery (about 1 large stalk), thinly sliced
I wish I could say that I picked Hitachino Nest Beer out of a blind tasting lineup. Truthfully, however, it was the little red nest owl staring me down from across the beer aisle. I took a closer look and I was further intrigued after seeing the words, Red Rice Ale. I picked up a few bottles to take with me to our picnic, and it sure did hit the spot. Trust me, the Red Rice Ale from Hitachino Nest Beer is expressive in every way. I’m usually not a fan of malty beers, which it is, but this is different. This is complex, like no beer I’ve ever tasted. Bursts of bold ripe fruit combine with earthy, roasted, rice flavors, and very reminiscent of sake.
The thing that gets me most excited about summer is all the wonderful sweet fruit available, especially strawberries. I also love the idea of packing desserts in jars for picnics. So, when I thought about the perfect picnic dessert, strawberry shortcake in a jar instantly came to mind. I changed up the traditional shortcake by adding sweet basil, which gives the dessert a subtle light herby dimension – perfect for a warm summer day.
1 3/4 pounds of strawberries, rinsed and quartered
1/2 cup of sugar plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of thinly sliced sweet basil
1 1/2 cup of cold heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
The recent wave of glorious weather can only mean one thing. It’s picnic season! Whether it’s spending an afternoon in a park, enjoying an outdoor concert, playing at the beach, or relaxing after a daylong excursion, a casual, yet well prepared meal is the highlight of any picnic. For the next couple of weeks we’re sharing a slew of picnic-friendly recipes and tips for putting together that perfect outdoor meal . . . just in time for summer!
We’re so excited to be starting a new weekly series “Yum, We Love . . .” featuring a selection of our favorite links around the web!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck, the proprietor of Charles Chocolates, who gave me a tour of their new store and kitchen in San Francisco. His passion for chocolate clearly comes through in all the incredible handcrafted chocolate confections. My favorite? This Salty-Sweet Cashew Bar with whole roasted cashews. TO. DIE. FOR.
My first bartending job was at a popular Spanish tapas restaurant in Berkeley, CA. We took pride in our cocktails. Our bar manager put together a great list, always going above and beyond to assure we had the freshest ingredients on hand. I can confidently say that we had, at the time, some of the best margaritas, mojitos, and caipirinhas in town. We did not, however, make very many mai tais. In fact, the first time a ticket came through for this classic rum-based cocktail, I frantically searched through the several recipe books we kept behind the bar. Each book had a different recipe, all calling for some combination of rum, grenadine, and tropical juices. None of which, unfortunately, were the least bit accurate. Sadly, this trend still continues today. The mai tai is misinterpreted more than most. My intent is to share this classic version that I’ve enjoyed over the years. This iconic tiki drink is meant to highlight the rum, rather than syrups and juices. If you can’t find Jamaican rum and/or rhum agricole, substitute a premium aged rum of choice. Needless to say, I still feel bad for the diner that ended up with my unenthusiastic pineapple umbrella medley.