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101 Picnic Dishes to Make in 20 Minutes – NYTimes.com

101 Picnic Dishes to Make in 20 Minutes – NYTimes.com.

Another great blog entry I came across today from the New York Times. It is the season of picnics, and even if you decide at the last minute to go, you can still whip up most of these ingredients in no time at all. Give it a try!

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Cooking Websites, Lunch, Picnic Fare

 

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Picnics, a new Roast Chicken Recipe and a Refreshing Drink

It turned out to be quite a busy day yesterday, so I didn’t get a chance to do any blogging at all, so I will try to make up for it now. We ended up having some family over yesterday, so I was able to use the chickens that I bought the other day and try out a new recipe. I got this recipe from Bon Appetit and I think it turned out really well. it was Roast Chickens with Pistachio Salsa, Peppers and Corn. Admittedly it was a little warm out here to have the oven running, but it was worth it.

Roast Chickens with Pistachio Salsa, Peppers and Corn

Chickens

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, minced, mashed to a paste with the back of a knife

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme plus sprigs for stuffing

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

2 2 1/2- 3 pound whole chickens

2 tablespoons salt 1 lemon, halved

Peppers and Corn

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup minced capers plus 1-2 teaspoons caper brine

Salt

8 cups thinly sliced yellow, orange and red peppers (about 5 large peppers)

4 red Fresno chiles, seeded and thinly sliced

3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)

2 tablespoons minced parsley

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pistachio Salsa

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the chickens: Whisk the lemon juice, oil, garlic, 3 tablespoons of thyme, rosemary and sage in a small bowl; set marinade aside. Season the chickens with salt and pepper inside and out. Place each chicken inside a resealable plastic bag; divide the marinade evenly between the two bags. Spread the marinade evenly over the chicken to distribute. Seal the bags and chill for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the chickens from the bags to a small roasting pan; gently blot the excess oil from the marinade with paper towels, leaving the herbs intact on the chicken skin. Stuff each chicken with a lemon half and several thyme sprigs. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine, if desired.

Roast the chickens until well browned, about 30-35 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue roasting, occasionally basting the chickens with the pan juices, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, 20-30 minutes longer. Transfer the chickens to a carving board; let the chickens rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the peppers and corn: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and capers. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and the chiles; season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the caper brine, corn, parsley and vinegar just before serving.

For the pistachio salsa: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in the oil until blended.

A couple of notes on the meal. The peppers and corn turned out a lot spicier than I thought it would, so you can either tone down the chiles or eliminate them, or if you like it hot, leave it that way. It was pretty spicy, but I made some brown rice to go with the meal and if you mixed it in with the rice, it did tone done the heat some. Secondly, you can make the pistachio salsa ahead of time and cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 days before serving. Just let it come to room temperature before you serve it.

I made a nice fruit salad for dessert made of watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, mango, pineapple and kiwi that was delicious and I had quite a bit of watermelon leftover, as well as watermelon juice, so I decided to make a refreshing cocktail for a hot day.

Watermelon Martini

1 cup watermelon juice (press watermelon through a sieve or cheesecloth or blend some watermelon pieces)

4 ounces vodka

1/4 cup simple syrup

1/4 cup triple sec

3 tablespoons salt (optional)

3 tablespoons sugar (optional)

Ice

Watermelon slices, for garnish (optional)

Mix together the sugar and salt if using. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with a piece of watermelon. Dip the rim into the sugar and salt mixture. Repeat for another glass.

Place the watermelon juice, vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Top with ice. Shake well.

Pour contents through a strainer into martini glasses.

Garnish with a wedge of watermelon if desired.

It is very tasty and refreshing if you want to give it a try. I think it’s a great adult drink for the summer.

Finally, I had asked a question on here and on my other blog, http://www.theofficeofiguanaflats.com about where you would go on a picnic and what you would bring.

I got some interesting answers, but most of them seem to tend towards the same thing of a nice, quiet backyard-type setting with lots of grass, lots of shade and lots of good food. There are so many places to choose to go for a nice picnic, I don’t know that I could pick an exact place. I can say that I too would like a nice quiet, grassy setting, someplace shaded by trees but enough so that some sun can break through and give you the nice warm feeling on your face now and then. There are probably settings like this all over, in any park or mountain hideaway. it would have to be somewhere where it wouldn’t get too hot, maybe near a lake that you could take a quick dip or do some fishing before you picnic. As for what I would bring, I would take a nice picnic basket with a comfy blanket to sit on or lay on. There would have to be some fresh fruit involved, maybe a fruit salad or just a mix of some berries and melon. I would want to make some chicken salad sandwiches, or maybe even better some peppery bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwiches on some nice fresh ciabatta bread, some really fresh half sour pickles and some fresh, homemade potato salad. I could even go lighter and just bring a fresh loaf of crunchy french bread, some really fresh, off the vine tomatoes, a little salt, some arugula and some good extra-virgin olive oil and just have some sliced tomato and pieces of bread with a little bit of the oil, yum yum. Of course we would have to have a bottle of wine, something light I think, probably a white that you would have chilled to serve with your picnic. I think that would be great.

Thanks again to everyone who answered and a special thank you to Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant, Gael Greene and MyLastBite.com for offering up their answers. If you’re interested, you can check out today’s question at http://www.theofficeofiguanaflats.com to see what it is and answer if you would like. Today’s is also somewhat food-related, so you might like it.

That’s it for today. We’re taking it easy tonight and just having pizza, so there is nothing special going on in the kitchen tonight. I do hope to make the Sicilian Steak tomorrow, so check back for that. Until then, enjoy your holiday weekend and enjoy your meal!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Beverages, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Side Dishes, Vegetables

 

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Next Week’s Dinners and a Picnic Of a Question

I did most of my shopping earlier today, although I do still need to go out and get a few things still for next week’s meals. We discussed what we want to eat, but we haven’t picked days for anything yet, so it will kind of be hit or miss to see what day gets which meal. I can tell you that I am planning to cook:

Greek Lamb Kebobs, Rice Pilaf and Tomatoes

Popcorn Shrimp

Pork Chops Agrodolce with Herbed Bean Salad

Sicilian Steak

I also have a whole chicken and some ribs but have not yet figured out what I want to do with any of it yet. If you didn’t see the recipe from last night, I can tell you that we loved it and we’ll be cooking it again if you want to check that one out.

On another note, since it is a long weekend for most people and the start of the summer season, a lot of people will be grilling and picnicking now. I have re-blogged a few articles over the fast few days referring to picnics and grilling of you want to check them out. On my other blog, The Office of Iguana Flats, I just posed a question to my readers today that fits well with this cooking blog as well, so I thought I would ask it here as well to give you a chance to answer. The question is:

Since the summer season is upon us, if you were going on a picnic and could go anywhere you wanted, where would you go and what would you bring?

Let’s assume you could go any place you want and bring anything you want. There are lots of places to choose from: beaches, parks, the mountains, a deserted island, your rooftop, the Eiffel Tower,  it could be any place. Somewhere that you can relax and enjoy your picnic with whomever you want, or by yourself if you choose. Think about what you would want to bring – it can be anything as decadent or as light as you like, a nice bottle of wine, some fine cheese, or just some sandwiches or hot dogs, whatever makes you happy. Think about it and let me know. You can answer on here, or on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll also ask some people on Twitter and see if they respond. I’ll post my answer tomorrow.

I know it’s a short blog post today, but we’re just having leftovers tonight from the past week and I’ll be cooking again tomorrow, so check back then and see what I can come up with to eat. I have some good stuff to choose from, so I’ll see which recipe is going to be good for tomorrow (I am leaning towards the Sicilian Steak). Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Cooking, Meal Plan Menu, Picnic Fare

 

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Jennifer Probst

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