By Brenda Ponnay
Romantic Summer Picnic Date from ToriAvey.com contributor Brenda Ponnay
My friend Brenda shares the simple joy of a summer picnic with us this week. I am in Israel at the moment, and would love to take a picnic basket like this one to the Galilee! — Tori
A summertime picnic date can be a perfectly magical way to mix up the usual mealtime routine. With my hectic schedule, I have always thought that packing a picnic would take too much work, but this week I gave it a try and was surprised by how easily it came together! It’s actually pretty simple, and the downtime benefits you receive while sitting outside, unplugged and enjoying nature, can be invaluable to your inner spirit. There really is something about being outdoors that is good for the soul.
A picnic can be as gourmet and elaborate or as simple as you like. I suggest stopping at your local farmer’s market for the freshest ingredients, swinging through a grocery deli or even hitting up your favorite restaurant for take out. I decided to go the farmer’s market route for some seedy sourdough bread, perfectly baked — crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. I also bought a ripe avocado, some plump vine-ripened tomatoes, a few cucumbers and buffalo mozzarella.
When it came time to assemble, I cut my bread into slices and spread them out on my big wooden cutting board. I topped the slices with my farmer’s market finds and even added some leftovers from the refrigerator. I created some “dessert” sandwiches with fresh fruit, hazelnut spread, peanut butter and a few chocolate chips for good measure. I was amazed how many variations I could make with just a few ingredients. Next time I might try to set up a DIY sandwich bar so that my guests can create their own tasty combinations, but since this was a date I liked the idea of bringing prepared sandwiches.
Once they were assembled, I wrapped my sandwiches in parchment paper, tied them with baker’s twine and labeled each one. I just love the look of cute little tied up sandwiches!
After everything was bundled up, I packed it into a vintage picnic basket that I scored at an estate sale a few years ago.
I also whipped up a quick pasta salad to go with our sandwiches and some pistachio brittle and nuts for dessert. Dessert is key at a picnic! It gives you an excuse to hang out and enjoy the outdoors even longer.
I topped off my basket with plates, silverware, my favorite tablecloth and a big bottle of fizzy blood orange soda.
I also packed some shatterproof stemless wine glasses. They look great and you don’t need to worry about breaking them like the more traditional glass versions.
When the day began to cool off, my date and I walked to our favorite park, spread out our delicious meal under a shady tree and voila! Dinner al fresco was served. It was such a nice break from the regular routine. I think we may have to make this a weekly thing!
Summer Picnic Recipe Ideas from ToriAvey.com