Picnics for Grownups

Susan Spungen reinvents food-on-a-blanket with some surprise ingredients (think farmers’ market and ethnic inspired). Add a couple of sweet crowd pleasers, and you have portable meals to delight the most discerning of foodies

By Susan Spungen
PICNIC PERFECT >> Clockwise from top left: Cheddar and Onion-Marmalade Sandwich, Fresh Pea Salad, Cold Cucumber-and-Honeydew Soup, Gorp Cookies.
Photograph: Anna Williams

FRESH PEA SALAD
Prep time: 28 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves 6

For the Dressing
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium-to-large shallot, minced (about ¼ cup)
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

For the Salad
12 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed
12 ounces snow peas, trimmed
2 cups fresh shelled peas (about 2 pounds unshelled)
or frozen peas, thawed
Handful pea shoots, optional
½ cup chopped fresh mint

1. To make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and shallot to combine. Whisk in the oil. Place in a container with a tight-fitting lid or a jar for transportation.
2. To make the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, slice the snap peas on a slight bias in half or thirds. Slice the snow peas diagonally in strips. Have a large bowl of ice water nearby. If using fresh peas, add them to the boiling water first, and cook 1 minute. Add the snap peas and snow peas, and cook 1 additional minute. Drain all the peas, and quickly rinse under cold water. Plunge them into the bowl of ice water to refresh. Stir with your hands to ensure all the peas are cool. Drain thoroughly, and place in a large bowl.
3. If using frozen peas and/or pea shoots, add them now. Toss in the mint. Transfer to an airtight container. Add dressing just before serving.

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD
Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves 8

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage
1 cup grated carrots (about
2 medium carrots)
½ large red pepper, julienned
3 scallions, sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves
Black sesame seeds, for garnish
Boston lettuce leaves, for serving

1. Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, salt, pepper, honey and ginger. Whisk in oils. Combine with the chicken, and pack in an airtight container. Refrigerate. Can be made up to 1 day in advance.
2. Toss together the cabbage, carrots, red pepper, scallions and cilantro. Pack in an airtight container, and refrigerate. Just before serving, combine with chicken and dressing, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with lettuce leaves for wrapping.

RED-QUINOA SALAD
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 8

1 cup red quinoa*
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, finely chopped
(about 1 tablespoon)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups peeled, diced English cucumber
2 cups peeled, diced, cooked beets
1 cup small grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola

1. In a small pot, bring the quinoa to boil in 2 cups water. Lower heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool completely.
2. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil. Pour over cooled quinoa. Add remaining ingredients, and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in an airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Note: Most quinoa comes prerinsed, but check the label, and if it isn’t, rinse the quinoa well before cooking.

SPICY-GREENS FRITTATA
Prep time: 34 minutes
Cooking time: 37 minutes
Serves 8

First Published May 27, 2011

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Comments

Fred Brenson06.24.2011

Yummy....too much tasty!! mini laptop Would you mind can I join with you in a dinner or launch? SEO link building

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