Fresh Picnic Recipe Ideas

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jun 28, 2010 11:45 AM
Tired of the same ol' ham-and-salad picnic? Here are some fresh ideas for your next alfresco lunch!

White Chocolate Berry Cake

9-inch sponge cake
2 cups fresh berries of your choice

White chocolate butter cream:
(makes about 4 ½ cups)
10 oz high quality white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cups egg whites (no yolks)
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Butter Cream: Put egg whites and sugar into the heatproof bowl (e.g. metal) of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture reaches 110°C. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until fluffy and completely cool. Switch to the paddle attachment. On medium-low speed, add butter, two pieces at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in chocolate. Raise speed to high and beat until smooth, about 5 min. Beat on low speed to eliminate air bubbles. Bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth. Butter cream can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days or frozen for up to one month.

Assemble: Slice sponge cake into three layers. Spread icing on one layer and top with berries, add next layer of cake, top with berries. Add top layer of cake and cover the top and sides of cake with butter cream. Top with berries and let cake chill for at least two hours before serving.

Summer Brushetta
(4 servings)

1 French baguette sliced
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup olives, sliced
1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Combine all in a bowl and let sit for at least an hour to combine all the flavours. Spoon onto fresh French baguette and serve. This can be made up and stored or keep the filling separate and assemble when ready to serve.

Chicken Pita
(makes 2 portions)

Pita bread, sliced in half and opened for the filling
1 cup cooked chicken diced
1 cup diced red pepper
1 stick celery, diced
¼ green pepper, diced
¼ red onion, diced
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp ranch dressing
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt

Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl. Lay a leaf of lettuce in the bottom of each pita. Fill with mix. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Cold Plate Wrap

Potato salad filling:
1 cooked potato, mashed
1 boiled egg, mashed
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Pinch each of salt & black pepper
Cheddar cheese, sliced
Black forest ham, sliced
Roast beef, sliced
Tomato, sliced
Shredded lettuce
12-inch white tortilla

Mix all ingredients of the potato salad to a spreadable consistency. Spread salad over about half the tortilla. Top with layers of cheese, ham, roast beef, tomato and lettuce. Fold ends and tightly roll up tortilla. Cut roll in half and secure roll with a toothpick and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Salmon Filet

4 oz salmon tail, cooked (pan-fried with light seasoning of salt and pepper is a good choice)
1 fresh French baguette
½ red onion, sliced
Baby spinach leaves
Lime mayonnaise (see recipe)

To make lime mayonnaise, whisk together:
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
pinch of chili powder
pinch of garlic powder

Slice fresh French baguette and lightly spread butter on each cut half. Toast on grill or in oven. Spread lime mayonnaise on one half of baguette. Layer with red onions and baby spinach. Put cooked salmon tail on top and squeeze a little extra lime juice over it. Then cover with other half of baguette.

Spinach Salad

1/4 cup button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp soya sauce
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup baby spinach
¼ cup diced feta cheese
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup fresh raspberries for garnish

1 cup oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh raspberries
3 tbsp white sugar
pinch black pepper

Sauté mushrooms in butter, soya sauce and black pepper. Remove from heat and let cool. Toss with baby spinach, cheese and almonds. To make vinaigrette: Add to blender oil, balsamic vinegar, raspberries, sugar and pepper. Blend until smooth. Drizzle over salad and sprinkle fresh raspberries over top.

Apricot Breakfast Loaf

Apricot filling:
(makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup packed dried apricots
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Stir all ingredients together in a large microwaveable bowl. Cook on high for about 10 min., stirring several times during cooking, until apricots are soft, puffed and have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove and chill.

Sweet yeast dough:
1/8 cup warm water
1 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 large egg, room temp.
1/4 cup milk, room temp.
1/8 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 oz cold butter or margarine

Pour all the liquid into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the liquid. Add 1/2 the flour, one egg and all the sugar. Mix and set aside. Add remaining flour to a separate bowl. Blend in the butter (don't over mix).

When the yeast mixture has doubled in size, add to flour mix and combine. Do not over mix. Cover the dough and chill for 1 hr.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a small rectangle. Place apricot filling down the middle, then brush the sides with it and fold each side over the filling. Tuck and knead the ends under the loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest and proof at room temp. until dough doesn't bounce back when poked. Before baking, whisk together milk, egg and a little sugar and brush the dough. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 min.

Chicken Calazone
(makes about 9 calazones)

1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1 2/3 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp oil

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water; add sugar and 1 cup flour. Cover with plastic wrap and put in warm place. When mix is frothy and doubled in size, add remaining flour salt and oil. Mix by hand till combined; knead for a few minutes then wrap in plastic wrap and chill till ready to use. (Good for a day or two.)

Cheese filling:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 ½ cups milk

Melt butter in saucepan. Add pepper and flour; mix till combined. Add milk and cook till thickened. Stir in shredded cheese. Remove from heat and refrigerate.

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
½ cup sautéed and sliced red pepper
½ cup sautéed and sliced green pepper
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
1 egg and 1/2 cup of milk whisked together for egg wash

Sepatae dough into 9 equal pieces roll into balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into circles. Brush egg wash around edges of dough to help seal the folded calzone. Place 2 tbsp cheese filling on each dough circle. Place remaining ingredients on one side of each circle; fold over dough. Pinch and roll over the edges. Place calzone on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush calzones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 25 min. or till brown (or freeze/refrigerate to bake later). Baked calzones are also enjoyed cold.