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Smoked Turkey and Tortellini Salad

Smoked Turkey and Tortellini Salad


1 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini or 1, 7- to 8-ounce package dried cheese-filled tortellini

1 C. chopped, cooked smoked turkey, ham, or chicken

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 C. coarsely chopped green sweet pepper

1/4 C. sliced pitted ripe olives (optional)

1/4 C. bottled Italian vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

Black pepper


Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. In a large bowl combine tortellini, turkey, tomatoes, sweet pepper, and, if desired, olives. Drizzle salad dressing over mixture; toss to coat. Season to taste with pepper. Serve immediately.

Pluot Tart

Pluot Tart



9-inch square puff pastry (half of a 17.3-oz. package)

2 T. apricot jam

1 pound (2 or 3) pluots, rinsed and cut into thin wedges (try “flavor grenade” in late august-September)

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 T. turbinado sugar


Lay puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut square in half to make two rectangles; save one for another use. With a floured rolling pin, roll out one rectangle to 7 by 14 inches. Transfer to a buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Brush all but a 1-inch border of dough with the apricot jam. Lay two rows of overlapping pluot wedges over jam. Brush edges of dough with egg and fold, pinching corners to seal. Brush edges of tart with egg. Sprinkle fruit with sugar. Bake in a 375° oven until pastry is browned and pluots are tender when pierced, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.

Truffled Devilled Eggs

Truffled Devilled Eggs

12 whole eggs hard-boiled and split lengthwise. Whites and yolks separated. 

1/2 C. mayonnaise

2 T. chives, minced

1/4 Tsp. dry mustard

1/4 Tsp. truffle oil

1 black truffle, minced & peeled 

salt & pepper to taste 

1 T. snipped chives


Mix egg yolks with Mayo and chives and remaining ingredients, except egg whites. Mash with a fork until mixture is creamy. Fit a pastry bag with a star tip and fill bag with egg mixture. Pipe yolks into the egg whites (A plastic sandwich bag can be used with a corner cut off if no pastry bag is available.). Garnish with snipped chives. Makes 24 eggs.

Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad

Sweet & Tangy Watermelon Salad


2 T. rice vinegar

2 1/2 tsp. sugar

2 C. diced seeded watermelon

2 C. diced cucumber

1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 C. unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted (see Tip) and coarsely chopped


Stir together vinegar and sugar in a medium bowl until the sugar almost dissolves. Add watermelon, cucumber and cilantro; toss gently to combine. Just before serving, sprinkle with peanuts. Tip: To toast nuts: Heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Black Olive and Blue Cheese Bread Spirals

Black Olive and Blue Cheese Bread Spirals

Nonstick cooking spray

1package (11 ounces) refrigerated French bread dough

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (optional)

1/3 C. finely chopped green onions

1/3 C. chopped pitted black olives (about 12 large)

1/4 C. finely chopped green bell pepper

1/4 C. crumbled blue cheese


Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Unroll bread dough on clean work surface. Sprinkle evenly with oregano and red pepper flakes, if desired. Top with olives, onions and bell pepper. Sprinkle cheese over top. Roll up dough; gently transfer to prepared baking sheet. Using serrated knife, cut 4 to 5 slits in loaf top. Bake 25 minutes or until deep golden in color. Remove bread to wire rack; cool completely. Lightly spray top of loaf with cooking spray. Note These spirals may be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Tabouleh Wraps

Tabouleh Wraps

Traditional parsley bulgur salad


3/4 C. bulgur or cracked wheat, fine

2 C. water, cold

2 C. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 C. green onion, sliced

1/4 C. fresh mint, chopped

1/4 C. olive oil, extra virgin

2 T. lemon juice, fresh

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

2 tomatoes, seeded, diced fine

8 large lettuce leaves, washed, and, if desired, blanched


Place bulgur in a bowl and cover with the cold water. Leave to soak for 30-40 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract water. Spread on a cloth and leave to dry further. Put bulgur into a mixing bowl and add onions. Squeeze mixture with hands to make bulgur absorb onion flavor. Add coarsely chopped parsley and mint. Whisk olive oil with lemon juice and stir in salt and pepper. Add to salad and toss well. Gently stir diced tomato into salad. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. To serve, spoon salad onto leaves and roll like a soft taco. Soft leaf or Boston lettuce works very well with this dish. If using a hearty leaf such as chard, mustard green or kale, be sure to blanch the leaves by briefly dropping them into boiling, then cold water, to soften them.

Picnic Sesame Noodles

Picnic Sesame Noodles

1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti

1/2 C. reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 T. sesame oil

2 T. canola oil (try subbing 1 T for 1 T. Peanut Butter)

2 T. rice-wine vinegar, or lime juice

1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided

1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro, divided (optional)

4 C. snow peas, trimmed and sliced on the bias

1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 C. toasted sesame seeds


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain; rinse under cold water. Meanwhile, whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil, vinegar (or lime juice), crushed red pepper, 1/4 C. scallions and 2 T. cilantro (if using). Add noodles, snow peas and bell pepper; toss to coat. To serve, mix in sesame seeds and garnish with the remaining scallions and cilantro.


Yield: 8 servings

Calories: 345

Fat: 12g

Fiber: 10g

Miss Leslie’s Ham Salad on Biscuits

Miss Leslie’s Ham Salad on Biscuits


2 tubes, 6 pieces each, large biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury brand, from dairy aisle of market)

1 pound cooked ham from the deli, 1/4-inch thick slices, diced

3 ribs celery, from the heart, finely chopped

1/2 C. salad olives with pimento, drained, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped

4 scallions, finely chopped

1/4 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley – a couple of handfuls of leaves

1/3 C. mayonnaise, just enough to bind salad

3 T. prepared yellow mustard

3 T. dill pickle relish

Salt and black pepper


Prepare bake-off biscuits to package directions, 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. Cool biscuits on wire rack. Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasonings, to taste. Split cool biscuits and fill with Leslie’s DEEELICIOUS ham salad.

Wild Mushroom & Toasted Walnut Crostini

Wild Mushroom & Toasted Walnut Crostini

This recipe lends itself well to a picnic because it can be made a couple days ahead and can be packed easily. If you cannot find any type of wild mushroom, then use chopped portabellas or the white button mushrooms.


3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil

3 C. mixed, fresh wild mushrooms (chanterelles, shitaki, crimini), cleaned and coarsely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1-8 oz. package low-fat cream cheese

2 T. soy sauce

2 T. non-fat sour cream

2 T. sherry

1/2 C. walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

1/4 C. chopped Italian parsley


Heat a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium for approximately 20-30 seconds. (The objective is to heat the pan enough before adding oil so the vegetables won’t stick). Add 2 T. of olive oil and tip pan to coat the bottom. Quickly add garlic and green onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes then remove and reserve. Add remaining oil and mushrooms, shaking pan regularly. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until mushrooms release their juices. Remove from heat and cool. Meanwhile, place green onions, garlic and remaining ingredients except walnuts and parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Mix until smooth and creamy. Stir into the cooled mushrooms, adding the walnuts and parsley as you mix the ingredients together.




These easy toasts can be made several days ahead if stored in an airtight container. They are also wonderful to keep on hand to serve with marinated goat cheese for unexpected guests.


1 small baguette

small amount of extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 375F. Slice bread into 1/4 inch thickness. Lightly brush with olive oil on one side and place oiled side up on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then turn over to lightly brown the other side. Remove and cool completely before storing. Will make enough for this picnic plus leftovers.

Pickled Shrimp on Crisp Baguettes

Pickled Shrimp on Crisp Baguettes

3/4 C. apple cider vinegar

1-1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. English-style dry mustard

1/4 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/4 tsp. mustard seeds

1/4 tsp. coriander seeds

1 C. olive oil

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 bay leaf

1-1/2 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh dill or Italian parsley

1 thin baguette, cut into 1/2″ slices and lightly toasted in a 350 F oven for 2-3 minutes on each side


Whisk together the vinegar, pepper, salt, sugar, mustard, red pepper flakes, mustard and coriander seeds in a bowl and add the oil in a stream, whisking. Whisk until emulsified, then stir in the garlic and bay leaf. In a large pan of boiling lightly salted water cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes or until they turn pink and are cooked through. Drain them well and add them to the marinade. Let the mixture cool slightly, then stir in the onion and lemon slices. If desired cover and chill overnight. Stir in the minced dill or Italian parsley and transfer to a portable container. To serve, spoon on baguette slices or dip slices in the mixture and scoop up the shrimp.

Hiking Day Granola and Dried Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hiking Day Granola and Dried Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C. firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

1-1/2 C. granola

1/4 C. dried cherries, chopped

1 C. semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz.) (or white chocolate chips)


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together in another bowl until lightly and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients, granola and finally the dried cherries and chocolate chips.  Drop the dough by rounded T. 2″ apart onto buttered cookie sheets and bake in the middle of the oven 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks.


Aqua Fresca di Frutta

Aqua Fresca di Frutta

1 large cantaloupe or 1/2 a watermelon, seeded and diced (about 3 C.)

1 1/2 C. water

1/2 C. sugar, plus more to taste

2 to 3 limes, juiced

Pinch salt


Puree cantaloupe or watermelon in a food processor and pour through a fine sieve to eliminate pulp. In a pitcher, mix strained fruit puree with water and add sugar, lime juice, and salt, to taste.  Chef’s Note: This and other similar fruit drinks, which translate literally as “fresh water,” are served all over Mexico and they’re a cinch to replicate at home. The key is to strain the pulpy fruit to make a clearer liquid. Instead of melon, you could use strawberries, pineapple, mango, or any fruit that is soft enough to puree.

Picnic Kit for Home or Car

Picnic Kit for Home or Car

First, choose a container that suits the personality of the person who will be using the kit. It might be a traditional basket, a large canvass bag, or even a small backpack.


Next, use the list below as a guideline for what to keep in your kit. Maybe you won’t need all of the items, but these are good essentials to have on hand so you’ll always be prepared for spur of the moment picnics. 

Utensils — forks, knives, spoons, plates — Coleman (the camping folks) make a very nice, portable service for 4, or use some from home or even paper plates and plastic cutlery.


Non-perishable foods — dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, nuts, etc.


Beverages – bottled water, juice boxes, etc.


A corkscrew (if serving wine) and can opener, or better yet, multi-tooled Swiss Army knife.


Salt and pepper, either small shakers or disposible packets.


Small packets of condiments such as mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise.


Napkins and Paper Towels.


Matches and possibly a candle. (Use caution and make sure candles for picnics are enclosed so they can’t blow over and start a fire, and never use in a high fire danger area.)


A large trash bag to clean up the mess later.


A small plastic bag containing sunscreen, lip balm, insect replellent, band-aids, wet naps and a bandana.


A blanket or sheet to spread the whole thing out on, should you need or want to sit on the ground


If you bring your dog along, don’t forget a bowl, water, and food for the pooch.


Options:  You might also want to pack some fun extras, depending on the amount of room in your container:

Single use camera

Inflatable beach ball


Small bottle of bubble mix

Deck of cards, crossword puzzle book, etc.

Quick Picnic Ideas

Quick Picnic Ideas

1 BEET SALAD Peel beets and grate them (a food processor will keep the juice contained). Add pistachios or hazelnuts; dress with orange zest and juice, and olive oil. Add bits of goat cheese and chopped parsley.


2 PESTO CHICKEN ROLLS Season and grill chicken cutlets. Brush lavash or any other wrap-type bread with pesto; layer with the chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula; roll up and cut on the bias.


3 CURRIED EGG SALAD Make egg salad with hard-cooked eggs, mayo, curry powder, Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, red onion and, if you like, diced apple.


4 TOMATOES AND PEACHES Toss together sliced seeded tomatoes and peaches, along with thinly sliced red onion and chopped cilantro or rosemary. Dress at the last minute with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.


5 ROAST BEEF AND BLUE Start with whole-grain rolls. Smear blue cheese on one side and prepared horseradish on the other. Add red onion and thin-sliced roast beef, pork or lamb. Pack! lettuce and tomato on the side. Potato chips are mandatory.


6 CORNFLAKE CHICKEN BITES Cut boneless chicken breasts into small pieces. Dip in milk or buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned crushed corn flake crumbs, cornmeal or panko. Pan-fry in oil, drain, cool and eat cold with celery sticks, with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.


7 GRAPES AND CHEESE Mix feta cubes and green grapes (or grape tomatoes or pieces of watermelon). Add mint, salt, pepper and olive oil. A tiny bit of chopped fresh chili is good, too.


8 COLD PEANUT NOODLES Cook Chinese egg noodles or regular spaghetti. Drain and rinse. Toss with sesame oil, peanut butter (or tahini), sugar, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, black pepper (lots) and chili oil (optional). Pack shredded seeded cucumber, cooked shrimp and chopped scallions separately.



9 For gazpacho, combine a couple of pounds of ripe tomatoes, one of cucumbers, a slice or two of bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Chill and pour into a thermos.


10 Combine tomatoes and cucumber in blender with lemon grass (only the most tender part), cilantro, fish sauce and lime. Voilà: Thai gazpacho.


11 Mix peeled, grated carrots with chopped dates, cumin, minced chili, lemon or lime juice, mint or cilantro.


12 Slice a few bulbs of fennel and some tart apples; dice some jicama. Toss together with freshly chopped tarragon, basil or chervil (if you can find it), olive oil, salt, lots of pepper and lemon juice. Celery is good in this, too, as are oranges and cheeses, especially sheep’s cheeses.


13 Guacasalsa: Mash an avocado (it won’t get brown) into some salsa, even jarred if necessary. Don’t forget chips.


14 Cut day-old crusty bread into one-inch cubes. Just before leaving the house, combine it with chopped tomatoes (seeds are O.K.), chopped cucumber, chopped red onion and fresh basil. Pack dressing separately: olive oil, red wine vinegar, diced anchovies, capers, salt and pepper. Call this panzanella.


15 Toss toasted pita with olives, parsley and mint, salt and pepper, bits of chopped-up lemon (rinds and all; preserved lemon is even better), chopped seeded tomatoes, chopped seeded cucumbers and chopped red pepper. Take olive oil for last-minute dressing.


16 Thinly slice Savoy or Napa cabbage. Toss with thinly sliced red onion, half a diced jalapeño and handfuls of chopped cilantro. Dress with olive oil, lime juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.


17 Halve cherry tomatoes; toss with equal-size pieces of firm smoked or regular tofu and soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, scallions and a pinch of sugar (or mirin if you have it). Add chopped Thai basil and/or cilantro and/or mint just before eating.


18 Toss cooked couscous with oil, chopped parsley, chopped black olives, capers, red onion, salt and pepper. Scoop out medium-size tomatoes and fill with mixture. Pack carefully.


19 Process a cup or two of cashews, a chili or two, some garlic, a splash of soy sauce and enough water to get the food processor going; fold in chopped cilantro or chives. Fill celery sticks and chill. This is the best celery-filler since cream cheese.


20 Poach a couple of pounds of dark leafy greens, like kale, collards or spinach. Drain, cool, squeeze dry and chop. Then toss with oil, salt and lots of lemon juice. Serve with more lemon, oil, salt and pepper. Call it horta.


21 Brown fresh corn kernels in hot oil with chopped chili and garlic, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with cilantro and lots of lime juice.


22 Cook whole unpeeled eggplant in a dry, hot skillet, turning occasionally, until collapsed and soft. (Or grill, or roast, or hold with a fork over an open flame.) While it’s cooling, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Chop the eggplant flesh (leave the peel behind) and roughly mash in the bowl. Add red pepper flakes if you like. Serve with pita.


23 Simmer one part olive oil, two parts red wine vinegar and four parts water with herbs, salt and pepper. Add chopped vegetables, firmest to softest — maybe carrots first, then cauliflower, then peppers — and poach until just getting tender. Remove from heat and chill overnight in the liquid. It’s giardiniera.


24 Cut zucchini into big chunks and roast or grill with olive oil (and, if you like, whole garlic cloves). Combine with chopped seeded tomatoes, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.


25 Toss cauliflower florets with oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a hot oven until browned and cooked; while still warm, toss with curry powder and a handful of raisins. Pour on the lemon juice.


26 Soak wakame or other seaweed in hot water until soft; drain and squeeze dry. Toss with chopped celery, sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin (or honey) and rice wine vinegar. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.


27 Clean a bunch of mixed mushrooms; quarter any large ones. Steam for about five minutes. When still warm, toss with sliced shallots, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, cracked coriander seeds, chopped fresh cilantro, sherry vinegar and more olive oil if necessary.


28 In a blender or food processor, combine ginger, a half cup or so light miso, a little more than that of walnuts, and enough soy sauce to make a sauce. Toss with cooked green beans or eggplant.


29 Steam or boil a bunch of asparagus; slice on the bias. Toss with orange segments, zest and juice, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with sesame seeds. Add little shrimp or shredded crab, lobster or chicken if you like.


30 Steam or boil green beans or asparagus; slice on the bias. Toss with thinly sliced red onion, matchstick-size pieces of prosciutto (or lardo if you’re in Colonnata), olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.



31 Combine cooked or canned (and drained) black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas. Add diced red and green pepper, some corn kernels and a minced jalapeño. Season with lime juice, chopped marjoram or oregano, salt and pepper.


32 Cook lentils with garlic, onion and thyme. Toss with salt, pepper and fresh chopped herbs: marjoram, tarragon, chervil or basil. Dress with vinaigrette made with oil, vinegar and mustard.


33 Toss cooked or canned white beans with chopped seeded tomato, chopped anchovy, chopped olives, oil, lemon juice, lots of black pepper, salt if necessary and parsley.


34 Steam frozen (shelled) edamame or limas. Toss with chopped seeded tomatoes, cilantro, soy sauce and a suspicion of sesame oil. Salt and pepper.


35 Steam frozen edamame and chill. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, lots of chopped mint, salt, pepper, and as much shaved pecorino or Parmesan as you like.


36 Mix cooked rice and cooked lentils with very, very well caramelized onions. Add sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and, if necessary, a bit of oil.


37 Combine cooked brown rice with small, barely cooked broccoli florets and chopped pecans or walnuts and parsley. Dress with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon.


38 Combine cooked Arborio rice with thin pesto, peas, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper.


39 Soak a tablespoon or two of black beans in sherry or wine; toss with cooked rice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and cilantro.


40 Mix cooked couscous with olive oil; add pimentón, cumin, salt and pepper, chopped shallot or red onion, toasted slivered almonds and orange zest and juice. Cooked cauliflower is good, too.


41 Toss a load of chopped parsley with a little cooked bulgur — say three to one in favor of the parsley. Chopped seeded tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and lots of lemon juice. Call this real tabbouleh.


42 Make tabbouleh as above and embellish with more vegetables — like cucumbers and radishes — and/or crumbled feta, or bits of cooked chicken. Or smoked tofu, or bacon, whatever you can think of. How can you go wrong?


43 Make potato salad with mustard vinaigrette. Add chopped cooked asparagus, peas, green beans, etc. Or steamed mussels.


44 Make potato salad with mayo and crumbled bacon, and add grated Cheddar, celery, onion and chopped egg. You don’t have to pack much else except blood thinner.


45 Roast or boil sweet potatoes, but not too soft. Make a blended vinaigrette with a little chili, cumin, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Pack separately and toss together with scallions and mint.


46 Make egg salad with sesame oil and seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, scallions and chilies.


47 Egg salad with chopped seeded tomato, basil and extra virgin olive oil.


48 Egg salad with sour cream, smoked salmon and chopped chives.


49 Take cold pizza and lemon. Squeeze lemon over pizza. Really.


50 Mix a couple of cups of cold leftover cooked short-grain rice (if you happen to have risotto lying around, so much the better) with three eggs. Form balls; insert a small cube of mozzarella into each. Roll in bread crumbs and refrigerate if convenient. Deep or shallow fry until golden. Packed carefully, these will be fine. Call them supplì al telefono.


51 Purée roasted red peppers (jarred are O.K., piquillo are even better) with feta, marjoram or oregano and parsley, olive oil and garlic. Serve as a dip.


52 Make burritos, using the biggest flour tortillas you can find: rice, beans, any stewed or grilled meat or chicken, cilantro, salsa.


53 Marinate firm goat or feta cheese in olive oil, with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, red and black pepper. You don’t need much of this, but it’s good.


54 Make a cheese ball: Mash together equal parts good grated Cheddar, crumbled blue and cream cheese, maybe thinned with a little sour cream. Shape into a ball and roll in fresh chopped herbs and/or hazelnuts. Take Triscuits. You think people won’t eat this?


55 Make simple syrup with rosemary; purée in a blender with watermelon, rum (optional) and lemon juice. Use more rum and call this a cocktail, or omit rum, add a little feta and eat with a spoon. Keep it cold in either case.


56 Use a spoon or melon baller to make equal size pieces of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, or, I don’t know, Charentais. Mix together and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt or (better still) chili, sugar, salt and lime.


57 (A) Make fruit salad, however you like it; pack it. (B) Take seeded papaya halves, well wrapped. Put (A) in (B), drizzle with lemon, and serve.


58 Husk and quarter strawberries; at the last minute, combine with a little chopped tarragon, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Goat cheese is good, too.


59 Cut melon into wedges and wrap thin slices of prosciutto around them. Stack in a container, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Take romaine lettuce and serve the wedges over the greens, with the accumulated juices as a dressing. It works.


60 Toss cornbread cubes with blueberries, lemon juice, olive oil and hazelnuts. Yes.


61 Toss chopped shrimp or shredded crab or lobster with lemon juice, chopped chives, salt and pepper. Use this to fill avocado halves. (If the avocado browns, blame me. It’ll still taste great.)


62 Boil potatoes, corn kernels and shrimp; drain and chill. Serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges along with mayo mixed with garlic and crumbled saffron. Call this Aegean seafood salad.


63 Drain a can of good quality salmon (preferably sockeye). Mix with cannellini beans, chopped tomato, diced shallot, chopped black or green olives, chopped parsley and basil. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve on bread (scooped out ciabatta is very nice) or over greens.


64 Combine a bunch of watercress or arugula with thinly sliced radishes and red onion; add flaked smoked trout or whitefish. Dress at the last minute with olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.


65 Cut salmon fillets (the skin can be on or off) into serving-size pieces, and sear them in oil on both sides until brown; set aside. Sauté onions, garlic, fresh chilies if you like; deglaze the pan with one part red wine vinegar, two parts each red wine and water. Pour over fish and chill for up to two days. This will work with mackerel, chicken, pork, etc. Call this escabeche.


66 Make escabeche with white wine and vinegar, dill and lemon slices.


67 Pan-cook shrimp in oil. Separately sauté fresh and dried chilies with lots of onions and garlic; add beer, reduce and pour glaze over shrimp.


68 Mix good canned tuna with diced fennel, tarragon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. No mayo.


69 Mix good tuna with mashed anchovies (packed in olive oil), grated Parmesan, bits of lemon and some lemon juice, olive oil and perhaps a thimbleful of Worcestershire. No mayo.


70 You want an idea for tuna with mayo, I know: Mix tuna with mayo and mustard; add capers and dill.


71 Cut chicken wings into two parts, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill or roast until crisp and golden. Whisk together mustard, honey and lemon juice, and toss with warm wings. Chill overnight (or eat them and take something else to the picnic).


72 Combine equal parts soy sauce, mirin and sake with a little sugar and sesame oil; boil for a minute. Use this to baste chicken thighs, pork or beef while you grill or broil it. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or chopped scallions — ginger and/or lemon are good too — just before serving. Call it teriyaki. Works with mackerel and other dark fish, too.


73 Make chicken teriyaki as above, then toss with a little mayo and perhaps more soy. Awesome.


74 Poach chicken and chop or shred. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil and herbs of your choice.


75 Pack in three containers: grilled sliced beef or pork, with its juices; watercress or arugula tossed with mint, basil and/or cilantro; a dressing of lime juice, sesame oil, fish or soy sauce and sugar. Dress greens; put meat and its juices over all.


76 Thinly slice grilled butterflied leg of lamb; toss with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, mint, feta and chopped red onion.


77 Grind chunks of lamb shoulder in a food processor with onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Make into small meatballs and sauté or roast. Serve sliced with pita wedges or in pita, with lemon, and a dollop of yogurt or tapenade.


78 Split small chickens or Cornish hens; grill or broil quickly, with lots of salt and pepper. Take them whole to the picnic with sandwich rolls, good barbecue sauce (O.K., and mayo) and pickles. Pick off the meat and go to it.


79 Cut quail in half, or not; marinate with salt, pepper, minced garlic, sage and oil for as long as you can — at least five minutes. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes.


80 Chop various salamis, mortadella, etc. and combine with chopped provolone, Parmesan, bell pepper, red onion and fresh oregano. Heavily dress in vinaigrette. Take shredded romaine lettuce for tossing. And bread, obviously.


81 Make chopped olive salad (I like onion, thyme, capers, a little garlic). Hollow out a medium-size round bread, or a few rolls. Put in olive salad and cured meats of your choice: ham, prosciutto, salami, mortadella, whatever; and provolone. Call this a muffuletta.


82 Slice open a good baguette and fill it with chopped or shredded cooked chicken tossed with fish sauce, chili, sugar, lime, garlic, scallions and Thai basil (or, in a dire emergency, regular).


83 Fry chopped bacon until half done; add strips of boneless chicken and cook until done; pack. Take pitas, chopped seeded tomato, avocado, sliced red onion and shredded romaine. Assemble sandwiches in situ; dress with olive oil and cheap vinegar.


84 Blanch frozen fava beans in salted water. Pulse in a food processor with some mint or parsley until roughly chopped; season with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Slice baguette and spread one half with fresh ricotta, then drizzle with olive oil. Spread the other half with the fava beans. Put arugula in there and sandwich-ize.


85 Butter both halves of a sliced baguette. Layer with thinly sliced cured ham — Serrano, prosciutto, Bayonne, York, whatever — and many halved cornichons. Call this une sandwich.


86 Halve a cucumber or two; scoop out the seeds. Slice it thin and salt it for a bit if you have time; in any case squeeze out some of the liquid. Combine it with shredded cooked chicken, ginger, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cilantro. On a baguette, it’s reminiscent of banh mi.


87 Grill a steak; slice it thin. Butter a baguette on one side; put Dijon on the other side. Pile the bread with steak, roasted peppers (canned are fine; piquillos are best), and something crunchy, like radicchio or fennel. A little blue cheese wouldn’t hurt either. Neither would avocado. (But not both.)


88 Cook peeled shrimp; little ones are best. Toss with pesto: lots. Put on small rolls. (In fact: cook anything; toss with pesto: lots. Put on small rolls.)


89 Dredge fish fillets in cornmeal. Sauté in abundant olive oil until crisp. Let cool a bit, then use for sandwiches, packing tomatoes separately.


90 Hard-cook some eggs; slice them. Sauté some spinach with oil and garlic until quite dry; chop. Make mustardy sandwiches with baguettes, rolls or any bread that can absorb some oil.


91 Cook fusilli or other cut pasta; rinse in cool water, but don’t bother to chill. Combine with chopped seeded tomatoes, cubed fresh mozzarella, chopped basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. (Good with olives, too.) Do not call this pasta salad, because pasta salad is no good, and this is.


92 Shred carrots and zucchini. Mix lime juice, soy sauce, grated ginger and sesame oil. Cook soba noodles, drain and rinse under cold water. Toss noodles with the vegetables and dressing.


93 Cook rice vermicelli and drain. Toss with kimchi, lots of cilantro and cooked chopped shrimp or chicken.


94 Cook garlic in olive oil until just sizzling; add clams (you can use canned clams but it will not be the same), and, cook, stirring, until they open. Remove, chop and combine with the garlic, oil, any liquid in pan, chopped tomato and cooked pasta. Add more oil as needed, with lemon juice, parsley, salt (if needed), pepper and oregano, if you like.


95 Combine equal parts honey and brown sugar with a little oil and bring to a boil; toss with good granola until the mixture is very sticky. You can add more nuts, or raisins and, yes, O.K., you can add chocolate chips. Line a pan with waxed paper or film with oil. Press mixture into pan and let cool. Call these granola bars.


96 Cook a couple of pounds of berries with some sugar and a little water until they break down. Layer in a plastic container with slices of good pound cake. Pour any remaining juices on top. You might want some cream.


97 Make sandwiches of angel food cake and ganache or fruit compote.


98 Mix peanut butter and cream cheese. Spread between two good cookies and make sandwiches. Or mix honey, lemon zest and cream cheese. Make sandwiches with ginger snaps.


99 Put sorbet (make it yourself if you have time) in a really cold thermos; it will be slushy by the time you open it. Add a splash of Champagne or Gewürztraminer if you like, maybe some mint, and eat like cold soup.


100 Take a container of melted chocolate thinned with cream or crème fraîche with strawberries, pineapple or bananas for dipping.


101 Take the makings of S’mores. Build a fire.

Mushrooms with Lemon Dressing

Mushrooms with Lemon Dressing

4 tsp. lemon juice 

1/2 tsp. anchovy paste 

1/2 tsp. salt 

1/2 tsp. black pepper 

5 T. olive oil 

1 1/4 lbs mushrooms, cut into 1/8 inch slices 

3 T. fresh parsley, chopped 


In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, anchovy paste, salt and pepper. Stir in the oil. Add the mushrooms and parsley and toss before serving.

Iced Tea with Grenadine

Iced Tea with Grenadine

4 C. iced tea (homemade or store-bought)

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

1/4 C. grenadine

Ice, for serving


In a large ball jar (or other transporting container), mix together the tea, lemon juice, and grenadine. Pour over ice when ready to serve.

Picnic Pasta Salad

Picnic Pasta Salad

1 lb macaroni, cooked and cooled (or other preferred pasta) 

1-2 C. diced ham

1/2 lb diced mozzarella cheese or Swiss cheese or provolone cheese 

1/4 C. minced sweet onions (optional) 

1 lb frozen green beans cut in 1-inch pieces 

4-6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped 

12 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped



1/4 C. cider vinegar 

1/4 C. olive oil or canola oil 

1/4-1/2 C. mayonnaise 

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning 

1 tsp. prepared mustard (I prefer Heinz brown) 

1/4 tsp. celery seeds 


Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together until smooth and well-blended. Toss salad ingredients with dressing until well-blended. Let sit, refridgerated. at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight. Note — additional vegetables can be added substituted if desired. Frozen broccoli florets or chopped cucumber are particularly good. But if you add a lot of extra veggies you might need an extra half batch of dressing.

Caponata Picnic Sandwiches

Caponata Picnic Sandwiches

1/4 C. olive oil

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

1(14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes

3 T. raisins

1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 C. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

1 T. drained capers

1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces

2 garlic cloves, peeled

6 slices (1/3-inch-thick) drained fresh water-packed mozzarella


Heat 1/4 C. of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and sauté until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cut the bread pieces horizontally in half. Grill the bread cut-side down on a grill pan over medium-high heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Rub the whole garlic cloves over the toasted side of the bread. Add a slice of mozzarella to bread bottom, spoon the caponata on top, cover with the other bread half, and serve.  To take for a picnic: Wrap the sandwiches separately in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill until ready to serve, or keep at room temperature up to 1 hour.

Instant Pot Saucy Pinto Beans

Instant Pot Saucy Pinto Beans


2 cups dry pinto beans 1 lb

2 T. avocado oil

1 large yellow onion peeled and diced

1 medium jalapeño seeded and diced

2 tsp. minced Garlic

3 1/2 cups chicken stock

8 oz. tomato sauce 1 can

2 T. chili powder

1 T. yellow mustard

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp. salt


Place the beans in a bowl and cover with 3 inches of water. Soak the beans 4–8 hours. Drain the beans. Press the Sauté button of the Instant Pot® and add the oil. After the oil heats 1 minute add the onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add soaked beans, stock, tomato sauce, chili powder, mustard, oregano, cumin, pepper, bay leaves, and salt to the inner pot. Stir well to combine and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Secure the lid. Press the Manual or Pressure Cook button and adjust the time to 25 minutes. When the timer beeps, let pressure release naturally until float valve drops and then unlock lid. Remove and discard the bay leaves and then transfer the beans to a bowl for serving.

Deviled Potato Salad with Sausage

Deviled Potato Salad with Sausage

8 ounces green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed, and cut in 1-inch pieces

3 pounds Yukon Gold or thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 sweet onion such as Maui, Vidalia, or Oso (about 8 oz.), peeled and sliced crosswise 1 inch thick

2 fully cooked sausages (about 10 oz. total)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup minced parsley

Salt and pepper


In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove beans from water with a slotted spoon or strainer and rinse under cold running water until cool. Return water to a boil. Add potatoes, reduce heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix olive oil and brown sugar. Place onion slices and sausages on a baking sheet and brush generously with brown sugar mixture. Broil 6 inches from heat until onions and sausages are lightly browned and onions are tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop onion. Slice sausages 1/2 inch thick. In a large bowl, combine beans, potatoes, onion, sausages, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, olives, and parsley. Mix gently to coat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, or chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Creamy Bacon Tomato and Avocado Pasta Salad

Creamy Bacon Tomato and Avocado Pasta Salad

6 slices bacon, chopped into one inch pieces

1/2 pound dried rotini pasta

1/2 cup mayonnaise

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 avocado pitted and sliced


Cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain. Run cold water over the top until the pasta is cooled. While your bacon and pasta are cooking, whisk mayonnaise, lemon, salt, garlic powder, pepper and dill together in a bowl. Stir cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and reserved bacon into the dressing. Toss to combine.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve.

Watermelon Slice Cookies

Watermelon Slice Cookies

1/3 cup butter (no substitutes)

1/3 cup of shortening

3/4 C. sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon orange juice or milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups of all purpose flour

red food coloring

1 egg white

1 tablespoon of water

Green coarse sugar

Miniature semisweet chocolate chips


Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar – beat till fluffy. Beat in egg, orange juice or milk, and vanilla until combined. Add in your food coloring (takes about 8 drops to get the red) Slowly mix in the flour mixture till combined. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough for 3 hours or until easy to handle.  Stir together egg white and water. Roll each half of dough on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a floured 3-inch round cookie cutter. Cut cookies in half. place on an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press a few chocolate pieces into each. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown; do not allow to brown on top.  Transfer to wire racks and cool. In a small shallow bowl stir together egg white and water; brush the edge of each cookie. Sprinkle sugar on edges. dry

Baked Beans with Hamburger

Baked Beans with Hamburger

Baked Beans with Hamburger1 pound ground beef

2 (28-ounce) cans Bush’s Barbecue Baked Beans

1 (28-ounce) can Bush’s Bold and Spicy Baked Beans

1 bunch green onions

¾ C. brown sugar

1 tsp. barbecue sauce

1 tsp. mustard

Brown ground beef in skillet. Chop green onions.. Combine all ingredients (cooked ground beef, baked  beans, onions, brown sugar, barbecue sauce and mustard) in Crock-Pot or baking dish. Bake, covered, at 300 degrees for 2 hours or simmer in Crock-Pot for at least 3 hours.






Bleu Cheese Cole Slaw

Bleu Cheese Cole Slaw


1/2 small head green cabbage

1/2 small head red cabbage

4 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled

2 C. (16 ounces) good mayonnaise

1/4 C. Dijon mustard

2 T. whole grain mustard

2 T. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. celery salt

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 C. (6 ounces) crumbled Roquefort blue cheese

1 C. chopped fresh parsley leaves


Cut the cabbages in half and then in quarters and cut out the cores. Set up the food processor with the slicing blade (according to manufacturer’s instructions) and place the pieces of cabbage, one at a time, lying horizontally in the feed tube. (If they don’t fit, cut them to fit lying down.) Place the feed tube pusher on top and turn on the processor. Don’t push on the feed tube pusher or the slices will turn out too thick! Continue with the remaining red and green cabbage quarters. Transfer into a large bowl, discarding any very large pieces. Before you pour the dressing on the salad, save a handful of the grated vegetables to decorate for serving. Change the slicing blade for the large shredding blade and cut the carrots so they also lie down in the feed tube. Since the carrots are hard, replace the feed tube pusher and press firmly with the food processor on. Transfer to bowl with the cabbages. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, both mustards, vinegar, celery salt, kosher salt, and pepper. Pour enough mayonnaise dressing over the grated vegetables and toss to moisten well. Add crumbled blue cheese and parsley and toss together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Devillish Deviled Eggs

Devillish Deviled Eggs


5 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise

1 T. minced scallion, white and light green parts

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

Juice from 1 lime

1 T. mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste

Red chili flakes for garnish


Remove the yolks from the whites. Set the whites aside. Mash the yolks in a bowl with a fork. Add the scallion, jalapeno, lime juice, mayonnaise, and salt. Add more mayonnaise to reach desired consistency. Mash with a fork until blended. Using a tsp., carefully stuff whites with yolk mixture, mounding the tops. For extra heat, garnish with red chili flakes.  Variation:  Add 1 whole mashed avocado to the egg yolk mixture.

Avocado Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Avocado Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

20 cherry tomatoes

2 avocados

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon onions, minced

6 to 10 drops Tabasco sauce


Slice the tops off the cherry tomatoes.  Working carefully,  use a small spoon to remove the pulp and seeds.  Reserve pulp.  Turn the tomatoes over on paper towels and drain for 20 minutes. Peel the avocados; then mash them by hand, in a blender or food processor.  You should have 1 cup.  Mix in the remaining ingredients into the pulp.  Fill the tomatoes with the mixture.

Chicken with Barbeque Sauce

Chicken with Barbeque Sauce

My mother would combine everything into a pot and the sauce would just sit and simmer on the stove forever. I remember the smell would be somewhat acrid at first, like vinegar. Then the ginger, spices and lemon would take over and create this wonderful aroma. Doused on chicken and cooked in the oven, this sauce was amazing hot and cold leftover! It also works REALLY WELL for picnic on a couple of levels: It can be eaten cold OR, if the park you are headed to has a grill, you could just throw the cold chicken pieces on for some extra smoky flavor!

3 C. ketchup
2 C. cider vinegar
1/2 C. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. light soy sauce
1 C. dark brown sugar
2 T. dry mustard (preferably Colman’s)
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 C. chili powder
1 “knob” fresh ginger (about 4 inches), peeled and cut in 3 pieces
5 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 lemons, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
4 to 5 pounds chicken parts, a mixture of light and dark meat, all relatively the same size
Kosher salt

Prepare the barbeque sauce:
In a medium saucepan or a large high-sided saute pan, combine the ketchup, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, dry mustard, Dijon mustard and chili powder. Whisk to blend. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and lemon slices and stir to combine. Simmer until the vinegar mellows slightly and the flavors start to meld together, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Discard the ginger pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet (or, if needed, 2 baking sheets) with foil. Season the chicken parts on both sides with salt, to taste. Pour about 1 1/2 C. of the barbeque sauce into a large bowl. Reserve the remaining sauce on the side. Submerge the chicken pieces in the sauce and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet with some of the lemon slices. The chicken should all be in a single layer with a little space between them. If additional space is needed, use the second baking sheet. Brush with barbeque sauce.

Put the baking sheet(s) in the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and use a pair of metal tongs to turn the pieces to the other side. Use a pastry brush to coat the second side of the chicken with the barbeque sauce from the bowl. Do not reuse that bowl or brush again. Return the sheet(s) to the oven and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Poke a thigh with the tip of a small knife and verify the chicken juices run “clear” and not pink. Turn the broiler on and broil for a minute until the chicken is charred on top.

Warm the reserved barbeque sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a serving bowl.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve immediately with the warm sauce on the side.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings; about 1 quart sauce
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Grilled Peppers and Zucchini Salad with Relish

Grilled Peppers and Zucchini Salad with Relish

2 Red Peppers, washed & brushed with olive oil 

3 each zucchini, washed & brushed with olive oil 

2 T. olive oil

2 red onion, peeled and minced 

1 T. olive oil

1/4 C. sugar

1/4 C. water

1 T. fresh mint, chopped

1/4 C. lemon vinaigrette (3 to 1 olive oil to lemon juice)

Salt & pepper to taste 


Grill peppers (or roast in 400° oven) until skin is chared and blistered. Gourmet the Easy Way Tip: Place peppers in a bowl and cover with foil to steam skins to help peel. Remove skins. Peel and remove seeds and ribs. You should be left with only the roasted meat of the peppers. Cut flesh into 3″ X 1/3″ strips. Cut zucchini on a straight bias angle, season with salt and pepper. Grill in two different positions to give proper grill marks, a crisscross effect. Repeat on flip side. In a 10″ pan, heat oil and sauté minced onions until translucent, approximately four minutes. Add sugar and water and season with salt & pepper. Cook until onion mixture is almost dry. Allow to cool, add chopped mint. Mix peppers with relish and add lemon dressing. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Shingle grilled zucchini on platter and top with peppers. Cook well.

Country Potato Salad

Country Potato Salad

2lbs of potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 C. of mayonnaise

1tbsp of apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp of ground black pepper

½ C. of celery, thinly sliced

½ C. of red onion, chopped

2 eggs, hard cooked, peeled and chopped

¼ C. of sweet relish

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chives (for garnish)


Add the potatoes to a 4-qt. sauce pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, pepper, celery, onion, eggs, and relish. Fold to blend all the flavors. Add the cooked potatoes to the bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkle of sliced celery and chives and serve.


Red Potato and Roasted Pepper Salad with Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette

Red Potato and Roasted Pepper Salad with Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette

8 small red creamer potatoes, quartered

1/4 small red onion, diced

3 T. capers, drained

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped

4 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves

2 T. coarse grained Dijon mustard

1 t. sugar

1 T. champagne vinegar

2 T. lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

3/4 t. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 C. plus 2 T. extra virgin olive oil



Place potatoes in a pan to boil. Meanwhile place red onion, capers, bell pepper and parsley into a medium size bowl. Place all remaining ingredients except olive oil and capers in the bowl of a food processor. Turn machine on to blend ingredients. While machine is running, slowly add the oil until all is incorporated. Stop machine. When potatoes are tender, drain, then place in the bowl with the onion mixture. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss gently until completely mixed. Refrigerate.

Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato-Mint Sauce

Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato-Mint Sauce

This can be done the day before with the exception of the final step of filling and rolling the eggplant slices. I’d leave that for completing about an hour before the picnic is packed in your cooler. If you do not have access to a grill, feel free to broil the eggplant slices. They will not impart a rich, smoky flavor as if grilled but will still taste fresh and delicious.


2 European eggplants

Approx. 1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 C. golden raisins

2 T. Balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 pounds fresh, tender spinach leaves

1/2 t. salt

1/4 C. pitted imported dry-cured black olives, roughly chopped

1/2 C. smoked mozzarella, shredded

6 ripe plum tomatoes

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 C. fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/2 t. salt

3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil


Preheat your grill or broiler. Trim both ends of the eggplant. Slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. You should have about sixteen slices total. Rub both sides with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay on grill, cooking for approximately 6 minutes. Turn over to finish the other side, an additional 3-4 minutes. The eggplant should be soft and pliable but not falling apart. If you are using your broiler, place eggplant on foil lined cookie sheet and set under broiler, watching carefully to prevent burning. Turn when the tops soften and begin to brown. Cook other side in the same method. Cool eggplant strips.  Meanwhile, rehydrate raisins by soaking in Balsamic vinegar and 2 T. hot water. Rinse spinach, leaving water on the leaves and place in a deep pot with 1/2 tsp. of salt, covered over medium heat. Cook until spinach wilts, approximately 10 minutes, then drain. Heat heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat for 20-30 seconds before adding remaining 1/3 C. oil. When oil begins to ripple, add the wilted spinach and quickly shake the pan for about 2 minutes tossing the spinach to mix. Add raisins and their liquid to saute pan and stir well to mix with the spinach.  Remove from heat, adding olives and mozzarella after mixture cools. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. This mixture may exude water so it is best to place in a colander overnight in the refrigerator with a bowl underneath to catch any liquid. An hour before packing, fill the eggplant by placing a small amount of spinach mixture in the center of each strip and bringing both ends of the eggplant over the stuffing, place seam side down. Place in a container, drizzle with a little of your favorite fruity olive oil and secure with a tight fitting lid.  To make sauce, chop tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. This is best made overnight to allow flavors to blend.

Marinated White Beans

Marinated White Beans

Marinated White Beans


1/3 C. olive oil

Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon

Juice of 1 medium lemon

1 medium shallot, diced (about 1/4 C.)

1 clove garlic, grated or minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed

Freshly ground black pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 C. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/4 C. chopped fresh oregano leaves


Place the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, shallot, garlic, salt, and few generous grinds of black pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the white beans, parsley, and oregano and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight. Let come to room temperature before serving. Make ahead: These beans get better with time, so feel free to make them up to 2 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Serving suggestions: The beans can be enjoyed as is, piled on toast, tossed with cooked grains, or served over salads.

Three Herb Deviled Eggs

Three Herb Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1/4 C. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 C. dairy sour cream
2 to 3 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
2 T. snipped fresh parsley
2 T. snipped fresh dill or 1-1/2 tsp. dried dillweed
2 T. snipped fresh chives or 1-1/2 tsp. dried chives
Sea salt or salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Paprika or cayenne pepper (optional)
Cut tops off of hard-cooked eggs about 1/3 from the top; gently scoop out yolks with a small spoon. Cut a small thin slice off the rounded bottoms so eggs will sit flat. (Set aside tops for another use.)   Place yolks in a bowl; mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard; mix well. Stir in parsley, dill, and chives. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Gently stuff egg yolk mixture into egg bottoms. Sprinkle tops with paprika or cayenne.

Potato Salad with Sweet Sausages and Mushrooms

Potato Salad with Sweet Sausages and Mushrooms

3 pounds (16-20) small red potatoes, quartered

2 pounds sweet Italian sausages

1/2 C. dry red wine

2/3 C. plus 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 T. Original TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce, divided

3/4 C. chopped green onions

2 T. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/3 C. dry white wine

1/3 C. chicken stock or broth


Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water; cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain. Cool to room temperature before slicing into 1/4-inch slices. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Put sausages in a single layer in a baking dish and prick several times with a fork. Bake 15 minutes. Turn sausages and bake an additional 15 minutes. Add red wine to pan, turn sausages, and bake 8 minutes. Turn sausages once more and bake 7 minutes longer or until cooked through. Remove sausages to a dish and let cool. Cut into 1/2-inch slices and add to potatoes. In a large skillet, heat 2 T. of the olive oil. Add mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring until they give up their liquid and most of it evaporates, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on lemon juice and 1 1/2 tsp. of the TABASCO® Sauce. Add to potato mixture along with green onions and toss lightly to mix. In a food processor or blender, combine mustard, salt, pepper, white wine, stock, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. TABASCO® Sauce. Turn on machine and slowly add remaining 2/3 C. olive oil. Pour dressing over potato mixture and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate overnight.

New Potato Salad with Dried Tomatoes

New Potato Salad with Dried Tomatoes

3 lb small new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 oz dried tomato halves
1/3 C. boiling water
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 C. sliced celery
1/2 C. chopped celery leaves
4 green onions, sliced with some of the green
1/4 C. snipped fresh dill or
1 T. dried dill weed
1/3 C. reduced fat sour cream
1/3 C. lowfat plain yogurt
1 T. prepared white horseradish
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place potatoes in a large kettle with enough water to cover. Add 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Partially cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil gently for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but still firm. Meanwhile, place dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain potatoes well; return to pot. Sprinkle olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of the salt over potatoes, tossing lightly to coat. Cut dried tomatoes into thin slivers and add to potatoes. Stir in celery, celery leaves, green onions, ad dill. Spoon into large bowl; cover and refrigerate at this point if preparing ahead. Combine sour cream, yogurt, horseradish, pepper and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Pour over potato mixture and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 182
Fat: 5g
Fiber: 3g

South American Potato Salad

South American Potato Salad

1 1/4 lb. small red potatoes
1/4 C. Spanish onions, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalape�o pepper, seeded and minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 T. capers
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
2 oz. low fat feta cheese, crumbled
2 whites of hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
2 T. sliced black olives, optional for garnish

Boil the potatoes in simmering salted water until cooked through, 15-20 minutes, depending on size. Drain and cool. When cool, quarter or slice into bite sized pieces. Place into a bowl. Combine the potatoes with the red onion, bell peppers, jalape�o, garlic, capers, vinegar, olive oil, cheese, egg whites, and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with olives if desired.

Yield: 6 servings
Calories: 76
Fat: 8g
Fiber: 3g

Cherry Berry Salad

Cherry Berry Salad

2 C. pitted fresh Northwest Rainier cherries

2 C. pitted fresh Northwest red sweet cherries

1 C. fresh blueberries

1 C. cored diced apples

Honey Lime Dressing (recipe below)


Combine all ingredients and mix well. Add Honey Lime Dressing. Refrigerate until served.Tips: Fresh blackberries, raspberries or halved strawberries may be substituted for blueberries. Fresh pineapple or orange may be added to salad.


Honey Lime Dressing: Combine 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. each fresh lime juice and honey, 2 tsp. minced fresh mint, 1/2 tsp. shredded lime peel and 1/8 tsp. salt; mix well. Makes about 1/3 C..

Fresh Cherry Picnic Salad

Fresh Cherry Picnic Salad

1 C. sugar snap peas

2 C. pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries

1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 C. red radishes, cut into wedge-shaped pieces

3 T. white wine vinegar

2 T. Balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. each toasted sesame seeds and grated fresh ginger root

1/8 tsp. ground pepper


Blanch peas in boiling salted water 1 minute; plunge into iced water to cool. Drain. Mix cherries, cucumber, radishes and peas. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over cherry mixture and toss to coat. Marinate, refrigerated, at least one hour.

Char Siu Pork

Char Siu Pork

Char Siu Pork


4 pounds pork butt, cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 T. Hawaiian salt (‘alaea)

1 C. packed brown sugar

1/3 C. mild honey

1 1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1/2 – 1 C. hoisin sauce

3 T. whiskey

3/4 tsp. red gel food coloring, or 1 1/2 tsp. red liquid food coloring (optional)


Rub the pork butt strips with the salt and place in a vide rimmed pan or in a gallon-size ziplock bag. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, five-spice powder, hoisin, whiskey, and red food coloring (if using) to make a marinade. Whisk together until well combined. Reserve one-third in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for basting the next day. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork strips and gently rub with your hands to evenly coat them. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or zip up the bag. Transfer both the reserved marinade and the pork strips to the refrigerator overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 35O°F. Fit a roasting pan with a rack that is at least 2 inches tall. Fill the pan with a 1/2 inch of water. Lay the pork strips on the rack and roast for 20 minutes. Flip all of the strips over and baste with some of the reserved marinade. Roast for another 20 minutes. Flip all of the strips one more time and baste again before roasting for another 20 minutes. The pork should be just cooked through and still moist at the center. Transfer the strips to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet to cool a bit. The pork can be served immediately or cooled completely before using for another recipe.

Better-for-You Potato Salad

Better-for-You Potato Salad

1 lb. new potatoes
1/4 C. Light Mayonnaise
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Cut potatoes into cubes. Cook in boiling water for 15 min. or just until tender; drain. Cool completely. Mix mayo and basil in large bowl until well blended. Add potatoes, eggs, carrots and peppers; mix lightly. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Yield: 6 servings, about 3/4 C. each
Calories: 140
Fat: 5g
Fiber: 2g