Thursday, December 13, 2007

Red Sky at Night

On a chilly December day like today, I often find myself reminiscing about those sunny summer beach picnics that seem so long ago.
This particular beach bash buffet, on legendary Venice Beach, was made even more smashing by the presence of our fine friends to the east - the Texans! Sharon, John, Sara, and Liz had come all the way from Houston, Texas to picnic in style and in the warm California sun - and it was John's birthday to boot.

The stakes were high so my regular picnic fare -cheese, bread, and a little fruit - would not suffice. I looked to my Brockhampton Healthy Home Cooking Cookbook for Picnics and Barbecues and found a salad worthy of this occasion. They call it the 'Salad of Red Leaves, Beans, and Roots' but I like to call it 'Red Sky at Night (a.k.a. a Sailor's Delight)'.

Here is how I made the recipe:
1 can red kidney beans
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1 small red onion, quartered and finely sliced
1 beet, peeled and grated
1 oz blue Stilton cheese, crumbled

mix up everything but the cheese in a bowl then add this vinaigrette:

1 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp tobasco sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil

chill all of this until you are ready to serve it, when you are ready to serve pull some big leaves off the cabbage and put a nice scoop of salad on each leaf then sprinkel the Stilton on top. An alternative presentation approach is to line a big bowl with leaves and let everyone serve themself from the bowl. However you serve it, this is a delicious and beautiful salad perfect for a special occasion.

Needless to say, the salad - along with chips, guacamole, one chicken, and a giant watermelon - was enjoyed by all.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Head Games

Only while picnicing could you witness something so rare...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Continuing with the theme of picnics in cinema, I have come across another movie featuring a picnic gone terribly wrong. Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Aussie film about a group of school girls and a teacher who embark on a St. Valentine's Day picnic in the year 1900. A strange, sonic spell is cast over some of the girls causing them to wander into the steep crevices of Hanging Rock never to be seen or heard from again.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ingmar Bergman R.I.P

In honor of the recently departed film-maker extraordinaire, Ingmar Bergman, let us think of that unfortunate picnic in the Academy Award-winning film Virgin Spring. A seemingly pleasant outing on a sunny afternoon turns sinister for an innocent maiden setting off a chain of events that lead to brutal revenge and ultimate redemption. Not a tale for the weak of heart.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Parisian Picnic

Just around dinner-time and just before sunset, a stroll along the legendary banks of the Seine reveals a populus that knows how to picnic.

What appears to be an everyday group of people enjoying the outdoors on a warm afternoon is actually a raging picnic! An edible after-work get together? A gastronomical beginning for a big night on the town? Who knows?

This lovely couple demonstrates that a little wine, water, bread and cheese, and some raw vegetables are all that is required for an elegant evening along the Seine.

Viva la France, Viva la Pique-nique!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Jim Davis takes on picnics

When Garfield has a picnic, he really has a picnic...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A picnic in the Great Indoors!

Imagine the heartbreak of planning an elegant rooftop picnic - poolside - overlooking the charming village of Sommier, France only to be rained out by an unexpected thunderstorm once the picnic blanket touched the ground!
Luckily, the pioneering spirit of my fellow travelers (Slim, Annie, and Marc) came through as we hastily moved to plan B - a picnic in our room. An indoor picnic! Unheard of, right? Not anymore.
With the windows opened wide, the cool, misty breeze provided a semblance of outdoors while Annie and Marc prepared and feasted upon some locally attained edibles including cantelope, apples, cucumber, carrots, grilled asparagus, camembert, various meats, and a fresh baguette (of course). A sudden bolt of lightning caused a power outage that enhansed the outdoor/indoor effect and provided an almost eerie mood for our enclosed picnic.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Red Hook, Part 1

Hello again! Here we are enjoying an eveningtime picnic in Red Hook. Known for inspiring the inspired Elia Kazan film "On the Waterfront" and for being hated by that surly sci-fi horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft, Red Hook offers many lovely, not to mention historical, vistas for the casual muncher. We picked this spot in the sprawling and aptly named Red Hook Park for its vicinity to the Red Hook Grain Terminal (in the background), which reminded us of the mighty grain towers that rule the Nordeast neighborhood of our much-missed hometown, Minneapolis.

For tonight's picnic Thew has prepared a special treat--a slurry of tunafish, nayonaise, tomato paste and cilantro that is perfect for spreading thick on pita, along with healthy slices of avocado.
I don't know what he calls the concoction, but I call it delicious! Strawberries and apples make an appearance as well, admirably representing the fruit family in this latest battle of the never-ending war of sweet vs. savory. Who will win, in the end? We don't care, cause it's time to eat!

But you know what this picnic is missing? Dessert. Luckily for us, or so we thought, Red Hook is the home of Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies. These tart little devils can be purchased, during business hours, from the pie factory tucked away in a pier-perched warehouse along Red Hook's coast. However, like the mystical land of Avalon (not the Roxy Music album Avalon), which can only be accessed if you know the right incantation or if you really believe in fairies or something, the precise location of Steve's pies is sometimes hard to pin down. Try as we may, wander as we might, we couldn't find the damn place anywhere that night. No, key lime eluded us that storied evening, but the pie was to be ours another day...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Eating Out More Often--Central Park

Hello and welcome to Eat Out More Often, a roadside rest area on this information superhighway devoted to the fulfilling endeavor of eating and socializing in the cheap showiness of nature. Although we're still chewing over the mission statement of this online newsletter (blog is such a vulgar word) we are eager to take a big bite out of something we see as a sadly unexplored topic--picnicking! For now, it is enough to say that we love the pageantry and pleasantness of the picnicking pass time, and we intend to "drink a toast," if you will, to this great outdoor tradition.

Here we have our inaugural Eat Out More Often picnic, the one that started it all. As Kim and Thew-- especially Thew--are demonstrating, we were set to eat a spread of baguette, cheese (of the brie and goat varieties), chips, hummus, avocado, red grapes and--on the sly--white wine. The accordion we brought along for some post-picnic ditties proved an excellent serving table.

We picked the coziest of spots for our lunchtime rendezvous, Central Park at 59th and Central Park West. We liked this site for its shadiness, its gentle slope, and, because of its busy locale, the opportunities it afforded us for amusing people-watching.

As foreshadowed by the presence of the accordion, an already marvelous picnic can often be improved upon with music. Ukuleles do nicely, as they are light, portable, very easy to play, and they encourage group participation. Here Jim teaches Ivy an especially tricky lick on Herman's Hermits' mournful pop hit, "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter." We look so happy here; little did we know a bagpiper was on his way to take a big musical dump on the proceedings.

What's that you ask? Is there a video of "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter"? Well, since you were such a dear about it...