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Jul 19, 2006 11:39 PM

menu and recipes for a french picnic

In a couple of weeks we are going to the Hollywood Bowl--this is a summer music venue for LA. Pre-performance picnics are standard and fancy is deemed good. For this visit, the other party has paid for all the tickets and we are bringing all the food [not a bad deal, actually].

So far, I'm leaning towards a frenchish theme but am still working out the details of the menu. In the past, I've made stuff like that french sandwich with the layers of tuna, marinated peppers, olive salad, etc and it turned out pretty well. I'm open to making it again as part of the menu but am interested in something new as well.

Our party of six has three kids and three adults. Three of the party eat pretty much anything they can stick a fork in or pick up with chopsticks, one is cautious but open, one believe that green food should not be eatten [but can be persuaded in exchange for dessert] and given the skinniness of the last, I'm really not sure she eats at all. Odds are good that we will be "lap eatting" as opposed to sitting at a table. I should have a good amount of time to prepare food as the event is on a Sunday.

Any ideas? recipes? must trys?

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  1. Salade nicoise and lots of great French bread. And something fancy, some kind of tart, for dessert. Yum.

    1. You know what I always think of as French pique-nique fare? Radish sandwiches. A good baguette, some good butter and some good radishes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jillp

        I love the radish, butter, salt combination. This spring, I improvised and turned out with a great hors-d'oeuvre. Spread some tarragon shallot butter on some thinly sliced baguette and top with sliced radishes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Would make a nice sandwich too.

      2. Quiche transports well and isn't terribly messy, although it does require a fork. A terrine, perhaps? You could make both a vegetable one and a meat one. In fact, in the LATimes last week there was a Hollywood Bowl-inspired menu - while not necessarily French in theme, it might give you ideas.

        While I enjoy salads, I feel that they're a tad harder to transport, run the risk of wilting if leaf-based, and also often require dressing, which can get messy when you're trying to eat off laps in the dark.

        Maybe palmiers for dessert? You can make them easily with store-purchased puff pastry, or you can make them completely from scratch (which I've done - not difficult, but more time consuming, and sometimes you don't really want to know how butter is used in a recipe). Eclairs might be nice as well.

        And make sure to bring a baguette (or two) and some good cheese. Lately, I've been in love with affinois (which is like butter in cheese form, if that makes any sense) and St. Andre.

        And on a side note - sometimes the skinniest people I know eat the most. I always envy that quick metabolism.

        1. Maybe get some really good cheese and good baguette? And wine, nice French wine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: OnceUponABite

            Yes, I can't imagine a French picnic without good cheese and bread. I would also have s selection of charcuterie, some pickles - cornichons would be perfect - and fruit.

          2. One of my very best Hollywood Bowl meals, that provoked other tables into looking over at us in jealousy, and which tasted great and could be served at room temp or chilled, was the Poached Salmon with Tarragon Sauce and Fingerling Potatoes from Gourmet Magazine a few years back. It's on epicurious, here:


            (btw, everyone in my group ADORED the sauce; not sure what those first two commentators on epicurious are talkin' about ;-


            We served the salmon and potatoes with a green salad with a french-style vinaigrette, tossed once we got to the Bowl. With french bread, white wine, and dessert of chocolate and fresh fruit, it was perfect!