Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 7, 2007 09:14 AM

2007 Chowing with the Hounds (SF Bay Area) Picnic Recipes

There is a report here:

on the annual picnic/get together of SF Bay Area hounds. This board is the place to post recipes and recipe requests, so I will start it out: everything was delicious! For me personally, the carrot pudding was a standout. I believe it was a repeat from a prior year hit, but would love to see this recipe again: perfect for Thanksgiving!

I also loved Ruth's potato/bacon thingies, the corn salad, the fattoush salad, and Urmi's basil chicken! Can we have recipes?

oh yes, and the ginger truffles......and the bbq picnic sandwiches! I could go on and on...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I actually made David's carrot pudding for T-Day a couple of times, and it was indeed a big hit, taking the place of sweet potatoes (which no one in our family is crazy about).

    Thanks for all the compliments about my Cheesy Potato Bites -- potatoes, cheese, bacon, how could I go wrong? I cobbled the dish together doing what I often do: read a bunch of recipes and use elements from different ones (techniques from one, ingredients from another, etc.). The amounts are very approximate, since I'm working backwards from the batch I made for the picnic (six pounds of potatoes). Depending on how much other food you have, I'm guessing this would be enough for 8-10.

    Ruth's Cheesy Potato Bites

    One pound small (15 to a pound) Yukon Gold potatoes

    6 oz good quality bacon (not thick sliced -- I used Niman Ranch dry-cured applewood smoked bacon)
    2 oz blue cheese
    2 oz St. Andre cheese
    2 oz chevre
    2 oz ricotta
    (or any blend of cheeses to taste -- the ricotta adds moisture, other recipes I looked at added mayo and/or sour cream)

    2 oz finely grated parmesan
    truffle oil

    Note: I bought all these ingredients, except the potatoes, at Trader Joe's. The quality of the bacon makes more of a difference than the quality of the cheese.

    Steam the potatoes until cooked through but still firm enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Let cool (but don't refrigerate or they get wrinkly).

    Cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is well-rendered and the bacon is crisp but not burned. Cool and mince finely into bacon bits. Cream all the cheese except the parmesan together (I used a food processor) and fold in about two-thirds of the bacon bits, reserving the rest.

    Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

    When the potatoes are cool, cut in half and use a small melonballer or teaspoon to scoop a hollow in the center of each half. Put the parmesan and truffle oil (or melted butter or olive oil) into saucers or small bowls. Tap each potato half cut-side down in the oil, then in the parmesan (parmesan should be mostly on the flat edge, not filling the hollow) and set on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to turn golden brown (about six minutes). Remove from oven and let cool slightly (just until they won't make cheese filling too runny to work with). Put a blob (a scant teaspoon) of the bacon-cheese mixture in each hollow and top with a pinch of the reserved bacon bits. Return them to the oven and bake until they look good to you (about 10 minutes). Serve warm.

    This sounds more complicated than it was -- I made the batch for the picnic (slightly over 150 pieces) in less than two hours. The filling can be made ahead of time, and the assembled potato bites can be held for a while before baking.

    Oh, and I used the rendered bacon fat to make this recipe -- easy and delicious:

    Swedish ginger cookies:

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I'd certainly recommend making Ruth's potato apps! They were quite delicious and got lots of kudos. They were also quite good at room temp (actually outdoor temp).

      1. re: oakjoan

        I agree, those were amazing!

        I made the fattoush:

        8 tomatoes (I used smallish Early Girls, if you're using bigger ones you could use less), seeded and chopped
        1 big English cucumber, seeded and chopped
        1 bunch green onions, chopped
        2 cloves garlic, minced
        1 big handful each of mint and parsley, chopped
        a good sprinkling of kosher salt

        Mix all of the above together. Over it all, squeeze a half a lemon, and then drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and toss.

        While you're doing all of the chopping, toast 2-3 rounds of pita (cutting them first, if possible, so that they're one layer), and let cool. Then break up all of the pita with your hands or scissors all over the rest of the salad, and sprinkle it all with about 1/2 a teaspoon of sumac, and toss again.

        To bring it to the picnic, I toasted and cooled and broke up the pita, and then took the pita seperately from the rest, and tossed it all when I got there so as not to get the pita too soggy in advance.

        Those ginger truffles were fantastic! As was that calamari salad!

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        Those sound incredible - and a good way to use up odds and ends of cheeses. Do you think I could mince the bacon before cooking it?

        1. re: MMRuth

          Thanks, MM! I don't think it matters how you make the bacon bits, but I've had better luck getting the right amount of rendering without burning with larger pieces rather than smaller -- with small pieces I always end up with some pieces that are underdone and some that are burned (or little burned fragments mixed in) and it's easier to separate the good from the bad if it's in big pieces.

      3. I was just looking at the picnic pictures, and I was reminded -- I want the recipe for that butterscotch boudin! I have a million recipes for chocolate, but a delicious butterscotch recipe like that is a rare bird indeed!

        9 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I made the butterscotch budino from the Pizzeria Mozza recipe published in the NYTimes. I followed the recipe (the budino part, at least) pretty much to the letter, so I'll just post the link:

          Helpful hints:
          1) It's really hard to tell by sight when the caramel has caramelized enough, since you're starting off with brown sugar - the first time I made this, I panicked and pulled the pan way too early. I found that the point when all of the liquid becomes bubbles is the time to take the pan off heat.
          2) If both your cornstarch and your baking powder are made by Clabber Girl... check the label first. I made my first batch with 5 Tbsp of baking powder. That was hideous.

          The original has a warm caramel sauce and whipped creme fraiche on top of the budino... I figured it was dicey enough, bringing a dairy dessert to a picnic, without messing around with warm sauces and whipped toppings, so I made a pine nut brittle (with cayenne and rosemary) and mixed in some Maldon sea salt to top the budino.

          1/2 c pine nuts
          1 1/4 cup sugar
          1/2 cup water
          1 sprig rosemary
          3 TBSP corn syrup
          2 oz unsalted butter
          1/4 tsp salt
          1/4 tsp baking soda
          1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
          1/4 tsp black pepper
          Maldon sea salt

          Preheat oven to 375. Toast pine nuts (about 10 minutes


          Heat with rosemary sprig to simmer, take off heat (if anyone can come up with a better way to infuse rosemary into brittle, please let me know. This method didn't give me much rosemary flavor in the final product. Maybe blending with corn syrup and water, and straining?).

          Line sheet pan with Silpat.

          In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, without stirring. Add corn syrup, continue to boil, brushing down sides of saucepan with a brush dipped in water to force down sugar crystals forming on walls of pan.

          When sugar reaches 250 degrees, gradually add butter, without stirring. Continue to cook until mixtures turns light brown. Remove from heat and add salt, baking soda, and peppers. Mix in pine nuts, immediately spread on Silpat, sprinkle with Maldon sea salt. Cool.

          1. re: daveena

            Thanks so much, daveena (nice meeting you, btw!). Good call on the brittle: it was the finishing touch that really made the dish. I think I liked the bit of crunch from the brittle better than I would have liked sauce and cream.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I also loved the butterscotch boudin. Everything I tried was delicious. I loved the Thai dishes - massaman curry, garlic noodles and chicken with basil - I'd love to get all these recipes.

              I also really liked the carrot pudding, corn salad, roasted pepper salsa, Ruth's potatoes, aloo chaat, two types of fried plantains, the ground cherries, the chocolate sorbet, the vanilla chocolate truffles (I preferred these to the ginger ones - although I might be alone on that) and sesame peanut noodles. So hopefully people can post the recipes for those, and any other dishes I am forgetting.

              I made one of the two spanekopetas, and I can post the recipe soon. I'd love to get the other recipe as well.

              Dave MP

              1. re: Dave MP

                Here is the spanekopeta recipe. I used frozen spinach and frozen phyllo dough, though it could be done w/ fresh/homemade too. I also used all parmesan instead of romano. This style is more caserole like, unlike the other spanekopeta at the picnic which was in individual triangular pieces. Also, I assembled the spanekopeta on Wednesday, and then froze it until Saturday morning for the picnic.

                Spanakopeta (recipe from my grandmother)

                1/2 lb. phyllo dough (cut 1 lb. package in half)

                2 packages frozen spinach, leaf or chopped (or one of each)

                2 T olive oil

                1 medium grated onion

                1 T dried dill

                1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled

                2 T grated romano cheese (or parmesan cheese)

                2 T large curd cottage cheese

                1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

                2 eggs

                1/2 tsp. baking powder

                1 stick butter, melted

                1 egg for glaze

                Thaw phyllo dough according to package.

                Saute onions in oil until wilted. Add frozen spinach to onion and cook together until defrosted. Cool. Add dill.

                Beat 2 eggs well. Add baking powder, feta, cottage cheese and 2 T romano or parmesan.

                Combine spinach and cheese mixtures.

                Butter 13 X 9 inch pan. Construct Spanakopeta as follows:

                Layer 5- 6 sheets of phyllo in pan, overlapping each other, covering the sides of the pan (overlap 1 inch over sides of pan). Brush each sheet with melted butter. Put half of spinach/cheese mixture in pan, spread evenly, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat with 5 or 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing with butter. Spread rest of spinach/cheese mixture, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Top with rest of phyllo sheets, brush with butter. Fold sides over to seal. Brush with one beaten egg.

                With sharp knife cut diagonally into 3 to 4 inch squares.

                Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until brown. May be frozen and baked for 1 hour at 350.

                1. re: Dave MP

                  Here is a link to Cece's post where she reveals the secret of the other spanekopetas:


                  1. re: susancinsf

                    ahha! I suppose mine could be made in the same style using the same filling. I haven't tried that before, but I might do it soon.

                    Dave MP

                  2. re: Dave MP

                    Hello everyone,

                    Thanks for a great picnic. Nice meeting you and tasting your food. I enjoyed every dish I tried -- it was quite a spread. I'll definitely be cribbing your recipes from this thread. Here's the recipe for the corn salad, a version of Peruvian choclo con queso.

                    8-10 Fresh Corn Stalks
                    8 oz. Danish Havarti Cheese
                    1 Red Bell Pepper
                    1 Lime

                    Steam or boil the corn, shock them in ice water to cool them. Cut off the kernels. Cube cheese, and chop bell pepper to pieces that are roughly the size of a corn kernel, mix together and drizzle lime juice to taste. If you have a bbq grill fired up, you can grill the corn and get a little bit of char on it instead of steaming it.

                    The idea is for this to be very simple, be able to taste every ingredient and enjoy the produce, so definitely use fresh corn.
                    Photo of the original:

                2. re: daveena

                  daveena, the butterscotch budino was fabulous, thanks so much for making this for us! Didn't know it was yours, and kudos for being so impeccably organized in portioning it out in individual servings. Great to meet you!

                  1. re: daveena

                    Oh no! I missed butterscotch! Butterscotch Budino? I guess I'll just have to make it. Thanks, daveena, for the link.

                3. The Thai garlic noodles with roast pork, praised on the SF board report, sounds a lot like a dish we learned how to make at Kasma Loha-Unchit's amazing weeklong intensive cooking class in Oakland (though I wasn't at the picnic to see for myself). Would the creator be willing to share if that was the recipe used?

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: david kaplan

                    That was Marlon's contribution if I am not mistaken, and he told me he was going to bring the 'garlic noodles from his Thai cooking class' I am guessing your guess is correct. Marlon, can you confirm?

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      That's what he told me (those were fantastic!) and I'm eagerly anticipating the recipe!

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Actually all the three Thai dishes at the picnic were made from Kasma's recipes. We are all Kasma alum so to say :). I will post the basil chicken recipe later!
                        Urmi (aka jhinky)

                        1. re: jhinky

                          Three more cheers for Kasma! That garlic noodle recipe is among my favorites.

                          1. re: david kaplan

                            Basil Chicken:
                            Actually I used pretty much the recipe that Kasma has on her website (I used about 5x the recipe) - see
                            I use ground chicken instead of coarsely chopped up chicken as I find the taste distributes better and thats the way my favorite Thai restaurant made it :) And use as much chilli as you can - it adds to the flavor.

                            1. re: jhinky

                              YUM, thanks! I can't wait to make that!

                              1. re: jhinky

                                I didn't see the garlic noodle recipe on there. Can someone post that?

                                1. re: jhinky

                                  You got the chiles just right for me: hot enough that I said "wow, that's hot" but still kept eating it. :-)

                      2. Since everyone is clamoring for it, here's a link to the recipe for David's carrot pudding, which he posted when he brought it to the 2005 picnic:

                        Carrot Pudding:


                        1. Darn! I am kicking myself since I wasn't able to make it to the picnic this year. I saw the post a little late, and had plans already. Sounds like it was a great time, with lots of good food.

                          Ruth I am going to make your potatoes for a party the 27th, should I use a warmer? (I think that I Iove potatoes just about any way they're prepared) The party is going to be fairly informal
                          do you recommend that I keep them warm in a serving dish? All the food is going to be appetizers, or walk about food, but I want to serve them the best way. What do you think?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            People seemed to think they were good at room temp (or rather, air temp). Since it uses soft cheeses, they don't get hard and congealed when they cool. They also retain heat well, so if you put foil over the baking sheet when you take them out of the oven, they should keep warm for a while.