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Picnic recommendations wanted

I am looking to ahve my first picnic in years and I want it to be really special. Was thinking a mix of homemade and store bought items, obviously that can be easily packed in a cooler. Writing from hot and humid weather so with that in mind do the hounds have any recs? the last time I did this it was pb and j - want this to be slightly more romantic!!! Thanks guys

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  1. anunez, there are recipes around here for a potato salad with egg in it -- can be kept in a cooler I guess? -- that sound delish.

    Fried chicken, bought or made, potato salad, white wine, brownies, napkins...and some healthy stuff like fruit, if you insist.

    Oh, and the car that Grace Kelly and Cary Grant sat in while he ate that chicken leg sooooooo very smartly!

    Have fun.

    1. We just had a picnic a week ago and I made a wonderful sandwich (courtesy of a Giada DeLaurentis (sp?) recipe. It was tuna with kalamata olives, artichokes and olive oil (no mayo). It held up really well and was delicious and very easy to make. I also made a potato salad with olive oil instead of mayo and, from the same episode of her show, I made the tomatoe/basil/watermelon skewers. Bring along some cheese and fruit or a nice dessert and you've got it made!

      1. A roast or grilled (as in Portuguese-style) chicken, interesting composed salads - thinking Greek, Maghrebi ones with cooked ingredients etc - cheese and wine are obvious. And everyone likes a good potato salad. Good crusty bread (whether a baguette or crusty bread rolls). The fruit shouldn't be a healthy obligation but a pleasure - a fruit salad with a hint of booze, grapes (very sexy, those) or tiny berries in season.

        1. Chicken Marabella served cold: http://www.templedavid.org/recipe/rec...

          Or, you could make it easy (and kinda romantic) and do some olives, an assortment of cheeses, pate, hard salami, french bread, and maybe some melon with a nice bottle of wine.

          1. Antipasto type ingredients--salami, other Italian deli meats, good cheese, olives, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, plus great bread. Really good cookies or brownies for dessert.

            1. these are awesome thank you! i like the idea of a antipasto type situation so we can just graze the afternoon away. you guys are lifesavers

              1. We are big on desserts @ our picnics - there has to be lemon bars (Ina Garten has a good recipe), black & white cupcakes (basically a Texas choc sheet cake recipe with a cream cheese/choc chip filling), brownies, homemade shortbread cookies with raspberry or apricot filling. Fruit salad is also de rigeur and a scooped out watermelon makes a nice shell or container.

                Homemade potato salad and cole slaw are also required. Alternate salads include spinach, strawberry, red onion & mozzarella cheese, caprese salad (when tomatoes are ripe), pasta salad (sometimes with seafood as main)

                1. I like to pack hummus, olives, pita...kind of Middle Eastern antipasto. Make a Greek salad with really yummy feta and maybe toss in some cooked chicken.

                  Then I go all American for dessert with the darkest brownies I can make.

                  Lemonade or wine are good, or just bottled water.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lulubelle

                    The brownies on picnics must be a US thing, as I've never heard of them being a picnic staple (I live in Montréal). We'd go more for pastries (as much Middle-Eastern as French), a pie or cake, I think (I don't really eat desserts - my vices are salty) but I'm thinking of what friends with a sweet tooth like to take.

                    Definitely all the "small dishes" from the Mediterranean basin, north, south, east and west. They hold up to heat, for one thing. The Southern European type of omelette (frittata, tortilla etc) also eaten in North Africa, is portable and perfectly good tepid.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Brownies are definitely an American staple. For one thing, they are stable -- no chocolate chips to get gooey in the heat.

                      I have a great recipe for a picnic salad. Take fresh berries -- strawberries are in season now, or raspberries -- and marinate them in a good quality fruit vinegar. Put this in a separate container. Make a green salad of your choice with goat cheese or feta. Just before serving, top the green salad with the marinated berries and the vinegar. The goat cheese/feta combined with the vinegar makes a creamy self-dressing, and the salad is light and crisp.

                  2. I make small (fist sized) calzone - filled with preserved peppers, olives, mozzarella or summer puddings in individual tupperware containers

                    1. All the above recs are good. Another:

                      Teriyaki chicken, musubi, Japanese quick pickles and salads.

                      1. its now looking to be about 99 degrees and humid as all get out so the non cooking/buying options are looking better and better. And yes brownies are a must! Hope everyone has a great weekend

                        1. Don't forget the wet-naps! Enjoy!

                          1. I have made this strawberry panzanella for 2 picnics now, and it garnered raves both times:

                            1. Here's a recipe for a great take-along salad that's delicious, easy to prepare, and really colorful.

                              BLACK BEAN, JICAMA AND CORN SALAD

                              Makes 8 servings.

                              2 15-ounce cans corn niblets
                              2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
                              1 cup 1/3-inch dice peeled jicama
                              ½ cup 1/3-inch dice peeled carrots
                              ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
                              1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
                              2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano

                              4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
                              3 tablespoons orange juice
                              1 tablespoon grated lime zest
                              ½ teaspoon ground cumin
                              4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

                              Combine corn, black beans, jicama, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and oregano.
                              Whisk lime juice, orange juice, lime peel, cumin, and olive oil in small bowl. Mix dressing into bean salad. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: CindyJ

                                I think I will give this a go this weekend! Quick question...Mexican oregano?

                                1. re: enbell

                                  Sure -- if you have Mexican oregano, that's what you should use. If not, use Turkish (Mediterranean) oregano, or "generic" oregano. There are subtle differences between the two.

                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    Not the regular, but the gourmet line of McCormick had it. They also had a Mediterranean blend which I did not buy. If I ever have too much time on my hands I'm curious about the results of a side by side tasting. This was a huge hit though, and with your permission I have requests for the recipe. Thank you again :)

                                    1. re: enbell

                                      In all fairness, I must admit that it's not my original recipe. It's one I originally found on Epicurious and modified a little.

                              2. I am quite happy with wine, bread, cheese, pate and grapes. Zero prep, and requires little other than napkins, glasses and a knife/corkscrew. Pate is key!

                                1. As a child, I went on a picnic to Tanglewood which is where the Boston Symphony plays in the summer. My friends mother packed a salade nicoise. Each element of the salad was packaged individually then she tossed each element with the dressnig she had made and plated it on a big platter. It was very pretty.