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Spring picnic ideas needed!

Hello hounds,

So my birthday's coming up in mid-April, and it's a big one. After years upon years of baking everybody exactly what they want for their birthdays, I've decided to do myself the same favor. I'll be having a picnic (assuming weather is good) and have the dessert aspect already planned out: key lime pie, rhubarb cobbler, black forest cake.

So now I just need non-sweet picnic ideas. Two catches: the first, I won't have access to grills or anything so I need to bring everything pre-made. The second - I don't really eat meat and most of my friends don't either, so I'd like to keep this strictly vegetarian (cheese/eggs ok.)

All I can come up with so far - homemade crackers, cheese, dips, that sort of thing. Your usual uninspired pasta salads and bean salads, sigh. Anybody have brilliant ideas for me?

Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. devilled egg salad for your homemade crackers. roasted grape tomatoes and peppers. a thermos of gingered vegetable broth with chopped cilanto and lime to add when you pour.

    1. Pimento & Cheese Sandwiches.......

      Have Fun!

      1. You could do a vegie quiche or fritta. Will you do shrimp? I have a great recipe for a roasted shrimp and orzo salad. You could do up some roasted tomatoes, and make a nice sandwhich with fresh mozzarella, the tomatoes, and some fresh basil leaves. Steam up some artichokes, serve with some mayo that has dijon and marjorum added. They are great at room temp, always a favorite app at my house. Roasted vegies, a few cheeses and some excellent bread, olive oil and balsamic a must.

        1. How about an asparagus and morel quiche? It seems special and springlike.

          1. Individual Fruit Cocktails
            Pears with Walnut Whip Dressing
            Pineapple Honolulu
            Stuffed Portabella's

            You can find some of the recipes here:

            1. Gaspacho. If fish is an option a ceviche. A nice tabouleh.

              1. How about a nice grain salad? Maybe a bulgur salad with cucumbers, garbanzos, and green onions. A little heartier than a green salad and a little different. There's also a great recipe for cous cous salad with almonds and dates on epicurious.

                1. Thermoses of either pea or asparagus soup, pureed, creamed or not (asparagus tips to add after pouring for that one). A layered sandwich, either a large round loaf or individual rolls. Pesto, cheeses, roasted peppers, tapenade, roasted eggplant or zucchini. Wrapped, weighted overnight in the fridge.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nemo

                    Along the idea of a soup in a thermos, also try a dill pickle soup. Absolutely delicious. I have had this many times at the Trianon and just loved it.


                  2. Wow, I LOVE your dessert choices, three of my favorites.

                    I agree with the frittata idea, those are delicious served cold or room temp. Or quiche works too, though with the Key Lime pie it might be a lot of crust. Also perhaps a penne or rigatoni pasta dish with an olive-oil based mushroom sauce, very good at room temp. If you're feeling rich you could put some truffle salsa on it, too.

                    I know you said bean salads are boring but I love bean salad. I also like wheat berry salad a lot. Potato salad? Some steamed asparagus with dipping sauce.

                    And there's nothing wrong with good French bread and nice cheeses, olives, and some home-made spreads.

                    Have fun and happy birthday!

                    1. Can you get any good tomatoes yet -- even cherry size? A panzanella is always wonderful -- provided you aren't relying on cardboard grocery store tomatoes. You could even add white beans and small chunks of boccantini of mozzarella for protein.

                      A friend recently turned me onto winter ratatouille made with canned tomatoes. I was aghast at first but it turned out very well. Not the same as fresh summer tomatoes, of course, but all the other veggies are available year round so it was really just different. I'd take a container of cold ratatouille, crusty bread and a great goat cheese.

                      1. We love to make sliced tomato, sliced mozzarella, and basil sandwiches on a loaf of cibatta. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and add some fresh cracked pepper. Wrap the whole loaf and slice each person's desired portion at the picnic. We usually make one or two more loafs in the same style with different fillings (such as Boursin, cucumber and sprouts, etc). Have fun and happy early birthday!

                        1. Ratatouille is great @ room temp, serve alone, over couscous/quinoa or other grain
                          Mushroom crepes
                          Chinese style lettuce wraps with tofu
                          Veggie fillings for a fajita or taco bar
                          Veg banh mihs

                          1. You might get some ideas from this recent thread. I particularly like the tortilla espanola idea.


                            1. Happy early birthday, enjilico!

                              I'd recommend quinoa tabouli. I've never gone wrong with this recipe...it's delicious:

                              1. rub some veggies with pesto (portabellow, zuccini, red onion, red pepper...your favourites) and grill them. Take a round loaf of sourdough bread and slice it in half - like a bun. Scoop out a bit of the bread. Make a mayo with mayo, roasted garlic and sun dried tomato and coat both sides of the bread. Line both sides with lettuce (protects the bread from getting squishy from the other stuffings) then add sprouts and grated carrot and your grilled veggies. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and let it rest a while. Cut eveyone a wedge. ( I usually do mine with chicken but I think all veggies would still be yummy - maybe add some brie?)

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    mm that just looks yummy. Made me think of so many variations. Some roasted red pepper and grilled artichoke with asiago would be good too...maybe with shrimp for those who eat fish. - I'd do slivers of rare beef. mmmm

                                1. are Spring Rolls too on the nose ;) ?

                                  Couscous Sald - cook couscous in veggie broth; mix in herbs of choice, chopped grilled zucchini, tomato, and green onions, as well as pumpkin seed oil and lemon juice

                                  Wild Rice Salad - cook wild rice, mix in a handful of dried apricots, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dates. pine nuts, diced celery, and optional bell peppers. dress with:
                                  2 cloves garlic crushed
                                  4 tbsp olive oil
                                  2 tbsp cider vinegar
                                  2 tbsp apple juice
                                  1 tsp cumin
                                  1/2 tsp chilli
                                  1/2 tsp turmeric
                                  2 tbsp soy sauce
                                  combine dressing ingredients and toss with rice salad.

                                  Dill Cucumber Salad
                                  white wine vinegar
                                  dijon mustard cucumber
                                  dash sugar
                                  olive oil

                                  Tofu Salad
                                  drained, pressed and crumbled tofu
                                  dijon mustard
                                  red onion
                                  served in hollowed out tomato halves

                                  Carrot Vichyssoise

                                  Sundried Tomato Pate

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Emme

                                    Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)

                                    And a mezze platter

                                    Grape tomatoes, mozz cheese & fresh basil leaves on wooden skewers.

                                    Chilled asparagus soup (topped with sour cream & chives)

                                    1. re: Emme

                                      Aren't spring rolls fried? I might go more for summer rolls with various dipping sauces.

                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                        i do spring rolls with rice paper dipped in a little water, to make them pliable and sealable... no frying involved. some lightly blanched chopped broccoli, grated carrot, miso marinated mushrooms, cilantro, etc. layer and roll and seal. voila! serve with a dipping sauce of choice.

                                        1. re: Emme

                                          Emme - I always associated spring rolls with deep frying, where as summer rolls were not fried. Same ingredients basically. Good to know there is another way. Thanks for the info.

                                    2. Mark Bittman has 100 ideas for you! http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/din...

                                      Happy birthday!

                                      1. Mushroom and potato pasties (little pies)
                                        Artichoke paté
                                        Broccoli salad (there's a really good recipe in the Greens Cookbook which I love)