Picnic foods for a day-long boat trip
TAKE ANYWHERE RELISH
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas or black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (recommended: Ro-Tel, drained)
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 (8-ounce - small) bottle Italian dressing - add more later, if preferred
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate mixture overnight.
Serve with corn chips or as a side.
Any picnics or outtings I almost always made grape leaves. I stuff the leaves with rice and do an entire pot, can do them with some mint and olive oil. They are lovely finger food and travel well eaten at any temp.
If you're going middle eastern you could always make some dips, hummus, pita chips. Olives, assorted pickles and such.
I like rustic food, lots of variety and small things. Good artisan bread and cheese is always wonderful too!!
I would have a few questions before figuring out what food to recommend. How big is the boat? Are talking about a big cabin cruiser where you have a table and seating around it? Is it a pontoon/deck boat where there is ample space? I/m guessing it's one of the two, otherwise 7 people seems a bit much for say, an 18 foot ski boat.
On boats (at least the boats I've been on) there's lots of drinking going on all day long. I'd suggest making an enormous amount of simple canapes or finger sandwiches that're heavy on stuff like cream cheese, ham, cheeses and mayonnaise-based salads (to keep everyone's tummy well-lined). Deviled eggs are also a good bet.
I adore cherylptw's thought about the sliced tenderloin. But for lobster salad there're few things more appropriate for July 4th. And you can get really creative with the sauces.
Cold fried chicken, macaroni salad and potato salad, perhaps with a dark-green salad, makes a fabulous lunch. Don't over-season the chicken, but don't go light on the seasonings in the flour, either, as the flavors are attenuated by the cold. Make sure you pass salt and pepper (again to allow for alcohol-dulled palates -- excuse me if I'm starting to make your boat trip sound more like a Bacchanalia -- but if you've ever been to Newport for the jazz festival, on a boat, you've seen how much booze boaters can pack away!)
If you want dinner to be light and easy make ceviche out of some good tuna. Serve a black bean/corn salad and good bread(s) and have a fine dessert. Surprise everyone with thermoses full of strong coffee after dinner (unless it's sultry it might be nice to have something warm as the evening ends).
I think a big pressed sandwich is a nice idea. Get a large round loaf, slice in half like a hamburger bun, pull out some of the bread to create a nice cavity, and then spread with tapenade, cheeses and cold cuts, roasted peppers, sliced pickled veggies and dress with an olive oil vinagretted, put the top on, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set on a baking sheet and weight it down overnight. Cut into wedges to serve.
In that case, off the top of my head, you can do a roasted beef tenderloin & later slice & serve cold with nice breads & rolls and an assortment of spreads like caramelized onion & garlic, horseradish mustard etc. Other things you might consider are cold fried chicken, seafood salad or marinated ceviche, Grilled BBQ chicken salad, and pulled pork, which can be served room temp.
On the salad end, grilled sweet potato, cold noodles with vegetables, marinated cucumber, corn & spicy pinto bean, or mixed greens with thinly sliced Vidalia onion & fresh sliced peaches with a sweet onion vinaigrette are a few suggestions.
Dips: roasted poblano & tomatillo, caramelized onion & smoked gouda, or smoked tomato basil; bake off some thinly sliced french or italian bread, brush with olive oil and a sprinkle of your favorite seasoning & serve with the dips. You might also consider doing a flat bread topped & baked with summer vegetables: yellow & zucchini squash, red onion, thinly sliced eggplant, etc. and maybe your favorite cheese then bake off and cut for an appetizer or some type of frittata.
For dessert, why not think about red, white & blue sugar cookie bar squares or individual shortcakes that you can assemble on the boat?