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Help me round out my picnic dinner

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I have a date with bf to watch Shakespeare in the Park! I told him I'll provide the picnic. So far I have lemon-dill chicken salad wraps, Ina Garten's orzo with roasted vegetables (I used leftover grilled). Any suggestions for a special tea/lemonade to pack up, and a dessert? I just halved some beautifully ripened strawberries and tossed in some blackberries. I would love to use these up if possible, and I could go with a simple fruit salad, but I was hoping for something a bit more special, or an accompaniment for the berries. I ask because most picnic desserts are of the cookie/bar variety. If I go there I will probably serve that as a go-along-with.

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  1. The berries would be lovely crushed lightly and marinated in a splash of grand marnier with a splash of lemon juice. Bring a container of mascarpone cheese and some pirouette style cookies or wafer crisps to accompany it. If you wish you can lightly sweeten the mascarpone and add a sprinkle of citrus zest. Your menu sounds lovely both to the eyes and stomach. Melon lemonade or slightly sweetened iced tea (strong) combined w/ peach nectar is fantastic; more so if you freshen it up by using fresh lemons or some zest. Really any fruit nectar would work, and I hope you have a lovely time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      I prefer Chambord with the berries over the orange liqueurs. If you have a way to keep it cold, (a little dry ice maybe? pack 2 scoops of ice cream or some whipped cream.

      1. re: ocshooter

        Nice idea, and yep the Chambord might be nice, though I find it a little cloying.

    2. If you drink alcohol, bring the ingredients for an Aperol Spritz - Aperol, prosecco or other sparkling wine and a dash of sparkling water. Not too sweet, very summery, and would go beautifully with your berries (you could even add a dash of their juices to the drink if you like). As for dessert, I love mamachef's mascarpone idea to fancy up your fruit - but for me it's not a picnic without chocolate. I would bring the brownies from Ad Hoc at Home (Thomas Keller) as well!

      1 Reply
      1. re: biondanonima

        biodanomnima, that's such a great idea! A box of good chocolates to top everything off. So simple and FREAKING BRILLIANT, girlfriend. I can even see bringing a selection of chocolate candy bars to a very casual gathering, and letting people choose. I swear, next time I have a picnic of my own or cater something, there will SO be chocolates involved, and not in a s'mores kind of way. (Though I love those too.)

      2. i would use the blackberries in my lemonade!

        1. This is a tea that we really love. I will always be thankful to Ina Garten for developing this. It is very easy to half the recipe.

          Barefoot Contessa’s Herbal Iced Tea

          4 Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger tea bags
          4 Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea bags
          4 cups boiling water
          4 cups pure apple juice

          Steep the 8 tea bags in 4 cups of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags. Combine the tea with the apple juice and refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Wtg2Retire

            it is even better with sparkling cider instead of plain apple juice.

            1. re: magiesmom

              magiesmom, I am going to add that hint to the recipe. Making my mouth water just thinking of it. Thanks for the tip.