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Jun 2, 2014 01:42 PM

Ideas for a cold lunch basket

I am trying to come up with a cold lunch menu I can do for my garden club next spring. I do not want to do a sandwich. I plan on lining a basket with tissue, adding the lunch and tying a floral bandana around the handle to be used for a napkin. I would really like to do something really nice. Like some type of cold chicken dish, a salad of some sort, and dessert and maybe a take-home cookie or something. Any ideas appreciated. I was thinking I could include knife for cutting or using food on a kabob.

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  1. I like Ina's chinese chicken salad, although I use thighs instead of breast and change the vegetables. It's great w/ a roll. Chop the vegetables to bite size.

    1. You could do individually-sized quiches along with a green salad, a fruity dessert and a little take-home bag of spiced or candied nuts.

      3 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        Do you serve your quiche cold. That would go with French feel of luncheon but I've never had cold quiche. Seems like Ina made a cold chicken breast thing once on one of her show.

        1. re: Cflower5

          Quiche, frittata, Spanish tortilla are all basically similar things, different countries.
          They can all be served room temp, with the chill off, so that flavors can bloom.
          I think someone else mentioned that you could make individual servings in cupcake molds.

          1. re: Cflower5

            Room temp quiche is fine for me.

            I wouldn't do anything that required a knife. Quiche can be eaten with fingers.

        2. Of course, cold fried chicken is glorious.
          Spanish tortilla
          Hummus with veggies
          pasta salad with cheese tortellini
          Strawberry Rhubarb bars
          Asparagus with a light, bright vinaigrette

          But, don't rule out elegant and delicious sandwiches!

          My favorite picnic sandwich is sliced steak (flank, flap, skirt) with a Greek salad on top (feta, lettuce cucumber, tomatoes, pepperoncini, dressed with Greek salad dressing), on a crusty baguette, sliced for individual portions.
          The longer the sandwich sits, wrapped tightly in foil, the better it gets!

          4 Replies
          1. re: monavano

            I like the idea of the hummus and vegetables. Would a torta taste good cold. Maybe a pasta salad with some type of cold lemon chicken. Fried chicken would not go over with these ladies. I love the idea of cold chicken for a picnic though. I would probably not do a sandwich unless it was the type they could put the salad in a roll or eat it with a fork without the roll.

            1. re: Cflower5

              A torta is a sandwich.
              Do you mean tortilla?

              1. re: monavano

                I thought a torts was a spanish potato dish similar to a quiche or made in a pie pan.

                1. re: Cflower5

                  That's a tortilla espanol, or Spanish tortilla.
                  A Mexican torta is a sandwich.
                  A tort, or torte, is a layered cake.

          2. Frittata? I've been making those and sending slices in for my daughter's lunches.

            1. some quick pickles/relishes/ (see current dish of the of the month here)

              a nice fruit, berries, maybe melons, pineapple, with or without a lime dressing. I'd cut up the fruit as it's really awkward to have apple or peach juice dripping down your face as you eat a whole fruit.....I'd go by color, it's a garden club.....!

              asparagus....see ideas recently for asparagus sauced here.

              an asian cabbage salad with peanuts or other nuts

              a noodle asian peanut salad (veg)

              I personally worry about cold chicken dishes. They are great when you can keep them cold until serving. If not...kind of dangerous.

              for protein, some kind of pan bagnat...use tuna with olive oil, roasted colorful peppers, some olives....with or without pesto. Turn it into a pasta or grain salad if eating the pressed bread sandwich turns into another awkward experience. Grilled peaches are great with cheeses, as are grilled apples and pineapples.

              love this idea of the basket with the bandana for the napkin. that is really nice! sounds lovely.

              15 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  the best recipe I've seen for picked shrimp is at the anson mills website.....I should have thought of it myself! thanks!

                  1. re: Madrid

                    I have some big fat peeled shrimp in the freezer- I'll look that recipe up!

                      1. re: Madrid

                        I love pickled shrimp I did that on my blog at Rosemary and the but for 45 ladies that would get pretty expensive

                      2. re: monavano

                        That was one of my first thoughts. Check out Shirley Corriher's "Best ever marinated shrimp" recipe in her book Cook Wise. Its been a staple for years.

                        1. re: Chefpaulo

                          Thank you.
                          I think I'm going to do pickled shrimp for an annual July 4th picnic, and serve it up in a big jar.

                      3. re: Madrid

                        Love the pan bagnat idea - only gets better the more it sits and soaks.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          but she said she didn't want an sandwich, which I didn't catch until after I posted. I think it could still be done as a sandwich, let it soak, then make the bread into some kind of croutons? and turn it into a kind of panzanella salad? I'l have to try this.

                          Lulu's mom, I live in Boston but I'm from NC RTP area. I've loved reading your posts and have a fantasy that someday I'll meet you in RTP somewhere. You and Lulu are so charming!

                          1. re: Madrid

                            There are sandwiches, and then there are sandwiches.

                            1. re: monavano

                              yeah, I know. I love pimento cheese sandwiches on toast....

                              1. re: Madrid

                                I would love to do pimento
                                cheese sandwich and cucumber sandwiches but I think these ladies would not go for all the bread. He normally have our luncheon in May at a restaurant or country club where they have a choice of three menus usually a fish chicken and pork so next year I'm giving them one choice and that will be whatever is in the basket

                            2. re: Madrid

                              Thank you so much Madrid! LulusDad makes it to Boston at least once a year ... maybe we'll tag along next time and take you out for a drink.

                          2. re: Madrid

                            Fruit cup always good with a nice dressing. And asparagus would be cheaper in the spring. I know I'm planning almost a year in ad advice but I usually do that when I know I have something on my calendar. I have huge coolers that chicken dish can be out in and we can out together lunches at the garden farm. I have had a hard time. Finding peach baskets for a couple of dollars if I can't find those I might go with a colored gift bags to match the color of the florals tablecloths and then Tie handles together with the bandannas