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Picnic - Appetizers - Ideas Please

Our Dinner Club theme this month is “Picnic”. I’ve been tasked with bringing appetizers. I know that with a picnic, appetizers aren’t really typical. But to keep things categorized we have other people bringing “meat/main”, “Sides/Salads” and Dessert.

I’ve struggling all week on what to bring as the ‘appetizer’. I cannot bring meat or a salad, as that’s assigned to someone else. Devilled eggs are out due to an allergy. To add to the limitations, everything must be prepared/cooked and kept cold. There is no facility for cooking. I was considering bringing a home made ricotta cheese, some fancy crackers, a drier cured sausage and maybe some spicy almonds. But that all sounds super boring to me.

Any brilliant ideas from fellow Chowhounds on picnic appetizers would be much appreciated.

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  1. Check out the pickling thread! I made some amazing zucchini and squash blossom pickles this year. We had a picnic recently where I brought those some Saskatoon berry jam and a few cheeses. It was a huge hit and you get to cook a bit instead of just shop. :)

    1. Too bad about the eggs... those would be perfect!

      A couple of ides... flatbread or tortilla roll-ups. Use a good cheese to make more interesting. Or make pate. Lots of options to choose from (including lighter vegetarian versions that would be more summery). I have been tempted to make rillettes (you can do in small canning jars for a pretty presentation) but have never gotten around to it. I have had some very nice ones done with smoked trout, or could go more original with pork. And/or do quick pickles.. with an interesting mix of veggies, like okra, cauliflower, green beans, kohlrabi..

      1 Reply
      1. re: firecooked

        Roll ups are a great idea--there's a place which makes these, they are delicious and would be easy to replicate!!

        Flour tortilla, spread with cream cheese, top with fresh spinach, shredded chicken and salsa, roll like a really skinny burrito, chill, slice, serve!

      2. Guac and chips are always a hit (or an avocado dip, my favorite! Mash ripe avocado's with minced garlic, ceyenne, feta and Braggs, serve with tortilla chips). Any kind of chip/dip combo would travel well, and you could have fun making some dips! Fruit salsa and cinnamon/sugar chips is great too! Watermelon/feta skewers, caprise skewers, "Greek" skewers (marinate large cubes of cucumber in a greek dressing or red wine vinegar, skewer with kalamata olives, feta, and bell pepper), gazpacho or chilled cucumber soup (Hefty or one of those brands makes tiny little tupperware dishes with lids, one of those would be a good serving), tea sandwiches, grilled veggie platter (can be served chilled or room temp, so great for traveling!) And instead of a cheese board, maybe layer a piece of proccuito on top of a piece of provolone, and wrap around the top half of a breadstick. Very easy, pretty, and will travel great!

        1. Shrimp (salad size) cocktails (bring plastic spoons, sm paper cups)
          Peal and eat med size shrimp (on ice) different dips
          Smoked oysters (in cans) with toothpicks & crackers
          Caprese on a stick
          I like the pickling idea; asparagus, green beans on & on

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gail

            I really like the shrimp cocktail and the caprese on a stick.

            Also pickling isn't a bad idea provided the pickling can be done in time.