Aug 8, 2012
August is a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful summer weather before it’s gone. And what better way to get outside then by going on a picnic! This month’s box is designed to make it easy for you to pack up a great meal and get going. Whether you’re heading to the beach, enjoying some music at Millennium Park or Ravinia or just walking to your local park our Farmer’s Picnic Box will come in handy.
Who better to help us design our Farmer’s Picnic Box than our favorite farmers and chef over at Harmony Valley Farm! We teamed up with Richard de Wilde, Andrea Yoder and Abbey Steffen to put together a box full of delicious foods ideal for outside dining. Be sure to check out their tips and recipes to spark your creativity before heading out for your next picnic.
Summer Greetings from Harmony Valley Farm!
We are in the midst of one of the best times of the year for enjoying the freshness of Wisconsin vegetables. Sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, melons, watermelons, summer squash and cucumbers are coming in like crazy right now! On a hot summer day there is nothing more refreshing than taking a moment to enjoy some of these fresh flavors. In fact, after a long week of work, we often end our week with a Saturday evening dinner picnic in the backyard. Ears of sweet corn doused with a little butter, slices of tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and salt, fresh cucumbers and sweet onions tossed in a creamy dressing, a slice of fresh bread and a wedge of watermelon….that’s our farmer picnic meal. Our resident summer chef, Abbey Steffen, took some time to prepare a few simple picnic recipes that utilize some of the summer season’s bounty. So, pack up your cooler and find your favorite outdoor getaway. Good food, good company and a beautiful sunny day are all it takes to celebrate summer.
Enjoy!—Farmer Richard de Wilde & Andrea Yoder, Harmony Valley Farm
When dining outdoors for a picnic at the park, lake, or backyard, there are several things to take into consideration:
Cooler – When selecting a cooler for your outing, make sure it is going to be big enough to transport and maintain a proper chilled temperature for your food and drinks. Also, there is the decision if you are going to use ice or ice packs to keep your cooler chilled. This decision will play a strong factor in the way you choose to transfer your food, whether it is in storage containers or baggies.
Food Preparation – For a true and traditional picnic, all the food served is generally cold and easily held that way in a cooler. One must plan ahead and have as much prepared as possible. Popular items include finger sandwiches, vegetables and dip, fruit salad, chilled salads (ie: potato salad, cole slaw, and rice salad), cheese/meat/crackers, baguettes, salsas, bruschetta, chips, etc. Keep in mind your cooler, and how much food and drink you are able to store in it. This brings up ways to store your food for the journey. Storage containers are nice, simply because they stack and can fit uniformly in your cooler when using ice packs. If this is not an option, using ziplock bags and ice works well.
Dining Ware – It is strongly suggested that one brings reusable flatware, dishes, and glassware. Simply pack an extra large ziplock bag or plastic bag from a department store to put your dirty dishes in for the return home. If this is not an option, another suggestion is to purchase biodegradable and Earth friendly disposable plates, glasses, and flatware. It is important for us as a society to protect our environment so we, and others, can enjoy it for the years to come.
Other Essentials – As the boy scouts say, “Always be prepared.” Dining outdoors can be relaxing and fun if you’re sure to bring everything you may need. When packing up your picnic don’t forget essentials like a comfortable blanket (look for one with a waterproof bottom if possible), sunscreen, bug spray and towels to serve double duty as pillows and for cleaning up.
Garbage/Waste – Please be kind to the environment you were enjoying during your picnic and be sure to recycle, compost when available, and leave nothing behind. Always pack an extra garbage bag for any waste needs.
The following recipes are easy to prepare and transport on your picnic. Accompany these items with fresh fruit, slices of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and other fresh veggies.
2 oz. Rum
5 slices cucumber, skin removed
2 wedges lime
1 sprig fresh mint
2 tsp turbinado sugar
1-2 oz. lemon lime soda
- In a 12 oz. glass, muddle the cucumber, lime, mint, sugar, & rum.
- Fill glass with ice and top off with lemon lime soda.
- Garnish with cucumber and mint.
**Easy to prepare at home and transport in a canning jar with a tight fitting lid**
2 each tomatoes, small dice
2 each avocado, small dice
2 TBSP fresh basil, chiffonade
1 each lemon, zested and juice reserved
3 each garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 each jalapeno, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Allow the topping 30 minutes at room temperature to marinate.
- Serve the topping on baguette slices; add a slice of cheese for another layer of flavor.
Grilled Curry Carrot Hummus
5 medium carrots, sliced lengthwise ¼” thick
½ TBSP yellow curry powder
1 container prepared hummus
1 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced
- Toss the carrot slices in a light coating of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place carrots on a hot grill and mark on each side for about 3 minutes each. Remove the carrots from the grill and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
- Once the carrots are cool, chop up into small pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and adjust taste as needed.
- Enjoy the hummus with fresh bell pepper slices, celery sticks, baguette, or pita bread.
Simple Tomato and Artichoke Salad
1 heirloom tomato, small dice
1 can artichokes hearts, quartered
¼ cup basil, chopped
½ small onion, diced
2 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
- Toss together the tomato, artichokes, basil and onion.
- Whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar and toss with the salad.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve!