Gourmet Picnic Ideas
Many of us envision a picnic to only include an uninspired spread of hotdogs, chips, and store bought cookies. However, dining al fresco can be utterly gourmet with a few choice recipes that require little expense or time to prepare. So, why not branch out from the tried and true grilled meat and salty snacks? You may find that these fresh and flavorful recipes far surpass the standard, outdoor dining fare, and they just may become your new picnic favorites.
Tunisian couscous may sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple to make and ideal for feeding a hungry picnic crowd. A zesty blend of spices, herbs, and fresh vegetables heaped over a mound of warm couscous, this dish is perfect for both cold and warm weather picnics. This dish is traditionally served with a peppery condiment called “harissa” that can be found in Middle Eastern and specialty food stores.
A radicchio salad with maple syrup infused dressing is a sweet accompaniment to the couscous. Because the dressing is so flavorful, you needn’t add other items to the salad. Simply toss the radicchio with the dressing and voila!
Complete your gourmet picnic with the unexpected flavor of cinnamon candy pecans. They are absolutely addicting and so simple to make. Serve them with slices of apples or pears.
Yields 8 servings
2 cups tomatoes (about 3 large tomatoes), chopped
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups cooked couscous
Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat all ingredients, except couscous, cheese, and harissa. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes or when bell pepper is soft. Serve over couscous with harissa and cheese.
Radicchio Salad With Maple Syrup Infused Dressing
1 bag (5 ounces) of washed radicchio leaves
¾ cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
Blend all ingredients except radicchio in a blender until smooth. Toss with radicchio and serve.
Cinnamon Candy Pecans
Makes 5 cups
1 lb pecan halves or pieces
1 egg white
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk egg white and 1 teaspoon water until foamy. Stir in the pecans and sprinkle with the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Lightly coat the cookie sheet with vegetable oil. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the sheet. Bake 1 hour or until the pecans are dry, stirring once or twice.
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