Picnics are one of my favorite types of parties to plan. The majority of the food is prepared in advance, allowing the hostess maximum time to chat with her guests, enjoy the sunset, or fly a kite. Cooling salads are always welcome and I'm assembling two to pair with steamed clams and fried chicken. A cucumber, red onion, and basil salad is a a fresh flavor combination that can easily be made for a private picnic or a crowd of twenty. Carrots, one of the world's most underrated and overlooked vegetables, make for a colorful and crisp salad when mixed with peanuts and mint.
And when the moon is high over the ocean I'll break out a portable fork free dessert: mini cherry pies with the perfect balance of flaky pastry and sweet, fruity filling. You know you want to make at least one of these delightful dishes so get the recipe and
2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1⁄4 cups)
1⁄2 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cover and chill 1 hour.
Makes about 4 cups.
1 pound carrots, peeled
3/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Grate the carrots on the coarse side of a box grater (a food processor extracts a lot of liquid and will make the carrots too soft for this salad).
- In a large bowl, gently toss together the carrots, peanuts, parsley, and mint.
- In a small bowl thoroughly stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and salt, then pour the dressing onto the salad and toss again until the carrots are evenly coated.
- Let the salad stand for 20 minutes before serving, or refrigerate it and serve within 2 days.
4 cups frozen sour cherries, defrosted until easily separated
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
- Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs.
- Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a medium bowl combine, cherries, sugar, flour, cornstarch, lemon juice, and zest.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough out slightly less than 1/8-inch-thick. Use a 4 3/4-inch cutter to cut out 6 rounds. Fit rounds into 3 1/2-inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms.
- Divide filling evenly between pans.
- Roll second disk of dough out 1/8-inch-thick. Use a 3 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 6 rounds. Place rounds over fruit. Cut vents into each pie.
- Seal by folding edges over and crimping with thumb and forefinger. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and heavy cream. Brush evenly over tops of pies.
- Bake until golden brown, and juices are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
Makes 6 3 1/2-inch pies.