Monday, June 13, 2005

Picnic In The Park

Check out the Mixed Greens with Strawberries & Caramelized Walnuts at the end of this post.

The other day some friends and I got together to catch up on each other. It was sunny and warm so we went to the park down the street for a picnic. I got to use my fabulous wicker picnic basket complete with blanket, tablecloth, dishes and cutlery. Although I love picnics, I hate heat and so don’t typically choose to picnic in the summer – weird as that sounds – unless it’s fairly cool. I was glad for the peer pressure. It was great fun - especially from under the shade of a huge maple tree.

Naturally I thought to share the menu with you. This was a couple of days after the brunch with my family, so it was an excellent opportunity to use up leftovers. Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much left over, so we had to add to the menu. Paul brought fruit salad, and Linda brought coolers to wash everything down. I made a salad of mixed Spring Greens with strawberries and caramelized walnuts (see below) to add to the leftovers. Here’s what the menu ended up looking like:

Chickpea salad
Eggplant Pesto Hummus
Roasted Red Pepper Chipotle Hummus
Mixed Greens with Strawberries & Caramelized Walnuts
Fruit Salad
Lemon Meringue cupcakes The last 3 my cousin Arlene made for the brunch
Vodka coolers

Mixed Greens with Strawberries & Caramelized Walnuts
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Hands-on time: 5-10 minutes
Serves 4 - 6

4 cups salad greens
1 cup sliced strawberries
½ cup caramelized walnuts (I purchase them when I can but here’s the recipe I use when making my own. I got it off - see the end of the recipe for instructions)

Vinaigrette Dressing
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp Balsamic figs & dates mustard (If you can’t find Kozlik’s Balsamic Figs & Dates mustard, use some honey Dijon mustard instead.)
Freshly ground pepper

1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until creamy.

2. In a large serving bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Make sure that the walnuts are completely cold.

3. Pour on vinaigrette , gently toss and serve.

To make your own caramelized walnuts à la Emeril:

1/2-cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne (optional)
1-teaspoon walnut oil

1. In a medium skillet, cook the walnuts, brown sugar, salt, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of walnut oil over medium-high heat until the sugar caramelizes and coats the nuts, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate the nuts.

2. Transfer to a baking sheet covered with waxed paper to cool. (Note: Caramelized nuts will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for at least 1 week)


Paul (Picnic) said...

I have to tell you that Ruth's stuff was amazing (as is she!!!) Thanks Ruth for sharing this and the other recipies. Look forward to seeing you more this summer.
Hugs, Paul

Ruth said...

Thanks Paul, we'll have to do another picnic when it's NOT 34 feeling like 44!!!

little sista said...

I could just LICK this picture!

tara said...

Ruth, I just tried Kozlik's Balsamic, Figs and Dates mustard last weekend! I'm in love with it - glad to see another fan.

Ruth said...

Tara, I know - Kozliks is addictive!!!