Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fresh and Easy Picnic

The pretty weather has started me thinking about fun and easy picnic meals that are tasty and simple to prepare. These simple suggestions only require fresh ingredients and a bit of love in the preparation, and serve with a nice, refreshing juice and/or a white or rose wine and voila - a lovely outdoors meal.

Simple and Savory Salad
Combine several cups of fresh spinach and 4 large, torn fresh basil leaves with a good drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 2 teaspoons of good Balsamic Vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Roughly chop 4 slices of prosciutto and add to the greens. Grill 4 halves of nectarines on a grill pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes, mostly on the flesh side. Add the nectarines to the greens and sprinkle on dabs of goat cheese and chopped, lightly roasted almonds.
Grill 4 whole wheat pitas over medium heat in a grill pan along side 12 sliced Cremini mushrooms. When slightly crisp, remove the pitas from the grill and set aside. Place a handful of fresh arugula on top of each pita and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Add a few dashes of finely chopped fresh rosemary to the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper (wait until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid are browned a bit to season). Place the mushrooms evenly on top of each pita and add a slice of Fontina cheese. Return the pitas with arugula and mushrooms and cheese to the grill pan and cook on medium heat until the cheese starts to melt.
Chicken and Prosciutto
Pound 4 halved boneless, skinless chicken breasts until thin. Place 4 large slices of prosciutto on a cutting board. Place one chicken breast near the top end of each prosciutto slice. Put a fresh sage leaf in the middle of the top side of each chicken breast, season with salt and pepper and roll each proscuitto and chicken slice into a pinwheel type formation. Cook each pinwheel over medium heat in a sautee pan for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Dessert - No-Bake Mock Butterfingers
3 cups corn flakes, crushed
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
6 ounces chocolate chips
Heat peanut butter, sugar and rice syrup over low heat to melt. Stir in cereal. Pat into a 8x8 lightly greased pan. Melt chocolate chips and spread over top. Let cool for 10 or so minutes, slice and pack into plastic wrap for the picnic.

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