Friday, June 27, 2008


This is a tradition that I brought over from my parents. Owning and operating a restaurant often means that cooking was the last thing on my parents' minds. We would often have what my mom always called "picnic", even if it was the dead of winter. In fact, this was our normal New Year's Eve dinner! The actual picnic (in the mountains at a picnic table) was something altogether different, and consisted of a bucket of my mom's gazpacho (I'll post about that soon) and peel/eat shrimp. "Picnic for dinner" is more of a concept than a meal.
We generally just do this in the summer months, when we have an ample supply of rose wine such as Commanderie de Peyrassol. Sadly, importation of this wine was super limited this year, we are already down to our last bottle and we haven't even had a paella party yet. But, I digress....
The idea behind "picnic" is just to sort of graze, usually while watching a movie or sports on TV, or just hanging out in the back yard listening to music and talking about random stuff. Items can include salumi (prociutto, bresaola, sopressata, salame), cheese (usually at least 2 or 3 varieties of varying style, I like cambozola, aged cheddar and gouda-type as a good combo), olives or tapenade, and sometimes pate & baguette croutons. I like to include one instant cooked item that I can pop in the toaster oven, Trader Joe's is great for these - escargot in brioche, mini crab cakes, or those shrimp in the rice paper wraps (these are awesome with Thai sweet chili sauce, toss the packet that comes with them).
Tonight's bill of fare: Trader Joe's mushroom puffs (basically duxelles loaded into little pastry moons), sopressata, prociutto, aged cheddar, cambozola, gouda and wheat crackers. I didn't bring out the olives for some reason, but I had them. I'm the only one that eats those anyway. Topped off with some rose wine, a perfect meal for a hot evening. (Sorry about the blurry picture and the ugly cutting boards and the missing mushroom puffs, they were in the toaster oven)

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