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Plan the Perfect Picnic

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Antipasto Baguette Sandwich

Serves 6

1 long or 2 short baguettes

¼ - 1/3 cup tapenade (see recipe below)

6 ounces goat cheese

¼ pound prosciutto, very thinly sliced

2 cups baby arugula

1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry

1 can whole artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry, chopped

Cut the baguette in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the soft, inside, leaving the crusty shell.

Spread the tapenade on both the bottom and top of each of the baguette halves.  Top the bottom half of the baguette with goat cheese.  On top of the goat cheese, layer with prosciutto, arugula, red peppers and artichoke hearts. 

Place the top half of the baguette over the bottom half to create the sandwich.  Wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight.  When ready to eat, cut into equal serving sizes.  

Tapenade

1 clove garlic

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 roasted red peppers

2 tablespoons capers

1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or 2 anchovies

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Dash hot sauce

To a food processor, add the garlic and process until finely minced.  Add the olives, red peppers, capers, anchovy paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce and olive oil. Blend with on/off pulses to desired texture.

The tapenade will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 2 weeks.

Roasted Beet & Pistachio Salad

Serves 6 – 8 people

1 pound yellow, red & chioggia beets

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Zest of 1/2 orange

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/3 – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

1/2 cup pistachios, roasted and roughly chopped*

1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place washed beets on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake about 1 hour, or until tender.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  When cool enough to handle, loosen skins from beets with a paper towel or a thin knife.  Cut beets into a large 1 ½" dice.        

Whisk together the lemon and orange zest, lemon and orange juice, sea salt and black pepper.  Stream in the extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed to desired consistency and taste.

Toss the beets with the roasted pistachios and chopped mint.  Pour desired amount of vinaigrette over the beet mixture and toss to coat.  Top with additional sea salt and black pepper.

Extra vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to one week. 

*Buy raw pistachios in the shell and roast them in a 350 degree oven, until fragrant. Let cool, remove from shell and chop.  (Already roasted pistachios are too salty.)

 

Watermelon Skewers

Serves 6

1 (4 to 5 pound) watermelon, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

Sea salt

12 skewers

Divide the watermelon evenly among the skewers.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Serve.

Chocolate Chile Brownies

Makes 12 brownies

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, divided

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Break chocolate into large pieces.  Place chocolate and butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring continuously until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in granulated and brown sugars until smooth.  Set aside to cool. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, ancho chile powder, baking powder and salt. 

Whisk the eggs, one at a time, into the cooled chocolate mixture.  Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth.  Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and bake until set, about 25 minutes.  Let cool. 

Mix together the powdered sugar with the remaining one teaspoon ancho chile powder.  Sift lightly over brownies.  Cut brownies into squares and serve.