Last “Perfect” Picnic of Summer

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I wanted to have a picnic all Summer.

Due to busy schedule with zero time off, I  hardly take time to smell the roses. Living in New York City is always a rush. Rushing out of the shower, rushing to the subway, rushing through the grocery store… relaxation is always in the foreground of thoughts but never attained.  The idea of escaping for a few hours to a park in the city is just what I needed, and I got to work planning the “perfect” picnic.

To me, the “perfect” picnic is minimal effort for maximum relaxation time. To achieve this all you need to do is plan ahead. Plan the menu ahead, shop 3 days ahead, prep 2 days ahead, cook the day before, and the day of… relax!

The Menu 

 Lemon Dill Chicken Skewers

Baby Red Potatoes and Watercress Salad

Farro Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

Baguette slathered in Kerrygold Butter

Ginger Beer and Maine Root Blueberry Soda

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies 

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Shopping List

Lemon Chicken Skewers

2 pounds, boneless chicken thighs, cleaned with excess fat removed

2 lemons

1 small white onion

1 clove, garlic

1 bunch fresh dill

dash dried oregano

dash hot pepper flake

Baby Red Potatoes and Watercress Salad

8-12 baby red potatoes

1 bunch fresh watercress

1 small white onion

1 8oz container greek yogurt

1 bunch fresh dill

dash dried oregano

dash hot pepper flake

Farro Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

4oz farro

1 bunch fresh mint

1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

4 oz greek feta

olive oil

1 bunch fresh oregano

Additional Purchases:

Sodas

Baguette

Butter

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies ( I made mine from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe!)

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Picnic Recipes

Lemon Chicken Skewers

2 pounds, boneless chicken thighs

2 lemons, juiced

1 small white onion, chopped

1 clove, garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1 bunch fresh dill

dash dried oregano

dash hot pepper flake

  • In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adjust with salt and pepper.
  • Clean chicken and place in large ziplock bag. Cover with marinade.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • You can grill the chicken or broil in the oven. I live in Manhattan so I broiled the chicken for 20 minutes until dark and colored and juicy inside.
  • Allow to cool and place on skewers.

Baby Red Potatoes and Watercress Salad

8-12 baby red potatoes, cut in half

1 bunch fresh watercress

1 small white onion, thinly sliced

1 8oz container greek yogurt

1 T red wine vinegar

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T olive oil

1/2 bunch fresh dill

  • Slice potatoes in half and add to a pot of cold water, season with salt.
  • Boil gently until just tender. Shock in ice water.
  • Slice you onion and chop the herbs. Cut the watercress into bite sized pieces.
  • Mix the greek yogurt with olive oil, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and dill.
  • Mix the potatoes, onion, herbs, watercress with the dressing. Taste for seasoning, adjust if needed.
  • Refrigerate at least an hour, even better made the day before.

Farro Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

4oz farro

1 bunch fresh mint, minced

1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 medium sized red onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, whole

4 oz greek feta, diced

olive oil

1 bunch fresh oregano

  • Boil farro until tender. Rinse and cool under cold water. Keep cold in fridge.
  • Cover heirloom tomatoes and garlic with olive oil and fresh oregano, cook low and slow in the over for thirty minutes. Seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Once tomatoes and garlic are cooked, remove from oven.
  • Mix the farro with chopped mint, diced red onion, olive oil from cooking the tomatoes, the tomatoes and mash up the garlic and mix in.
  • Dice feta and mix in.
  • Serve room temperature or cold.

I slathered a fresh Baguette with Kerrygold butter

I also made Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies ( I made mine from the Nestle Tollhouse recipe!) Sweet final bite for the perfect meal.

 

 

Day of the Picnic:

 

Reheat the chicken skewers, wrap them in foil to keep warm.

Pack your bag full, cold items on the bottom, hot on top.

Bring a big blanket, a sweater in case there’s a chill in the air, a book…

Bring disposable plates, glasses, silverware, and napkins.

 

Enjoy.


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Beautiful day in the park bymy house. Right past the West Side Highway and onto the Pier.

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Braised Pork with roasted mushrooms, roasted potatoes, watercress, lemon dill dressing

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Heres a different way to use a pork roast. Searing, slicing, and then braising the pork adds a ton of flavor and makes this a quick cooking dish. Flavors of fire roasted tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, dill, watercress, and citrus make this a beautiful summer dish.

 

Braised Pork with roasted mushrooms, roasted potatoes, watercress, lemon dill dressing

2 pound pork roast, boneless

1/2 bu dill, chopped

1/2 bu parsley, chopped

2 cups veg stock

1 large can fire roasted tomatoes, crushed

10 cloves garlic, minced/sliced

2 pounds small yellow potatoes

2 lemons, juiced

1 bu watercress, cleaned and chopped

1 portobello, sliced

4 shitake, stemmed and sliced

1 ct crimini mushrooms, quarted

1 cup crumbled feta

2 T capers, drained

 

 

1: Sear pork in 2 T olive oil on medium high heat, rotating once so both sides are caramelized.

2: Remove from heat and let cool. In the same pan, add you mushrooms, and 1 clove garlic minced. Cook over high heat to caramelize mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

3: Remove mushrooms and add sliced onion and 2 cloves minced garlic.

4: Cook over medium heat until onion is cooked. Add vegetable stock, cook down for 5 minutes on high. Add tomatoes, crushing them in your hands as you add them to the pot, turn down heat and cook for 5 more minutes.

5: Slice your pork into 8 equal portions by cutting it in half, then fourths, then 8ths.

6: Lay pork into the sauce so they fit snug.

7: Add capers, top with mushrooms, and half the feta.

8: Place in a 500 degree oven for 15 minutes.

10: When pork comes out, make sure it is cooked through, top with more feta and chopped parsley.

Roasted potatoes with watercress and lemon dill dressing 

1: Half potatoes, toss in olive oil with salt and pepper and 1 clove sliced garlic

2: Roast at 400 for 15 – 20 minutes until brown and crisp

3: Clean and cut watercress, place in bowl to side

4: In a container place 1 clove garlic, 1/2 bu dill, 1/2 bu parsley, and juice of one lemon.

5: Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 T water. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

6: When potatoes are hot out of the oven, toss in with watercress and dressing.

Serve hot or room temperature.

 

This recipe is delicious, healthy, and very flavorful. Try it out!

 

Cheers,
Sean Patrick Gallagher