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Spring 2007 Picnic Recipes


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There were so many deee-licious contributions to the Spring '07 Picnic. Once again, let's compile them here.

Previous picnic compilations are: Fall, 2005; Spring, 2006; and Fall, 2006

Here are some that we'd love to get recipes for, and I am sure there were others:

Home Brew

ferment everything


Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Anna Blume: concentrated syrup


Jacques Gastreaux: ---> [evil] Martian Pig Slop from Hell

sparkycom: Rosemary Gin Fizz

Appetizers, Salads and Condiments

cucas87: ---> mojito salad (modified from last time?)

ferment everything: ---> homemade gouda

Grover: Inari sushi

mushman: Greek cucumber salad

Pat: farro salad with tomatoes and herbs

pidgey: curry lentil salad

Scott Johnston: deviled eggs (curry and plain)

SquidsDC: spicy cole slaw

StephenB: ---> deviled eggs with caviar

ZoraMargolis: mulberry, Queen Anne cherry, and crabapple-mint preserves

Meat and Main Courses

AGM: lamb

bbq4me: ribs

ICD: Cuban picadillo

Ilaine: grandmother's fried chicken

Jacques Gastreaux: ---> smoked pork butt

legant: ribs

squidsDC: marinated chicken pieces

Thistle: NC style Boston butt

Vegetable Dishes

Anna Blume: escarole pie with pine nuts

melgold: pasta fritatta with veggies and cheese

Scott Johnston: roasted vegetable tort

synaesthesia's: jap chae

ZoraMargolis: fava bean mousse

Baked Goods and Desserts

Barbara: Michel Richard's chocolate mousse dome cake

cjsaddler / txaggie: mini hot pepper jelly and cream cheese biscuits.

Crackpot Gourmet: strawberry and pineapple crepes

mktye: sweet and savory focaccias, sourdough and rye breads, blondies

Pat: cheesecake, creme de menthe brownies

Paula: cupcakes, cookies

sparkycom: gougeres

Thistle: poundcake

Tweaked: madelines

txaggie/cjsaddler: cookies


ferment everything: homemade smoked

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The recipes I'd definitely like to get-the orzo salad w/ apricots & almonds, the picadillo & Greek cucumber salad (which were wonderful eaten together)& those yummy brown sugar looking cookies...-my smoked pork was 2- 10 lb. Boston butts in an electric smoker for about 9 hrs., pulled & doused w/ vinegar sauce (attributed to Elizabeth Karmel-I didn't use alot, because some people like it mild), from Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible. The poundcake recipe is from Camille Glenn's 'The Heritage of Southern Cooking'-mine was messed up abit, since my DH peheated the oven for a frozen pizza, while the poundcakes were still in the oven, cooling (yes, I know that's my fault). I did 1 small batch of homemade rolls & used 1 frozen Sister Schubert's rolls (I ran out of time). Well, at least, I couldn't mess up the drinks or the packaged bacon...Linda

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My Homebrewed English Mild - it ended up being 4.58% alc (1.045 OG, 1.01 FG)

Smoking Adventures for the bacon. The process before smoking:

Prepare a brine of:

1 C plain white sugar

1 C kosher salt

1 handful juniper berries

1 quart water

Boil. While cooling, rub the belly with a few tbsp's worth of black pepper. Once the brine is cooled, add

1 quart water

2 quarts apple cider

And immerse the belly in the brine (i used a normal kitchen plate to weigh it down). Keep in the brine for 3 days (I only had time for 2), rotating daily.

Before smoking, remove from brine and place on a drying rack with a household fan pointed at it. Dry for ~1 hour, depending on the size/shape of the belly, and the strength of the fan. What you're looking for here is a good pellice, a nice film on the surface of the meat that isn't exactly wet, but not exactly dry. It apparently acts as a sticky surface for the smoke to adhere to.

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Eric, that bacon was great!-how did you slice it?

Threw it in the freezer for an hour or so beforehand, and then just hacked away at it with my chef's knife. This accounts for the irregularity of the pieces, since even slightly frozen, bacon is not so easy to slice by hand.

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The brown sugar cookies are a recipe from the March 2007 issue of Cook's Illustrated. In my oven, I only bake the cookies for 10 1/2 minutes.


14 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 cups + 2 T A/P flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 T vanilla extract

1. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar until well combined. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl.

3. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to bowl with cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

4. Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 tablespoons, rolling between hands into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Working in batches, toss balls in reserved sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 dough balls per sheet.

5. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), 12 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.

6. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

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cjsaddler / txaggie: mini hot pepper jelly and cream cheese biscuits.
Idea stolen from Acadiana.

Cream biscuits:

2 cups flour

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 cups heavy cream

Sift together dry ingredients and stir in heavy cream with a wooden spoon. Dump dough out onto counter and knead a bit (I know, you're not supposed to do this with biscuits, but you need to with cream biscuits in order to get them to rise high enough-- don't worry, they'll be tender).

Roll out dough and stamp out biscuits. Egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 450 until browned.

To serve:

Whip the hell out of some cream cheese, put in a bowl, dig a hole in the center and fill with hot pepper jelly (I used the cranberry and hot pepper jelly sold at Whole Foods).

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The farro salad I made is a Giada DeLaurentis recipe, available online here. The version in her book Everyday Italian is slightly different, and I worked from the book recipe.

In the book, the recipe calls for 2 1/4 tsp. of salt. Instead of the salt going into the water at the beginning of cooking the farro, 2 tsp. of that is added 20 minutes into the 30 minute or so cooking time. The other 1/4 tsp. salt is mashed together with the minced garlic clove to start the dressing. Once that is a paste, whisk in vinegar and 1/4 tsp. black pepper, then the oil.

The only other difference is that it calls for 2 medium tomatoes instead of 1 lb., but that's about the same, depending on how one defines medium.

These are the brownies, passed on from a friend years ago, whom I should really be getting back in contact with sometime soon ;).

Cream de Menthe Brownies (from Jeannette)


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

4 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can chocolate syrup (16 oz.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the above. Pour into greased 9 X 13" pan. Bake at 350F for about 30



2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 tablespoons creme de menthe (or to taste, up to 4 tablespoons, adding sugar

to restore consistency; if using clear creme de menthe, add 1 drop green food

coloring for each tablespoon)

Mix and spread over COOLED cake.


1 cup chocolate chips (6 oz.)

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

Melt together and cool slightly. Spread over green layer. Chill and cut.

The cheesecake is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1979 edition. I often have to make extra of the crust to cover the bottom of the pan sufficiently. It makes one springform cake or two layer cake size layers.

It's posted here.

The Fast White Bread is from The New Joy of Cooking (1997)

If anyone wants that, PM me and I'll send it to you.

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I used Marcella Hazan's recipe for escarole pie, to be found either in More Classic Italian Cooking, or perhaps updated in Essentials.

There are a fair number of online recipes for Pizza di Scarola from Campania (region of Naples). Here's one in English: click. Here's another just so you can see: a photo.

Baked it in the morning since the pizza dough rises rapidly--only about 40 minutes in oven w gas pilot light (ca. 110 F). It contains 2 T lard (or fat of choice) and grindings of black pepper in addition to 2 2/3 c four, 1 t salt and 1/2 package dry yeast dissolved in 1 c lukewarm water (though the photo suggests you could go w more yeast which I did). Before you make dough, start boiling water in the biggest pot you have, preferably one with a perforated insert.

While dough is rising, wash four heads of escarole THOROUGHLY in sink full of water, tearing leaves as you go and throwing them into colander insert if you have one. I bought my leafy chicory from Heinz at Dupont Circle a week earlier since he swore they would be better than heads shipped all the way from CA bought at the supermarket the day before. He was right though the bugs also survived the whole six or seven days; 50 cents less than the one from Whole Foods, too.

Boil for 10 minutes vs. the 20 she tells you to, the torn leaves I mean, then drain them and squeeze the living daylights out, blotting w towels. Your dough will have risen suffciently at this point, but it's pretty laid back and can deal if not chill as you continue. Take the bowl with the dough out of the oven so you can preheat it to 375 F.

Big pan gets: lots of EVOO and the squeezed greens and 2 t garlic. Sauté till it seems right. Then throw in 3 T capers, some of them chopped a bit. I like what about 2 t of a strong red wine or sherry vinegar does at this point and it would seem that red wine is traditional in some recipes anyway. Then lots of fillets from salt-packed anchovies (at least four fishies, so 8) and 3 T pine nuts. Instead of the nuts, you could soften yellow raisins in the wine. Oh, and sliced, pitted black olives. I went with 12 for the numbers of apostles. This is a pious people's pie.

Pressed for time? Turn on the A/C to cool the filling as you're rolling out your dough, one circle twice the weight of the other. I used a 10-in. glass pie plate. Spring-form is good too. If you're not in a hurry, you can trim the edges of the larger circle of dough and form ventworms or whatever you think Don rocks might look like to decorate the top. I went for rustic instead of tacky and just folded the excess over without crimping. Done when golden, in about 35 minutes. Do not stick in fridge. Serve slightly warm or air temperature.

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Jap chae (likely in a way that Grover would disapprove ;), so we'll call it Chinese-style)

12 oz. glass noodles/sweet potato noodles/Asian vermicelli

3 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

1/2 onion, julienned

1 red pepper, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

4 oz. spinach leaves

3 stalks of scallion (that I forgot to put in mine) - white part chopped, greens in approx. 2 in. lengths

1/8 cup of soy sauce (this is just a guesstimate, I usually add enough to color the noodles)

3 tbsp. of sesame oil (again, another guesstimate)

3 tbsp. sugar

sriracha or other Asian hot sauce or chili oil

sesame seeds(optional)

Boil water and add noodles. Cook for five minutes. Remove. In a saucepan heat oil and add garlic. Add onions, red pepper and carrots and cook until just a little crisp and throw in spinach and scallions using the residual heat to cook them down. Remove from heat and mix with noodles adding soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to taste.

If you want spicy, just add hot sauce to taste.

Notes: I also will sometimes add small strips of pork or bulgogi or some salmon marinated with the soy sauce/sesame oil/sugar combo. Some folks also add mushrooms. Another possibility is to use soba noodles with this combination.

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Cuban Picadillo

1 1/2lb ground beef

2 onions

1 bell pepper

3 cloves garlic

1 can spanish style tomato sauce

1 cup white wine or vermouth

1/4 cup pitted pimento olives

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon capers

1/4 teaspoon "sazon" seasoning (optional)

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 pinch sugar

splash of Sherry or red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt (about 1 teaspoon if not using sazon)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1) Finely chop garlic, onions, bell pepper and saute in olive oil until soft. Add ground meat, salt, pepper, sazon, cumin, and oregano. Brown meat.

2) After meat is brown, add tomato sauce, wine, olives, raisins, and capers. Simmer over low heat uncovered for twenty five minutes.

3) Add sugar and vinegar and adjust seasonings. Serve with rice.


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Jap chae (likely in a way that Grover would disapprove :P, so we'll call it Chinese-style)

Hey, I have no reason to disapprove. ;) Actually I liked it, however, I would call it as Jamie's style because it was so unique.

You used thick vermicelli not thin Vietnamese one and used sriracha neither soy sauce and sesame oil nor chili oil (I mean not Szechuan).

That's why it gave me light and spicy touch at the same time. Definately well executed!

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I am sorry there's not much to the crepes recipes. The crepes were just standard sweet crepes. They were filled with the jams I make and sell under the Crackpot Gourmet label.

I used 3 jams: Kiss of Kerala, a roasted strawberry jam with black pepper; Fee-Fi-Faux-Fudge, a banana-bittersweet chocolate jam with orange and walnuts; and Aloha Rose, a pineapple-rosemary jam.

I am glad you liked them.

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Curry Lentil Salad

1 cup lentils

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp onion powder

3 scallions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley

4 tsp olive oil

4 tsp red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp orange zest

1 cup cooked green peas

Cook the lentils according to package directions until they are slightly crunchy. Drain the lentils and rinse under cool water; drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine the curry powder, garlic salt and onion powder. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the seasonings over medium heat, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle over the lentils. Add the scallions, parsley, oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Toss to combine. Add the peas and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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Mojito Salad 2007 (adapted from a 2006 recipe in the New York Times Magazine).


juice of 2 limes

3 English cucumbers, sliced thin and in half-moons

1 seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes or scooped with a melon-baller

3 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves thinly sliced

(optional: I didn't do this for the picnic: 1/2 cup thinly sliced cilantro leaves)

dressing: (these are approximate measurements)

3 jalapenos, chopped

1/2 -3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup lime juice

zest of 2 limes

1 teaspoon sea salt

6-8 teaspoons rum

Changes made this year:

1. added the jalapenos to the dressing (instead of into the salad)

2. added more lime juice and rum

3. left out the jicama

4. nicer presentation in the carved watermelon shell thanks to Scott Johnston's watermelon carving skills.

Note: This is also great with grilled shrimp. And cilantro. And of course, more rum.

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Scott Johnston's Roasted Vegetable Torte (adapted from the barefoot contessa)

Serves many

Make it ahead of time and then cut it into wedges, like a cake.

5 zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices

2 red onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic


Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

3 red bell peppers, halved, cored, and seeded

3 yellow bell peppers, halved, cored, and seeded

2 eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 -inch slices

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the onions, garlic, rosemary and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over low-medium heat for 15 minutes until the onions is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the Zucchini, red and yellow peppers and eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes @ 425, until soft but not browned.

In a 9-inch round cake pan, place each vegetable in a single, overlapping layer, sprinkling Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste between each of the layers of vegetables. Begin with half of the eggplant, then layer zucchini, then all of the red peppers, then all of the yellow peppers, then the rest of the onions, and finally the rest of the eggplant. Cover the top of the vegetables with a 6-inch round of parchment paper or waxed paper. Place a 6-inch flat disk (another cake pan or the bottom of a false-bottom tart pan) on top and weight it with a heavy jar. Place on a plate or baking sheet (it will leak) and chill completely. Drain the liquids, place on a platter, and serve at room temperature.


I have made this dish with other types of veggies such as carrots, crookneck squash, asparagus and potatoes for layers

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