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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Take A Trip Around the World with A Picnic!



I LOVE a good summertime picnic! There's nothing better than the chance to switch off the electronic media, kick back, relax, and bond with your family, while basking in the sun.

However, picnics are also the perfect opportunity to introduce your family to some of the amazing flavors from around the world. The sous chef and I love looking for inspiration from far-flung corners, which incorporate our local, inexpensive, in-season produce. Then, we take our finished dishes outdoors and enjoy them al fresco!

It's time to plan a:


  • summer potluck
  • picnic
  • progressive dinner
  •  party
  • get together
  • soiree

Whatever you call it, your event should feature lots of amazing produce. The flavors of these fruits and veggies just scream,


"Laissez le bon temps rouler!"

(Let the good times, roll!)




When I began to think of making food from places like Italy and France, I was afraid that I was in for finding and purchasing a whole host of expensive items. But, many regional International dishes are really peasant food. It's what the masses prepared for their families after a long day of work. I have found an amazing number of ways to introduce my children to cuisine from the Four corners of the World, without spending a lot of money.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

(Please note that my posts contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through one of my links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you.)

Appetizers: 


Italy!




Bruschetta is so easy, versatile, and inexpensive to make! Set out a tray with several varieties, so that everyone can pick what they like. This makes such a pretty dish for a picnic!  Here's a link to Rachael Ray's version.  Simple Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil


India!




If you like curry, you'll love these! Traditional samosas are fried in oil. These are baked, saving a multitude of calories. The recipe suggests a chutney to accompany it. We found that a mango hot pepper salsa was perfect for us. The recipe made 20 nice-sized samosas. As an appetizer, it would serve 4-6. 

Main Dishes: 


France!




Research revealed that au gratin potatoes first made their appearance in France, though some credit it to England. Given the events of the year 1066, this connection sort of makes sense, doesn't it?

I first made this particular dish for our Easter brunch.  The recipe hails from Blooming Nowlan. She's a fantastic vegan chef, who hails form Canada. I wasn't sure it would have a lot of flavor, but BOY did it ever deliver! It's easy to assemble, makes a huge amount, and tastes delicious.


Japan!





I have a couple of boys who dig sushi. The loved this. They are raw, so they go together quickly. The sauce is adds outstanding flavor! 


Use a sushi mat to aid you in rolling them up tightly. 



The 14 year old sous chef did the assembly honors. He loves his sushi mat!




Salad: 


Southern United States!




Carrot salad is super easy to make without any dairy products! Not only that, the natural sweetness of the carrots is enhanced when you use it as the main component of this salad. The version I made had three ingredients: carrots, walnuts, and a touch of maple syrup.

Greece!



Greek pasta salad with olives

I took some poetic license with the origin of this recipe. There are a variety of opinions about just exactly where and when pasta salad made its debut. Most associate the dish with America, but the spices in this version are definitely Mediterranean. We followed this recipe with Greek seasoning exactly as written, with the exception of leaving out the oil. Instead, we added some high quality balsamic vinegar. Exquisite! 

I will say that when I decided to make this recipe, I was absolutely certain that we had a can of black olives in the basement. Seems the olive loving kid had eaten them. So, I'm actually going to buy a can and add them to the salad. The dressing is the perfect Greek inspired topping and the black olives will perfectly finish the flavor profile. This is one of those salads that gets better, the longer it sits in the fridge. 

Dessert: 


A Global Treat!




Melons were apparently originally grown in Southwest Asia, near Iran and India, making their way around the globe as the population expanded. There is even evidence that Ancient Egyptians enjoyed this summertime treat, which is always dripping with the perfect mix of natural sweetness and cool moisture.

I'm all about presentation! Cut the melon. Fan the pieces out on a pretty plate. Serve! Perfect ending to a perfect day!

Germany!





Coffee cakes are thought to have originated in Germany. Known originally simply as "sweet cakes," the term coffee cake did not become vogue until the late 1800's.

This cake was SO much fun to make and was a work of art when it was finished. We followed the gluten free instructions and, as you can see, it turned out of the cake pan perfectly! We also added the optional lemon sugar syrup to the top while it was still hot. That added a lot of nice flavor and it was well worth the five minutes (literally) that it took to whip up the lemon syrup. So flavorful and elegant!




If you like my heart-shaped pan, here's one just like it. It's made from silicone, which means no need to add oil to prevent sticking. I use it all the time and absolutely love it!

There you have it!

A trip around the globe, using just a few dollars of in-season, locally grown produce as the base of each dish! Don't let anyone tell you that it costs a lot of money to eat healthy! It does not! Plus, you can do it while creating a fantastic International feast! 

Your turn!

What are your favorite International picnic dishes to make for your family? Let me know in the comments section.

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Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope


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