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Monday, May 27, 2024

A Better Picnic

This year’s early spring has me excited about picnic outings. Evansville has great parks and other sites worthy of hosting a lovely outdoor meal. I want to upgrade the picnic concept without adding to the workload. Keep it simple: flavors, preparation, and execution. Fresh vegetables and fruits are paramount to a successful picnic, and you need not fixate on the traditional “fruit and veggie tray.”

These two simple recipes add pizzazz to any outing. To really kick it up, pair them with a crisp Oregon pinot grigio, a light pinot noir, or even a yeasty Belgian tripel. Don’t stop with the food and drink; upgrade the basket and accessories too. Several all-in-one baskets are available online, complete with flatware, linen napkins, a mini cutting board, and glasses (even some insulated models). Water and stain resistant blankets are available, as well, for that perfect touch. Enjoy these next time you head to the riverside or Garvin Park.

No Mayo Potato Salad

•  8 medium red potatoes
•  1/2 bunch asparagus (medium size works best)
•  1/2 cup olive oil
•  1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
•  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
•  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•  1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
•  Fresh basil (optional)

Cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch cubes, and cut the white ends off the asparagus. After bringing 2 pots of water to a boil, add each vegetable to a separate pot, boiling the potatoes for 8 minutes and the asparagus for 2-4 minutes (this should result in tender-crisp al dente asparagus; don’t overcook it). When the vegetables have cooked, drain, and toss them together with the oil, sun-dried tomatoes, seasoning, and cheese. Top with some thin-sliced basil for an extra pop.

Fresh Fruit Salad

Mangoes, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries (your choice of amounts)

Peel mangoes and prepare the pineapple. Cut mangoes, pineapple, and strawberries into bite-size pieces. Drizzle mixture with a little honey or sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar for extra sweetness, if desired.

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