Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Spring Picnic

Last week I met a friend and her three kids at a local park for a picnic. The plan was for a relaxing couple of hours eating and playing with the kids.

The weather tried to thwart us. It quickly became very windy and cold. But we persevered and at least enjoyed our meal before evacuating the hostile outdoors.

We selected a city park with nice playground equipment, as well as a covered picnic area complete with picnic tables. I covered the top and sides of ours with white craft paper before laying out our meal.

The menu:

Baby-Cut Carrots and Blanched Green Beans with Chunky Blue Cheese Dip
Cream Cheese-Stuffed Medjool Dates
Sandwich Rolls
Bulgur Wheat Salad
Peanut Butter Cookies

Here is the platter of sandwiches, all on lavash flatbread. Fillings are natural peanut butter with black cherry all-fruit spread, moroccon carrot with olive tapenade, and turkey breast with white american cheese, dijon mustard and baby spinach.

The carrot sandwich was inspired by this recipe. Here are the shortcuts I used:

- For the olive tapenade, I chopped a can of drained black olives and marinated with bottled greek-style salad dressing (which contains oil, vinegar, lemon, garlic and feta).

- For the carrot mixture, I shredded uncooked carrots and followed the recipe pretty closely, although I omitted the olive oil. I felt it was a good adjustment--the spices stuck to the carrots well, and the carrots were juicy enough.

It was a great flavor combination, though a very wet filling. I don't think I'll be making it again as a sandwich filling--although it would be delicious as a fresh-tasting side dish to grilled meat.

Here is a photo of the bulgur wheat salad:

This was, by far, the winner of the day as far as I'm concerned. Aside from the cream cheese-stuffed dates, of course. Those are like crack. Not that I know what crack is.

This salad was delicious--a good balance of sweet and savory, with lots of healthy goodies inside. It keeps very well and only improves in flavor over the next few days. I ate it for lunch several days after the picnic, sometimes adding some cooked chicken for added protein.

Bulgur Wheat Salad
adapted from
this Tyler Florence recipe
serves 4-6

2-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup bulgur wheat, toasted lightly for 5 minutes in a dry pan
1 tablespoon lime juice
pinch salt

1 cup dried apricots, chopped or snipped with kitchen shears
1 tablespoon honey, agave nectar or sugar/sugar substitute (I used whey low type d granular)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons minced vidalia onion
1/4 cup frozen corn niblets, thawed
1/4 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup prepared greek-style salad dressing (should contain oil, vinegar, lemon, garlic and feta cheese)

In a glass or plastic salad bowl, top toasted bulgur wheat with lime juice and salt; pour boiling water over and cover with plastic wrap or a lid for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine in a bowl or jar the dried apricots, honey or sugar/sugar sub, lime juice and hot water. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes to rehydrate the apricots.

When the wheat is finished steaming, top with vidalia onion, corn, broccoli, parsley, salad dressing, and apricot mixture. Toss to combine.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

1 comment:

Mary said...

What a delicious picnic! And the bulgur salad sounds fabulous! I love bulgur.

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