Monday, June 17, 2013

Recipes for a Romantic Picnic

Friends who know me well will tell you that I love me some picnic and I have several tried and true themed picnic menus to share with you, my beloved friends and readers, this summer. Whether it be a large scale picnic at the beach, or a hiker's picnic on the trail, I have some wonderful recipes and ideas - starting today with a romantic picnic, Provence style.

Close your eyes a moment and imagine a summer day in Provence. Warm breezes blow through lush green trees and on the air, the faint smell of figs and rosemary. As you smooth a red and white checkered tablecloth over a perfect patch of grass, you marvel at the beautiful simplicity of the moment and unpack a sumptuous feast from the wicker basket attached to your very Parisian bicycle.

So join with me today here on beautiful Vancouver Island as I walk you through a step by step how to for putting together this beautiful picnic yourself. I hope you enjoy the sights, sounds, and scenery along the way!

And then please enjoy the recipes...

Cold Lemon Roast Chicken
Visit the printable recipe here


  • 3-5 lb roaster chicken  
  • 1 Tbsp each garlic powder, kosher salt , black pepper 
  •  1 handful of fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme 
  • 1 lemon, quartered


    1.   Mix the garlic, salt, and pepper together to make a rub  
    2. Rinse the chicken under cold water and then dry thoroughly using paper towels.
    3. Rub liberally with the garlic salt blend. 
    4. Fill the cavity with fresh herbs and quartered lemon.
    5. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine, truss the wings. 
    6. Place on a shallow roasting pan and roast uncovered in a pre-heated 325 degree oven until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
    7. Let rest on the counter until the chicken comes to room temperature and then transfer to the refrigerator. Wait until well chilled before carving.  
    Potato Salad Nicoise 
    Visit the printable recipe here

    • 10 unpeeled new potatoes cut into halves or quarters depending on size
    • Boiling salted water
    • 2 cloves garlic, split
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme
    • 2 small handfuls of green beans
    • 2 eggs, hard boiled, cooked and chopped
    • 4 green onions, sliced
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • Chopped parsley

    1. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. 
    2. Drop garlic in a jar with the olive oil and let stand for 10 minutes. Discard garlic. Add vinegar, salt, sugar and thyme.
    3. Drain potatoes, pour the dressing over the warm potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. 
    4. Cut the ends off the green beans and blanche for 1 minute in a pot of boiling water. Drain and place in an ice bath to halt the cooking. Set aside.
    5. At serving time, mix onions, green beans, bacon, mayonnaise, and chopped eggs into the salad. Garnish with parsley season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Olive Bread with Gruyere Cheese and Caramelized Onions
    Visit the printable recipe here

    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 2/3 cups plain white flour
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    •  1/3 cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1/4 cup port wine
    • 1 1/2 cups sliced green olives 
    • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese 
    • salt
    • pepper

    1. Preheat oven to 400
    2. Dice one large white onion and saute in the olive oil over medium high heat until the onion is caramelized and golden.
    3. In a bowl beat the eggs until pale yellow and frothy.
    4. Stir in flour, baking powder, olive oil, melted butter, wine and port.
    5. Stir in cheese, onions, olives, salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
    7. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown.
    8. Serve cold in slices or as sandwich bread.
    9. This can be frozen in slices or as one whole loaf.
    Sweet and Salty Caramel Pecan Brownies 
    Visit the printable recipe here

    ·          12 Tbs butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    ·         4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    ·         4 large eggs
    ·         1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
    ·         1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    ·         1/4 tsp. table salt
    ·         3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    ·         1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
    ·         1-1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
    ·         1 cup granulated sugar
    ·         1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
    ·         1/4 cup water
    ·         1/2 cup heavy cream
    ·         3 Tablespoons butter, cut into about 6 pieces
    ·         1/4 teaspoon of salt
    ·         1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    ·         1 cup chopped pecans
    ·         Coarse sea salt 

    1.       Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Put the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    2.       In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Gradually whisk in the sugar and then whisk vigorously until well blended. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until blended. Stir in the pecans and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula.
    3.       Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and, if necessary, gently press down any puffed areas with a spatula to make the top level. Let cool about 5 minutes.

    For the Caramel

    1. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice, and water. Bring the sugar, lemon juice, and water mixture to a boil over medium-high heat stirring periodically. Cook until the caramel turns golden (about 8-10 minutes). Keep a close watch on the caramel as soon as the bubbles begins to change colour. When it turns medium amber, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Keep stirring until the caramel smooths out. Gradually add the pieces of butter, about 2 bits at a time. Once all the butter has been added and has melted into the caramel, whisk in the salt and vanilla. 
    2. Immediately pour the caramel sauce over the warm brownies. Use a spatula to spread the sauce into an even layer. Sprinkle the caramel sauce with the chopped pecans and sea salt. Allow the brownies to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, until the caramel has set. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour. 
    3. Prepare the drizzle: In a small saucepan, combine the chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Melt over low heat until smooth. Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and, using a fork or a whisk, drizzle the brownies with the melted chocolate until coated. Return the pan to the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
    4.  Use the foil overhang to remove the brownies from the pan. You may need to run a knife along the edges to loosen the caramel.



Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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