The Perfect Picnic
Everyone has a different idea of the perfect picnic. In truth it is your company that makes the perfect picnic, but what you bring along is like the icing on the cake. There are a few basic things you need to remember when putting together your perfect picnic meal.
First you need to bring along a refreshing beverage, a main course and a desert. Second, you need to be sure not to choose food items that can spoil and make you sick. You will also want to pack a cloth to sit on as well as plates and utensils. You can use disposable plates, but it is better for the environment to carefully pack regular plates and utensils, which you can wash when you get home.
Cute little picnic baskets make for a very picnicky style, but you may want to pack your food in a cooler or pack it with ice in your picnic basket to make sure your cool stays fresh and good.
Here is an idea of the perfect picnic meal. For the beverage, pack homemade lemonade, the main course is a simple antipasto plate and dessert is an angel food cake with sliced strawberries.
Homemade lemonade is pretty simple to whip up. You will need:
- 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
- I cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup water plus another 3 to 4 cups water
Fresh lemonade is easy to make and it is the perfect refreshing beverage for a picnic. Start by making simple syrup, which is just water and sugar -- this keeps the sugar from settling in the bottom of your lemonade. To make the simple syrup, combine 1 cup water and the sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Stir continually, and remove from heat when the syrup comes to a boil. Continue to stir if the syrup is not completely dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool.
While the syrup cools, squeeze 1 cup of fresh lemon juice. Now combine the syrup, lemon juice and remaining 3 to 4 cups water along with some ice in a large leak proof container. You should note that using only 3/4 cup sugar does not make a sweet lemonade. You can use either less or more sugar depending on how sweet you like your lemonade.
Next prepare your antipasto plate. This does not require that you do much preparation -- you just need to pack the items in leak-proof, cool containers. You may also want to bring along a small knife to slice the cheese and salami. An antipasto plate usually consists of simple appetizer-like food items. Start with your favorite type of crackers. Next, pack some nice salami as well as some good quality cheese, like brie or gouda. You will probably want to include un-pitted kalamata and green olives and even some pepperoncini peppers.
Finally, bring along an angel food cake with sliced, fresh strawberries. Angel food cake is a good choice for a picnic since it is easy to transport and the transport doesn't affect the flavor. You can either bake your own angel food cake, or purchase one from you favorite local bakery. Most angel food cakes are created equal and purchased ones are almost as good as homemade. If you prefer to bake your own cake, choose your recipe from a reputable source and bake your cake. To accompany the cake you can slice or chop some fresh strawberries.
To slice the strawberries you can use a sharp knife to slice the strawberries carefully and neatly. Or you can use a can opened with a regular can opener to crush the strawberries. The sharp edge from the can opener make it a great and simple tool to make perfect crushed strawberries. Pack the strawberries in another leak-proof container, then when you go to your picnic, serve the strawberries over a slice of angel food cake.
If you want to go all-out, you can also pack some freshly made whipping cream to serve with your angel food cake and strawberries. Only bring whipping cream if you have a cool place to store it during transport. To make homemade whipped cream, pour some whipping cream in a large bowl and beat vigorously with a whisk, egg beater or hand mixer. As you mix the whipping cream slowly add regular granulated sugar until your whipped cream is as sweet as you desire.