Thursday, May 21, 2009

Anniversary Picnic in the Park

Tom and I will be celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary on Monday, the 25th...which also happens to be Memorial Day. We decided on a very low key date that will probably include Briggy swimming in the neighborhood pool (the grand opening is tomorrow and the kiddie pool looks so nice!) We know he'll get a kick out of that. Then we thought just a quite picnic at the park with our little Briggy would be a sweet celebration.
I have been debating on the picnic menu, because I wanted to do something not "memorial dayish" and certainly not too fancy.
I thought an italian twist on the meal would be nice, since Tom and Italian go hand in hand.
Any suggestions for side dishes that would compliment what I have so far?
Let me know!


1 Round Italian loaf, slightly hollowed out
2/3 c. Olive Tapenade* (see below)
2 c. Shredded Lettuce
4 oz. Sliced Mortadella
4 oz. Sliced Ham
4 oz. Provolone
1 Tomato, coarsley chopped


Slice loaf in half horizontally, then pull out some of the breading to create a hollowed interior.
Spread half the tapenade over the bottom half.
Layer the lettuce, mortadella, ham, and provolone.
Top with chopped tomato.
Spread the remaining tapenade into the hollowed top half of the bread.
Place the top over the bottom, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30min to 6 hours.
Cut into 6 pieces (like a pizza) and serve.
Makes 6 servings.

(Tapenade recipe)
1 cup pitted kalamata olive
1 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
1-2 cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of pitted canned black olives (decreases saltiness)
Add garlic to food processor, blend until minced. Add remaining ingredients except olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding olive oil slowly while the blade is running.
Adjust ingredients to your liking - Additional pine nuts, parsley or pitted canned black olives will make it less salty and intense in flavor, while additional oil will increase the creaminess. You can also use other fresh herbs such as sage or basil.
Serve at room temperature.

Italian Picnic Salad

1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 small red onion, chopped fine
3 scallions, both green and white, chopped fine
1 pint or 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound orzo, cooked and rinsed in cold water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


We eat this almost all summer long in Italy. It's refreshing, light and goes with almost anything. Be sure to toast the pine nuts; I like to place mine in a 350 degree F oven in a rimmed pan for about 5-8 minutes until they turn a light golden brown.

1. In a large bowl, combine the onions, scallions, tomatoes, pine nuts, salt and pepper and the orzo pasta. Toss well.

2. In a small bowl, combine the fresh basil, vinegar, garlic and olive oil and mix well. Add to the orzo mixture and toss thoroughly.

And...not so Italian dessert....

Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes!

1 (18 1/2-ounce) package chewy fudge brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)

1 (12-ounce) package peanut butter chips or 24 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 regular muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies. Fill the cups half full with brownie batter. Place about 1 tablespoon peanut butter chips in the center of the batter, or press 1 peanut butter cup into the batter in each muffin cup until the batter meets the top edge of the peanut butter cup.



That looks too yummy Kelly! I'd have to run 15 miles to work that off. I can't believe it's only been two years. We hope you have a great day together.