Pondering a Picnics-Only Plan

July 14, 2008

On Friday night, we went to a fundraiser concert near Lincoln Park. It was an earlyish show, so we decided to meet in the park—Kevin coming from work and me emerging from the haze of studying in which I now live—to precede the show with a picnic. We found a shady patch of clover-filled grass, looking to escape the 90-degree heat, and set up shop, smoothing out a thin blanket and unpacking our picnic basket (actually, a picnic shopping bag, but who cares).

We dined on sandwiches (thin baguettes, split lengthwise, jaws stuffed with roasted vegetables and goat cheese, in my case, and soppresata and mozzarella in Kevin’s case), a vinegary tomato salad, some potato chips dusted with sea salt and black pepper, and a few wedges of watermelon. And, if you must know, we also sipped on a tasty beverage: San Pellegrino Limonada mixed with a glug or three of vodka, all poured into a thermos (actually, an empty Perrier bottle, but who cares; as you can see: we were going for disposable).

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipes.)

I loved this picnic so much that I almost felt bad for the rest of the weekend: I knew it could never live up to the picnic. And since then, I keep wondering why we don’t eat all of our meals just that way: sidled up to a thick tree trunk, under a curtain of low-hanging boughs, sitting cross-legged and trading bites of this and that. I suppose studying is getting in the way for now, but come August, I think we might just have to give the picnics-only plan a try (oh, August: I love you and your post-bar-exam-ness already). When we do, I’ll be sure to report back.

Sandwich recipes always seem kind of silly, but here goes:

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Sandwich

1/2 baguette, sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 ounces goat cheese
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rings
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
several basil leaves
handful of baby spinach or arugula

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Toss the sliced pepper, zucchini and onion with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and browned.

On the cut side of one baguette half, spread the goat cheese, pile up the roasted vegetables and top with the basil and greens. Top with the remaining baguette half.

Caprese Sandwich with Soppresata

1/2 baguette, sliced lengthwise
2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
1 tomato, sliced into rounds
6 to 8 basil leaves
2 ounces soppresata or salami

On the cut side of one baguette half, pile up the mozzarella, tomato, basil leaves and soppresata. Top with the remaining baguette half.


14 Responses to “Pondering a Picnics-Only Plan”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    I really love your blog, and if you don’t mind will add it on to my blog roll. This sandwich looks to die for and I will have to make it sooner than later!!!

  2. PaniniKathy Says:

    Your sandwiches look so tasty!! Those colors are so appetizing.

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Ohhhhh, these sandwiches look mouth-wateringly amazing!

    I’ve been looking for something different to pack for a surprise picnic with Jeff, and these will be perfect. Thanks!

  4. Ashley Says:

    I love your blog! The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes look so yummy!

  5. eggsonsunday Says:

    Oh, what perfect picnic fare! I fully support your picnics-only plan. That baguette, by the way, looks really amazing…seedy and crusty and rustic. I would have had a hard time choosing between the two fillings! Can’t wait to see more of your picnic ideas. – Amy

  6. Paula Says:

    Wow! These look terrific. They remind me of the sandwiches my Italian mom made for me growing up. Soppresata is such a great sandwich meat and perfect for a picnic. Yum!

  7. Stephanie: Thanks! And thanks for linking to me.

    PaniniKathy: Thank you! I liked the colors here too: vibrant red, green, purple and white.

    Rebecca: A surprise picnic sounds lovely! Have fun!

    Ashley: Thank you so much.

    Amy: I love those baguettes. It’s La Briola‘s harvest baguette and your description of it was spot on. The best part of having one sandwich filling per person: we got to share. No difficult choices necessary.

    Paula: Thanks! This was my first time using soppresata on a sandwich, but I love it on pizza and figured it wasn’t too far a jump. Thanks for commenting.

  8. mari Says:

    Those are some beautiful sandwiches!

  9. Becky Says:

    asldknaldknad. this looks SO GOOD. people in the office are staring at me because my stomach is yelling for one. nice job!

  10. Hélène Says:

    That’s my kind of sandwich. Lovely.

  11. Ali Says:

    That my friend is a piece of art… Looks amazing. I’ll take two… One of each!!!

  12. Your photos are making my mouth water…that looks like a darn good sandwich!

  13. Kevin Says:

    That roasted vegetable sandwich looks really good!

  14. mari: Thanks!

    Becky: You have a stomach that grumbles so loudly people in the next room can here? Me too.

    Hélène: Thanks!

    Ali: Two?!? Impressive, my sister.

    My Sweet & Saucy: Thanks!

    Kevin: Thank you!

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