patriotic picnic part 2: the food

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I love cooking for people. Let me rephrase that: I love cooking for people who like to eat. There is nothing that says “thank you” better than empty platters and bowls at a party. And if that’s the standard for a good get together, then brunch went pretty well on Saturday. The first thing to go was the Blueberry French Toast Bake. Unfortunately, by the time I returned to the table with my camera, the French toast was already torn asunder, so there are no drool-inducing pics. I made the recipe as is, except I added more bread and some freshly grated nutmeg. I would drizzle the maple syrup over the whole dish before serving.

Next to disappear were these sandwiches: we took French bread, sliced it open, slathered it with a lemony pesto (bought at the farmer’s market), and piled on fresh mozzarella slices and prosciutto di Parma. We also had curried chicken sandwiches with arugula (pictured above).

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And although the salad didn’t vanish (healthy food is always an afterthought at picnics), it makes a pretty picture.

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In addition to these offerings and the cupcakes, friends brought fresh fruit, bagels, potato salad, orange juice with strawberries, and chocolate chip cookies. If only I had enough stomachs to eat more. Maybe next year.

Curried Chicken Salad

These are approximate measurements. Curry is a very subjective flavor, so experiment with what flavors work for you.

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup mayo (we always use Hellman’s, light or regular is fine)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder, depending on your preference
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • orange juice
  • 1 jar of Major Grey’s Mango Chutney (Crosse & Blackwell is the best)
  • 1 peeled apple, diced
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place chicken in a baking dish. Salt and pepper and cover with water. Seal tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 60-70 minutes, or until chicken shreds easily. Set aside to cool, then shred with two forks.
  2. Mix the mayo, sour cream, and spices, and pour the curry mixture over the chicken. Mix well and add a splash or two of OJ to thin the salad and add moisture.
  3. Add the chutney and apple (raisins or sliced grapes also go well).
  4. Serve on crusty French bread or atop a crisp green salad.
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One thought on “patriotic picnic part 2: the food

  1. Not that you seem to have had this problem, but I picked up an excellent tip from a German chef (thank you Jochen!) regarding how you can keep sandwiches from going soggy – do as the Europeans do and coat the inside/surface of the baguette/bread will a light spread of butter. You can store the sandwiches in the fridge overnight and they won’t get soggy from the filling.

    Keep up the good (yummy) work!

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