Summer Picnic Secrets from the Portland Picnic Society

Andrea Slonecker, a co-author of The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket, and a member of the Portland Picnic Society, joins the Clever Cookstr to share tips and tricks for successful summer picnicking.

Kara Rota,
September 16, 2015
Episode #052

As we get closer to kicking off summer, the idea of eating outdoors in warm weather sounds pretty appealing. In her new book, The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to BlanketAndrea Slonecker shares everything you need to plan an effortless outdoor get-together: no-fail recipes, helpful checklists, and expert advice. Today, she’s joining us to share tips and tricks for successful summer picnicking.

Download the episode from iTunes to learn:  

  • How the Portland Picnic Society got started
  • What to pack for mess-free picnicking
  • Tips and checklists to keep in mind
  • The #1 item not to forget
  • Recipes for delicious, portable dishes
  • & lots more! 

Bonus recipes:

Kale Panzanella with Burnt Lemon Caesar Dressing

Serves 4 to 6

To complement kale’s robust flavor, upgrade classic Caesar with smoky, charred lemons. You’ll crave their complexity and admire the dramatic touch they add to your salad bowl.

2 lemons, halved crosswise

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained

2 garlic cloves

1⁄2 teaspoon sugar

Fine sea salt

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cups 2-inch cubes artisan bread

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

2 bunches kale, washed and dried well, coarsely chopped

In the Basket:

-Salad server


-Extra dressing

1. Heat a stovetop grill pan or cast-iron skillet over high heat. When it’s smoking hot, place the lemons in the pan, cut sides down, and sear until nicely charred, about 2 minutes. Squeeze the juice from one of the lemon halves to get about 2 tablespoons; reserve the remaining lemons for garnish.

2. Whirl the lemon juice, egg yolks, cheese, anchovies, garlic, sugar, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a blender until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in 1⁄3 cup of the oil through the hole in the lid in a slow stream until the dressing emulsifies and thickens. Stop and scrape the sides of the blender as needed. Transfer the dressing to a small container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

3. Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the top heating element and preheat the broiler. Toss the bread chunks with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch of salt and spread them out in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the bread, stirring occasionally, until evenly charred and crisp on the outside but still a little soft within, 3 to 5 minutes. While still hot, sprinkle the croutons with the rosemary and toss to coat. Cool completely, then transfer the croutons to a resealable plastic bag.

4. Just before leaving for the picnic, toss the kale with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Use a vegetable peeler to shave large flakes of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top and place the charred lemons around the edges of the bowl. Cover to transport to the picnic. Toss the croutons into the salad at the picnic site; before serving, squeeze in a little of the charred lemons’ juice, and add more dressing, if needed.

Fruit galette

Stone Fruit Galette

Serves 8

The amount of sugar you’ll need for this free-form tart depends wholly on the sweetness or tartness of the fruit, and your taste, of course. Thoroughly sample your fruits before assembling the galette, and add a few more tablespoons of sugar if they are particularly puckery.

Perfect Pie Dough

10 tablespoons (1 1⁄4 sticks) cold unsalted butter

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt

6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water


1. Cube the butter, put it in a small bowl, and place it in the freezer until firm and very cold, about 10 minutes. Put the flour, salt, and chilled butter in a food processor and pulse until the butter chunks are the size of peas. Add half of the cold water and process very briefly, then add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing between additions, just until large moist clumps form.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop and, using the heel of your hand, smear the clumps of dough until they come together. Use a pastry scraper to form the dough into a mound, then gently pat it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days. To freeze, wrap it in another layer of plastic and freeze for up to 3 months.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough

1⁄2 cup slivered almonds

1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 pound ripe peaches or nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into 1⁄2-inch wedges

1 pound ripe plums, halved, pitted, and cut into 1⁄2-inch wedges

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Heavy cream

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Roll out the pie dough to a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured countertop using a floured rolling pin. The dough will be moist, so rotate it occasionally to be sure it isn’t sticking, and dust with additional flour as needed. Roll the dough up loosely onto the rolling pin and unroll it onto the lined baking sheet. Loosely fold in any overhanging edges and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 20 minutes. the picnic book

3. Put the almonds and 1⁄4 cup of the brown sugar in the food processor and process to a fine meal. Add the 2 tablespoons flour and process until well mixed.

4. Spread the almond meal over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the peaches and plums over the almond meal in an even layer. Sprinkle the fruit with the remaining 1⁄4 cup brown sugar and dot the top with butter. Fold the edges over the filling, overlapping as needed to create an evenly pleated crust. Brush the crust lightly with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using.

5. Bake the galette until the edges are nicely browned and crisp and the fruit is soft and bubbly, about 1 hour. Excess juices will ooze onto the pan and harden as the galette bakes, so slide a knife under the crust to free it after cooling. Cool completely before wrapping the galette loosely with plastic, and transport it to the picnic on the baking sheet or a round platter. Slice and serve at the picnic site. Wrap any leftover galette slices and snack on them for up to 3 days.

Recipes excerpted from The Picnic by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Illustrations by Emily Isabella.



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