The picnic is what makes summertime living easy–even for the maximalist hostess. Here are tips + tricks for throwing an epic moveable feast– with minimal fuss.
Hint 1: One slice of bread is better than two. An open-faced sandwich fancifies things. Call it a tartine/ smørrebrød/ crostini to the delight of your foodie guests. They make sumptuous spreads, topped with brilliantly colorful fixings. AND they’re half the carbs.
Tricks to avoid soggy bread: Use for roasted vegetables over lettuce + swap out mayo for cheese/ pate/ this umami-boosting secret weapon
Hint 2: All hail the mighty kale leaf. It’s the superfood we all worship. It also beats the heat with gusto–like no other salad green can.
Add a grain like quinoa + some crunch + tangy apple-cider dressing + a generous sprinkling of nuts/seeds/bacon bits and you have a wilt-proof crowd-pleaser.
Hint 3: Stone fruit, during summer, is compulsory. For three glorious months, nature offers up nectar of the gods: plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines. In short, fruity flavor bombs. Serve an all-time favorite…cherries on ice. For high-achievers, whip up a peach cobbler, and make it a la mode.
Hint 4: The same goes for tomatoes. The window is short, and no amount would be too much. They are a M-U-S-T. This tomato burrata salad, from chef Sean O’Toole, now at Hotel Yountville’s Hoppe Creek, is binge-worthy…in ridiculous quantities.
Hint 5: If you want everyone feeling F-I-N-E, refreshment is key. Rosé is a picnicker’s elixir of choice. Ours tastes of strawberries and wild herbs. It is the loveliest + most memorable sip of summer. It will dazzle; and it always charms.
Hint 6: Picnic spontaneously but remember kids, never leave home without these.
One final thought. Everything tastes better alfresco. While any excuse at all for a picnic is reason enough, here are some fine ones I highly recommend: 4th of July/ birthdays/ baptisms/ beaches/ gingham/ kites/ swings/ hoolahooping/ a gazebo/ a teepee/ a treehouse/ fresh-cut grass/ an open park bench/ warm starry nights/ blooming wisteria/ your vintage sundress/ fireworks/ fireflies/ a case of Modern House Wine/ no corkage fees/ day-drinking/ the best deviled eggs. ever. My can’t-live-without recipe–here.