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The Ultimate Picnic

By Abigail Crayne

Yogi Bear had his priorities in order— the pursuit of a glorious picnic basket was never far from his mind! Fortunately, you don’t have to be a hungry cartoon bear to know there’s something special about enjoying a picnic feast. Summer is prime time for picnicking, and it can be as simple or elaborate an experience as you like. Even a home picnic in the backyard can be a great way to enjoy the nice weather and spend quality time together. Children can be involved from start to finish, from menu planning to the cooking and ultimately enjoying the fruits of their labors. Whether for a large group or a picnic for two, plan to make items that travel well, are easy to eat and won’t require much last-minute work. To be eco-friendly, assemble a supply of reusable food containers, plates, utensils and drinkware that are durable and lightweight. Melamine and enameled steel are great options. With your supplies in order, you will be organized and ready for the next time. Somehow the food just tastes better when enjoyed outdoors with the blue sky above—just don’t feed the bears!

Pressed Pinic Sandwich
Serves 6-8

1 one-pound loaf ciabatta bread or other long, flat rustic bread 3–4 tablespoons olive tapenade
8 ounces sliced provolone cheese
8 ounces roasted yellow or red bell peppers, drained and sliced
8 ounces quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced into smaller wedges
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
4 ounces thinly sliced salami
2 cups baby arugula
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Big pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons aioli or pesto

With a sharp serrated knife, cut the bread in half horizontally. Spread the bottom half with the olive tapenade. Top with cheese, roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts and meats. Top off with arugula and sprinkle the arugula with balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and kosher salt. Spread the top half of the bread with aioli or pesto and place onto the sandwich. Gently press down to secure ingredients. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. Can prepare 24 hours in advance by omitting arugula until serving. Can slice into portions to individually wrap.

Minty Green Iced Tea
Serves 6-8

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and remove from heat. Add 4 bags of green tea and 1 cup fresh mint leaves. After 10 minutes, remove mint and teabags and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate before serving over ice. Garnish with additional fresh mint, if desired.

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