Susan S. Yeske: Recipe of the week
Themed picnics featured market vendors
A picnic can be as simple as a sandwich eaten on a bench or as complicated as multiple catered courses served outdoors.
Somewhere in between were the picnics set up at last week’s contest at Ottsville Farmers Market, where people were invited to create their own picnic and set it up on patches of grass around the market at Linden Hill Gardens.
The event was the idea of co-managers Kristin Perry and Jerry Fritz. Market customers are invited to bring their own picnics during the markets on Friday evenings, and use the tables set up there. Expanding on that, the contest was as much for fun as for dining pleasure as each picnic group chose a theme and created a setting to dine outdoors. Each picnic had to feature at least five ingredients purchased from market vendors.
“It was something to support the market,” said participant Amy Wartle of Durham Township. “We think it’s a great idea.”
Wartle, her husband, Peter, and their friends Tom and Danny Butera of Saucon Valley chose the theme “Lazy Four Ranch,” dressed in Western-style clothes and set up roughhewn wooden table and chairs for their picnic. They cooked sausages, oysters and peaches on the community grill that is available to picnickers during Friday night markets.
Nearby, “Fisnic” was the creation of Victoria Graves of Victoria Graves Design and Melissa Sullivan of Sullivan Building and Design, both in Haycock. Using repurposed or recycled materials they crafted an outdoor “room” complete with paper lanterns, a low-slung table and rug. Their centerpiece was fish heads on ice surrounding flowers and they served roasted fish heads, pasta, cheese, cole slaw and green bean salad.
“We decided to make it a fun, shabby chic fishnic,” Graves said.
On the other side of the market, Lisa Hickey of Pipersville Frame and Art and Richard Gacek of Gacek Design Group in New Hope based their picnic on the Edouard Manet painting “Le dejeuner sul l’herbe,” the luncheon on the grass, with wine, fruit, bread and cupcakes. Tiny lights twinkled from a shrub behind them.
Kristann Heinz, who owns Apittehikan Farm in Upper Black Eddy with husband, John, where they make goat’s-milk cheeses and yogurt, showed off her love of canning jars with her “I Can Picnic.” She used canning jars for glasses, to hold vegetables and to make tea and she served bread, gluten-free molasses cake with ground cherries, vegetables, figs and cheese.
Perry said she was impressed by how hard some of the picnickers worked to be creative. “People really went beyond our expectations,” she said.
This picnic-perfect recipe also would work for tailgating. It uses beets, currently in season at local farms:
Beet Salad with Feta
From the All Recipes web site
4 medium beets - scrubbed, trimmed and cut in half
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby salad greens
½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese
Place beets in a saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender.
Drain and cool, then remove peel and cut into cubes.
While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until warm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup.
Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make the dressing.
Place a large helping of baby greens onto each of four salad plates, divide candied walnuts equally and sprinkle over the greens. Place equal amounts of beets over the greens, and top with dabs of goat cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the dressing.
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