MAY 14, 2011
Four Perfect Picnics
Globally inspired basket lunches curated by top chefs for your outdoor dining pleasure
A Korean-style feast centered around chungmu kimbap (seaweed-wrapped rice rolls served with sauteed squid), with recipes from chef Dennis Lee of Namu, San Francisco.
The recipes: Seaweed-wrapped rice rolls: Season 1¾ cup cooked sushi rice with 2 tablespoons sesame oil and a light sprinkling of salt. Mix it gently with a wooden spoon.
Vote: Pick Your Picnic
Lay 3 half sheets of nori across lengthwise and coat with a rectangle of rice about ¼ inch high that reaches all four edges of nori layer. Roll it up. Dip your knife in water and slice the roll into long logs, 3-4 pieces per roll.
Sauteed Squid: Place 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a pan on high heat.
As soon as the butter begins to foam, add 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste), 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ finely chopped onion, 2 chopped scallions, ½ teaspoon grated ginger, ½ teaspoon grated garlic and 8 ounces squid (tube and tentacles) cut into ¼ inch rings. Cook about 4-5 minutes.
Serve with: Pickled daikon, cabbage salad, oranges and daifukumochi (Japanese sweet rice cakes).
To drink: Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.
The kit: Scrapwood Basket $225, ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000.
A Spanish-influenced picnic starring a parsnip tortilla española recipe from Ba Culbert, chef of Tilikum Place Cafe, Seattle.
The recipe: Combine 5 medium grated parsnips, 1 small diced yellow onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, ¾ tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and 4 beaten eggs.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a sizzling hot 8-inch saute pan. Add parsnip and egg mixture. Lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Place pan in 350-degree oven for 7 minutes (or until egg sets).
Remove pan from oven, flip tortilla to a plate.
Return saute pan to stovetop and add a little more olive oil or butter. Add parsnip cake, light side down. Put pan in the oven for another 5 minutes or so. Let cool.
Serve with: Fava bean salad, cherry tomatoes, Romesco sauce (a Spanish nut and tomato sauce, available at markys.com), sour cream and roasted Marcona almonds.
To drink: Rosemary lemonade.
The kit: Viridian Insulated Picnic Basket, $100, picnicbaskets.com; Alpace Spiral Red Throw, $400, Blue plates, $450,Linen kitchen cloth, $18, all from ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000.
Moroccan-style picnic featuring spice-grilled chicken breasts from Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's in New Orleans.
The recipe: Mix ½ cup plain yogurt, ½ cup chopped cilantro, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon ras el hanout (an Arabic spice blend, available at zamourispices.com), ½ teaspoon cumin,½ teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper in a medium size bowl.
Coat 2 chicken breasts (skin on, bone in and split to yield four halves) in marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Place on the grill over indirect medium heat for 10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and juices run clear.
Serve with: Couscous with sliced almonds, raisins and currants; cucumber salad; fresh berries.
To drink: Leth Gruner Veltliner Steinagrund 2010.
The kit: Market Basket,$40, brookfarmgeneralstore.com; Vintage quilt,$575, Astier de Villatte Nathalie dinner plates,$115, Small blue bowl, $25, all from ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000.
Enjoy a French-style picnic avec Creton (traditional French-Canadian pork spread) from James Tranchemontagne of The Frog and Turtle in Westbrook, Me.
The recipe: Melt ½ cup lard or duck fat in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot at medium heat. When fat is melted, add 1 large diced onion and 3 cloves of finely diced garlic and sauté until translucent.
Add 2 pounds ground pork and sauté until well cooked, then add ½ tablespoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 2 whole cloves, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Mix well. Cover with water and simmer 2½ hours, leaving lid on the pot for the first hour.
When the mixture is ready, there should be no water above the meat and it will be bound together like a pie filling. Season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup corn starch mixed with ¼ cup water, stir and let cool overnight.
Serve with: A baguette, Dijon mustard, dried figs and apricots and a good blue cheese.
To drink: Sangria.
The kit: Market basket, $85, aerostudios.com; Scents and Feel fouta throw blanket, $275, ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000.
—Produced by Charlotte Druckman