A Luncheon on the Grass


The dictionary defines a picnic as “a meal eaten outdoors, as on an excursion.” And the secondary — slang — definition is, “an easy task or a pleasant experience.”

The dictionary defines a picnic as “a meal eaten outdoors, as on an excursion.” And the secondary — slang — definition is, “an easy task or a pleasant experience.”
Picnics should be both.
Gather up disposable cutlery, cups, plates, etc.; some good bread from a great bakery; your favorite cheese sliced thin; tomatoes from a homegrown stand; and your favorite beverage.
Serve on a red- or blue-checkered table­­cloth spread on a shady spot of grass, or on the beach — or in your own backyard. Don’t forget the insect repellant and sunscreen, and do observe standard food-safety advisories.
If you’d like, try this dairy, almost-effortless menu if you want to grill and want a change from meat options. Oh, and don’t forget potato chips for the kids and the watermelon, of course.
Grilled Salmon En Papillote with Basil Butter
15 basil leaves, stemmed, rinsed and dried
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
a few drops lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 salmon steaks
4 lemon slices
Chop the basil and garlic in bowl of food processor. Add the butter, lemon juice and mix to combine, scraping sides as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat barbecue to medium. Place each salmon steak on a double piece of aluminum foil. Place a spoonful of basil butter on each salmon steak. Add lemon slice.
Season with salt and pepper and seal packages. Place foil packages on grill. Cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork. 
Serves 4.
This ratatouille has a roasted, almost smoky flavor, and no sauteeing is necessary.
1 medium eggplant, in 3⁄4-inch cubes
1-2 large zucchinis, in 3⁄4-inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, in 3⁄4-inch squares
1 red bell pepper, in 3⁄4-inch squares
3-4 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1⁄4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 375˚.
In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, green and red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, pepper, salt and olive oil. Mix together and transfer to a large ovenproof casserole.
Cover and bake 1 hour, then uncover and bake 1 more hour. Stir a couple of times during the last hour.
Stir in the parsley immediately before serving. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
Serves 4 to 6.
Dijon Cabbage Salad
1 medium head green cabbage
1⁄2 medium onion
4 Tbsps. Dijon mustard
1⁄4 cup boiling water
1⁄2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. finely chopped tarragon leaves (optional)
Remove the outside leaves of the cabbage. Wash cabbage and cut into wedges; pat dry.
Slice the wedges into coarse slices and place in a large bowl. Grate onion finely; add to cabbage.
Whisk the mustard and boiling water together in a food processor. Slowly add the oil in a fine stream, mixing constantly.
Add the lemon juice, caraway seeds and sugar; whisk again. Combine thoroughly with cabbage mixture.
Chill for at least two hours. (If using for a picnic, keep in cooler till ready to serve.) Garnish with tarragon. 
Serves 4 to 6.
Grill-Baked Apples With Cinnamon and Sugar
4 baking apples (Cortland, Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious)
2 Tbsps. cinnamon
2 Tbsps. sugar
2 tsps. butter
After you’ve served your main course from the grill, carefully core the apples, leaving the bottom intact. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into each apple. Top each with 1⁄2 teaspoon of butter.
Carefully wrap each apple in aluminum foil and place on the grill. Cook for about 15 minutes, carefully turning in the middle to ensure even cooking. Open foil packets carefully (apples will be hot).
Serves 4.
Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: talriv@gmail.com.


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