One of the greatest pleasures of summer are the stolen moments when you can slow down, unplug and simply enjoy being outdoors. You may have to chase a way a few industrious ants and shoo away a few flies but picnics are more than just a chance to grab a little lunch in the sunshine. Elegant and elaborate or simple and small make your picnic an experience. We asked two local restaurants to create their ideal picnic menu.

Take your pick or try them both. Enjoy!

“I was brought up in rural Cape Breton, and for me food was just food. It was comforting having a hot home cooked meal. So when I got older and started getting an interest in cooking I always used that same mentality. No matter how you apply it, comfort in food should always be number one. Simple recipes with a home cook touch takes the fear out of trying new things even when you are planning a picnic menu.”

MENU

  • Chicken liver pate on pumpernickel crustini with apple onion chutney
  • Smoked macaroni and cheese salad
  • Walnut and sundried tomato pesto chicken
  • Quinoa salad in a curry turmeric vinaigrette
  • Chocolate eclair with caramel drizzle

Chicken liver pate
A very simple but super delicious recipe. It warms the soul.

  • 1lb chicken livers cleaned
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 lb butter

Heat butter and add livers and sauté until almost cooked through. Remove from heat. add remaining ingredients and cook until onion is tender. add livers back in and process in a food processor until smooth. Place in individual containers and poor a little melted butter on top of each to seal pate. Let cool and enjoy.

Apple onion chutney

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Add all ingredients to sauce pan and reduce until thickened. Adjust seasonings if too sour/sweet.

Smoked mac & cheese salad

  • 1 large onion peeled cut in half and smoked
  • 1 large red pepper seeded cut in half and smoked
  • 1 large green pepper seeded cut in half and smoked
  • 1 lb cooked macaroni
  • 1 lb sharp cheddar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sweet mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Dice onions and peppers. Saute in butter quickly. Add cheese, milk and mayo and stir until fully melted, remove from heat. Add macaroni. Cool and serve. Top with some sliced green onion. You can substitute liquid smoke if necessary.

Walnut and sundried tomato pesto chicken

This is my pesto recipe we use at the Brownstone. Hope you like it. In can be utilized so may ways.

  • 1/2 cup oven roasted walnuts
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes sliced and soaking in 1 cup boiled water
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Add walnuts and garlic in processor until smooth. Add basil and some of the olive oil. Add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Pan sear chicken breast until cooked through, rub a thick layer of pesto on chicken breast and then place pesto side down in panko bread crumbs. Bake in oven until crumbs are browned.

Chocolate eclairs

  • Choux Paste
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch salt
  • 4 eggs

Bring water and butter to boil, add flour and stir vigorously until dough doesn’t stick to sides of pot. Let cool until it is cool enough to touch. Place in mixer with paddle attachment and mix in eggs one at a time until well blended. Pipe onto baking sheet in 4 inch logs. Bake at 400?F for 15 mins then 325?F for 25 mins.

Chocolate filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp butter

Add all ingredients except chocolate and butter. Cook in heavy bottom sauce pot or double boiler until cooked through and thickened. Remove from heat and add chocolate and butter, stir until melted in. Cool. Cut eclair shells in half and fill each half with chocolate filling. Place together and top with your favorite topping.

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