Ahh, the 3-day holiday weekend is over already?! I’m going to go out on a limb and predict today’s going to be a bit harder to get motivated for work than a typical Monday. So, go grab that cup of coffee and slowly ease your way into the work week.
As you reminisce on the fabulous Fourth of July weekend that came and went way too quickly, I’m going to try to cheer you up by helping you plan your next outdoor gathering, a picnic. You know- the thing that you never seem to do but every blogger, come summertime, is posting pictures of gorgeous food on checkered blankets (Um, I know because I thought I might stage the same thing for this post). Up until about a month ago, while I loved the idea of picnicking in the park, I thought that was only for people who love the movie Armageddon (and animal crackers) or wanted to show off on Instagram. (Also, are we friends on Instagram? I promise no fake picnic pictures. Just lots of food & recipes.)
But then we went to Paris and let me tell you- Parisians KNOW how to picnic (minus the red and white checkered blanket). BL and I had the best time hopping from shop to shop, picking up supplies to lay in the grass and feast on: freshly baked baguettes, prepared salads, tiny assorted pastries, and a bottle of champagne.
Now that we are back in Sacramento, we have vowed to picnic more. Which, thanks to my friends at Hamptons Lane, wasn’t too difficult. They sent me their gourmet picnic basket to try out, and it was stuffed with goodies to elevate any outdoor dining experience. Seriously, how cute is that American Flag wine tote? Ok, fine- it’s labeled as a beverage tote, but unless you’re making my peach basil iced tea, I hope you’d fill it up with chilled white wine. Also included is a carbon steel knife from Spain, Fig Jam (gluten free & vegan), Meaux mustard from France (gluten free & vegan), and Sweet Heat Pickle’s.
In order to try and recreate our French picnic experience, I prepared these vegetarian picnic favorites to package and carry to a nearby park with friends.
When I first smelled this grainy and slightly nutty mustard, I knew I wanted to recreate one of my favorite picnic salads: Warm Potato Salad. As a kid, I used to love my mom’s german version, warm potatoes coated in a garlicky-mustard-bacon dressing. To make this healthy and vegetarian friendly, I’ve nixed the bacon and cut down on prep time. Simply boil the potatoes, whisk together the dressing, toss and serve.
2 lbs. small red skin potaotes (about 1-2″)
2 tbsp. Meaux mustard
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 finely chopped shallot
3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
salt/pepper to taste
Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together shallot, mustard, vinegar and small pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk together. Add the parsley.
While potatoes are still warm, slice in half or quarters and toss with dressing. I love this warm but feel free to serve at room temperature.
While I know I could eat an entire meal made out of potatoes, I decided to pair the salad with BL’s favorite lunch- the panini. If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know my passion for carbs- and this meal wasn’t any different. The secret to this fancy panini is crusty bread and fig and onion jam. This jam is a genius combination of sweet onions, figs, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, orange zest, and spices. It’s killer! I’ve been piling this jam on just about anything I can get my hands on.
8 sliced bread (I used a small sourdough boule)
4 tbsp. Fig and Onion Jam
1 cup arugula
8 sliced gruyere cheese (for a vegan version, I prefer Daiya Swiss Style Slices)
2 fresh figs, very thinly sliced (optional, if in season.)
Heat a panini press or grill pan to medium- high heat. Lightly butter or oil each bread slice. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading ~1/2 tbsp. Fig and Onion jam onto each slice. Layer with 2 slices cheese per sandwich, a few slices of fresh figs and a handful of arugula. Top with the other slice of bread and place on panini press. Press down and let cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
If using a grill pan, place sandwich onto pan and cover with a heavy bottomed pan (like a cast iron skillet). Let cook for 1-2 minutes, remove cast iron skillet and flip. Repeat on the other side.
If you’re into gourmet, local food like me, you will want to check out Hamptons Lane! Each month, they send you a kit loaded with cool, unique finds- with huge ~40% savings!. Membership is free and if you don’t like that month’s offering, you can skip without being charged! DK readers can receive $10 off their first box. I love giving these as gifts! Enjoy last months Picnic Box or this month’s Gourmet Cocktail box!
This post is sponsored by Hampton Lane but all thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own. Thank you for supporting sponsored posts that allow me to continue to run Delicious Knowledge!