Quick Picnic in the Park

There is just no better way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon than having a picnic in the park with your friend.

Yesterday was a surprisingly beautiful Saturday, and in the morning, Khalil called about lunch – he wanted to bring his dog to the neighborhood and enjoy the weather. I knew we wouldn’t have too much luck finding a restaurant with outdoor seating that wasn’t too crowded on such a beautiful day, so I looked to my fridge for picnic supplies to bring to the park around the corner. Luckily, I had gone to the grocery store the day before, and started marinating a bean salad as soon as I got home (cooking ahead when you have the free time makes pulling off things like a last minute picnic so much easier…). Here’s the quick recipe:

Night Before Three Bean Salad:

  • Blanch a big handful of green beans (boil for about 5 minutes, then cool immediately)
  • Rinse 1 can Large Red Kidney Beans, 1 can Chick Peas
  • Dice about 1/4 of a large Red Onion
  • Toss everything above in a bowl with about 1/2 c. Red Wine vinegar, a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano, all to taste
  • Refrigerate overnight, stirring a few times

I had a skirt steak and salad fixings, so I threw the skirt steak in a really hot cast iron skillet, cooked it to medium, and put together a salad of butter lettuce, tomato, gorgonzola, and red onion. I dressed it with a quick vinaigrette, and topped it with the cooled steak. Threw everything in to some gladware, grabbed a quilt, some strawberries, some plastic forks, and off we went.

After we lounged in the park a bit, we took the pup on a walk. First, I had to show Khalil the new location of The Brooklyn Kitchen. This place went from a small storefront to a big warehouse space, and they really went for an upgrade. They have lots more room to house their impressive collection of tools and supplies, as well as an onsite butcher and a really big, pimped-out space for teaching demos and classes (I think Chef Khalil should teach classes there!). They now offer local dairy and some other locally sourced goodies like pickles and chocolate (two of my faves…). The only downside is that prices are a little high. But that’s what you pay sometimes for a quality selection in a very pleasant environment. I, however, still find the restaurant supply stores on the Bowery very pleasant environments, so, the BK won’t be getting all of my kitchen-related business…

Then we journeyed further for Italian Ices nearby at Uncle Louis G’s (classic Cherry for me, black raspberry for Khalil – both smooth and delicious), and looped around back towards my place, where we finished off our day with our long-awaited First Donut Ice Cream Sandwich from Peter Pan bakery. We’d been talking about it for months, since we learned of its existence. The donuts are three doors down from me, and they are perfect. Summertime, they exceed perfection when they cut them in half and put them back together with ice cream inside. Learning about this in the winter, we could not wait for summer. It was as good as we imagined. Now, Khalil and I can’t stop talking about what else to make with Peter Pan donuts. Donut Trifle? Donut French Toast? Donut Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches?

Hope this summer is full of Saturdays like that one!

.a

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