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September 6, 2009

It’s a Beautiful Day for a Virtual Picnic!

Filed under: Food — Twistie @ 12:54 pm

Does anyone hold Labor Day picnics anymore? They were a staple of my childhood, but I haven’t been to one in longer than I care to think about. Being in a somewhat nostalgic mood, I think we should hold one right here, right now. Bring your best picnic foods (with recipes when possible, please) and join in the fun!

I’m bringing a salad I’ve been making lately that really looks, tastes, and feels great. Here’s how it goes:

Peel and coarsely chop: one large cucumber, two roma tomatoes, one large red bell pepper, one large yellow or orange bell pepper and place in a large bowl.

Mince red onion to taste. A couple tablespoons does the trick for me, but your mileage may vary. Add to bowl.

Tear fresh mint leaves into the mixture to taste. I find about four good-sized leaves is the right amount for me.

In a separate bowl, pour in approx. 6 tablespoons unflavored rice vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. While continuing to whisk, slowly add approx 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil until well-blended.

Pour dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Prepare for serious crunchy deliciousness!

I think I shall also bring a homemade peach pie, just because I love to bake.

Bring something delicious to the feast and join in, folks!


  1. I’ve been drinking a lot of fresh limeade this summer. It seems like a good drink for labor day. Zest and juice one lime for every sixteen ounces of water. Add sugar to taste, add the water, and stir thoroughly.

    Comment by Fabrisse — September 6, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  2. Mmmm…delicious and refreshing. I’ll take a glass.

    Comment by Twistie — September 6, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

  3. Last night I juiced two oranges, two limes, and two lemons, and then crushed a few cloves of garlic. I popped the top on a mini can of pineapple juice and mixed my juices and garlic all together in a HUGE ceramic bowl. I pulled a great big pork shoulder out of the fridge, rinsed it (always), scored the cap of fat on top in a diamond pattern (helps the fat render and lets it crisp up), and dusted it with onion powder, garlic powder, Tony Chacheres, salt, and lemon pepper. My pork bathed in the juice potion all. night. long.

    This morning I preheated the oven to 500 (degrees F) put the pork in a roasting pan, split one orange, two lemons, and two limes and put them flesh side down in the pan and then sprinkled in another can of pineapple juice. I double tented my beast and slid it in the oven. I immediately lowered the oven to 325 and let it go for 5 hours.

    The lovely thing just fell apart and tasted all citrus-y and delicious. I squeezed the citruses in the pan and reduced the cooking juice on the stove for 10 minutes – just enough to thicken the juice a little. I shredded the pork, poured the juice all over it and now we have a HUGE bowl of pulled Cuban pork ready for sandwiches or a plate of rice and black beans.

    (If you like it hotter you can go all kinds of crazy with pepper/s. Cilantro and fresh flat parsley are always perfect in this.)

    Comment by Melissa — September 6, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  4. Melissa, I think I love you. I know I love your pork recipe.

    Comment by Twistie — September 6, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  5. Fabrisse, I love fresh limeade. I keep a jar of ginger simple syrup and use that instead of sugar. Cool, hot, spicy and sweet. It’s like looking in a mirror.

    Comment by Plumcake — September 6, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

  6. Melissa, I definitely want some pork, and Plumcake, how did I not know about ginger simple syrup?

    I would bring the last of the summer’s blueberries, heated with some water, sugar, salt, vanilla, and lemon juice and turned into a pulpy sauce.

    We could spoon it over ice cream, and mix it with vodka & seltzer.

    Comment by JenniferP — September 6, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  7. I made a wicked good corn salad on friday whose major pluses were some Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes and using lime juice and a little rice vinegar for the acid in the dressing–that plus some fresh corn, basil, and a little good olive oil made it pretty much summer on a plate. So I would bring that, and probably some of the frozen grapes, cherries, and cut-up peaches I have been munching on all summer.

    Comment by Leah — September 6, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

  8. Everything sounds beyond delicious! Plummy, about that ginger simple syrup…care to share the secret?

    Leah, I’m going to try that salad. It sounds like it would be a huge hit here at Casa Twistie.

    Comment by Twistie — September 7, 2009 @ 11:58 am

  9. The ginger syrup is just a byproduct of the crystallized ginger I make. The quick and dirty recipe is slice a hand of ginger, dump it into a smallish saucepan. cover it with white sugar, and then pour in enough water to cover the sugar by about 1/2″ and then I simmer the heck it for a few hours. The sugar syrup goes into a mason jar, topped off with water and a slice or two of the ginger. The ginger goes on a rack to dry.

    Of course a more precise method would be one part sugar to one part water and as much sliced ginger as you wish.

    Comment by Plumcake — September 7, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  10. Yesterday we had stuffed eggplant of deliciousness:

    Halve 1 large/ 2 small eggplant/s, scoop out the guts, leaving 1/2 in. shell of skin.
    Chop eggplant and salt well… put in a colander to drain the bitter juices.
    Chop an onion, some garlic, rosemary, and oregano.
    Heat olive oil in a large sautee pan, add the aromatics and fry until the onion is soft.
    Rinse the eggplant and squeeze out liquid and add to the onions.
    Sautee until the eggplant is getting cooked through.
    Throw in something wet: a can of tomatoes, 1/2 c. red wine, fresh tomatoes chopped- whatever.
    Allow to meld.
    Add 2 cups leftover rice (or bulgher wheat, cous cous, dried bread crumbs, whatever).

    Fill your eggplant halves with the stuffing mixture. If you have leftover, you can scoop the guts out of the zucchini your neighbor left on your porch in an attempt to offload their late summer excess and fill those, too, or use peppers.

    You can sprinkle with feta if you like.

    Place in a baking dish, fill 1 inch broth, wine, or water to pan, and bake in a 375% oven for 45 minutes till done.

    Serve at room temperature.

    Comment by Kate — September 7, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  11. Thanks, Plummy! I’ll definitely be trying that one out!

    Kate, start stuffing eggplants. I’ll be there for dinner.

    Comment by Twistie — September 7, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

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