One Week, Two Picnics
Summer is so glorious and yet so short here in Chicago. I try to pack in as much summer fun as possible.
I love picnics and beach cookouts, so why not do both in one week?
A few weeks ago on a windy Saturday, my husband and I gathered with another couple for a pot-luck cookout at the lakefront. We brought beer brats, cut up watermelon, a Mexican-inspired salad of lettuce, roasted corn, yellow peppers, pepitas, tomatoes and feta. Mojitos in a jar--muddled mint, included--really topped off the festivities. Our friends brought chicken skewers and a Stars and Stripes cake left-over from the 4th. Our dog joined us, and lying underneath the table, he managed to greet every single passing dog with loud barks.
It was sunny, but slightly cooler than the typical July evening around here. The wind had been picking up all afternoon, and when we got to the park just above the beach, the waves were crashing and the red danger flag was flying. Lake Michigan was on a roll! We like to plan lakefront cook outs all summer long. This was a great way to kick off the season.
A few days later, we headed to Millennium Park with another couple for the Monday evening new music series. The perfect summer weather and bags of farmers' market produce in my fridge inspired me to prepare multiple dishes. In the morning, I pulled out a Martha Stewart recipe for salmon mousse from my notebook, and spent a few minutes whipping this up, giving it hours to set and gel. (recipe: https://www.marthastewart.com/316543/salmon-mousse) By mid-afternoon, I had multiple burners going on the stove. I sautéed onions and then potatoes to make a Spanish tortilla, based on this NYTimes recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/8849-spanish-tortilla I roasted yellow and orange peppers in a little olive oil and salt, because roasted vegetables are welcome at any picnic. I had some early summer pickling cucumbers and olives on hand, so I added feta and tomatoes for a Greek salad. I pulled some white wine, sparkling water and our house beer--Dogfish 90--and checked twice to make sure I remembered our bottle opener, and waited for our friends to come pick me up, all set for the second outing of the week.