Staying in is the new going out these days. At least that's what I think. Especially when it involves: relaxing in your comfiest outfit, indulging in an amazing spread of goodies and drinking wine. My instagram worthy, tell all of your friends picnic party will be your next go to for your date night in or family gathering.
I loved the idea behind this picnic party because it is less formal than a dinner party and more fun! Plus the clean up is minimal because it is acceptable to eat off pretty, disposable, eco friendly plates.
Another great thing about this is that all of the food is served cold or at room temperature. So, it is a stress free meal and there is no need to worry about ensuring that your food stays warm when being served.
When it comes to setting the scene, there is no rule that says you have to have your picnic on the ground even though it could be considered more fun and traditional. So, select a place that is most comforting to you. It could be outside surrounded by your favorites plants sitting on your patio, it could be on your couch with a bunch of cozy blankets or even just at your kitchen table.
For the final touches to make this pretty picnic even prettier, I suggest adding in a few beauty elements to the meal such as flowers and baskets, the common picnic staples. I also suggest incorporating some food items to the menu that could be found in a garden or at a picnic as well such as kale and watermelon. With all of these essentials you will be ready and on your way to hosting the perfect prettiest picnic party.
Makes 12-15 Small Sandwiches, INGREDIENTS: For the Pressed Italian Focaccia Sandwiches
3 focaccia loaves of bread in square or rectangle shape (I got mine from Trader Joe's. They have a roasted tomato and parmesan one that was perfect). Otherwise, the rosemary one from the link above works as well!
1 4 oz. package of hard salami from whole foods
1 4 oz. package of napoli applewood smoked salame from whole foods
1 4 oz. package of sopressata black peppercorn salame from whole foods
1 6 oz. package uncured ham from whole foods
1 8 oz. package provolone cheese slices
1 fresh mozzarella log, cut in slices
Freshly made or store bought Pesto.
Giardiniera (optional) if you want to make them spicy. I did half of the sandwiches with them and half without.
Start by cutting the edges off all 4 sides of each focaccia loaf. Then, slice in half to separate the top and the bottom. Flip the top over to open.
Spread the pesto on the top of the loaf.
To begin layering, start with the hard salami, then the ham, sopressata, provolone cheese slices, the napoli and then fresh mozzarella slices.
If you are using the Giardiniera, you can add some at this time.
Top with mixed greens.
Flip the top with the pesto over and place on top of the layered sandwich. Press down on the sandwich loaf so all of the juices, meats and cheeses soak in.
Take plastic film and wrap the sandwich loaf tightly and press down again.
Place the sandwich loaf in the fridge. Using heavy kitchen equipment, place it on top of the sandwich to press and hold down even more. Keep in pressed sandwich in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
When ready to eat, unwrap the pressed sandwich and cut in squares. I was able to cut about 6 squares from one loaf.
PRETTY PLATE PRESENTATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Rip off parchment paper about a half of an inch long. Fold one side down about a quarter of the way up, flip it over and fold the other side down about a quarter of the way up. If the sides are too long, cut each side down a little shorter, so it wraps perfectly over the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich in the middle with the folded parchment paper so enough of each side of the sandwich is still exposed.
Take your twine roll and wrap it twice around the sandwich. Make sure there is enough string on both side to tie with a bow on top.
Place pressed and wrapped sandwich in a basket, if using. Continue this process with each individual mini sandwich.
Place in a basket, if using and serve.
Serves 7 (about 2 pieces per person), INGREDIENTS: For the Watermelon Pizza
Watermelon, cut in triangle slices
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt, divided
1/4 cup fresh mangoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, divided
Raw Honey, drizzled
If watermelon slices do not come precut, cut watermelon in slices.
Lay them down in a circle pizza form, with any extras place them next to the "pizza".
Top with vanilla greek yogurt.
Sprinkle diced mango throughout and on each individual piece.
Top with fresh raspberries.
Add dashes of cinnamon and then drizzle with raw honey.
Serves 7, INGREDIENTS: For the Kale Chips
1 bunch of fresh kale leaves, torn from their stems
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with foil and non stick spray.
Tear the kale off their stems and place in a large bowl.
Drizzle a little olive oil over the kale and season with salt and pepper. ** NOTE: do not over pour olive oil. It will make kale harder to be come crispy and cause them to be soggy. **
Mix with your hands. Make sure all leaves have been covered with seasoning and oil.
Transfer prepared kale to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the a golden and crispy. Keep an eye on them to ensure they do not burn and flipping the leaves half way though.
Once finished remove from heat and serve at room temperature.
Serves 6, INGREDIENTS: For the Red Potato Salad
1 LB baby red potatoes, boiled and cut in quarters
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP lite mayo
1 TBSP sweet relish
½ TBSP red wine vinegar
½ TBSP dijon mustard
½ TSP pepper
1 TSP salt
Cut baby red potatoes in quarters. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling add baby red potatoes and boil for about 7-10 minutes or until tender with a fork. Once they are softened, drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lite mayo, sweet relish, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, pepper and salt.
Pour the dressing over the cooked potatoes and mix.
Place in the fridge and cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
** Additional Sides to include: Cold crisp pickles and extra giardiniera **
PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED: