Let’s talk picnics, shall we?
I’ve been picnic-ing since my birthday in May. That picnic was luxurious: croissant, olives, baguette, duck pate and a selection of rich, fancy cheeses from La Fromagerie, the snobby cheese place in my ‘hood. Me, my sister, and The Girlfriend. It was friendly, silly…and delicious.
I know, I know, it’s poured rain ever since, but really, folks, you have to seize the moment.
On a gentle, warm Monday summer evening this week, The Girlfriend and I headed to High Park, picnic knapsack in hand. The park felt intimate, with just a few frisbeeing, fishing, jogging, dogwalking and picnic-ing souls. We parked our plaid blankets by Grenadier Pond and feasted on the following menu:
Watermelon feta salad
Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad
Greens with lemon, olive oil and sea salt
Strongbow cider and Creemore beer
Blueberries and raspberries for dessert
It was all yummy (although I’d forgotten how salty the churrasco chicken is, how it needs something bland, like bread or potatoes, alongside). But the watermelon salad (recipe below) stole the salad show, I must say. And the cider matched the chicken perfectly.
The hues of the water changed subtly from jade to dark green. The ducks took little delicate swims. Dorky men in golfshirts and shorts appeared at the edges of the pond for solitary bouts of fishing. The Girlfriend and I leaned into each other, nibbled on berries and talked about sweet, funny things.
We ended the night with incredible house-made ice cream from Ed’s Real Scoop (2224 Queen St. E), at the other end of town, in The Beach (we have a long distance relationship, The Girlfriend and I). Spicy chocolate and blood orange: quite the sexy sexy combo.
Been on any picnics lately?
This salad is fast, pretty, refreshing and different, and goes well with grilled chicken or alongside a grain-based salad. Make it at the last minute and prepare only as much as you need: it doesn’t keep well.
1/4 medium-sized watermelon
1/4 red onion, diced finely (I used green onions, which also works)
1 stalk celery, 1/4 inch dice
1 T finely chopped parsley
1 T finely chopped basil or mint (optional)
1/2 pitted kalamata olives (I used a jar of sliced, to save time – just as good)
1 t extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c crumbled feta
Cube or melon ball the watermelon; reserve.
In a medium bowl, combine everything else. Drain watermelon (it will continue to produce juice) and toss gently with ingredients in bowl.