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Mentioning picnic baskets in last week’s column carried me back to my favorite past picnics and memories of only 4 years old, sporting picnic attire of light brown jodhpurs and a matching long sleeve sweater while standing amid a forest of trees, hillside blackberry bushes, stone fireplaces, and a sandstone quarry where Sunset Village was being developed on the west side of Madison. Known today as Hoyt Park, the place inspires fond memories.

Mother’s picnic basket was always filled with simple and delicious homemade food, Daddy’s cold cuts and Oscar Mayer wieners, and bars and cookies to sweeten the meal enjoyed under the trees at the heavy stone table in front of our favorite stone fireplace. We enjoyed every minute of exploring what “Sunset Point” offered until a hint of evening arrived to remind us that it was time to clean up, traipse back to the car and return to the East Side where we lived.

If your picnic basket has been sitting on a shelf in the garage for a long time just waiting to be dusted off and filled, here are some recipes you might enjoy treating your family and friends to sometime in the near future. In the meantime, hope you share some of your own favorite picnic recipes as soon as possible.

Every picnic, whether in the backyard, woods, or park, needs a refrigerated salad than can hold up while waiting to be served and here is one with a Greek touch using feta cheese.

Green beans with

dill and feta cheese

1-2 pounds fresh green beans

¼-½ cup Italian salad dressing

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup chopped red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill

Cook beans in boiling salted water 7 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain, rinse with cold water or leave hot. Toss beans with dressing, cheese, onion and dill in large bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate for several hours.

While thinking green, here is green pea salad that is easy to make and take after being chilled for 2 hours. This is a favorite from Texas-based Luby’s Cafeteria, featured in Ron Douglas’ cookbook, “More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes.”

Green pea sa

lad

32 ounces frozen green peas, thawed

1 cup finely diced cheddar cheese

1 cup diced celery

½ cup thinly sliced sweet pickles

½ cup diced red bell pepper or pimiento

½ cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Lettuce leaves for serving, if desired

Rinse thawed peas and drain well. Toss with remaining salad ingredients and chill for 2 hours. Line salad plate with lettuce leaves, top with salad, and serve ... or scoop out on picnic plate.

Serves 8

Note: Fat-free mayonnaise and low-fat cheese can be substituted for regular mayonnaise and cheddar if desired.

Here is an award winning “Taste of Home” recipe using Idaho potatoes.

Idaho potato salad

4 pounds potatoes, cooked and peeled

¾ cup sliced peeled cucumber

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

2 green onions, sliced

4 ½ teaspoons chopped dill pickle

1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 ½ teaspoons dill pickle juice

1 ½ teaspoons prepared mustard

¾ cup sliced radishes

Cut potato into 1/4-inch thick slices; place in a large bowl. Add cucumber, eggs, onions and pickle. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pickle juice, and mustard; pour over potato mixture and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate. Fold in radishes just before serving.

Yield: 10-12 servings

Here is one of my favorites shared one Sunday at the Northside Farmers’ Market across from Warner Park on North Sherman Avenue.

Northside Farmers’ Market broccoli salad

6 to 7 cups broccoli florets, chopped small

6 slices bacon, fried crisp and chopped

¾ cup raisins, or half raisins and half Craisins

½ cup red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

1 cup mayonnaise, or half mayo and half Miracle Whip

2 teaspoons sugar or honey

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine mayo, sweetener, and salt in a bowl; pour over ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

A reader asked for the green bean salad recipe once served at the Stamm House. The recipe is not available, but another reader offered up that the secret ingredient is “white pepper.”

Glennda Brandt enjoys salad bars and the ranch and thousand island dressings served at favorite eating establishments and asked if I could help. After checking a few favorite state restaurants, here are two recipes from the well known White Gull Inn located in Door County.

French dressing

2 cups ketchup

1 egg (see note)

1 cup salad oil

½ cup wine vinegar

2 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tarragon

1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and whip together until well blended, approximately one minute.

Yield: Approximately 1 quart (4 cups)

Note: The federal Food and Drug Administration recommends using pasteurized eggs in recipes that call for raw or undercooked eggs to minimize the risk of salmonella.

Thousand island dressing

½ cup ketchup

4 cups mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup onion, minced

½ cup green pepper, chopped

¾ cup salad olives, chopped (small stuffed green olives)

2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper, dry ground

1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar

Blend all ingredients together in electric mixer at low speed. Then blend at high speed for one minute.

Yield: Approximately 1 ½ quarts

Recent request: Crispix appetizer recipes

Contact the Cooks’ Exchange in care of the Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at greenbush4@aol.com.

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