Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New Picnic Recipe

How do you define a "perfect picnic?" For me, it is the coming together of four factors: ideal weather (not too hot, not too cold, not too windy,) good company, and delicious food. Add either a stimulating activity to enjoy before or after the meal, or pleasant surroundings in which to relax while enjoying good conversation.

Such was my spring picnic on March 20th. Although it was cool and overcast earlier in the day, by the time I picked up my friends at 4:00, it was sunny and warm. Yes, weather in Florida, like Connecticut, can change in a minute.

We "cruised" over to Bayfront Park in Sarasota, situated on an island peninsula, surrounded by the Sarasota skyline, John Ringling Causeway, and the blue waters of Sarasota Bay. Within the park are two restaurants, a playground, fountains, walking paths, and of course, picnic tables. We found our ideal table near the water, highlighted by the late afternoon sun.

The picnic basket was overflowing: fried chicken, stuffed shells, caramel beans, tossed green salad, and finger desserts. One of my contributions was a new bean dish from a neighbor's 92 year-old cousin who lives in Venice. Thanks to Florence and Carl for permission to share this recipe with my readers. And, for another great picnic recipe, see http://www.cruisingconnecticut.com/. Click What's in our Picnic Basket?

Margo's Caramel Beans
1 pound lima beans
1/2 pound butter
1-1/2 cups brown sugar

Soak lima beans overnight in water. Pour off water. In pot, put lima beans and cover with about 2" of water. Cook until tender (45 minutes to 1 hour.) Pour off most of the water.

Add butter and brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. (You can also add 1/2 tsp dry mustard, bacon bits, maple syrup, or more sugar.)

Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Time may vary depending on how much liquid there is. Beans should be moist but not runny.

May all your picnics be perfect! Click Comments and tell me about your favorites.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to pack that picnic lunch and head off in the boat for Sarasota! We have a friend who just turned 100 this year! She lives in Venice (independently!) and we are certain that there is something to the whole "fountain of youth" theory there. She always make "her" special salad when we picnic ... she puts the salad dressing in the bottom of the bowl and then layers all her ingretidnts ending with the boston bibb or butter lettuce (no substitutions please :)She tosses it when we get there and it's always perfectly crisp. She's always so proud to serve it!

Anonymous said...

That's a great idea about layering the salad and not having to carry the dressing separately. Thanks for the tip. Can't wait to try it.