Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's Picnic Time!

My last blog was devoted to an indoor cold-weather recipe for my Connecticut family and friends. But, now that it's spring, it's time to dig the picnic basket out from the bottom of the closet where it's been resting all winter, dust if off, and make sure it is fully stocked and ready to go when you are.

In Florida, my picnic season starts a bit earlier than in Connecticut, although not by much this year. March, my favorite winter month here was marred by cool temperatures and gusty winds.

However, I did manage to sneak in a couple of casual picnics. One was at the drumming circle on Nokomis Beach, a celebration of sunset on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. We arrived a couple of hours early, placed our chairs around the circle, and for the next two hours, enjoyed the sound of drums, the sight of dancers, visiting with friends, and picnicking until the climax of the celebration, the beautiful Florida sunset.

For this picnic, I packed three snack-type food: cream cheese and pepper jelly, hummus, and guacamole. And, a variety of good crackers.

My favorite Guacamole recipe? Mash ripe avocados with a fork. Mix in fresh chopped tomatoes and sweet onion, lemon (or lime juice), and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite taco chips or crackers.

Another picnic destination was Stump Pass Beach State Park, a peaceful and unhurried beach located in Englewood. The trail is 1.3 miles one way with a view of the ocean on one side and the bay on the others. Plenty of shells wash up on the soft sand, although what fascinates me most is the shell decorated driftwood along the way. A must see!

This picnic was also simple - delicious Curried Chicken Salad with Cashews from my book Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket. Sides were croissants and fresh fruit. If you don't have my book, simply email me and I'll be happy to send you the recipe.

Happy Picnicking!