A Simple Autumn Picnic and the Beauty of Nature

Those of you who have been following along for a while know that I’m just a little touched in the head when it comes to organizing and planning. Making lists, having a plan is my security blanket. Take the family meal as an example, I have it roughed out for weeks if not months in advance. It is from the plan that the shopping list is created.

Generally speaking, I’ll create a shopping list several days in advance of the coming week’s meal planner. That allows plenty of time to take stock of what’s on hand, make a few adjustments and maybe even shuffle things around. I had just put the list together when I got an email from Hubby. What are we doing Veterans Day? He was working Saturday, had football on Sunday, but Monday was wide open. I had already planned a lovely Yankee Doodle Supper in honor of Veterans Day. Next question – could we eat it on Sunday? And what did I think about driving up to Yosemite before winter? Yes and yes.

There’s nothing wrong with having plans, so long as you can adjust for life’s little surprises. Besides, I’ve so been in the mood to have a simple picnic and take in the beauty of fall’s changing landscape.

Hubby had a great idea for the sandwiches. Instead of getting up early in the morning to make sandwiches, just pack it all and assemble the sandwiches at the picnic grounds. Everything with be fresh and not soggy or stale. Great idea! Make your potato salad the day before. As for the pie, bake it in the morning while you are getting ready to head off on your picnic adventure. Hot from the oven will stay warm for hours to come.

Autumn Picnic Menu
Mini Brioche Sandwiches
Mustard-Style Potato Salad
Warm Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese

Mini Brioche Sandwiches
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 large Tomato, Steak
Handful Green Lettuce Leaves
1 small Shallot
6 slices Provolone Cheese
12 slices Deli Roast Beef
12 slices Deli Ham
12 slices Deli Salami
12 slices Deli Turkey
12 French Brioche Rolls, 3-inches each

In a small bowl with a tight-fitting lid, mix together the oil and vinegar. Season with Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Pack sandwich dressing in your basket along with a small pastry brush.

Slice tomatoes, then cut each slice in half to fit the rolls. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in a sandwich bag and set aside. Shred lettuce, place in another sandwich bag and set aside. Peel and thinly slice shallot into rings. Break rings apart, place in a sandwich bag. Place all the condiment items into a gallon zip-lock bag. Set aside until ready to pack the cooler.

Cut the Provolone Cheese slices in half to better fit the small roll, wrap in plastic and set aside.  Fold each slice of meat in thirds to fit the roll. Stack the meats into 12 stacks, one kind of meat in each stack. Wrap each stack in plastic wrap, then place into a large zip-lock bag. Add the sliced cheese to the bag. Pack in a small cooler.

Individually wrap the sandwich rolls in plastic wrap, then pack into a large zip-lock bag. Pack the rolls in your basket.

To Assemble: Unwrap desired number of rolls. Brush rolls with dressing. Place one stack of the meats on the roll, add cheese if desired. Top sandwich with lettuce, tomato and onion. The sandwiches can be built all at once or as desired.

Mustard-Style Potato Salad
The Salad
1 lb Baby Yellow Potatoes
1 lb Baby Red Potatoes
1 pinch Kosher Salt
1 pinch Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Green Onions

Scrub potatoes, then slice in half or quarter depending on size of potato. Add to a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a healthy dash of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.

Once the potatoes have finished cooking, drain and rinse with cool water. Then once mostly dry, add to a large serving bowl. Season with a dash of salt and black pepper and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

The Dressing
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 cup Fresh Dill, chopped
2 tablespoons Pub-Style Grainy Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tablespoons Olive Oil

While potatoes are cooking, prepare dressing.

Mince the garlic and set aside. Finely chop the dill and set aside.

Add the mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. While continuing to whisk, slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify the oil and vinegar. Add the dill and whisk once more. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. For more bite, add more vinegar. For more herb flavor, add more dill.

Add the dressing to the potatoes along with the green onion, and toss to combine. Taste the potato salad and adjust salt and pepper as needed once everything is blended. Transfer to a picnic-safe container such as a Tupperware bowl with a tight fitting lid.

Since this potato salad does not contain mayonnaise, it is perfect for a picnic basket. If made the day before, refrigerate until ready to pack.

Cheddar Apple Pie
1 Dutch Apple Pie
4 oz Cheddar Cheese, sliced

Bake the frozen pie according to package directions. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Pack in your picnic basket.

Note: Wrap the entire pie in foil, then wrap in a kitchen towel. The towel will work as an insulator to keep the pie warm without heating up the basket.

Slice cheese into wedges. Wrap to keep fresh. Place in a zip-lock bag and drop in the cooler until ready to use.

When ready to serve, slice pie and serve with a wedge of cheese.

Yosemite in the Autumn

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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