It may come as a shock that it’s not just us Brits that know how to picnic. We’ve hopped across the pond for this one and we’re darn glad that we did! As you would expect this feast is not for the faint hearted but it sure will put a smile on all recipients faces.
American’s actually used to picnic in cemeteries back in the 19th century. Beneath the shade of the oak trees and tomb stones, not so long ago, the living used to gather in graveyards to rest, and dine, in peace. This trend was especially popular due to the fact that towns often lacked a recreational area. Graveyards were the closest things to public parks.. morbid right?
Not to dissimilarly to the Mexican tradition of Dia De Los Muertos, one of the reasons Americans favoured picnicking in cemeteries was that due to yellow fever, cholera and women often dying in childbirth, death was a constant visitor for most families and in cemeteries, people could “talk” and break bread with family and friends, both living and deceased.
We’ll stick to our rolling fields and riverbanks, thanks.
As you’re reading this blog we assume you have already seen our recommended Picnic-gear, if you missed it, we have a specially dedicated ‘Picnic’ category which you can view here. How very British of us! As we love all things picnic and hope you do to, have a cheeky 5% off all picnicware on us, simply enter discount code ‘PICNIC5’ at the checkout to redeem.
Now the fun part, everybody knows that homemade always beats shop-bought (where possible) so put the oven on and make your self a cuppa, or in the spirit of the USA grab a root-beer. Without further ado, we hope you enjoy our delicious All American Picnic Feast Menu.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
If you add pasta to a salad is it even a salad? The answer is yes, it’s just a really good salad.
- 2 chicken breasts cooked and cut into chunks
- 1 pound bowtie pasta
- 6 cups romaine lettuce chopped
- 6 ounces Parmesan Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups Caesar Dressing
- 1 cup croutons
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- Cook your pasta in salted water for one minute less than the instructions on the box, allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add in the dressing, chicken, cheese, lettuce and black pepper.
- Toss together and top with croutons.
Caramelized Ham & Cheese Sliders
- 12 brioche rolls
- 1/4 cup horseradish sauce (optional)
- 12 slices deli ham (or 24 if it’s thinly sliced)
- 6 slices cheese of choice, cut in fourths (so you will have 24 squares of cheese)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat your oven to 170C and spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread the bottom halves of the rolls with horseradish sauce then fold up the pieces of ham and place them on the bottom halves of the rolls.
- Next place 2 squares of cheese on each rolls then replace the roll tops and place in a single layer in your baking dish.
- In a small skillet, heat the butter over a medium heat and stir in the onion powder, brown sugar, mustard, poppy seeds, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder.
- Pour the sauce over the rolls and cover with foil. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes.
Mini Pretzel Dogs
The American Version of a sausage-roll… and we’re not mad at it. This recipe is a little more fiddly than the others but still totally do-able, we recommend making these the day before your picnic.
- 1 cup warm water
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 1/2 to 4 3/4 all purpose flour
- 10 cups of water
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1 whole egg , beaten with 1-tablespoon cold water (egg wash)
- Garlic and parsley flakes sesame seeds, or kosher salt
- 18 -20 American hot dogs, drained and patted dry
- In a standing mixer, combine warm water and yeast. Let it sit for around 5 minutes.
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the milk, butter, sugar, salt and microwave for 1 minute until melted.
- Put the mixture into the stand mixer with the yeast and mix for 2 minutes at high speed. Add the flour and continue mixing the dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.
- Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover loosely with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, the dough should have doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough to knock out the air and place on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 18-20 pieces, roll each piece into a sausage shape and wrap around each hotdog individually. Tightly pinch the dough at the seam to prevent it from falling apart.
- Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a large pan bring 10 cups of water to the boil, add the baking soda.
- Place each wrapped hotdog in the boiling water for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel to soak up any access water. Repeat for each hotdog.
- Transfer the hotdogs to the prepared baking tray, brush each hotdog with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or cold with any condiments you like!
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Smoked paprika and fresh dill for garnish
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Hard boil your eggs for 6-7 minutes.
Peel eggs gently so the whites remain intact.
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise
Remove the yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter.
With a fork, mash the yolks into a fine crumble.
Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
Just before serving, evenly disperse the yolk mixture into the cavities of the egg whites.
Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and fresh dill weed.
- Two packets of ready roll puff pastry
- Egg wash (1 large egg, beaten with 2 tbsp of milk)
- Sugar (for garnish)
- 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1.5 tbsp room temp water
- 500g fresh cherries (pitted and stemmed)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 100g granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- To make the filling mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until combined and milky, set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Stirring constantly over a medium heat until the cherries begin to release their juices (about 4-6 mins). Stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring to the boil, stirring often.
- Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Allow to cool completely.
- Cut the dough into circles and place into the holes of a cupcake pan, fill each pastry with cherry pie filling, leave around 5mm from the top of the pastry. The lids are where you can get really creative, choose from solid, lattice, love heart, whatever you like. Place desired design of lid on top of each pie and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with a little sugar.
- Bake at 190C for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before you dig in, the pies can be served warm or cold.
Vanilla Cream Soda
This homemade soda will knock your socks off, it’s so different from the canned stuff we can’t quite believe it! Please note, this recipe makes 2 servings of cream soda, plus extra Vanilla Syrup.
- 60ml Heavy Cream
- 280ml Soda Water
- 470ml Water
- 256g Caster Sugar
- 3 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- Squirting Cream
- For the vanilla syrup, place water and sugar into a medium sauce pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Store at room temperature or in the fridge.
- For the Cream Soda, combine 60ml of the vanilla syrup, cream and soda water in a jug. Taste and add more syrup, cream or soda if desired.
- Pour into two glasses, top with squirty-cream and enjoy!
We hope you enjoyed our All American Feast Picnic Menu, perfect for warm summer afternoons spent with loved ones. Let us know if you try any of these recipes, we’d love to hear how you get on.
Also, don’t forget to bag yourself 5% off all picnicware here, simply enter discount code ‘PICNIC5’ at the checkout to redeem.