As with many of life's endeavors, picnics benefit from a bit of planning. Unlike more tedious activities, however, planning a picnic pays off in more leisure and more fun for the providers of the feast.
Among the recipes suggested here, the pasta salad and pie can be prepared ahead of time. The endive rolls require last-minute preparation.
Belgian endive, blue cheese, walnut rolls
3 to 4 Belgian endive
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces blue cheese crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix cream cheese, blue cheese and walnuts. Taste; if blue cheese is very salty, add more cream cheese. Trim ends off Belgian endive and separate leaves. Wash and pat dry. Place dollop of cheese mixture in center of endive leaf and roll up. If necessary, skewer with toothpick.
Kerry Whitaker's curly-Q pasta salad
Serves six to eight.
FOR THE DRESSING:
1 bottle Good Seasons Salad Dressing Mix -- Italian (add contents of packet to bottle, top with olive oil to oil line on bottle, water to water line and balsamic vinegar to vinegar line)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Dijon or coarse mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
4 leaves fresh basil, minced
FOR THE SALAD:
4 1/2 ounces corkscrew pasta, cooked according to package directions until just tender
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
1 bunch scallions, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup black olives, pitted and cut in half
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
To make dressing, combine all ingredients, shake well, set aside.
To make salad, combine all ingredients, add dressing and toss lightly to mix. Store in refrigerator in covered plastic container until ready to serve.
This last recipe is an adaptation of the pecan pie recipe in "The Joy of Cooking" (1980 edition, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker).
Makes 1 9-inch pie.
1 pie crust shell, homemade or prepared
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves
3 tablespoons of bourbon whiskey
2/3 cup butterscotch morsels
whipped cream or other whipped topping (optional)
If the pie shell is frozen, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake it about 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Stir together eggs, sugar, salt, melted butter and corn syrup until blended. Stir in pecans and bourbon.
Sprinkle butterscotch morsels at bottom of pie shell; top with filling.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean. Serve warm or cold, with or without topping.