A menu with recipes I reviewed from Sunday Suppers | Recipes + Gatherings by Karen Mordechai. Read review here.
A Packed Meal
There is a lot of prep for this meal that seems to all need to be done day-of. For me, that’s a bit rough unless all other aspects of the picnic have been taken care of … as a mother of three, one of them a curious and often wild 2 year old, this usually isn’t possible. This said, the day of prep was rather fun, especially when it ended with a great family time meal.
Beet Pickled Eggs
I’ve seen eggs prepared this way before — gracing the pages of pretty food magazines, and have meant to give them a try … well, now I have. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to what they taste like exactly (egg allergy. sad face.), but my son exclaimed, “Mom! These are like an egg salad sandwich all in one bite!” High praise from him.
Unlike the above photo, they aren’t meant to be served with the onions, that’s not to recipe at all, but I forgot to take the picture at dinner (for some reason) and by the next day, the pink bled in too far. I added the onions for visual interest, but the family said my improvisation is a no-go. (Sadly, they can’t all be winners.)
If you serve these soon after the brine time is over, you’ll get that fine pink line tracing the ridge of your cut eggs. It’s really pretty, but with this fact, you’ll not be able to prepare this dish too far ahead of picnic day.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
This was a tasty recipe, but full disclosure, I did swap the recipe’s bone-in legs and thighs for the same weight in breast pieces — fried chicken with said 2 year old is much easier sans bones. I did an hour 15 minute brine, not the 8-24 hours called for with the bone-in pieces, and he chicken was good … it would have been even better if I’d brined for less time.
To speak with authority on this recipe’s brine time, I’d need to remake with bone-in chicken. In looking around the web, this seems to have a common salt to buttermilk ratio, but Nigella Lawson does brine her chicken for only up to 2 hours in a similar ratio of salt to buttermilk.
Cooks Illustrated says to use 1/2 cup kosher salt (8 tablespoons) to 1 quart water per pound of meat for ideally 1 hour, at least 30 minutes and not more than 8 hours. By this math, Mordechai’s recipe should be just fine, but I opted for less brine time for this recipe.
Whatever you do, all the extras in this brine really paid off in the flavor of the fried chicken. Very finger lickin’.
I prepared these day of, and leftovers were a bit soggy … so not sure if other than the brine, this chicken is intended to be done before your picnic day.
Potato Tart with Black Olives
Only issue I had with this delicious dish is that it’s supposed to be served warm. Since on a picnic (in theory), I would need to heat it up or something just before heading out … I think it’s fine at room temp though, which is how we ate our seconds. :)
Chopped Kale Salad with Green Dressing and Crema
For this salad, the Kale is roasted while the other bits are served cold. You toss these parts together and douse with the crema when you plate up. This salad doesn’t hold up to sitting overnight so you’d either want to make it right before your picnic or take it in separated hot/cold portions and combine on site … or just make something else like a cold coleslaw.
I wouldn’t make this specific salad again, but I did like the idea of the crispy kale with a cooler fresh salad … the kale needs more help though, as it’s the only “crunch” in the salad. I’d add a toasted seed or nut to this one, and did to the leftovers.
Very nice. Very simple and easy and quick. Will be making this again … and again. :)
This was good the day after (shockingly there was some left over!), so I’m sure you could prep beforehand.
Apple Cider Cakes
I mentioned in the review that I could not get these cakes to work. The recipe calls for 1.5 cups flour to 3/4 cup olive oil and 1.5 cups of apple cider and 1/2 cup applesauce. There are no eggs. There is also no vinegar to react with the baking soda to get that “lift” … frankly I have no idea without whipping up eggs or something similar how I’m supposed to combine that amount of liquid with such a small about of flour, especially since the fat is not solid at room temp.
I’m betting this would have worked better had there been an additional cup of flour, but to me it’s not worth the try since I’m already in love with this apple cake recipe from the New York Times Magazine. (<<< Seriously. Try this recipe. It. Is. Amazing. You won’t want for any other.)
These were rather gooey the next day. Not a good thing for a picnic cake, since I’d rather like to be able to make a cake the day before picnic day.
Fresh Fruit (From the Farmstand)
Decided that since the chicken took a bit long to cook — it was dark and cold out by the time I finished — we’d just skip this. Plus, there was plenty on the menu already, although I’d have enjoyed watermelon with.