Picnics: Reminders of the Bounty in Our Lives

A picnic is an opportunity for us to bring ourselves to a table of friends, those known to us and those we’ve yet to meet. In a time like this, when gatherings have been limited and people are truly looking for community a picnic becomes an even more sacred thing.

In so many ways it is a presentation and a reminder of bounty. Each of us comes to the table with our small offering and together we craft a feast of plenty. These kinds of moments are especially important during a pandemic, when it seems like the future is no longer assured.

These gatherings are also an abundant reminder that there are people around us and for us, and that come what may, we can and will gather in love and friendship again and again,and again under the splendour of the sun to laugh, and eat, and be well.

As someone who loves to cook, try new foods, and share them with those near and dear to me, I love the variety of dishes that always appears at a picnic. I don’t really have one single favourite picnic dish.

That said, I love the contrast between grilled meats, savoury vegetables and the fresh pop of a fruit salad. One staple picnic fruit is the watermelon so here’s my take on a classic Watermelon & Feta Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Watermelon (Cold and fresh is best)
  • ½ – ¾ cup Feta, crumbled (adjust to taste)
  • ½ cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • ½ cup Fresh Mint, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsps Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Limes (for Juice and Rind)
    • You’ll need about ¼ – ½ cup of lime juice, you’ll adjust to taste

Note:

When I cook, I like to be free and go by smell, taste, and sight. So, all of these things will be to taste, but I’ve given you rough measurements in the ingredients list.

Preparing your dressing:

In a cup or bowl mix the balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, and the finely grated rind of 1 lime. Taste and adjust as necessary. Remember, start with less and add more as you need, especially with things like salt and other seasonings. Stir this together well and set it aside for now.

Herbs:

Roll together your fresh basil and mint leaves, and chop them up, finely. Set Aside.

Watermelon:

Chop your watermelon into medium sized cubes and place them into your serving bowl.

Assembly:

Pour the dressing mixture over your watermelon. Stir. Toss in your chopped herbs.

Stir, taste, and adjust as needed. If you need to adjust think of adding more herbs and lime juice before you add salt, sometimes the lime juice will help your flavours pop.

Once your herbs and dressing as incorporated, add your crumbled feta. Gently stir to incorporate.

Cover your salad and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.

Serving:

Once you bring the salad out of the fridge, toss (stir) again to mix it up. You can add some herbs (basil and mint) and/or lime wedges to garnish.

Serve it up!

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