The Novel Bakers been busy packing picnic baskets and cooking up recipes for a couple of months now in anticipation of picnic week, from a host of books full of inspiration, delicious menus and theme picnics!
I had some inspiration for a Vintage Garden Picnic from
“Chic country girl and gourmet Tori Finch understands the joy of a carefree picnic. There’s nothing like eating outdoors to capture your sense of adventure, and add a flair to the food – whether you are entertaining a relaxed crowd of friends and family or preparing a romantic feast for two. Hop on your vintage bike to work up an appetite, hit the beach for a cook-out, or host a teddy bears picnic for little ones; these all feature within Tori’s 10 themed menus, each complete with recipes for savoury and sweet dishes, as well as drinks. On a balmy summers eve, hang paper lanterns from trees and serve Asian-inspired food in the Indochine picnic, or lay luxurious rugs and evoke a sense of the middle east with a meze platter and spiced citrus couscous for the Bohemian picnic. Warm up during an autumn walk in the woods with a thermos of spiced squash soup and slabs of zingy ginger cake, or dream of sunnier climes with a Provençal -inspired feast. Whatever the occasion, A Perfect Day for a Picnic is your guide to enjoying the outdoors life.”
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Our weather has been unpredictable lately for picnicking, so I scratched my plans for an alfresco dining in a garden setting and moved inside the Potting Shed for a Vintage Garden Picnic.
And where I could still find some flowers to picnic with.
I picked some Garden Bouquets for this indoor picnic and filled some Ball jars.
Some Black-eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s Lace and Lespedeza with its wispy purple blooms.
Blooming napkin rings & napkins were toted in a vintage picnic basket.
Along with a floral flatware bouquet.
I deviated from the menu provided for a Vintage Garden Picnic following some guidelines:
“The most wonderful thing about picnicking is there are few rules, you can go as wild or as tame as you like. Either way, just packing a hamper full of things you have made to share with the people whose company you most enjoy is delicious in itself and if you stick to a theme and use savvy ways to transport and present your picnic, it needn’t be a headache.”
Help yourself to a wheelbarrow of veggies and dip!
(Note: the bell pepper and carrots are not radioactive, despite their color :)
Dip is served in a hollowed out cabbage for a garden fresh bowl, filled with a Ranch Veggie Dip.
Vintage-inspired seed packets, reproduced as post cards, are on display with their colorful graphics and a flower frog.
Postcards are from Cavallini & Co. Farmer’s Market collection and Garden Variety Flowers, available here.
Terra-cotta pots are lined with lettuce leaves for serving a summer chicken salad with peaches, basil, toasted pecans and a touch of honey.
A few blackberries and basil leaves garnish the pots, served with a blooming fork!
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Frost with your favorite chocolate or cream cheese frosting and garnish if desired with edible flowers and/or zucchini strands. If using zucchini strands, drain first on paper towels and add them to the cupcakes right before serving to prevent the moisture from the zucchini to weep onto the frosting.
I picked my violas back at the beginning of June for this batch of floral ice cubes before they succumbed to the heat, along with some dianthus.
To make floral ice cubes, use only edible flowers that are pesticide free.
For clearer ice cubes you can use distilled water. Add a thin layer of water in the bottom of your ice trays. Top with a rinsed, edible flower and freeze. When frozen, add more water, and top with another flower or petals if desired. Return to freezer.
I picked up some Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade, from World Market, a fermented botanical lemonade, infused with ginger and pure rose extract giving it a pink color and ideal for a garden picnic!
“This book is a tribute to the picnic in all forms, be it a family day at the beach, a trip out in the car to your favorite wild spot with a flask of tea and a hunk of cake, or a cheerful children’s party. A picnic is one of life’s simple pleasures — they are about relaxing in the great outdoors. . .Mostly, they are a way of appreciating the good things in life.”
“Live. Love. Picnic.”
Bring your appetite and your virtual picnic basket and visit Jain and Michael Lee for Picnic Week, along with special guest bakers, Linda and Pam!