Perfect Florida Picnics – Spectacular Sides
|June 28, 2013||Posted by Melissa under Healthy Eating, Produce, Recipes|
Once you’ve decided on your picnic entree, it’s time to think of what you want to serve with it. Salads are always the perfect choice. They are easy to assemble, they travel well, and they can be dressed at the picnic site. Fresh vegetables, pasta, and fruit are tasty options to complement your main dish. Baked beans, macaroni and cheese, broccoli salad and other classics like potato salad are also popular. For some extra flair for your picnic, here are some new classics.
Minted Citrus Couscous is quick to prepare and tastes fresh and light.
• 10 ounces couscous
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
• 2 oranges (one zested and juiced, one sliced for garnish)
• 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
• cucumber, seeded and chopped
• kosher salt to taste
• freshly ground pepper to taste
1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add couscous and 1 cup of boiling water. Stir couscous and cover tightly with plastic wrap, allowing couscous to steam until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. After couscous is tender, fluff with fork and add olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add remaining ingredients except for the orange slices and mix well.
3. Place couscous mixture in the refrigerator to marinate before serving. To serve, garnish couscous with orange slices and any leftover fresh herbs.
Another spectacular side is this Orzo with Feta, Green Beans and Tomatoes. The lightly dressed salad contains fresh vegetables and briny feta cheese. It can be served warm or cold, and like the couscous dish above goes with a variety of main dishes.
• 10 ounces haricots verts (thin French green beans) or green beans
• 1 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
• 1 medium onion
• 2 garlic cloves
• 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
• 1 cup crumbled feta (about 6 ounces)
1. Fill a 4-quart kettle three-fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for beans and orzo.
2. Chop onion and mince garlic. Quarter and seed tomatoes. Cut quarters lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Trim beans and cut into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in oil over moderate heat until onion is softened. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until tomatoes are softened, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
3. Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In boiling salted water blanch beans 1 minute. With a slotted spoon transfer beans to ice water to stop cooking. Drain beans well in a colander and pat dry. Add beans to tomato mixture and return water in kettle to a boil. Boil orzo until al dente and drain in colander. Add orzo to bean mixture with vinegar, parsley, feta, and salt and pepper to taste, tossing to combine well.
For more spectacular side ideas, check out www.thefloridachef.com.