Are you looking for Gourmet Picnic Recipes? Or an elegant portable picnic table?This is another installment of the Skinny Gourmet packs a picnic. On Sunday the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony at the Ravinia festival grounds. My husband and I went with three other friends (Sian and Ian are pictured at right).Much of the menu is inspired by my trip on Saturday to the Evanston Farmer’s Market. At the market I picked up a sublime melon, ripe Michigan blueberries, fresh thyme, and newly picked apples. In addition to wine, cheese and crackers, out of the Farmer’s Market bounty came a great picnic: Curry & Thyme Chicken salad, ripe melon with apple mint, individual Blueberry kuchen.
Ravinia is, in my humble opinion, one of the things that make Chicago an incredible summer city. Ravinia is a summer long outdoors music festival that features popular and classical acts, anchored by month-long performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Although there are amphitheater seats, the essence of Ravinia is the expansive lawn seating. There is where the food and the people are found.
In addition to world-class music, Ravinia features world-class people watching. On the lawn families and friends cluster around blankets and clever picnic tables. People spread out everything from gourmet feasts of prosciutto and chevre to bags of Doritos with Subway sandwiches. Some set up umbrellas festooned with flowers and ribbons. Last Sunday an 85 year old woman celebrated her birthday at Ravinia; during an intermission our entire section of the crowd sang her Happy Birthday. Children sit surprisingly quiet, pacified by Harry Potter books or ice-cream cones. As the sun sets couples young and old lounge quietly in comfortably public displays of casual affection while the music drifts over the speakers.
Want a piece of the picnic? I'll post a one of the recipes each day for the next three days. In honor of Weekend Herb Blogging, the posts on the Curried thyme chicken salad and the melon with mint will have additional information on the herbs in each of those dishes.
Looking for other picnic recipes? When we went to see the Gypsy Kings, I prepared a trio of bruschettas, including Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Bruschetta and Asparagus and Blue Cheese Bruschetta. Try Espinacas con Garbanzos or Heidi's Salad. For dessert, you might like rhubarb tarts, or for something sweeter, try Orange Chocolate meringes or brandied peach pavlova, both of which are elegant, delicious, and easy to transport for a picnic.