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Backyard Picnic

October 3, 2010

Last night I felt like getting creative and hosting my boyfriend, Scott, on a date at home. I decided on doing a candlelit picnic in our small but sufficient Philly concrete backyard. Cheap, romantic, unexpected. What’s not to love. Of course when I usually begin to think about a dinner plan I tend to think big and get wrapped up in a theme and/or make too much food and spend too long preparing it. While that’s often fine by me and half the fun, I also had to think about setting up the picnic, and the fact that were would be eating while sitting on the ground. So the menu went as follows (which worked out great too because I had a lot of ingredients already at home):

Zucchini Dip w/ Homemade Pita Chips
BBQ Chicken Pizza with Gouda, Red Onion and Cilantro
Buffalo Shrimp Skewers with Celery and Red Peppers w/ Blue Cheese for Dipping
Broccoli Slaw
Apple Crisp

Zucchini Dip w/ Homemade Pita Chips
This recipe is from the book 500 Appetizers by Susannah Blake. Its quick, easy, and healthy.

  • 3 Zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 Garlic Clove
  • 2 tsp. Capers, rinsed
  • Good pinch of dried chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon, to taste
  • 2 Pita Pockets (I used multigrain)

Steam the zucchini for abotu 5 minutes, until tender. Place the zucchini in a food processor and add the capers, garlic, chili, and olive oil. Process until smooth puree. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Slice pitas into 6ths, and once again to separate the halves of the pocket. Drizzle with olive oil and toast until golden.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
The pizza was easy. I knew we already had pizza dough at home. Our new favorite recipe which I got from Apartment Therapy. Its easy, no-rise dough, that turns out perfectly thin and crisp. Then I remembered that I had leftover sauteed chicken cutlet so the rest was simple.

  1. Chop pre-cooked chicken cutlet thin and mix with BBQ sauce (I simmered up a concoction of ketchup + brown sugar + whiskey + garlic powder + apple cider vinegar + habanero pepper spice)
  2. Roll out dough and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on well oiled cookie sheet in 350 degree oven until it starts to bubble on top.
  3. Take dough out of oven and flip over. Top with chicken, shredded gouda, and sliced red onion. Bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp.
  4. Remove from oven and top with chopped cilantro. Slice and eat up!

Apple Crisp
Pies are usually not my strong suit, mostly because I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when making them! This crisp, however, came out amazing. I’m truly proud of my work on this one and Scott even said he’s “never even had apple pie this good” and you know apple pie has the advantage of a delicious buttery crust- so I knew I must’ve done a good job!

  • 5 apples, peeled and sliced thin (I used the Cortland apples I got in upstate NY at Bartlett’s Orchard)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. each of ground cloves and allspice
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. dark rum

Crumb Topping

  • 1.5 sticks butter (I used “Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and you couldn’t tell the difference!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raw rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Coat baking dish with butter and pour in apple mixture.

Using two knives, cut together crumb topping ingredients in mixing bowl. Spread evenly on top of apple mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes uncovered. Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool before eating so all the sweet carmelized goodness congeals a bit. I wish we would’ve had some vanilla ice cream to top this treat!

I wish I could re-eat this meal again. It was so simple to prepare and Scott was definitely surprised by my romantic picnic. After we ate we brought out a blanket and stargazed for awhile. Perfect date!

Note: I didn’t include full recipes for the Broccoli Slaw or Shrimp Skewers. The slaw was simply a store-bought mix that i combined with italian dressing. The shrimp was sauteed in a pan with butter and tossed with buffalo sauce from a jar, then put onto the skewers.


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 2, 2012 11:32 am

    Yum yum pizza pizza PIZZA!!!

    I like pizza.

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