Gourmet Picnic with Spicy Cold Soba Noodle Salad

gourmet picnic
Gourmet Picnic

Spicy Cold Soba Noodles with Peanut, Scallion, and Cilantro
Radish, Tofu, Shiitake, Carrot, Cucumber, Edamame, Shrimp

Natasha, the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! host the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, a fabulous monthly event for “sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.”

The 5 Star Makeover assignment for May is Gourmet Picnic Food, perfect for the Memorial Day holiday. “Take your favorite picnic food for a ride and make something special. Lots of leeway and freedom, you choose the ingredients. Just make sure it is 5 Star.”

My contribution to May’s Picnic is a makeover of the ubiquitous pasta salad. This one is portable, delightfully colorful, bursting with flavor, healthy, and since guests compile the salad themselves can be made vegan (just skip the shrimp).

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Cold Poached Salmon, Picnic Style


heart healthy cold poached salmon over multi grain angel hair pasta
meyer lemon slivers, shaved fennel, kalamata olive, marinated artichoke, fat-free feta
olive oil meyer lemon dill sauce

The star of the meal at our Elegant Heart Healthy Picnic by the Sea
was the cold poached Canadian King Salmon. Here’s the recipe!

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ELEGANT PICNIC BY THE SEA

Elegant Heart Healthy Picnic by the Sea

Congratulations, you’re one step closer to becoming the next Food Blog Star!
Your entry has advanced to the next round of Project Food Blog 2010.
Your next challenge? “Road Trip.”


Challenge Prompt: For this challenge, you’re tasked with creating a delicious meal that will travel well and still look great. From picnics and school lunches to bento boxes, or any other meal on the go, you need to whip up a entree, side, drink, and dessert to enjoy after hitting the road. Be sure that your meal fits inside the Project Food Blog Road Trip Cooler. (from foodbuzz here)

Shall we go for a drive?
I want to show you where my secret favorite picnic table is located!

Often times, eating on the road can be less than healthful. On Taste With The Eyes I am always excited to share delicious foods that are also good for the heart. Heart healthy eating has two components. First, it is to eliminate foods that are high in cholesterol and detrimental to the heart, such as trans fat. Second, it is about adding food to the diet that is good for the heart, like those high in fiber and rich in omega-3s.  The delectable meal I prepared for our Road Trip is heart healthy and travels quite well. So – the weather is perfect! High 60’s with a slight breeze. And with those clouds, there is the promise of a breathtaking sunset. Let’s go down to the beach!

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Hollywood Bowl Picnic

Summer Evening in LA
Picnic and Concert at the Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the United States. It is a friendly sociable place where Southern Californians gather to picnic and enjoy outstanding music. Last Wednesday, we thoroughly enjoyed the music of Chris Botti and Orchestra. Chris is an engaging entertainer, refreshingly humble, gracious and funny, not to mention a fabulous trumpeter. He’s my new fav. You can hear him here.

The gates open at 6 PM for the picnickers  to set up their tables and enjoy a meal before the show starts at 8 PM. We set up our box then went around to socialize with our neighbors and check out their picnics before dinner.

I spy… Veuve Clicquot Champagne


Our Mediterranean place settings and picnic menu:
Appetizer
Green Olive Tapanade, Dates, Sprouted Flatbread
First Course
Shrimp, Herbed Tomato & Feta
Grilled Ciabatta
Main
Cold Thin-Sliced Beef Tenderloin – Savory & Sweet Mustard Rub
Lemon Caper Aioli
Arugula Salad – Rosemary Vinaigrette
Cannellini Bean, Haricot Verte, Roasted Tomato, Marcona Almond
Dessert
Grilled Apricot
Greek Yogurt, Honey, Chocolate Mint Sprigs
Coffee

Since table setting is one of my hobbies, I get a kick out of some of our neighbors’ tables…
this one is totally groovy!

These gentlemen had a manly setting and a nice bottle of Zin

Adorable little fresh flower arrangement,  jaunty table cloth & napkins

Centerpiece is a gourd with sprigs of lavender with sophisticated white linens
After the meal, the chairs are turned around to face the stage, everything is packed up and stored stuffed under our seats, and then…

…we enjoy the show!

Bravo Chris Botti and Orchestra!

“To me, music that breaks your heart is the music that stays with you forever,” muses the best-selling jazz artist Chris Botti when talking about his new album, Italia. “It’s one thing to be melancholy and one thing to be sophisticated, but when you get the two of them together in a way people can relate to, then I think you’re on to something.  You want the sophistication to lie in the purity of the sound, the beauty of the arrangements, and the quality of the performances.”
A special thank you to Val, James and Terri for a wonderful evening under the stars.