Oceanside Spring Picnic

 

Oh boy, we’ve got a treat for you today! We’ve got not one, but 3(!!) original recipes in this post. And best of all, they are perfect for a little oceanside spring picnic. All recipes are portable and can be fully prepped beforehand.

 

 

There’s nothing better than fresh, seasonal food enjoyed outside on a warm sunny day. It’s lobster season here in the province and we wanted to take advantage of that.  However, with our late growing season (and pretty well non-existent spring this year) the only real produce growing thus far is the rhubarb patch and an overgrown herb patch from last year in the greenhouse. We made it work!

 

 

Our menu for the day:

 

Herbed lobster rolls

 

Mint-infused lemonade

 

Rhubarb ginger hand pies

 

If you’re like us, you’ll want to bring plenty of kettle chips to accompany your meal, and a thermos of tea to cap it all off for maximum enjoyment. Honestly, we were so impressed with how well these simple recipes went together. It’s almost as if foods are better when enjoyed in peak season! Shocker, right?

 

These recipes don’t take too much planning in advance, so wait for a nice WARM sunny day. We did not. In fact, we damn near froze to death in the process. It was deceivingly sunny last Saturday, and so we decided to take a trip out to the Cape St. George region to have our pretty little picnic. Between the 6 degrees Celcius or the gusts of cold wind off the Atlantic, I don’t know which was more comical – trying to keep the food and napkins in place long enough to get a picture, or cracking up on the car ride home looking at our expressions during the “photo shoot”. Models we are not. Outakes below the recipes if you are looking for a good laugh…yeesh.  Hard learned tip – swallow your food before you take the shot or you risk chipmunk cheeks. And maybe smile a bit more.

 

Herbed Lobster Rolls

A bit of a twist on an East Coast Classic! 

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • ~650 grams chopped lobster meat, about two lobsters
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 8 New England style hot dog buns

Instructions

  1. Combine the lobster meat, mayonnaise, and fresh herbs in a bowl.  Salt and pepper to taste and chill mixture until ready to serve.

  2. To assemble rolls, line one side of a split bun with butter lettuce and spoon with generous serving of lobster mixture just before serving.   

Rhubarb Ginger Hand Pies

These portable treats have a bit of zing from the ginger and tartness from the rhubarb.  A perfect pairing!

Servings 8

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 3 1/2 cups rhubarb, roughly chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp flour

For the pastry

  • flour
  • cold butter, cubed
  • ice water, as needed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup oats or slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup demerara or golden cane sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the filling, combine all ingredients except the flour in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat while stirring.  Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally until rhubarb has broken down and the mixture has slightly thickened - about 30 minutes.
  2. Cool the mixture overnight.  Once cooled, sprinkle flour into mixture and stir well until dissolved.  The flour will help thicken the filling and cook as the pie bakes.  

  3. To make the pastry, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture just comes together, using ice water as needed to help the dough come together.   Roll dough out to 1/8th inch thickness.

  4. Cut 6inch rounds (we used a bowl) and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Fill each pie with 1 heaping tablespoon of filling.   Brush edges with beaten egg and fold over to seal, crimping edges with a fork and slashing the tops to allow steam to escape.

  5. Once assembled, brush the tops of the pies with egg and sprinkle with sugar and oats or slivered almonds (if using).   Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until browned and pastry is cooked through.  Let cool before serving.

 

Mint Lemonade

A simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water.  If you prefer a less tart lemonade, simply increase the amount of simple syrup that you add.   

Ingredients

Mint Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, washed well

Mint Lemonade

  • 1 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup mint simple syrup, to taste
  • ice cubes to serve
  • mint leave & lemon slices, to garnish

Instructions

To make the simple syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water and mint leaves.   Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and allow the mint to steep for 10 minutes. 

  2. Remove the mint from the syrup and refrigerate until ready to use.  Syrup can be kept for up to 1 week in the fridge. 

To make the lemonade

  1. To make the lemonade, combine the lemon juice with 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of simple syrup.   Adjust to taste, and serve cold over ice with extra mint and lemon slices to garnish.  

 

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