Picnic by Thomas Hart Benton

For lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
and the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our lang;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
  - Song of Songs, 2:11-13

With Memorial Day just around the corner, picnic season is upon us. Picnicking is one of the joys of warmer weather, and having recently figured out how to entertain outdoors in our townhome, I'm anticipating a summer full of delightful gatherings - enhanced by twinkly lights and a fire pit. 

One of my favorite wedding presents (and it's been a while) was a cookbook given to us by Dan's college roommate. "The Portable Feast" (unfortunately now out of print) took picnic fare to all new heights, and the whimsical illustrations made you think that if you traveled far enough, or deep enough, you might find an unusual guest around your blanket.

The recipe below was a long-time standard. Pare it with a grilled vegetable and bulgar wheat salad and perhaps some watermelon, and voila! Just add your favorite beverage and you're set to dine in style. To make the salad, simply roast a variety of vegetables (recently I used carrots, zucchini, mushroom, onions and red peppers) with some olive oil and sea salt. After tossing with oil, put on a cookie tray in the oven at 400 until browned. (about 45 minutes). Cook bulgar wheat according to the directions and drain. Mix with veggies and toss with balsamic vinagrette if desired. The taste of just the veggies and the bulgar wheat was so good, though, that many of us didn't bother with the dressing. If you're gluten-free, you can use a rice mix (perhaps with a little boullion) instead of the bulgar wheat.

Here's the recipe for the Chicken.

Tahitian Chicken

3 whole chicken breasts, split
1/3 c terragon vinegar
1/2 c pineapple juice
1/3 c sesame oil
1 t powdered ginger
1 T soy sauce
1/2 c honey
pineapple sliced

Mix vinegar through honey  and pour over chicken. Marinade for several hours. Grill chicken either at home (and then chill to take along) or at the picnic venue. Garnish with pineapple slices. 

Art Note: I've discovered WickiPaintings.org which is an awesome place to lose yourself for hours at a time. You can search their vast database by artist, theme, or title of artist work. Finding artwork for blog posts has never been so easy!!!

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