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Don't dawdle before planning a picnic

Another summer is beginning to wind down. In a few weeks it will be September. You can feel the first signs of it now - the coolness of a morning, and that different intangible feeling in the air.

On a drive through the countryside this morning there were actually little yellow leaves drifting down.

There's time tho' for another picnic - maybe not a whole lot of picnics, so we should make this one a memorable one.

A memorable picnic can be an elegant affair with linen napkins, crystal wine glasses, and a bottle of a lovely light Blush. Flaky croissants stuffed with cream cheese and tiny bay shrimp are delightful with a bowl of seedless Red Flame grapes, and small squares of white chocolate for dessert.

Or it can be a quite simple affair with only a bottle of wine and items purchased from the local deli as one passes through town. Perhaps crusty sourdough bread, a wedge of Brie cheese, and a chilled Zinfandel - remembering what Omar Khayyam wrote:

"A book of verse underneath the bough,

"a jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and thou."

Picnicking can be one of the supreme pleasures of outdoor life. It doesn't take a festive occasion or a special event to plan a picnic. Nor does it have to be a big production. Picnics can be planned for no reason at all except that the morning might be promising a beautiful day.

The best kind can actually be spur-of-the-moment, but a wee bit of planning is wise. I keep my picnic basket always ready -- there's the table cloth, a corkscrew, wine glasses, plastic plates and forks, and red-and-white checked napkins. There's a sharp knife, bottled water, and paper towels.

And, at the last minute, I cut some bright flowers from the garden and stick them into a mason jar.

Sandwiches have been synonymous with quick and convenient meals, such as picnics, ever since John Montagu, the earl of you-know-what, slapped a slice of meat between two pieces of bread so that he could eat and keep playing cards.

Sandwiches have come a long way since then. After years of being relegated to the lunch box and the deli, the sandwich finally has become a lot more interesting. With their refreshing seasonal ingredients and sophisticated flavors they are perfect for a summer picnic.



FLAKY DELI SLICES

1 pkg. refrigerated pie crusts

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 pound very thinly sliced cooked ham

1/4 pound thinly sliced pepperoni

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Remove pie crusts from pouches; unfold crusts, pressing out fold lines. Sprinkle each crust evenly with Parmesan cheese.

Top each crust with ham, pepperoni and Cheddar cheese to within 1" of edges. Loosely roll up each crust. Place rolls, seam side down, on ungreased cookie sheet. Fold ends under.

Bake in preheated 450-degree oven 12-17 minutes or until golden brown.

Wrap in foil to keep warm until picnic-time; then cut each roll into 16 slices.



HAM AND SWISS

CRESCENT BRAID

Three-fourths pound cooked ham, chopped

1 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 T honey mustard

2 cans refrigerated Crescent dinner rolls

1 egg white, beaten

2 T slivered almonds

In large bowl, combine ham, broccoli, cheese, mushrooms, mayonnaise and mustard; mix well.

Unroll both cans of dough into 2 large rectangles. Place dough with long sides together on sprayed cookie sheet, forming 15x12" rectangle. Press edges and perforations to seal.

Spoon and spread ham mixture lengthwise in 6"-wide strip down center of dough. With sharp knife make cuts 1 and a half inches apart on both long sides of dough to within one-half inch of filling. Twisting each strip once, alternately cross strips over filling. Tuck short ends under; press to seal. Brush dough with beaten egg white; sprinkle with almonds.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven 28-33 minutes or until deep golden brown. Wrap in foil to keep warm until picnic-time. Cut crosswise into slices.



SANDWICH FOR

A CROWD OF TWELVE

2 unsliced loaves Italian bread

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

3/4 cup sliced scallions

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 pound thinly sliced fully cooked ham

1 pound thinly sliced roast beef

12-14 thin slices dill pickle

Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Hollow out top and bottom of loaves, leaving one-half inch shell (discard removed bread). Combine cheeses, scallions, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce; spread over cut sides of bread. Layer ham and roast beef on bottom and top halves; place pickles on bottom halves. Press halves together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cut into 1 and a half inch slices.



COPYRIGHT. MARIAN PLATT, SEQUIM, 2009. Marian Platt can be reached at 683-4691 or via e-mail at mlplatt@olypen.com.































































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