We have a great old picnic basket my husband and I got at the Wellfleet Flea Market on Cape Cod almost fifteen years ago. I love it. Athough not as practical as today’s modern coolers that keep contents cool, are easy to wipe out, and have shelves and wheels. I usually have more refrigerated items than not but because of the basket’s sentimental value, I try to figure out how to fit all the cold stuff in a mini-cooler inside the picnic basket and take it anyway.
– Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
– Turkey and havarti dill cheese sandwiches
– Baby carrots
– Hummus (I prefer Tribe’s brand)
– Diced watermelon
– Sweet Potato chips
– Cookies (usually store bought) or brownies (from Duncan Heinz box mix)
– Water bottles filled with lots of ice to keep them cold
– Iced tea or lemonade (Paul Newman’s is my favorite)
If I had more time to plan or we are not bringing the kids along (hardly ever), this is how I would like to fill my picnic basket: baba ghanoush (my dad’s recipe), kalamata olives, St. Andre cheese, fresh bread from Seven Stars, a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio, pasta salad from the Whole Foods salad bar, assorted maki rolls, strawberries, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Baba Ghanouj Recipe
(pureed eggplant with tahini)
Here is my father’s Iraqi recipe for baba ghanouj (also spelled baba ghanoush), a Middle Eastern eggplant dip. It is typically served with pita bread but is also very tasty on crackers, toast or veggies.
Although I have provided measurements, the dish should be adapted to fit your personal taste by adjusting the amount of spices and lemon juice.
2 medium eggplants (baked or microwaved)
2-3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
2-3 tablespoons sour cream
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more/less depending on taste)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnish: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and add parsley on top.
1. Cook the eggplant:
– Baked: Preheat oven to 375Â°F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast until very tender, about 35 minutes. Place the eggplant in a colander to drain and cool for 15 minutes.
– Microwave: Cut small slits in top of eggplants and place in glass pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 10-15 minutes. Should be soft when done.
2. After eggplants are cooked and cooled, slice open and remove as many seeds as possible. Be careful not to take out eggplant flesh. After seeds are removed, scoop out flesh and place in food processor. (Cooked eggplant pulp can be stored in a Ziploc bag in freezer for further preparation at a later time.)
3. Combine eggplant, sour cream, tahini, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until eggplant is somewhat smooth but retains some of its texture.
4. Allow the baba ghanouj to sit for an hour at room temperature, then season to taste with additional lemon juice or salt.