Yesterday was the second of two glorious days I had off of work (a rarity in my busy summer schedule) and in celebration of Canada Day I spent it on a picnic with some friends I hadn't seen in far too long. The weather was perfect. It was what my family and I have taken to calling 'an east coast day.' Warm when the sun is out, cool as the clouds drift across the sky, with a breeze to temper the heat. Having spent numerous summer vacations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI, I've grown to love the breeze that always seems to blow in from the ocean, never allowing the temperature to remain too hot for too long. So even though I sustained a minor sunburn, it was fantastic.
But enough about the weather...this is really about the food. Originally I had intended to make some sandwiches as well as baked goods, because what is a picnic without sandwiches? I got the recipe from Anna Olson. Proscuitto, pear, and fig, on a baguette with blue cheese and Dijon mustard. I was extremely excited about this sandwich. Unfortunately I planned to run to the grocery store that morning forgetting that it was Canada Day and everything was closed. So no sandwiches.
Luckily I had baked enough to make up for the lack of sandwiches. The first being these delicious lemon thumbprint cookies (above). They have a density almost like shortbread which contrasts wonderfully with the blueberry jam filling. I adore blueberry and lemon together. The tangy lemon acts as a perfect foil for the sweet blueberries. And blueberries are oh so summery.
I also baked farm cakes, always a sure thing, which are essentially chocolate cupcakes with a cream cheese filling. I feel a little guilty for not divulging this recipe at present, but I'm going to save it for a later date. Today is not about the recipes, rather about good times with friends.
I will, however, give you the recipe for my friend Joanna's pasta salad just as soon as I get my hands on it. She made it specifically at the request of my friend Dayna who had the privilege of tasting it at an earlier occasion. And it is good pasta salad. It's fairly simple. Just pasta, some vegetables and a garlicky vinaigrette, but it is also everything pasta salad should be. It hits the spot and it is the perfect combination of carbs and veggies. It's also very versatile. Apparently Joanna doesn't really have a recipe. She sort of makes it up as she goes, seizes whatever vegetables she happens to have in the fridge and tosses them with pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic. From the ingredients alone you can probably make your own version.
It was a perfect day really. At least it was everything I needed it to be. Relaxing and filled with good conversation (and a healthy dose of silliness). I highly recommend going on a picnic before the summer's out. You have a couple months. Bake some cookies, whip up a pasta salad, and definitely make some sandwiches. Don't forget some good iced tea or lemonade. And a frisbee (or a small squishy yellow football with suffice). We finished the day with fireworks, which never cease to amaze me. I just love that no matter what is happening in the world, people can still be fascinated by the simple beauty of exploding lights in a night sky.