Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Eighty-One: Picnics and Tailgates

by Williams-Sonoma

            Grilled Vegetable Platter with Picnic Vinaigrette

The warm days and calm evenings bring us to dine outdoors and this weekend was perfect for girls-night that I was invited to where we just hung out on the back patio with a nice glass of wine, delicious food and good company.

Success meter (1-3): 3

Into a paper bag to sweat the skins off.

Naked peppers.

My sister made these delicious little pizzas.
They are made with a fennel dough and topped
with goat cheese, tomatoes, Kalamatas and
a splash of Sambuca.

For dessert I brought leftover Cranberry Hungarian Shortbread
which you can read about in my next post come Tuesday.

My plan was to take a photo of the table showing all the gourmet goodness we were about to feast on; though once we had the food on the table and settled in and conversation a brewin' that plan went out the window in lost thought.

Along with the grilled vegetables & mini pizzas we had Chicken Marbella which consisted of olives, prunes, capers and served with yellow rice and cilantro. Goat cheese seemed to be the theme of the evening for in addition to the pizzas, we had a goat cheese log covered in cranberries and cinnamon served with crackers as well as a spread made from goat cheese mixed with a blood orange marmalade which was to die for. We also had extra desserts of red velvet cupcakes and mini éclairs.

There never is a shortage of food with this group.

Grilled Vegetable Platter
With Picnic Vinaigrette
Serves 6

1 shallot, finely chopped                                                              
2 Tbl. red wine vinegar                                                                 
1 Tbl. lemon juice                                                                            
1 tsp. Dijon mustard                                                                      
6 Tbl. olive oil                                                                                    
2 Tbl. chopped fresh Italian parsley                                         
2 Tbl. chopped fresh basil                                                            
Salt & pepper
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
4 Asian (slender) eggplants
4 zucchini
18 asparagus spears, trimmed and peeled if desired
6 plum (Roma) tomatoes, halved lengthwise
¼ cup assorted finely chopped fresh herbs such as Italian parsley and basil

Prepare a fire in a grill. To make the vinaigrette, combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, then add the parsley, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid.

When the coals are medium-hot, place the peppers on the grill rack and grill, turning until the skins blacken and blister. Place in a brown paper bag, close tightly, and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the peppers and peel off the charred skin. Remove the stems, seeds, and ribs. Cut into ½-inch slices. Place in a large storage container.

Cut the eggplants and zucchini lengthwise into ¼ -inch slices. Lightly coat with nonstick olive oil cooking spray and grill, turning once, until softened and lightly browned, 6-8 minutes total. Place in the storage container. Lightly coat the asparagus spears and tomato halves with cooking spray. Grill, turning once, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes for the asparagus, 8 minutes for the tomatoes. Arrange attractively with the other vegetables in the container. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Picnics and Tailgates/Williams-Sonoma


  1. Absolutely stunning photography, I am impressed! Very nice and interesting post. Great job!


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