Celebrity chef Curtis Stone shares his preferred al fresco “take out” fare and tosses in a savory recipe for your perfect picnic!
Favorite Fare: “Marinated and grilled chicken because it’s great hot, warm or cold. Dips like baba ganush and tzatziki are also great, with crunchy veggies or baked pita chips.”
Savor the Season: “Buy fruits and veggies that are in season. They are tastier, more affordable, and help support local farms and communities.”
No Spoil Suggestions: “I love to have all types of antipasto platters at a picnic. Make a variety of salads and pack the dressing separately. Pour just before eating to keep greens nice and crisp.”
(Makes 4 servings)
For the quinoa:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 cups uncooked quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
For the vinaigrette:
¾ tablespoon shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
For the salad:
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup English cucumber, peeled, seeded and small diced
¼ cup red bell pepper, medium diced
1 cup baby arugula
Heat medium saucepan over medium high heat, add olive oil and sweat shallot for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes. Add quinoa and stir to coat with shallot and garlic, then add in stock and bring to simmer.
Reduce heat to simmer gently for about 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender but not mushy. Remove quinoa from pot to sheet-pan to cool. Once cool, fluff quinoa with fork and reserve.
To make vinaigrette, place shallots and vinegar in medium mixing bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add parsley and season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste. In separate large mixing bowl, combine cooled quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and arugula and toss to mix. Drizzle in enough of vinaigrette to lightly coat and season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate covered, then transport in cooler. To serve, spoon the salad onto 4 serving plates and serve immediately.