Life’s a pic­nic!

‘A pic­nic should be an ac­tion of joy and spend­ing time with peo­ple you like be­ing around’

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Emily Ryan Dig­i­tal First Media

By a wa­ter­fall un­der a shade tree, on a check­ered cloth in a park, at a ta­ble in a pav­il­ion – choose a spot, pack a bas­ket or back­pack and en­joy an easy­go­ing meal out­side.

“I be­lieve that peo­ple should pic­nic of­ten. A pic­nic should be an ac­tion of joy and spend­ing time with peo­ple you like be­ing around,” said Tracey Deschaine of Dixie Pic­nic in Malvern, who fondly re­called pic­nics with her mother, “a real south­ern belle,” and her south­ern rel­a­tives.

“We all re­mem­ber how great the food was,” she said. “So that’s where Dixie Pic­nic came from.”

At the res­tau­rant, Deschaine dishes up fam­ily fa­vorites like flaky but­ter­milk bis­cuits.

“Bis­cuits are one of those recipes that taught me tech­nique is ev­ery­thing. It’s all about the tech­nique of hav­ing the but­ter cold and work­ing quickly,” she ex­plained. “If you fol­low that recipe, you’re go­ing to have the most de­li­cious bis­cuits you’ve ever had!”

Serve them as BLTs since ba­con trav­els well, and bring along may­on­naise pack­ets.

“Noth­ing makes this sand­wich pop quite like a juicy sum­mer heir­loom tomato. Throw on a thick slice with the ba­con and some let­tuce, and you’ll sit down on your pic­nic blan­ket with a big smile on your face!” Deschaine said.

She also rec­om­mends grilled pineap­ple salad with cit­rus vinai­grette. Try pack­ing it in a ma­son jar.

“It’s so pop­u­lar, and it’s so de­li­cious,” Deschaine said. “I just re­ally love that salad.”

Chef Art Ro­man of The Kitchen Work­shop in Paoli likes what he calls Ital­ian mar­ket bas­ket salad.

“If you be­long to a CSA, what­ever looks good in your CSA bas­ket you can throw in there,” he sug­gested. “You can take a Greek spin on it with kala­mata olives and feta cheese.”

This ver­sa­tile salad also works with cheese tortellini or ravi­oli.

“I usu­ally un­der­cook the pasta a lit­tle bit – by a minute or 2,” Ro­man said. “That’s why most peo­ple have bad pasta salad be­cause the pasta is gen­er­ally over­cooked.”

No cook­ing re­quired for his radish canapés.

“It’s just an in­ter­est­ing recipe, not the prover­bial thing you take to a pic­nic or out­ing,” he noted. “It’s got some re­ally good tex­ture to it. Peo­ple al­most think it’s crab.”

“Don’t tell them that it’s radishes. They don’t get the props they de­serve,” said Ro­man jok­ingly. “If you can, buy them with the tops on. That’s key to the suc­cess of this recipe.

And don’t for­get the lit­tlest pic­nick­ers. For the Cray­ola crowd, how about a banana “cigar”? It’s PB&J with banana rolled in a whole wheat tor­tilla

It’s “some­thing silly and sim­ple,” Deschaine said. “You can get kids to re­ally use their imag­i­na­tion if you say, ‘I’ve got a banana cigar.’”

Peo­ple of all ages en­joy Dixie Pic­nic’s “up­cakes,” up­side-down cup­cakes with plenty of ic­ing in ev­ery bite like her great-aunt used to make.

“Right now, our big­gest seller is s’mores, which only comes around from Me­mo­rial Day to La­bor Day,” she men­tioned. “We have peo­ple lament­ing when they’re done.”

Just like s’mores, pic­nics are quintessen­tially sum­mer. So check the weather, grab a blan­ket and plan a lazy af­ter­noon.

“There are so many dif­fer­ent pic­nics you can have,” Deschaine mused. “I think it’s a respite from your ev­ery­day.”

As her slo­gan says, “Y’all need a pic­nic!”

Flaky But­ter­milk Bis­cuits IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

25 ounces all-pur­pose flour 2 ta­ble­spoons bak­ing pow­der 1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda 2 tea­spoons salt ¼ cup veg­etable short­en­ing 8 ounces cold un­salted but­ter, cut into small cubes 2½ cups but­ter­milk - cold

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat con­vec­tion oven to 400 de­grees. Com­bine flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to com­bine. Com­bine veg­etable short­en­ing into flour mix­ture with fin­gers un­til only peanut-size chunks re­main. Add but­ter chunks to flour mix­ture and pinch but­ter be­tween fin­ger­tips to form nickel-sized flat pieces. Add but­ter­milk and mix un­til dough sticks to­gether. Turn dough onto lightly floured baker’s ta­ble and shape into a rec­tan­gle ap­prox­i­mately 12-by-18 inches. Fold the end thirds into the cen­ter of the dough, turn and roll out again to the same size. Re­peat fold­ing about eight times, dust­ing ta­ble lightly with flour to pre­vent stick­ing. Roll dough ½-inch thick and cut into 3-inch rounds. Brush tops with melted but­ter and bake un­til tops are golden brown, 8 to 9 min­utes. These can be frozen and re­heated in a 300 de­gree oven for 10 min­utes, and they stay de­li­cious!

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

You can’t go wrong with clas­sic pic­nic fare like fruit and cheese.

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