Springtime in the city is quite magical. The drab grey that shadowed the buildings, streets, and sidewalks slowly start to fade as green creeps up from every possible crevice. It’s time for rejuvenation, and everyone is cheerful, totally besotted with the sun. Where streets were once silent for months, they now spark alive with the sounds of construction, bicycle bells, children playing, and people out walking. In the city, like everywhere else, springtime also marks the start of picnic season. The parks are full of friends and family enjoying themselves as they catch up over food. For food enthusiasts like me, it’s also a chance to find the perfect takeout recipes that will complement the weather, as well as satisfy everyone’s appetites. It’s no surprise then, that I found some amazing picnic-worthy recipes (along with a kick-ass brunch dish) from a Brooklyn, New York blog, The Sublet Kitchen.
This recipe for Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw is so good, it’s already scheduled for our first picnic of the season. Spicy from the chipotle peppers with just a hint of sweet from Dr. Pepper, it’s well balanced by the refreshing and crisp slaw. If you love yourself, you’ll top your sandwich with some of the tasty onion pieces that have been cooking in the juices, and maybe, if you’re daring, you’ll try some of the chipotle peppers, too. Eaten with an ice-cold drink, I can’t think of a better sunny-day lunch at the park.
Let’s talk about this kick-ass brunch: Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash with Poached Eggs. Once you make this you will make it again the next day, like I did. Though the recipe says to cut the potatoes into half-inch cubes, I recommend cutting them slightly smaller or cooking them a little longer so you get softer pieces. If you like your potatoes with a little bite I’d leave them as is. There’s also instructions on how to make the perfect poached egg, a la famed chef Thomas Keller, but I was feeling a little lazy (and ravenously hungry) so I instead poached my eggs the regular way. Whichever way you do it, this is a great way to start your day. Sweet and savoury, this hash would make a wonderful Mother’s Day brunch.
This Panzanella Bread Salad with Shrimp is reminiscent of carefree al fresco dining, when all that matters is soaking in the sun, eating well, and gossiping. A Florentine dish, this rustic Italian salad of bread, tomatoes, onions, and basil is paired with shrimp in an olive oil dressing. It’s a no-fuss meal for a picnic (you can dress the salad once you arrive) and the recipe could feed four, leaving room for dessert. I used French bread both times I made it, one a day old, the other fresh. It was great both ways but the fresh bread was my favourite as it had a softer, lighter texture. Whether you’re eating on a rooftop terrace, a backyard table or park bench, this salad impresses with its simplicity.
All photos by MustEatNow.net