Now is the time to eat outside and cook outside. It’s time to go with the flow, have impromptu picnics in the park with your friends and family, and break the proverbial bread on a grassy, shady hill, at a concert or on a dock, or out camping by a lake.
However, going with the flow doesn’t mean not being prepared. On the contrary, one of the most fulfilling summer activities for me is being ready for an outdoor feast at a moment’s notice. I love surprising my friends with real, fresh foods presented outside on a summer blanket somewhere wonderful.
Surprise even your most organized friends with these useful tips that arm you to take any meal on the road, with ease and grace.
Here’s how to do it:
#1 Keep a Kit: I have a small bin outside with my camping gear that I always keep stocked and ready for action. The key is to repack it right after you use it, so it takes no time to run out the door for the next meal.
Stock your kit with:
A sharp knife (wrapped in a cloth towel and secured with a rubber band)
A small jar of coarse sea salt
A small jar of olive oil (8 oz canning jars work great)
A wine opener
A small metal bowl and spoon
Sponge and biodegradable soap (if you plan to rinse dishes where you are)
A small wooden cutting board (or 2)
2 camp friendly plates, cups, and forks and cloth napkins
A thin sheet or blanket to spread out as a tablecloth
#2 Keep Mobile-Friendly Fresh Ingredients on Hand: There are plenty of options other than bread and crackers to pack for an outdoor meal. Stock up on sturdy vegetables and fruits that combine well to make a quick salad. My favorites are snap peas, nectarines, cherries and mint. Arrive at your outdoor destination and cut them up right onsite. Use your metal bowl, coarse salt and olive oil as the garnish, tossing with your spoon. I always pack a lemon for this reason as well, to brighten any dish. Dijon mustard is another great one to throw in your kit. Finally, if you have extra homemade dressing in your fridge that you can pack it to dress up any type of green salad.
Favorite mobile ingredients for making food outdoors:
Nectarines, cherries, lemon
Snap peas, mint, radishes, carrots
Boiled new potatoes and olives
Smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs or quality beef jerky
I hope you enjoy many meals outside this summer, and that you embrace some organizational tips to help you eat “out” on a whim any day of the week!