As summer winds down, make the most of August with a menu inspired by breezy afternoons on the Maine coast. Beach-friendly fare like lobster salad rolls, tangy corn relish, potato salad, and honey chocolate chip cookies are perfectly portable classics; spiked iced tea served in a mason jar lends a festive note.
- Lobster Salad on a Roll
- Fusilli with Scampi, Cranberry Beans and Peas
- Watermelon and Tomato Salad
- Corn Relish
- Potato Salad with Red Onion
- Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies
- Back Porch Tea
1. Everything in this menu can be made at least a day before your picnic - except for the watermelon salad, which is best made as close to serving as possible. Pack the vinaigrette, tomatoes, watermelon, and herbs in separate containers and combine them all just before eating.
2. The lobster salad can be made up to three days ahead of time; pack the rolls separately and assemble the sandwiches as you eat them to keep the bread from getting soggy.
3. Take your summer cocktails to go in tightly-sealed mason jars, great for both storing and serving. Add a travel lid from cuppow.com for easy consumption at the beach or on the water. (Check out our gallery of Essential Picnic Equipment for more of our favorite supplies »)
RECIPE: Lobster Salad
The recipe for this classic New England lobster salad comes from Jasper White's The Summer Shack Cookbook (W. W. Norton, 2007). The combination of lobster, mayonnaise, and crisp cucumber is unbeatable in a split, buttered roll. MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS
1 lb. cooked lobster meat, cut into ½" chunks
½ cup mayonnaise
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼" cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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In a large bowl, gently stir together lobster, mayonnaise, scallions, cucumber, salt, and pepper.
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RECIPE: Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Chef Bill Smith of Crook's Corner, a restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, serves a version of this refreshing dish during the late summer. Smith says he developed the salad after paying a visit to a few of his former cooks in Mexico, where he discovered a range of dishes that melded sweet, spicy, and sour flavors. SERVES 4-6
¼ cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
⅓ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
½ small red onion
4-lb. piece of seedless watermelon
4 ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 ½ lbs.), stemmed and cored
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 loosely packed cup roughly torn basil leaves
1 loosely packed cup roughly torn mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
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1. Whisk vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne together in a small bowl.
2. Quarter and thinly slice onion and toss it in the vinegar mixture. Set aside to let rest until the onion softens and mellows, about 30 minutes.
3. Remove the rind from the watermelon, cut into 1" chunks, and transfer to a large bowl. Cut tomatoes into 1" chunks. Combine the tomatoes with the watermelon chunks. Pour in the onion-vinegar mixture along with oil and toss gently with your hands. Add basil and mint and toss gently. Season the watermelon and tomato salad with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Serve salad at room temperature on its own or alongside grilled fish or meat.
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RECIPE: Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe was developed by Saveur.com editor Helen Rosner, after she found herself snowed in with no brown sugar. A deep, spicy honey like sourwood works best, though any honey will do. MAKES 4 DOZEN
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
3 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped bittersweet chocolate
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1. Heat oven to to 375° F. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla; gradually add the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Stir in the chocolate.
3. Drop 1-tablespoon portions of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper; bake for 8-9 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets after 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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