On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.
Eating Paleo in NYC, New York City’s paleo meetup group, decided that having an awesome feast with a chance to win a cow was a great idea. We gathered on a warm September Sunday in a lush meadow in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Everyone brought something delicious and primal to feast on, but before we ate we played outside.
Most of us were dressed appropriately with Vibrams or simply bare feet! Having our feet free made it easier to play a competitive game of Frisbee.
There were plenty of spare branches left over from the freak tornado the week before. Branches are the perfect primal exercise equipment: free, abundant, and versatile. A simple branch can be used for squats, balancing, and even throwing.
Attempts to gather food from the meadow were unsuccessful. We found some acorns and debated eating them, but when we realized they were full of acrid tannic acid, we decided to juggle them instead.
Don’t worry, our fights weren’t over our delicious food, since we had plenty. It was just martial arts practice.
After much combat valor, it was time to feast.
First we feasted on several delicious salads. Melissa made a duck confit salad with maple-pecans, local Hudson valley blue chevre, crunchy Bartlett pears, and crisped Mangalitsa lardo on top of arugula. Rob made a California-style salad of mixed baby greens, spinach, broccoli sprouts, walnuts, raisins, tangy lemon-infused olive oil, and 25 year aged balsamic vinegar. We topped that with smoked duck breast.
KC’s hearty Waldorf salad was rich with roasted turkey, seasonal fruits, walnuts, and celery seasoned with flax and walnut oil. Laura brought a colorful fruit salad made of refreshing summer melon and berries drizzled with coconut and cinnamon. It was nice to eat a lot of salads that were full of healthy greens AND plenty of fat. Too many restaurant salads are anemic wilted iceberg lettuce topped with low-fat skinless boneless chicken breast.
Michael contributed a deliciously creamy sweet potato and coconut milk pudding. Andrew brought some autumnal roasted fall yams, onions, and peppers from the Farmers’ Market. Don carried over several jars of bright-red homemade cinnamon apple sauce. For dessert we had some roasted cacao nibs.
After dinner we got into the cave spirit with a fashion show. KC had the winning costume inspired by Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. and made from a discarded cat bed. The only animal harmed for her costume is her now bed-less cat.
Melissa wore a Prana Leopard skin dress. Seeing that the rest of the tribe was wearing normal clothes, KC generously distributed her faux furs.
Suddenly, the girls realized that our branch might be useful for carrying off prey…
No cavemen or cavewomen were harmed in the making of this picnic…incidentally, cavemen-on-a-branch are an excellent way to build upper-body strength.
Surprisingly, we weren’t kicked out of the park. When the sun set we decided to be civilized and have a pot of tea and some wine.
Turkey Waldorf Salad Surprise
- 1 large turkey breast
- 3 Fuji apples
- 1 bunch of celery
- 1 c walnuts
- 1-2 c grapes
- 2 T flaxseed oil
- 2 T walnut oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 c raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates (pick one or mixup)
- 1/2 c seasonal surprise fruit (fresh cherries, black figs, anything interesting and unexpected)
Brush turkey breast with flaxseed oil, and roast or grill. I find roasting makes the turkey more moist, but then it can become mushy once its mixed in with the salad. For this recipe, if the turkey is a little dried out, its actually better.
Chop turkey, apples, celery, walnuts, grapes and surprise fruit. Its time consuming, but I usually slice everying to be about 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes.
Toss everything together with walnut oil and whatever is left from flaxseed oil you didn’t need for cooking the turkey. Squeeze the lemon juice from half a lemon. Add a bit of salt and pepper if you prefer savory, or cinnamon if you prefer a sweeter taste.
This makes a very easy and portable lunch. You can chop everything up while watching your favorite sports team blow it again, spoon it all into 4-5 containers and voila! Your team may have lost but you now have lunch for the week.
Also can be modified based on what you have, what you like, how badly you overcooked the turkey, etc. If it seems dry, chop up more grapes. I find green grapes best because they’re longer and I can chop them into six or eight pieces, and this seems to get more juice into the mix.
Pear and Duck Confit Salad
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
- 3.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 confit duck leg
- 2 firm-ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears
- A strip of bacon or lardo sliced up
- 2 cups mixed greens, such as frisée or argula
- 1 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Heat some lard or coconut oil up in a cast iron skillet. Saute the pecans with a dash of maple syrup until browned. Set aside in a mixing bowl and add shredded duck confit and lardo/bacon to the pan. Sear until brown and add to bowl with pecans. Slice pear into small matchstick pieces and add to bowl.
For dressing mix together vinegar and mustard. Slowly add olive oil while whisking.
Toss greens with meat and nut mixture, add bowl of meats/nuts/fruit, top with cheese, then add dressing before serving.
Sweet Potato Pudding
- 2 Med yams, bake and mash up
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp of cardamon
Mix together with hand mixer. Serve hot or cold.
Detailed instructions can be found on Don’s website: Paleo Food
Fabulous Fruit Fantasy
2 cups sliced cantaloupe
2 cups sliced watermelon
2 cups sliced honey dew melon
2 cups rasberries
1 cup blueberries
.5 cup walnuts
.5 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Wash fruit ingredients and combine in large bowl. Mix together. Add walnuts, coconut, and cinnamon in amounts desired. Other nuts or toppings can be used as well. Mix well, serve chilled, enjoy!
Back: Andrew, Don, KC, Rob, Melissa, Laura
Front: Alex, Michael
Visit Melissa McEwen’s excellent Primal blog: Hunt.Gather.Love.