Pressed Picnic Sandwiches with Green Olive Tapenade

Pressed Picnic Sandwiches with Green Olive Tapenade

It’s still gray and rainy in my corner of the world, but I know summer is coming – I can feel it. And with that summer feeling comes the irresistible urge to dine al fresco. But while eating outside can be wonderfully romantic, it can also be a logistical nightmare. There’s temperature control to consider, sogginess to anticipate and prevent, and ease of transport to evaluate. Not all food is picnic food and not all picnic food is created equal. So, to help you take the guesswork out of packing your basket, I’m launching a season-long Summer Picnic Series. Today’s Pressed Picnic Sandwiches is the first installment in a collection of picnic-friendly recipes that will appear on this blog twice a month from now to September. So, let’s get started with these born-for-the-basket Pressed Picnic Sandwiches.

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Grilled Asparagus Croque Monsieur

Grilled Asparagus Croque Monsieur

I’m back once again to wreak havoc and mess with a classic. Today, I will piss off all of France with this Grilled Asparagus Croque Monsieur. Yes, I went ahead and made the celebrated and beloved Croque Monsieur vegetarian. I know, right? Gasps all around! Fortunately, I’m not important enough to cause an uproar. No one, save my beloved blog readers, will know I have committed this piece of culinary blasphemy. But, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I have a handful of vegetarian friends and I like to cater to them from time to time. Plus, let’s be real, the best part of a Croque Monsieur is the cheese, not the ham. So is the concept of a Grilled Asparagus Croque Monsieur really so disrespectful? Don’t think about that too hard.

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Pork Teriyaki Peanut Butter Burgers w/ Pickled Pineapple & Cabbage Slaw

Pork Teriyaki Peanut Butter Burger with Pickled Pineapple and Cabbage Slaw

What happens when you want pork dumplings, anything teriyaki-ed, and peanut satay sauce all at the same time? These Pork Teriyaki Peanut Butter Burgers, that’s what. Yes, once again my conflicting cravings have taken the wheel. This isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it’s a very bad thing. I remember a batch of pink peppercorn Jell-o jigglers being one such disaster. You have no idea what I’m talking about because you never saw them and I intend to keep it that way. Thankfully, these Pork Teriyaki Peanut Butter Burgers did not go the way of the pink peppercorn Jello jiggler, they instead became an instant favorite.

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Caramel Fried Chicken Fresh Rolls w/ Pickled Asian Pear

 Caramel Fried Chicken Fresh Roll w/ Pickled Asian Pear

Once upon a time, I used to cringe at the thought of a fresh roll. I thought they were for the unadventurous and the dieting – the flavorless consolation prize to a crisp spring roll. But that was before I actually had one. Forgive me. I didn’t know what I was saying. I didn’t know that rice paper sheets have this magnificent chew or that greens magically taste better within their walls. I didn’t know you could find just about anything in a fresh roll, like noodles, pineapple, shrimp, and chicken. I didn’t know Vietnamese food was magic! I think it’s safe to say I’ve seen the light and today’s Caramel Fried Chicken Fresh Rolls further solidify that fact.

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