Friday, September 21, 2012

Opera and picnic in GG Park 2012

An annual tradition for nearly 40 years, I have been attending Opera in the Park (a free event, Thank You SF Opera!) for about 6 years total though maybe not all in a row. I was introduced to this fine time to wine, dine and listen by a former flatmate. We now use this as an occasion to catch up and enjoy the late SF Summer weather as we absorb the local opera culture, people watch, sing along, eat a lot and drink some. (Open container rule breakers ignored, but please no one get too rowdy or they might crack down!)

For our picnic spread this year I made a Chicken and Potato Salad (in blue bowl of picnic spread photo). I also offered up a 4 Berry Faux Trifle. My roommate had given me a lovely serving dish and I needed to Use it or Lose it, so it hosted my mix of greek (honey flavored) yogurt, mini-vanilla wafers and summer berries. I garnished with some lemon curd, balsamic vinegar and caramel on top.

Needless to say we were satiated by the end of the afternoon. Filled to the brim with culture, conversation and comestibles. Do you have a favorite place to picnic? I never leave home without my soft cooler and carrying a blanket. What makes or breaks your picnic?

Ta-da, here are the pictures and recipe for the cold chicken potato salad I made.

Cut and boil potatoes with salt. Stick 'em with a fork easily and they're done.

Remove (most) fat and (all) skin from chicken (I used 6 thighs from butcher) to prep for poaching.

This pot contains the cleaned chicken thighs plus 1 medium roughly chopped onion and Tablespoon of salt in enough water to cover. Learn from the poaching professionals here.On a side note, if you can hear the chicken sing, then you are a lucky one!(I couldn't find the real link to Chef Pepin's TV show, but basically, the chicken fat clairfies and there is a swooshing/singing noise from the oven letting you know it's done... only when you're roasting though, so don't wait for your poached chicken to sing!!)

I put the steamy potatoes in with my (treated with lemon overnight) raw kale to soften it a bit more.

These lonely veggies were crowding up my fridge so I threw them in too. Raw carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and celery got chopped to add into the mix. 

After my chicken was poached, I took it out to let it cool a bit, then rough chopped it. (The chicken broth is used to make stew for the post Quinoa for Kat.)

A heaping Tablespoon  of mayo and a overfull teaspoon of whole grain mustard lubricate the salad.

I decided it needed more flavors to back it up, so I peeked in the pantry and culled this guy. He's got a lot of punch! Just one teaspoon is needed. You should certainly personalize the salad to your tastes. You may have different veg in your fridge or use fresh (or dried) herbs to give it a kick. Whatever you choose will be delish, I trust you. Enjoy your end of summer picnics and time with friends!!