What Are Good Recipes for Picnics?

Kitchen Diaries: Kate in New York City

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There's no meal I love as much as a picnic. The blanket, the open air, the promise of stretching my toes into the fresh grass between bites. What could be better? With so many New York City parks to picnic in, there's an endless opportunity to dine al fresco with friends on summer evenings.

The only problem: I need a few more recipes to keep up this picnic-or-two-a-week thing.

As a kid, my mom would always keep a watchful eye at picnics. "Don't eat that," she'd advise at the sight of anything heavy on mayonnaise, seafood, or otherwise fishy ingredients. The threat of food poisoning has stuck with me all this time and to this day, I'm pretty wary of bringing anything to the park that wouldn't taste great (or worse, make someone ill) after a half hour or so in the sun.

My friends don't tend to be on-the-dot punctual (sorry guys!), and the free flow, drop-in-whenever schedule isn't so ideal for some things like say, deviled eggs. Around Easter, I brought a dozen very delicious deviled eggs to the park. Even that early in the season, about a quarter were gobbled up while the rest promptly baked in the sun and got tossed into the garbage.

One friend always brings the most delicious beet, lentil, arugula salad to share that's perfect for such occasions. It's dressed lightly, will never get soggy, and tastes great hot and cold. Needless to say, I'm envious of this recipe, both because it's amazing and versatile. Often I make a Greek chopped salad, or go even simpler with a classic baguette, cheese, and charcuterie combo, but it's getting old.

What are some satisfying recipes that are also great to bring to a picnic? Bonus points if they look especially delicious in the adorable picnic basket I was just gifted.

(Image credits: Kate Gagnon)