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Few things are more reminiscent of summer than enjoying the perfect outdoor picnic. With the summer season in full swing, Mercedes-Benz sets the stage for the perfect escape with an “On the Road” picnic menu created by renowned chef Michael White, Executive Chef and Partner of Alto, Convivio and Marea in New York City. Marea, his most recent restaurant, was awarded the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. White has created an innovative summer picnic menu inspired by his love of driving to set the stage for the perfect summer getaway.
Mercedes-Benz, a sponsor and supporter of The James Beard Foundation, considers Beard’s legacy to be a driving force behind this exciting new campaign. A pioneer of American-style gourmet cooking, Beard was an avid lover of picnics. He traveled often, discovering regional cuisines throughout the U.S. Mercedes-Benz and The James Beard Foundation have turned to Chef White to create an innovative menu that inspires food lovers to hit the road.
In addition to the selection of picnic recipes and accompanying tips, Mercedes-Benz is celebrating the kick-off to the summer and picnic season with their new E-Cabriolet – perfect for the idyllic summer escape. The innovative AIRCAP technology minimizes air turbulence in the cabin of the vehicle, which allows passengers to cruise with the top down without dealing with messy hair and other touch-ups by the time they arrive at their picnic destination.
This fruitful partnership aims to incorporate the James Beard Foundation’s mission of preserving and celebrating America’s culinary heritage alongside Mercedes-Benz cultural heritage as the inventor of the automobile - a fusion of the finer things in life, namely travel and enjoying good food!
• Insalata di Mare
• E-Cabbage Slaw
• Insalata Cruda con Parmigiano
• Gemelli e Heirloom Tomatoes e Basil
• Potatoes con Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette
• Gamberoni alla Piastra
• Grilled Tagliata con Rucola, Parmigiano e Ciabatta
• Italian Tuna Insalata
• Strawberries con Honeyed Marscarpone e Balsamic
• Gianduja Chocolate Chip Cookies
In addition to White’s delicious, yet easy to prepare recipes, Mercedes-Benz offers the following tips and checklist to enjoy the ultimate “On the Road” picnic:
• Picnic basket or cooler
• Bottled water (tip: freeze overnight and use as an ice pack)
• Outdoor dinnerware
• Flatware or plastic silverware
• Napkins / paper towels
• Sturdy glassware
• Corkscrew and/or bottle opener
• Tablecloth or blanket
• Trash bag
• Hand sanitizer or wipes
• Salt and pepper
• One sharp knife (consider using a Swiss army knife)
• Portable speakers and iPod (don’t forget to charge!)
• Sunscreen (depending on day or evening picnic)
• Bug spray or citronella candles (don’t forget matches for candles)
• Decorative centerpiece (a cup of freshly plucked wildflowers, a beautiful dessert)
• Candles or lantern (evening picnic)
• Bug net
Location and Planning:
• When choosing a location for your outdoor meal, you should consider all types of scenic options -- parks, beaches, concerts or open fields are great places.
• Plan the menu based on the number of people, how much you can carry, and how long the trip will be, factoring in when food will be ingested. (see food safety tips below)**.
• Some top NYC picnic locations for day trips include Milford, Pennsylvania; Long Beach; Shelter Island; North Fork, LI, and New Haven, CT.
• Pair wines based on the menu, but for a picnic, you should chill the wine you choose, white or red.
• Rose wines and Reislings have broad appeal, and go well with picnic food - such as chicken and grilled meats.
• Cheese and meat plates can pair well with a Cabernet or Beaujolais.
• Fresh fruits can pair with a Chardonnay.
• Use a separate bag to pack your essential items including blanket, paper towels, handy-wipes, extra utensils, suntan lotion, bug spray, etc. Plan ahead and bring anything you think you may need and a few extras just in case.
• When packing your food, place heavier items on the bottom and lighter ones on the top.
• When packing your picnic cooler or bag, consider using Ziplock bags or Tupperware containers. This will avoid leaks and cross-contamination. Pack soft foods in hard containers. Any garnishes (basil, parsley, etc) should be packed separately.
• Put cold foods in waterproof containers or wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and completely immerse in the ice inside the cooler. If using frozen gel packs or containers of homemade ice, place them between packages of food. Never just set containers of food on top of ice.
• The trunk of your car can reach temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit so it is best to transport coolers in the passenger area of the car. When you arrive at the picnic site, put a blanket over the cooler and place it in the shade to maintain cold temperatures. Keep the cooler closed until ready to use the contents.
**IMPORTANT: Food safety is key. A cooler keeps the food insulated until you reach your destination. Depending on how well the cooler is packed, food can stay cold for several hours. Foods that are kept out of the fridge or cooler for too long should be thrown out (especially if there is mayonnaise, eggs, meats, etc). Use your judgment to determine if you should keep certain foods. If in doubt - throw it out!
Article and recipes courtesy of Mercedes-Benz USA.