Next week is Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer holidays.

This will be one of the last chances to eat outdoors for the season. Usually I have a barbeque in the back yard but this year I think I am going to have a picnic.

When was the last time you had a picnic that you enjoyed just as much as the flies did? Did you have sand cakes or antwiches? I thought so.

The trick is, as with most things is KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Pack up on wine, cheese, crackers, cold chicken with a dip, sandwiches and a salad but not one with lettuce as it always wilts in the heat, and don’t forget the corkscrew!

It seems so odd that man has strived for eternity to build solid homes and convenient appliances to make life easy and then the first spot of nice weather its outside we go, the Neanderthal mentality kicks in and we start to make fire!

Next week get out to the park or beach and make this delicious menu for your outdoor feast.

Avocado and Ham Sandwiches

Ficelle is a thin, chewy baguette loaf. Substitute one standard baguette for 2 ficelles: Just cut the heels off the ends and make each sandwich a little bit shorter.

2 loafs (about 18 inches each) ficelle
1/4 cups butter, softened
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoons coarse black pepper
3/4 pounds Virginia ham, sliced
3 large avocados, peeled and sliced


Cut each ficelle loaf into 3 equal pieces, and split each horizontally along one side, leaving the other side intact. Open the pieces so they lie flat.

Stir the butter, mustard, and pepper together until smooth, and spread on both sides of the bread. Layer with the ham and avocado, and sprinkle with the sea salt.

Wrap the sandwiches with parchment, and tie with a string to secure. Keep chilled and serve within 3 hours.

Picnic Chicken


3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1-1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each dried marjoram, thyme and rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup butter, melted
12 chicken drumsticks
12 bone-in chicken thighs

Creamy leek dip

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 envelope leek soup mix
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby cheese


In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs and water. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and seasonings. Divide butter between two 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes.

Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture. Place in prepared pans.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 1 hour or until juices run clear, turning once. Cool for 30 minutes; refrigerate until chilled.

For dip, in a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, combine the yogurt, soup mix and cheese; fold in whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Serve with cold chicken.

Picnic Vegetable Salad


3 cups fresh broccoli florets
3 cups fresh cauliflower florets
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium cucumbers cut into chunks
1 each medium green, sweet yellow and red pepper, cut into chunks
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 can (6 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
1 bottle (16 ounces) Greek vinaigrette
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese


In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cauliflower florets, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green onions and olives. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Chill until serving. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese.

AND FINALLY… A man was riding on a crowded bus, standing room only. The bus stopped and an elderly lady got on carrying a large picnic basket. She stood right in front of the man and grabbed the overhead rail so the picnic basket was above the man's head.

Being a gentleman, he offered his seat to her. She quickly declined as she was only going a short distance.

Soon the picnic basket began to leak. The man felt something drop on top of his head. As he looked up it hit beside his nose and ran down across his lips. He tasted it, looked up at the lady and asked, "Pickles?"

She replied, "No, no, puppies."


Ham and avocado sandwich