picnic on the patio
Picnics are happy things. There are so few rules: seats on the ground; shoes – and silverware – optional; dogs just as welcome as everyone else. Think about it. All you really need to be happy at a picnic is some food, some sun, and some fun folks to lounge around with.
As the temperatures in the city spike and the number of summer hours spent behind a desk accumulate, it gets harder and harder to resist the call of some laid-back al fresco dining. And though we currently aren’t lucky enough to have any lazy afternoons in which to indulge, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out altogether.
No sprawling lawns – or even grassy parks – within a few blocks? We may be without lawn, patio, or balcony, but we are still lucky enough to be able to snag a breezy spot on the roof. No waning afternoon hours or lazy lunches? That’s cool. I’m just as happy with an al fresco breakfast. No Frisbee to throw; no blades of grass between our toes. Perhaps it isn’t the most classic of picnics but remember – there aren’t a lot of rules. Just some food, some sun, and some fun.
Al fresco breakfast in the city
two – whether it is for a cup in the morning or a gathering of folks for breakfast, brunch, or dinner, I’m a huge fan of Bialetti’s stove-top espresso makers.
three – rustic kitchen towels double as great napkins for al fresco meals. Larger than napkins they can handle spills as well as sticky fingers.
Simple but satisfying, with a shot of caffeine. That was our objective.
Iced coffee – As a few floors were all that separated our apartment from our picnic we were able to pour our coffee directly from the pot; you can always transfer yours to a thermos if your travel plans require it. The same solution works for transporting your ice if you elect to go the iced-coffee route.
Baked eggs with mushrooms (serves two) – these little guys are baked in small ramekins which double as containers for transport. We ate ours warm and transported them to our picnic spot in a metal cookie tin lined with a potholder.
- Two eggs
- Small onion, diced
- Half-dozen small mushrooms (crimini, button, etc.), washed and sliced
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat olive oil in sauté pan. Add onion and sauté until soft and slightly golden, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until darkened, about 5 minutes.
3. Rub light coating of olive oil on inside of ramekins. Scoop onion and mushroom mixture into bottom of ramekins.
4. Crack one egg into small dish, making sure no pieces of shell are in egg. Pour egg into ramekin. Repeat with second egg and second ramekin.
5. Place ramekins on baking sheet and put into oven. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes, depending on how runny you want your eggs to be. Turn baking sheet half-way through to ensure even cooking.