Lawson's Perfect Picnic





One of the best parts about Spring is friends and food! I love cooking up a casual and flavorful meal and heading out to the park for a picnic. Here are some simple yet tasty ideas to pack up and that delight the tastebuds.


Cuban Steak Sandwiches




What you need:


  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1 (14-inch) loaf ciabatta bread

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced



  • Cut the steak into 2 even pieces and place in a sealable plastic bag or container. Place the olive oil, cilantro, basil, parsley, lime juice, garlic, and 1 tablespoon salt in a blender and mix until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the herb-oil mixture and refrigerate. Add the remaining mixture to the meat, distribute evenly, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

  • Remove the meat from the marinade; discard marinade. Place on a paper towel, wiping off any excess marinade. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Once the pan is hot, add meat and cook until medium-rare, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Place meat on a cutting board and cover with foil. Repeat with other piece of meat, only adding more oil if necessary.

  • Cut ciabatta bread lengthwise. In a 375 degree oven, bake for 5 minutes directly on the rack.

  • Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the grill pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until just beginning to brown but still crisp, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with salt, to taste.

  • Take the reserved herb-oil mixture and brush the inside of both halves of bread. Slice steak thinly on the bias and place on the bottom half of the bread. Top with onions and then remaining bread. Slice into quarters and serve.


Watermelon with Balsamic and Feta




What you need:


  • 1/4 cup of good-quality balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • chopped water melon

  • 4 ounces of feta cheese

  • 2 tablespoons of shredded mint for garnish

  • In a small sauce pan, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and sugar over medium heat. The mixture will reduce by half and will become syrupy. 

  • Place the watermelon  in a serving bowl and drizzle the balsamic reduction. 

  • Sprinkle the shredded mint and feta on top.


White Strawberry-Lemon Sangria




What you need:



  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced

  • 1 apple, cored and sliced (any kind)

  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise

  • 1 750 ml bottle white wine (a dry-ish white wine is best! I prefer Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)

  • ½ cup white rum

  • 4 cups lemon-lime soda



  • Add lemon slices, apple slices and strawberries in a large pitcher

  • Pour white wine over the fruit

  • Chill the the fridge for 4-5 hours

  • When ready to drink, add lemon lime soda (I use Sprite). 

  • Add a few pieced of fruit to your glass and pour the chilled Sangria mixture to serve. 

*To make things even more refreshing, freeze some extra lemon slices and strawberries to add right before drinking.


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