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Picnic in Piedmont

This spring has been beautiful in Atlanta. A few friends and I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and have a picnic in Piedmont Park. I wanted to enjoy this time with my friends and not be stressed about food, so I kept the menu simple. In the past, we’ve picked up sandwiches from a nearby deli and enjoyed eating them in the park, which is deliciously simple. This weekend, I decided to pack lunch for everyone but kept the prep to a minimum.

I made Ina Garten’s lemon yogurt cake the night before. This is one of my favorite Ina recipes. I can never find whole milk yogurt in my grocery store that doesn’t include added sugar, so I just use equal parts Greek yogurt. The cake still turns out perfectly, and I like the added tanginess the Greek yogurt brings. This recipe calls for an extra step of soaking the cake in a lemon simple sugar while it’s still warm. At first, I was disinclined to follow this step before adding the glaze, but it makes all the difference. While other lemon cakes seem dry and dense, the lemon simple syrup keeps this loaf soft and springy. I let the cake cool overnight, then the next morning sliced it and wrapped each piece in parchment paper.

Get the recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Yogurt Cake

Saturday morning, I made this pasta, pesto, and peas salad. The most time-consuming step is making the pasta, allowing plenty of time to make this before lunch. I used store-bought pesto, which saved even more time. You add frozen spinach, mayonnaise, and lemon juice to the pesto and combine in a food processor. For extra texture, mix in green peas, pignolis, and freshly-grated Parmesan. It was a huge hit with my friends. For easy cleanup, I brought individual portions in paper takeout containers.

Get the recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Everything else I brought was store-bought. I picked up a freshly-baked baguette, a wheel of Brie, pear preserves, some green grapes, raspberries, sparkling waters, and a bottle of Brut Rosé. The disposable takeout containers made cleanup so easy. I brought a wooden cheese board, which frankly is so unnecessary; a paper plate would work just as well, but it made it easier to tear off pieces of bread and slice the cheese. I also packed napkin rolls for each person with plastic silverware inside, which made transport easier. I found these adorable plastic wine “glasses” on Amazon. Again, completely unnecessary, but it was fun to sip Rosé out of them as we soaked up some sun.

Above: photographic proof that I have friends

Other things to pack:

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Portable bluetooth speaker

  • Hand wipes

  • Paper towels

  • Trash bag

  • Bottle opener



Thanks for reading!

- Sam

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