When I was 7 or 8 years old there was a winter that dropped tons of snow on us and kept us homebound most weeks. There were frequent snow days and we were plagued by colds and flu.
That was the winter my father took a second job as a butcher at a newly-opened grocery store and I remember him trudging through the snow in his overcoat.
By February 1, we are already tired of winter. My father had a solution, though, to the winter doldrums. A lover of picnics, he proposed we hold one in the living room. A broad, sunny room that spanned the entire front of our Craftsman bungalow, it was a room we never ate in and rarely used. That itself was a treat — eating in the living room. On the floor, no less!
He came up with the idea on a Thursday night. The picnic was to take place on Saturday. All day Friday, as school dragged on, I was buoyed by the thought of the next day's fun.
Friday night, my father came home with a big bag of paper plates, ground beef, hotdogs and all the trimmings and a red-and-white checked tablecloth. By 1 p.m. Saturday, we were assembled on blankets around that tablecloth, enjoying hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, potato chips and soda and all the pickles we could eat.
Today I cringe when I think of all the carbohydrates in that meal. But I like the idea of summer picnic fare in winter — infrequently, of course, for I still require hearty soups and stews to pull me through the long months of Wisconsin cold.
Today, my husband craved hotdogs. I wanted tuna salad on a chewy French roll. We had both, and I ran across this recipe in a cookbook appropriately titled "Perfect Picnics for All Seasons" by Gail Monaghan.
Cherry Tomatoes Provençal
1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley and chives, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
dash freshly grated black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Turn broiler to high. Toss bread crumbs, garlic, herbs and seasoning in a small bowl. Place the tomatoes, cut sides up, in a shallow, oiled baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the tomatoes and then drizzle with oliveoil. Broil on a shelf that is about 6 inches from the broiler for 1-2 minutes, just until thre crumbs turn golden brown.
I added a small amount of leftover herbed chevre to the crumb mix, just to use it up. But I think this recipe stands alone.
A note of thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who have linked to this site in the past several weeks by a mention or meme invitation. A special thanks to Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen for featuring my Honey Dijon Dressing and photo.