Picnic Fare

_DSC0080Who can resist setting up a picnic at a winery on summer weekends?  Not us!  There are so many tiny, cute vineyards in the Maryland and Virginia area that we love frequenting.  Most sponsor live music on the weekends for patrons to enjoy while swirling, sniffing, and sipping their wine, including this one.

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_DSC0063Instead of roasting brussel sprouts, which seems too heavy in the summer, I chopped them up raw and made a salad in preparation for our Sugarloaf Vineyard picnic.

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In the interests of full disclosure, I want to emphasis here that unless you really, REALLY enjoy chopping, this salad should not be attempted without a mandolin, which, unfortunately, I do not own.  I based this salad on a recipe I found here, but used vegenaise instead of mayo, agave instead of honey, and added chunks of parrano (instead of shaved pecorino) and excessive caramelized walnuts to our afternoon salad.

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The day before I made this salad, I taught a class to a Meditation Master, who was formerly a Thai monk, and his wife, who was an attorney.  They reminded me to practice meditation during routine activities such as doing the dishes or taking a shower and reminded me to coordinate my physical activity with my breath (a common principle from yoga) as much as possible throughout the day.  I attempted to sink into a meditative state during my brussel sprout chopping, picturing myself becoming one with the Universe.

_DSC0057But even a monk couldn’t meditate as long as it took me to chop this salad.  Less time consuming:  the cheese tray we pulled together to pair with the chilled wines we planned to sample that day.

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We’ve been increasingly adding various preserves and mustards to our cheese spreads lately.  This was a tart cherry preserve from Harry & David that we received as a gift.  It was divine, along with some whole-grain mustard (not pictured) as a spicy counternote.

_DSC0026The Laguiole cheese knives we picked up this week at the opening of the expanded Relish Decor location in downtown Frederick–we loved shopping for Languiole in Paris and were thrilled to find them here so close to our apartment.  Hallie (Relish’s owner) has styled the shop with her unique flair combining vintage, euro, eclectic, and nouveau modern kitchenware to bring the space to life.   My favorite: a vintage locker with original tape on each compartment door that she brilliantly turned into a display shelf.  Relish’s tag line is “Life Curated.”  It’s no wonder we get along so well!

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xxx

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