The art of the indoor picnic :: Dinner on a midsummer night


We're what you could call a picnicking family. We love a good picnic. But perhaps I should be more specific - we love a good indoor picnic. There are no ants, mosquitoes or bees to contend with. We needn't load up the car with blankets, beach chairs, and coolers. We needn't worry about bug repellant or sunscreen. In fact the indoor picnic couldn't possibly any simpler. You can serve up whatever dish you want and not worry about keeping it hot or cold. You can use paper plates or serve up your best china and crystal. Picnic blankets are optional but fun. You can sit on the floor if you like, but we prefer to sit on the couches. I have an oversized coffee table which houses many of my decorating books. I remove everything from the surface to create a clean canvas. Onto the canvas I place the evening's festive bites. Really anything can be served, but we tend to prefer small bites: olives, cornichons, assorted breads and crackers, various meats like prosciutto, different salamis, chicken salad, assorted cheeses, fruit, and veggie. This can be done with leftovers, or if it's too hot to cook or you're pressed for time, or simply just feeling a bit lazy, there's no harm in running to the store and picking up some delicious prepared salads, meats, shrimp cocktail, a baguette, some cheese, some pate perhaps and a nice bottle of wine, perhaps a nice sparkling beverage for the kids, something festive. We love finger foods. Mini sandwiches, cherry tomatoes, deviled eggs, cherries are also great picnic finger foods. Small bowls of chilled soup are great as well.

With the indoor picnic, as you can see, anything goes. The sky's the limit! It's more an attitude than anything else. It's supposed to be fun and easy, casual and relaxing... something you needn't put much thought or energy into and yet the result would seem as though you've slaved over it for hours! An indoor picnic is perfect in any weather, any time of year - anytime. It's the perfect way to begin the weekend. It's also the perfect way to end the weekend. And the perfect mid-week antidote!

When was the last time you had an indoor picnic?  

Food ideas for your indoor picnic:

(Be sure to take advantage of summer's bounty!)
Assorted breads and crackers
Cheeses, an assortment
Italian salamis
Deviled or hard boiled eggs
Sliced avocado drizzled with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper
Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved, sprinkled with sea salt
Sliced radishes and sea salt for dipping
Cucumber salad
Mixed bean salad
Corn and Tomato salad
Pasta or quinoa salad
Potato salad
Chicken or tuna salad
Assorted sushi rolls
Mini burgers
Assorted sandwiches
Finger sandwiches
Crab, lobster or salmon cakes
Crab or lobster rolls
Oysters on the half shell
Mini lamb chops
Shrimp cocktail or grilled Shrimp
Kabobs - beef, chicken or shrimp
Summer soups in small easy to manage cups such as vichyssoise or gazpacho
Strawberries with freshly made whipped cream to dip into
Assorted fresh fruit cut into slices
Fruit salad
Assorted cookies
Assorted brownies
Mini cupcakes
Hand pies
Whoopie pies
Iced Tea
Seltzer water