(Us about 7 years ago on one of our dinner picnics)
Now that we have two wonderful children, our picnics revolve around play grounds and sandboxes more than they do around food. So, since Foodbuzz asked us to blog about a meal on the go for this weeks Project Foodblog challenge, I decided to recreate a picnic for two.
On one of our previous visits to Prague, we discovered 94-year-old Deli in the heart of Downtown that has some of the most unique and delicious sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Today, I would like to share the experience of a true Bohemian picnic with you.
The region of Germany that I live in is right next to Bohemia – which is in the western part of the Czech Republic, and much of the Bohemian culture extends into Bavaria. And, my butcher’s family just happens to be from Bohemia, so I asked for some advice as to what would be a typical Bohemian picnic meal to complement my potato salad and roast beef sandwiches. His mother-in-law came out from the back where she usually helps prepare take-away food, and shared some advice with me. We settled on Brussels sprout salad, rice pudding with preserved, sour cherries, and elderflower spritzer. My Bohemian picnic was starting to come to life.
And, with the surprisingly sunny weather we had this weekend, we were able to head on over to our community garden for a nice picnic dinner for two – while the kids played in the playground, of course! I really love the scent of fresh air with my meal – it makes everything taste better.
Potato salad is a very classic picnic dish, but it’s much more fun – and delicious – when it’s in a sandwich. It transforms a dry piece of bread into a deliciously creamy sandwich. You can top it off with any deli meat of your liking; my favorite is roast beef because, not only does it taste good, but I have many wonderful childhood memories attached it it. Then, go ahead and add some tomato, hard boiled egg, and pickle, and you have yourself the perfect Bohemian sandwich.
To complement the flavors and textures of my creamy potato salad and roast beef sandwich, I made a Brussels sprout salad. I actually grew-up eating this same dish at home – even though I’m not Bohemian – with one major difference. They add sugar. I was really worried that this would over sweeten the Brussels sprouts and make them taste gross, but I was quite wrong. And, although I still prefer my mother’s tangy version, this one is quite palatable and a really big hit with the kids. My son was begging me for more after 2 helpings!
To help wash everything down, I chose to make an elderflower spritzer. True, beer is very Bohemian, but I wanted something lighter that would offset the savory flavors of the sandwich. This was actually the first time I had ever used and tasted elderflower syrup, and I was pleasantly surprised by its fragrant flavor.
To crown the meal, we enjoyed rice pudding topped off with the sour cheery pie filling that I canned this summer. Traditionally, you would use sour cherries preserved in their own juices, but I find the creamier pie filling preserves the consistency of the rice pudding instead of turning it into a watery mess.
The general rule of a Bohemian picnic is to use what’s available to you. Don’t have access to roast beef? Use ham. Or, go vegetarian and leave the deli meat out all together. Not a big fan of Brussels sprouts? You can make the same delicious salad using cauliflower. Did you miss-out on the 3 weeks of the year when sour cherries are in season? No problem, you can also top off your rice pudding with preserved plums, raspberries, or apples. Use what you have in your pantry or what is in season and local. Never heard of elderflowers and they don’t grow in your region? Make a simple syrup with fresh petals and herbs available to you: rose petals, orange or lemon blossoms, lemon verbena leaves, lavender flowers, hibiscus flowers, mint leaves, vanilla bean …the list goes on and on. Mrs. Willomitzer shared with me that when there was no wine they even made a simple syrup out of red wine vinegar and drank that mixed with water. Creativity is key.
So, get your creative juices flowing, get cooking, pack your awesome Project Foodblog cooler or picnic basket, and take the time to have a Bohemian picnic. Continue Reading »