Community barbecues: The fellowship of food
Londonderry Lions Club members Frank Holdsworth and Sherman Packard cook up plenty of burgers and hot dogs behind Londonderry High School Wednesday evening during a barbecue and concert for the town's senior citizens. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
It's a good bet juice from a watermelon will dribble down a chin, the hot dogs will snap when bitten and faces like the food will fill picnickers with the feeling they've been here before and it was good.
"I think because it's outdoors, I think it's just a lot more relaxed, more than even a plain old church potluck, which we do that too," said Randy Thompson, pastor of Immanuel Community Church in Concord. "But there's something about when you eat outdoors that's just relaxing, informal, casual. And when you eat outdoors, someone will usually bring a croquet set or a badminton set, and not everyone plays, but some people do and it creates a more playful atmosphere I think than you have when you are indoors (at a potluck)."
"We don't have a philosophy about it particularly," Thompson joked. "But especially with cleanup afterwards, if you have bones, that can be problematic."
"It's just brown sugar, molasses, that kind of thing and navy beans, the little ones," Cady said.
Cold salads add a nice variety to the table. It's a great idea to stick with fresh veggies for both green and pasta salads. As for the pasta and potato salads, they can be as fancy or as simple as the cook likes. In Dublin, Cady said, one of the best contributions to this year's picnic was a very simple potato salad.
Though many salads are mayonnaise based, sometimes a little vinegar can be a picnic superstar. Insalata Di Rinforzo is one such salad, mixing cauliflower, carrots, fennel, peppers, olives and capers with red wine vinegar and oil, creating a sort of cool pickled veggie vibe.
"He has an old gasoline engine that makes ice cream," Cady said. "So he starts the engine and … it has a belt and the belt is hitched so it runs the churner."
Serves 6 to 8
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large slices
1 jar of peperoncini
2 stalks of celery
1 jar of roasted bell peppers
1/2 cup of pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup of fresh parsley
1 bulb of fennel, chopped (see note)
2 tbsp of capers
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 to 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Note: Green beans can be used instead of fennel ( or left it out altogether). You can also add raw red onion rings and raw red pepper instead of roasted.
Add the cauliflower florets, carrots, celery, fennel and cook until tender but still crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes, remove them from the boiling water and plunge into the ice water or just rinse under cold water in a colander.)
Add all remaining ingredients and toss together well. You can serve it immediately or cover it and place it in the fridge for a couple hours. Take out from the fridge 1 hour before you plan to serve it.
This macaroni salad is lighter on the mayonnaise than many.
1 box of elbow macaroni
1 jar of small green olives, chopped (reserve liquid)
1 med. onion, chopped
2/3 cup of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste