Your best picnic time victuals

From salads to brownies, food fit for any blanket. Plus, this week's challenge: Fun with fruit!

Published June 8, 2010 1:02AM (EDT)

Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically. Last week, we asked for your finest picnic victuals.


Pan Roasted Corn Salad by Mamie Chen: After a summer working in the theater of absurdity that is the gourmet section of a high-end department store, Mamie discovers that her dreams of picnicking like an aristocrat are, well, not really realistic. But she's got a great summertime salad to show for it.


In the Sweet, Sour, Spicy category:

Mexican Slaw by Cathy Elton: Going straight for the picnic basket, Cathy doesn't mince many words and comes straight out with a fantastic slaw, made special with pineapple, cilantro, chilies, and apple-like vegetable jicama. Great on the side, awesome on a taco.

In the Stunning Photos/Heartstopping Dessert category:

Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies by Lucy Mercer: Lucy shares three absolutely phenomenal photographs -- taken by her grandfather nearly 100 years ago -- of a picnic in the mountains, of a woman so absolutely alive and men vying for the right to carry her across a running stream. Her picnics today, though, feature a different way of feeling alive: to dare your heart to deal with these fantastically rich cream cheese brownies.

In the Illustrious Ancestors category:

Wunderbar German Potato Salad by Kirby Hanson: Because Kirby has such a fabulous sense of humor, I'm sure she has a T-shirt somewhere that can tell the short version of this story: My great-great-great-grandfather invented Budweiser, and all I got was this (pretty great) potato salad. But because she has such a fabulous sense of humor, you should go ahead and read the whole thing.


In more potato salad memoir, Grace Hwang Lynch shares a story of potato salad sandwiches and the mild childhood trauma of watching immigrant grandparents do their thing with "American" classics. (Recipe for Wasabi Potato Salad included.)

In an endearing post, Paula Torrey Mamuscia tells us of preparing a picnic for a second date, her first in years, and feeling again the nerves of a 16-year-old, only decades later. (Recipes for Chicken Sandwiches with Cilantro Almond Relish, Potato and Green Bean Salad, and Coconut Lime Squares included.)

Mark Twain may not have actually once quipped that "The coldest winter I ever spent was a San Francisco summer," but Linda Shuie comes to this week's party with a fascinating look at the science behind the city's freezing summertime fog, and a few picnic salads so easy they hardly need recipes. (Recipes for Lemony Cucumber Salad, Prosciutto and Melon, and Nectarine-Tomato Salad included.)

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First, you may have noticed that we're tweaking the Salon Kitchen Challenge around these parts -- basically, we've been getting so many great recipes and entries every week that we wanted to be able to highlight more of them. So, from now on, in addition to a winner, we're also re-posting the category winners on Salon! Fun fun, and more recipes to cook from for all!

And now onto the challenge: Sometimes you say things you regret, and I may have done so on Saturday, when I disparaged the mango-black bean salsa I used to have to make at my first kitchen job. I was in a fit of fruit-purist pique, declaring that really the best way to enjoy fruit is on its own, but we all know that's not necessarily true.

So this week, the challenge is to make me eat humble pie. Share with us your best fruit salsas, relishes, chutneys and sauces. They can be savory or sweet, meant for dessert or the main course. Just show me that sometimes, with fruit, more really is more.

Be sure to tag your posts: SKC fruit (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)

Scoring and winning

Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and, well, fruitiness.

By Salon Staff

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Food Kitchen Challenge