I’m a few days late reporting on this week’s picnic, but it was another nice time of relaxation and fun for us. This week was cooler and a bit overcast; in fact, there were sprinkles on the windshield as we drove to our picnic spot. But they didn’t last, and we managed to enjoy our picnic without getting even a tiny bit damp. In view of the damp cool weather, I was glad I had chosen a soup and homemade bread for this week’s menu.
The bread was the Whole-Wheat Bread from my August 25 post “A Whole-Wheat Bread Success Story”. (Sorry, but my finicky computer does not allow me to make links here. You can access the recipe in the August 2006 Archives, however.)
The soup was a new recipe from a 2002 QUICK COOKING magazine. For once, I didn’t make very many changes in a recipe! The only change I made was to use maybe half a cup less cheese than the recipe called for. (I routinely reduce the amount of cheese in recipes; I always cut extra fat calories when I can, and with a sharply flavored cheese one can use less and still have a flavorful dish.) Here it is:
PARMESAN CORN CHOWDER
2 cups water
2 cups diced peeled potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots (oh, yes, I did use more carrots -- more like 1 cup)
1/2 cup sliced celery (and probably more celery, too)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1 (14.75 oz.) cream style corn
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the first 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Do not drain. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir into the vegetable mixture. Add corn and Parmesan cheese. Cook 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.
We transported the soup right in the Dutch oven. The pot was only a little over half full and the soup was nice and thick, so it traveled perfectly that way. We had set it on newspaper and also placed a layer of plastic wrap between the pot and the lid, but neither precaution was necessary. It didn’t leak at all. I brought along a ladle and we just served the soup from the pot. I brought large plastic soup bowls and also a box of oyster crackers. For the bread, only a small cutting board, a bread knife and a dish of butter plus a butter knife were needed.
It was so refreshing just to sit and enjoy this simple meal beside a tranquil, rippling river. We’ll be sorry when cold weather and the removal of picnic tables bring an end to our Wednesday evening picnics -- but will definitely plan to make them a part of our summer again next year.