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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Picnic Day

     I've been wanting to go out on a picnic for a while.  Wanted us to go out, have a swim, then cook a nice barbecue, and generally have a blast in the outdoors.  The time presented itself this past Labor Day, when the weather couldn't have been more perfect - lovely blue sky, hot, but not overtly (96F maximum), and with relatively low humidity.  We headed for Wekiva Springs, just a 20' drive from our home.

     The park is a great place to spend the day outdoors.  The natural spring has the purest, clearest water, and it is NOT salty.  As soon as we arrived we took a swim, then relaxed while people-watching.  There is canoeing as well, which we will do some other time, and some long and mysterious trails, with wildlife appearing right before ones eyes just like magic.
The main spring, highly inviting and refreshing.

     When lunch time hoovered, we grabbed the grill and some burgers and found a shadowy spot under a palm tree.  We did have some trouble lighting the coals, and spent about half a bottle of lighting fluid until they finally started burning, but once they did, the burgers cooked steadily and turned out wonderfully juicy.  I brought two huge ones, one made out of ground lamb with herbs and the other of beef with foie gras, ordered from Dean & Deluca.  I made some raita to pair with the lamb burger and opened a jar of caramelized onions to top the foie gras one.  To both, I added some tomato slices and lettuce.  Once placed into the sesame seed-topped buns, they were so big I cut them in half so that we both could try each variety.  They were delicious and filled our stomachs for the rest of the day.

Walking the trails after our substantial burger lunch.
     I am including here the recipe for the raita sauce I used on the lamb burgers.  It's Nigella Lawson's, and goes great especially with Indian or middle-eastern food.  

Ingredients:
  • 250gr Greek yogurt
  • 2 fat or 3 thin spring onions
  • 1/2 fresh green chili
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and cut into small cubes 
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander and mint
Preparation:
  1. Tip the yogurt into a medium mixing bowl and, letting everything drop on top of it, slice the spring onions finely and deseed and chop the chilli finely too.
  2. Peel and mince the garlic into the yogurt and also add the peeled cubed cucumber and most of the freshly chopped coriander and mint, reserving a little to sprinkle on top later.
  3. Mix all these ingredients together, and taste for seasoning.  I agree with Nigella's suggestion of adding a fair bit of salt.  Sprinkle the remainder coriander and mint on top and serve.

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