Seriously Delicious Recipes from our Gourmet Picnic Class with Chef Susan Holding



Summer Picnic Class

June 2011

Instructor: Susan Holding, The Little French Bakery



  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra needed for baking
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 cups flour



Day 1: In a small bowl, stir the yeast into 1/2 cup of warm water.

Add sugar and stir. Leave 10 minutes to ferment. Stir together the flour, cheese, rosemary and pepper. Place in a mound on a large board or counter, and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, the remaining water, and the oil into the well. Mix together until stiff, and knead by hand until smooth for about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover with clingwrap and refrigerate overnight.

Day2: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 4 baking sheets. Take a handful of the dough, leaving the rest covered. Dust well with flour and roll into a long rectangle, about ¼” thick. Again dust with flour and cut into strips using a pizza cutter.

Carefully separate the grissini and place on the baking sheets so they do not touch. Brush with a little more oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Mediterranean Pressed Sandwich

Serves 6-8


  1. Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally, like a sandwich or hamburger bun, and remove the inside crumb from the top and bottom, leaving a 1/4 inch border all around. Save the crumbs for bread crumbs.
  2. Drain the artichokes and sun dried tomatoes, save their oils / marinades, and combine them together. To the marinade, add the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, dijon, and salt and pepper. Whisk well to incorporate and taste for seasoning – set aside. If the dressing is too strong, add a few teaspoons of olive oil as needed. You can also add some dried basil, oregano or rosemary if you like.
  3. Spread the inside of the TOP of the loaf with the olive tapenade, and lay the prosciutto slices in the BOTTOM, covering thoroughly.
  4. Layer the spinach, artichoke hearts, red pepper, goat cheese, basil leaves, and sun dried tomatoes on the prosciutto in that order. Make sure to cover the sandwich all the way to the edges as evenly as possible with every layer.
  5. Whisk the dressing well and carefully spoon in about 4 Tablespoons over the layers in the bread boule. Save the rest of the dressing for another use.
  6. Place the top with the tapenade back on top of the loaf and press down well to secure the top.
  7. Wrap the loaf securely in wax paper and butcher’s twine, and then wrap again securely in aluminum foil. Place in the refrigerator overnight with a heavy cast iron pan or brick on the sandwich to weigh it down.
  8. When ready to serve, simply unwrap the sandwich and cut into wedges with a serrated knife. It will go quickly. Can be unrefrigerated for up to 4 hours as long as it isn’t blazing hot, keep it in the cooler until about 1/2 hour before it’s needed.

Fruit and Vegetable Slaw

4 TBSP finely chopped shallots

4 TBSP chopped fresh mint

¼ cider vinegar

2 TBSP honey

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 pear, cut into matchsticks

½ seedless English cucumber (or reg), cut into matchsticks

1 cup shredded jicama (or cabbage)

1 ½ cups watermelon (or mix of melon) cut into small cubes


Whisk the shallots, mint, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Add the pear, cucumber, jicama and melon. Toss well to coat and serve immediately.


Chicken and Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4) OR 1 Deli Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 6 scallions including green tops, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest


  1. In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or toast the pine nuts in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes.
  2. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the oil slowly, whisking.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the peas; cook until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a strainer, transfer to a large bowl. Add the rice to the water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, return to the pot, and cover to keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, bring 1/4 inch of water to a simmer over moderately high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer, turning once, until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove the chicken, let cool slightly, and then cut into approximately 1/2-inch chunks. If using deli chicken, pull chicken from bones, and cut into ½ inch chunks.
  5. Add the pine nuts, rice, chicken, raisins, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, and dressing to the large bowl and stir gently to mix.


Almond, Elderflower and Lime Travel Cakes

  • 10 oz. almond paste, broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ½ TBSP cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 ½ TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 TBSP St. Germain or other Elderflower liqueur
  • Icing:
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 ½ TBSP St. Germain
  • 2 ½ TBSP heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp finely grated lime zest, plus strips for decorating


Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 mini muffin tins with pan spray. In a food processor, pulse almond paste (don’t over process), add eggs, and pulse til smooth. Add cornstarch and salt- process til smooth. Add butter and St. Germain and pulse until incorporated.

Pour batter into a small pitcher, them pour into muffin cups. (fill about 2/3 full) Bake for 22 minutes or until cakes are puffed and golden – and firm to touch. Cool in pans on rack for about 20 minutes, then invert and cool completely.

For the icing, mix confectioners sugar, cream, liqueur, and lime juice. Beat at low speed until smooth. Beat in zest. Spoon icing over cakes allowing icing to drip down the sides. Top with lime zest strip and/or candied violet.


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