Recipes for a Picture-Perfect Southern Summer Picnic
June 2023 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
June is a delightful time to get outside in South Carolina. With nearly perfect weather, this month’s bright blue skies and gentle breezes are the perfect accompaniments to dining outdoors, whether at a favorite restaurant, your own patio or deck, oceanside, or at one of the countless, picture-perfect picnic spots across the Lowcountry. All of these provide a scenic backdrop for an easy, breezy, laid-back summer meal.
Planning the perfect picnic is simple with the combination of fun and easy foods in a comfortable outdoor setting. From choosing the best way to pack your fare, to choosing a comfy picnic blanket, there are a number of things to keep in mind in addition to your menu. Choosing your picnic spot is key – think soft, lush grass, possible water or marsh views, and lots of shade!
When choosing your menu, think about your favorite foods that are delicious, refreshing and portable. Mason jars with lids are a great option for both serving and transporting things like salads, sides, and desserts. Cold foods can really hit the spot on a warm Southern day and best kept cool in today’s super coolers—the perfect spot for your bottle of bubbles, too!
Here are just a few of my favorite things to prepare and share when planning a Lowcountry Southern picnic. Not only are they easy to make and transport, they also turn any summertime outing into a festive occasion filled with happy memories. It’s official, summer picnic season is open here in the Lowcountry!
Classic Arnold Palmer Iced Tea
1 cup Sugar
13/4 cups Water
4 large Lemons
1 family-sized Black iced tea bag,
such as Luzianne Tea
4 cups Water
To make the lemonade: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1 cup of water. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. While cooling, juice lemons and strain to remove pulp and seeds. Once cooled, combine simple syrup, and whisk well to blend. Taste mixture and add remaining water, if needed.
To make the black tea: Bring 2 cups of the water to a boil; add the tea bag and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag. Stir in an additional 2 cups of water and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
To make the Arnold Palmer: Fill a tall glass with ice. Add equal parts of tea and lemonade and stir to combine. Garnish with the lemon wedge.
Picnic Egg Salad
6 Eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and chopped
3 Tbsps Mayonnaise
2 Tbsps Radish, minced
1 Tbsp Dill
1 tsp Scallion, minced
1/2 tsp kosher Salt
1 rustic-style Bread loaf, sliced thin, grilled, or toasted
Stir together eggs, mayonnaise, radish, dill, scallion, and salt in a medium bowl. Spread a heaping spoonful of mixture onto each toasted bread slice.
Fish Bait Snack Mix
2 cups Popcorn, already popped, any flavor
1 cup Pretzel sticks
¼ cup Raisins
¼ cup Dried cranberries
1 cup Fish-shaped crackers
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Store in a tightly covered container or plastic baggy for travel.
Grilled Ham & Pineapple Skewers
2 cups 1” cooked Ham cubes
2 cups Fresh pineapple chunks
1 large Vidalia onion, cut into eighths
2 tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Teriyaki glaze
Preheat grill to medium-high. Skewer the ham, pineapple, onion, and tomatoes. Grill for 3-5 minutes per side. Brush skewers with teriyaki glaze and cook for one more minute before removing from grill.
Country Buttermilk Pound Cake
1 1/3 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups Sugar
6 large Eggs
3 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Butter for greasing pan
Confectioner’s Sugar, for garnish
Fresh berries of your choice
Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat butter at medium speed with a hand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Add flour to butter mixture alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (16-cup) tube or Bundt pan.
Bake at 325°F for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar along the top of the cake, garnish with your favorite fresh berries and whipped cream.
Leslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.