Great Seattle Parks for Picnics

August 14th, 2008

Seattle summer weather is perfect for picnics and this weekend looks like it won’t disappoint. There are so many great Seattle parks for picnics: Golden Gardens is the Classic, but there are beautiful views from Volunteer park, Gasworks and Discovery park.

While it is just fine to show up with some friends, blanket and basket in tow, you’ll have to make a reservation if you want to use any of the park’s shelters or hibachis. Reservations fill up fast and there is a fee. Click here for that information.

When I go on a picnic, I like to take along a variety of easy to eat small plates. Think grain salads, or pressed sandwiches, presliced cheeses, crackers, and veggies and dip. What you don’t want are mayo based salads that can get soggy or can cause illness if unattended to or improperly handled. Yuck!

I hope you’ll try my recipe for Curried Orzo Spinach Salad and hit the parks this weekend for great outdoor dining!

Curried Orzo Spinach Salad
Makes 8 – 12 servings

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound (about 2 cups) dry orzo pasta
1 bunch fresh spinach, cleaned and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced small
1 large red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 cup tiny-diced red onions
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup small-diced dried apricots

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, curry powder, hot sauce, garlic, sour cream, oil, and black pepper. Reserve.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions or until al dente. Drain but do not rinse. While pasta is still fairly warm, toss it with the reserved dressing. Let mixture totally cool, then toss in remaining ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate if made ahead. Salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

© 2004 Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Entry Filed under: KOMO Radio,Recent Posts,salads,sides

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