July 25th, 2009 |

Stargazing Picnic

stargazing picnic

Whether you are planning a romantic night with your special someone, or an intimate gathering of close friends – bring your dinner out under the stars for a picnic!

Set the mood by creating a cozy area for people to gather.  Lounge chairs, blankets, big pillows will do – add lanterns, candles and potted plants around to add color and some mood lighting.  Serve food that is not only easy to eat, but remember to use serving dishes that aren’t breakable and they should sit well on the ground.  Baskets are perfect for this occasion!  Gather bowls of different dips, slices of bread, and crackers all into one basket.

Come up with a festive dessert, such as a summer fruit salad with sambuca.  Give this recipe from Williams Sonoma a try….

Feel free to vary it according to the fruit available, adding raspberries, peaches, oranges or melons. Adjust the sugar, lemon juice and sambuca to suit your taste. Kirsch or another fruit brandy can be used in place of the sambuca, if you prefer. The critical step is the long maceration, which allows the flavors to blend.

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries

1 mango

1 plum

1 nectarine

1 cup blackberries

1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup sugar, plus more as needed

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more as needed

2 Tbs. anise liqueur, such as sambuca or anisette,
plus more as needed

1 banana

Directions:

Hull the strawberries and halve or quarter if large. Peel and dice the mango. Dice the plum and nectarine.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, mango, plum, nectarine, blackberries and blueberries. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 lemon and the 2 Tbs. sambuca and stir well. Dice the banana and stir into the salad. Taste and add more sugar, lemon juice or sambuca, if needed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the flavorings before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Images: stargazing picnic (brightideas.com), pillows (instyleweddings.com), basket of dips (inmagine.com), drinks (helennorman.com)

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