Live

Watch CBSN Live

Colin Cowie's Picnic Ideas

If you want to throw a party but are easily overwhelmed by entertaining, try a picnic with your friends.

It's a terrific way to relax and unwind outside. Master entertainer, Colin Cowie visits The Early Show with some fresh ideas to make it a great afternoon.

When most people think of a picnic, they think of paper plates and simple sandwiches, but you can have a terrific picnic without everything looking disposable.

Here are Cowie's easy and simple rules to have a great picnic:

  1. Be sure you're not too far from a public restroom. It sounds funny, but it's true.
  2. Along those lines, be sure that you bring a restroom in a bag, just in case (toilet paper, etc.).
  3. Bring garbage bags to make sure that you leave the environment exactly the way you found it.
  4. Bug spray is also an obvious necessity. Cowie prefers Citronella-scented wipes.
  5. Bring cards and some games to play

Cowie suggests serving the following sandwiches, salads and pickles.

Mahi Mahi Sandwich

1 pound Mahi Mahi fillets
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon herbs d'Provence
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and cubed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 sandwich rolls, split and toasted
1 cup spinach leaves

  1. Rub the fillets with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then sprinkle them with the herbs d'Provence and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the tomatoes and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the parsley and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a small skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat and cook the fish for 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  4. Arrange some of the spinach leaves over each of the roll bottoms. Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto the leaves, then top with the fillets. Cover the sandwiches with the roll tops.
    Makes 4 sandwiches

Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Sandwiches

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Basil Mayonnaise (see below)
4 sandwich rolls, split in halves
4 fresh mozzarella slices
8 tomato slices
About 1 cup mixed baby greens

  1. Place the chicken between pieces of waxed paper and pound with a heavy object to flatten. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until almost cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  3. Spread the Basil Mayonnaise over the cut surfaces of the rolls.
  4. Place one chicken breast half on each of the roll bottoms. Add 2 tomato slices, a mozzarella slice and some of the greens on top. Cover the sandwiches with the roll tops.
    Makes 4 sandwiches

Basil Mayonnaise

3 cups basil leaves
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a food processor combine ingredients. Process to blend thoroughly.
Makes 1 quart

Roast Beef Sandwiches

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Dash hot pepper sauce
4 French rolls, split in halves and toasted
1 pound 1/4-inch thick sliced roast beef
8 thick tomato slices
1 onion, sliced and sauteed until brown
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, horseradish, shallot and hot pepper sauce. Spread the mixture on the cut surfaces of the rolls.
  2. Layer some of the beef, onions and tomato slices onto the bottom halves of the rolls. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the sandwiches with the roll tops.
    Makes 4 sandwiches

Red Cabbage Cole Slaw

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red cabbage, finely shredded
5 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and thyme. Pour on the dressing and toss well to combine.
    Serves 8

Potato Salad

6 cups diced cooked potatoes (about 5 large potatoes)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced dill pickles
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chives

  1. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, celery, pickles and shallots. Add the mayonnaise and toss to coat the ingredients evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer the salad to a serving dish and garnish with the chopped eggs and chives.
    Serves 8
    NOTE:
    Salad can be made 1 day ahead, but don't garnish until serving.

Pickled Onions, Tomatoes, Beets

Before pickling foods, sterilize the jars and their lids by boiling them in enough water to cover them for 10 minutes. Leave them in the hot water until you are ready to pack them.

Pickled Onions

2 pounds small white pickling onions
2 cups tarragon vinegar brown
12 whole cloves
10 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 small dried hot red chile

  1. Drop the onions into a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, lift the onions out of the water and, when cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Discard the water
  2. Add the vinegar, cider, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the peeled onions. Set aside until cool.
  3. Pour into a pint size jar that has been boiled for sterilization. Add enough liquid to come to within 1/4-inch of the rim. Add 1 dried chile to each jar. Seal with the tops. Store at room temperature for 2 days then refrigerate.
    Makes 2 jars

Pickled Beets

1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 pounds small beets
1 1/2 cups brown vinegar
10 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coarse salt

  1. Place the onion slices in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Drop the beets into a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain the beets over the bowl of onions, allowing the onions to wilt.
  3. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off of the beets.
  4. Drain the onions, reserving 11/2 cups of the water. In a small saucepan combine the reserved water, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Pack the beets and onions into a quart size jar. Pour in enough of the vinegar mixture to come to within 1/4 inch of the rims. Seal with the tops. Let the beets stand at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate.
    Makes 1 jar

Pickled Tomatoes

2 pounds small green tomatoes, rinsed and stemmed
5 cups water
3 tablespoons coarse salt
10 cloves garlic, blanched and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 bay leaves

  1. Pack the tomatoes into 2 quart-size sterilized jars. Set aside.
  2. Boil the water and combine with the salt, garlic, dill, pickling spice and bay leaves and pour over the tomatoes, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Seal the jars with the tops and set in the sun for 24 hours. Store in a cool place for 3 days then refrigerate.
    Makes 2 jars

    NOTE: Order green tomatoes from your market or a produce stand. Or, pick green cherry tomatoes from your garden.


Dill Pickles

2 pounds pickling cucumbers
5 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
10 garlic cloves, blanched and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of dill

  1. Pack the cucumbers into 2 quart-size jars. Set aside.
  2. Combine the water, salt, garlic, dill, pickling spice and bay leaves. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers filling to within 1/4 inch of the rims. Seal with the lids. Set the jars in the sun for 24 hours. Store in a cool place for 3 days before refrigerating.
    Makes 2 jars
View CBS News In