Picnic Ideas To Light Up July 4th

If you're planning to spend the Fourth of July outdoors, The Early Show and friends at Williams-Sonoma have great picnic recipe suggestions.

Author and cooking teacher Tori Ritchie demonstrates the following easy-to-make picnic recipes at the flagship store in the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Stuffed Summer Sandwich

If you prefer a vegetarian version of this portable sandwich, replace the ham with sliced mozzarella, Monterey jack cheese or grilled eggplant. The loaf can be covered in plastic wrap, refrigerated overnight and sliced just before serving.

2 large red bell peppers
1 round loaf of sourdough or coarse country bread
1 can pitted black olives, drained
1 Garlic clove
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. thinly sliced baked ham or prosciutto
1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves or 4 to 6 leaves of red-leaf lettuce


  1. Preheat a broiler.
  2. Cut the bell peppers into quarters and remove the stems, seeds and ribs. Place the quarters, cut sides down, on a baking sheet and broil about 4 inches below the heat until the skins blacken and blister. Transfer to a paper bag and seal; let steam until cool enough to handle. Peel off and discard the skins. Set the peppers aside.
  3. Place the bread on a cutting board and, using the tip of a serrated knife, cut a large circle in the top about 1/2-inch deep and 1 inch from the edge. Pull out the circle of crust; remove all of the bread attached to it to make a lid. Pull out all of the bread from the interior of the loaf, leaving a shell 1/2 inch thick. Set the bread shell and lid aside. (Reserve the pulled-out bread for another use.)
  4. In a blender or food processor, combine the olives, garlic and olive oil and process until fairly smooth. Using a rubber spatula, spread the olive paste around the inside of the bread shell and on the underside of the bread lid. (Alternatively, mince the olives and garlic, place in a small bowl and stir in the olive oil to make a coarse paste. Spread the olive paste on the bottom of the bread shell.)
  5. Line the bread shell with half of the ham. Top with half of the roasted pepper quarters, then half of the tomato slices and a few basil leaves. Use just enough to cover the filling without overlapping too much. Repeat the layers, ending with basil. Replace the bread lid and press down lightly to compact the layers. Cut into wedges and serve.
Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Complete Outdoor Living Cookbook, edited by Chuck Williams (Weldon-Owen, 2002).