Cooking with Kay: Recipes for your picnics

Kay Harrod, State Journal Food Editor Published:

Twist on Cole Slaw

Shredded cabbage is a versatile ingredient and can be mixed with lots of ingredients. If you want to save time, use a bag of cut cabbage mix, not the finely shredded — it goes to mush in this recipe.

This recipe can be made at least a day ahead.

1 bag of cut cabbage mix or ½-head cabbage hand cut with one carrot grated

2 T finely grated onion

2 jalapeños deseeded and membrane removed, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons celery seed

Good mayonnaise, amount depends on how it blends into slaw

2 cups of small tomatoes

Note: At the Farmers Market, I purchased a pint of tiny tomatoes; washed and dried them and removed their stems.

In a large bowl, grate onion to taste; not too heavy. Add the chopped jalapeños. Pour in the cabbage mix and add the salt, black pepper and celery seed. Toss all together.

Add mayonnaise starting with one cup and work it into the cabbage. I find it usually takes two cups. Add tomatoes and stir into mix.

Taste for seasoning.

Place in an airtight container and place in fridge until ready to serve.


Bacon and Potato Salad

Everything is about bacon these days; I find this recipe simple and good.

2 pounds small red potatoes cut in half and boiled in heavily salted water until fork tender. Drain, rinse and immediately let cool so potatoes dry off.

Cook about eight slices of bacon until crisp. 

Note: I highly recommend doing this in the oven. It’s so easy. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place slices of bacon on the foil and place the baking sheet in a 350-degree oven. There’s no tending to it; no turning. Check at 20 minutes and finish cooking until desired crispness.

Drain bacon, crumble.

Place the potatoes and bacon in a large bowl. Add ½-teaspoon salt and one teaspoon pepper.

2 T chopped fresh chives or 3 green onions, white and some green chopped.

Mix together: One tablespoon sweet pickle vinegar, one tablespoon horseradish or 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or you can use regular mustard if you don’t want a spicier taste, ½-teaspoon salt and ½-teaspoon pepper. Stir in one cup good mayonnaise and ½-cup good sour cream.

Note: Using a cheaper sour cream changes the taste. Some of the cheaper varieties have gelatin.

Pour over potato mixture and mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Place in an airtight container and put in fridge until ready to serve or head out for a picnic.

Note: If it’s going to be a while before you eat, I highly recommend putting all salads in a cooler.


Kale Salad

I made this recently and it was a hit. I used bleu cheese, but you can also use feta or goat cheese. The original recipe called for goat cheese.

¾ cup of pecans toasted in a 300 degree oven. Toss them a couple of times to warm them evenly and release their flavor – about 10 to 15 minutes, max. Remove from oven and let cool.

8-10 ounces fresh kale, stems removed, you should have about 3 - 4 cups. Chop the kale into bite size pieces.

Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with a ½ teaspoon of sea salt. With your hands massage the leaves scrunching big handfuls at a time. The kale will turn a dark, rich green and be fragrant. (This application surprised me and made a real difference in the salad’s taste.)

Chop one firm apple and add it to the bowl.

Chop pecans and add to bowl.

Add one cup craisins (dried cranberries).

Crumble the cheese into the salad.



3 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar or use Balsamic (I did)

1 level T Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk the dressing together well. Taste for seasoning and to see if any of the flavors are too strong. Pour over the salad. Let the dressing marinate the salad for 10-20 minutes. Serve.


Fresh fruit Salsa

You can also use this to top a good piece of grilled fish or on slices of skirt steak.

1 fresh pineapple cut in ¾-inch rings

4 freestone peaches, peeled and cut in half

2 halves of lemon or lime

2 halves of orange

Brush all these lightly with olive oil and lightly sprinkle the peaches and pineapple with honey or brown sugar.

Place on low clean grill that has been sprayed with cooking spray. If using charcoal place to sides and not directly over coals.

Let the fruits caramelize, possibly only turning once.

Remove fruits to a cutting board.

Chop the pineapple and peaches into bite size pieces.

In a bowl, add the fruit, a couple of green onions (white and green), 2 jalapeño peppers chopped fine (remember to deseed).

In a small bowl, squeeze the orange and lemon or lime, carefully watching for the seeds.

Add one teaspoon of salt.

Add ½-tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar.

Drizzle in olive oil, whisking as you go, about ¼-cup. Taste for seasoning.

Pour over fruit mixture and toss lightly.

Let stand at room temperature.

Use a heaping tablespoon on the fish or skirt steak.

If you are going to use as a fruit salsa, you probably need to double pineapple and peaches.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.