Take it Outside

BY Mary Catherine Logan

With the sizzling summer season coming to a close and the onset of school and ramped-up work schedules looming a Labor Day weekend picnic is the perfect occasion to get in those last few hours of sun and sand before diving back into the daily autumn grind.

We asked Artisan Market & Cafe NOFO Market & Café and Roberts Market to help plan three perfect picnics featuring fun family and romance. Get your picnic basket check your calendar and make it a date to remember.

Food Family and Fun

Menu food and recipes courtesy of Roberts Market

When June Cleaver packed a picnic for Ward Wally and the Beaver she was making a statement about the American family that hasn’t changed in forever: We love picnics!

We like the idea of families getting together for meals especially outdoor repasts so we asked Wrightsville Beach’s bastion of family food Roberts Market to create a beachy picnic that the whole family would enjoy.

As usual Roberts was on the money. Its fried chicken is a Wrightsville Beach classic and a food force to be reckoned with — even too-cool-for-school teenagers will want to join in the family fun.

Roberts wanted us to remember a few things before setting out. Bring sunscreen insect repellent citronella candles or any other element-protecting barrier so you don’t end up packing in your picnic prematurely. Food that gets eaten last goes on the bottom of the cooler. Leave the pets home. Picnics often go on the ground the perfect place for Fido to help himself.

Finally and this was the common picnic planner theme: Don’t forget to have fun! You and your family can make your own Leave It to Beaver moment. Just don’t forget the plaid blanket!

Balsamic Pasta Salad

1 pound uncooked pasta tricolor rotini or spiral pasta

1 large head broccoli cut and blanched

Sun-dried tomato julienned strips

10-ounce can artichoke hearts cut small

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon plus1 teaspoon Italian blend herbs

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Cook pasta to a soft texture rinse and chill. Meanwhile cut broccoli into small florets blanch in hot water and chill. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl cover and shake until well mixed.


Deviled Eggs

4 hard-boiled eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons mustard

½ teaspoon chili powder

Kosher salt dash

White pepper dash

Parsley minced

Hard-boil the eggs chill peel and cut in half. Remove yolks and place in a bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients and blend with a fork until well blended check seasoning and adjust to taste. Fill mixture into the cut egg halves sprinkle with chili powder and parsley.


Fried Chicken

Whole chicken cut into pieces

2 pounds (or so) self-rising flour

3 tablespoons seasoning salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

Combine spices and sprinkle over chicken; there should be a well-coated appearance. Place chicken in large bowl and coat with flour. Let the chicken stay covered in the flour for 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat a large pot or deep fryer to 335 degrees. Cook chicken for approximately18 minutes or until no less than a 165-degree internal temperature is achieved. Refrigerate until ready to eat.


Shrimp Salad

1 pound baby shrimp cooked and chilled

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning blend

3 stalks celery diced small

Roasted red peppers or pimentos diced small

Combine all ingredients in bowl after shrimp is chilled. Adjust mayonnaise and seasoning to taste. Serve with crackers or cocktail bread.

Boaters’ Bounty

Menu food and recipes courtesy of NOFO Market & Café

If you’re a boater you already know that food tastes better when you’re out on the water. If you’re not a boater it’s time you found out for yourself. Put the words “picnic” and “boating” together and you’ve got a Labor Day match made in heaven.

The way NOFO Market and Café sees it a simple sandwich is good a delicious sandwich is better and a simply delicious sandwich is the best of all possible picnic worlds. Add some out-of-sight slaw and a handful of homemade chocolate chip cookies and you’ve got a boaters’ picnic you’ll remember way into winter.

Eating on the boat can get a tad messy at times so NOFO recommends packing practically: Leave the skimpy napkins and endless jars of condiments at home they tend to make things more difficult. Instead use durable paper towels and serve a meal that doesn’t require extra work. Along those lines load up the cooler with bottles and cans so picnickers don’t end up pouring drinks into Dixie cups that are flying away in the wind.

Also don’t forget the sun reflecting off the water is strong. Slather on the sunscreen and plan your boaters’ picnic for later in the afternoon. Finally break out the chocolate chip cookies sit back relax and let the sound of the waves become part of your picnic pleasure.

Turkey and Brie Sandwich

Raspberry jam




Mixed greens

Pita bread

Combine raspberry jam and mayo. Cut pita in half and spread one side with mayo. Layer two to three slices of brie on top on mayo followed by turkey and top with some mixed greens. Top with other pita half cut and serve.

Marinated Purple Slaw

1 head green cabbage

1 head purple cabbage

4 carrots shredded

1 bunch green onions

1 bunch parsley chopped finely

Combine above ingredients and mix well. Meanwhile blend the following ingredients in a food processor to make the dressing.

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1½ cups sugar

4 garlic cloves

Blend until sugar is dissolved. Slowly add 1½ cups canola oil. Toss with slaw. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 Chocolate Chip Cookies with Oatmeal and Pecans

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine

1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2½ cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 12 ounces)

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two heavy large baking sheets. Beat margarine and both sugars in large bowl until fluffy and well blended. Beat in eggs one at a time then the vanilla. Sift flour baking soda and salt over margarine mixture and stir to blend. Mix in oats the chocolate chips and pecans.

Working in batches drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets. Bake cookies until golden brown about 14 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be prepared one week ahead. Store cookies airtight at room temperature). Makes about 4 dozen.

Romantic Picnic for Two

Menu food and recipes courtesy of Artisan Market & Cafe

A picnic is a must for romantics — colorful flowers delicious food and a spectacular view — what could be more intimate?

The Artisan Market & Cafe prepared a picnic that won’t be easily forgotten a grand idea when you’re trying to impress that someone special and offered us some poised picnic tips to accompany its delicious food.

First: Location location location. Where you take her (or him) is one of the most important picnic decisions you can make. We live in a town with beautiful views every which way you turn so pick a spot that’s practical but not crowded and has special meaning. Don’t worry too much though if your picnic place isn’t already special — Artisan’s spread will make it memorable in no time.

Second: Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need before you spread the blanket. Nothing ruins the moment quicker than a chaotic dash to the nearest convenience store.

Third: Relax and enjoy your company. Your special guest is the best part of the picnic.


Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

3-4 Roma tomatoes seeded cut into thin strips

1 pound fresh mozzarella

4-5 basil leaves thin strips

¼ cup olive oil

⅛ cup white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 garlic clove chopped

Blend olive oil vinegar garlic and salt and pepper. Toss with remaining ingredients and serve.

Grilled Shrimp Wrap with Pesto Mayonnaise

10-12 medium shrimp peeled and deveined

2-4 ounces shredded lettuce

2 roasted red peppers thinly sliced

1 red onion thinly sliced

2-3 ounces shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese

¼ cup prepared pesto

¼ cup prepared mayonnaise

2 12-inch flour tortillas (or flavored wraps)

Grill shrimp approximately 2 minutes per side until done. Warm tortillas slightly to make them pliable. Divide lettuce red peppers onion cheese and shrimp in each tortilla. Fold sides of tortilla and then roll end to end until wrapped completely. Combine pesto and mayonnaise and use as dipping sauce.


Summer Fruit Cocktail

½ cantaloupe large dice

½ honeydew melon large dice

½ pineapple large dice

4 strawberries cut in half

Simple syrup (¼ cup sugar plus ¼ cup water)

Whipped cream

Heat water and sugar until dissolved. Cool syrup. Toss diced fruit with syrup and top with whipped cream.

 Ginger Peach Tea

Available at Artisan Market & Cafe