Welcome class. I’m here to teach you how to prepare an essential-to-life commodity: the picnic basket. Life is full of pop quizzes so you’ll want to be ready to create one when that beautiful spring day comes. Here are five steps to building the perfect picnic basket snack.
Step 1: Plan what you want to eat
Much like a regular sit-down meal, picnic basket snacks need ingredients that vary in flavor and texture. I arranged my meal-on-the-go into little open-faced sandwiches.
To make these mini sandwiches you’ll need to start with a base. I used focaccia crackers but any type will do. You can even use vegetables. So long as it’s something sturdy enough to hold all the fixins.
Step 2: Choose a cheese
Now comes the real fun part: the cheeeeesseeeee. Use one (or five) slices because, let’s face it, you can never have too much cheese. I used a block of Swiss here because I ate all my Parmesan and gruyere. Oops.
Step 3: Slice some meat
This next item is something I’ve never used before. My mom sent me a care package with two sausage links that I had no idea what to do with. I eventually found out they were just like uncut pepperoni. Feel free to buy pre-sliced packages of salami if that’s your preference. Otherwise, use the full link (I think it tastes better).
Step 4: Stack on fruits or veggies
Next, I would normally add delicious heirloom cherry or a fresh bell pepper, but unfortunately, the Ithaca Farmer’s Market isn’t open yet. That won’t stop us from going veggie crazy at the grocery store, though. You can also opt for fresh fruits like green apples or sliced strawberries. They’re a sweet way to freshen up these mini sandwiches.
Step 5: Top it with something special
Anyone can slap some cheese and meat on a cracker, but the extra toppings are what really elevate the picnic basket experience. Adding dried fruits, like dried apricots or craisins (dried cranberries for those of you who had never heard of them…like my roommate) give the overall flavor profile a boost.
Haven’t tried nuts on crackers? Neither had I until I spontaneously sprinkled my cracker with roasted pistachios. And holy guacamole was it delicious.
#SpoonTip: add a drizzle of honey to literally any cracker combination and you will fall in love.
Step 6: Don’t forget dessert
For dessert crackers, all of the rules above apply, just use sweeter ingredients. I mainly use a granny smith apple slice, grape jelly, and chocolate covered almonds towered on top of a shortbread cracker.
Now, class, your homework is to put all this new knowledge to use. You’ll be tested on this at some point in your life so make sure to study up.