Sunday, August 5, 2007

Picnic in the Park

Sad to say, but summer's about to start fading. The summer here in Texas has been a surprise. Lots of rain, instead of our usual drought, thereby bringing cooler temperatures and fewer sunny days. It's August, and we haven't hit 100 degrees yet.

Yesterday was one of those sunny, albeit humid, Saturdays. We took the recommendation from this month's Austin Monthly, and headed to the capitol grounds. The carpet grass was thick and lush, and the grounds are peppered with huge shade trees. We grabbed a spot and took out our spread.

The thought of sandwiches on a picnic is classic, but I wanted something else. Our basket was packed with a baguette, Camembert, crackers, spinach dip, a Greek salad and grapes. The cool dip, salad and grapes was perfect for the muggy afternoon, and we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the shade without breaking too much of a sweat.

I don't buy pre-made spinach dip at the grocery store. It's usually high in fat and calories. Instead, I buy a seasoning packet (it's next to the salad dressing in store I frequent) and I mix it with low-fat plain yogurt, instead of the sour cream it calls for. You still get the sour taste, but you also get a lighter spread that's refreshing, not heavy.

My Greek salad take a nod from some of the Greek salad staples: tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. I throw in some herbs, like basil or herbs de Provence, and red wine vinegar. Yesterday I also added mozzerella for a little extra protein, because Kendall doesn't like the more traditional feta. So maybe it wasn't really Greek, more French? Not totally sure, but it was delicious.

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