I have very fond memories of my family’s version of picnics: summer vacations in Italy, where lunch and dinner became an outdoor event that would be the highlight of the day. It was also where I got to sample and learn about all kinds of fun foods.
I think our Space Needle Pasta Salad dish—at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle’s ART Restaurant—is ideal because of all the little prep stages kids can help with, like grating carrots. I like the dish because kids will recognize (and like) the ingredients; for example, the Space Needle Pasta and peanut butter. Plus, it can easily be made the day of the picnic with some help from the kids.
Cook the chicken day a day in advance to save time. And change up the pasta shapes to keep it interesting. For kids with peanut allergies, substitute peanut butter with almond or sun butter. Pair with any zippy summer drink: strawberry lemonade; or if you’re in Seattle (or if it’s available in your city), Dry Soda. Make your own family picnic memories this summer. Enjoy!
Read more about Seattle on Four Seasons Magazine.
This is a quick and easy recipe, healthy and tasty, plus it stores easily in the fridge till picnic time. Pack in a Tupperware type container to avoid leakage.
* 8 oz Seattle Space Needle pasta (or any fun-shaped, or regular, pasta)
* 1 cup snow peas
* 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
* 1/2 cup shredded carrots
* 1 TB sesame seeds
* 1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
* 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
* 2 tsp brown sugar
* 2 TB reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tsp sesame oil
* 1 tsp rice or apple-cider vinegar
1. Cook pasta according to package directions; add snow peas to the boiling water about one minute before pasta is done. Drain and rinse under cool water.
2. Mix the peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Add the pasta and snow peas; mix well. Add chicken and carrots; toss to combine. Top with sesame seeds and scallions, if you like. Makes six cups.
Instead of the usual crackers or baguette, try bread sticks to accompany your picnic cheese and cold cuts. They are fun to make and kids will gobble them up! (From http://www.parenting.com/article/quick-kid-friendly-breadsticks.)
• 2¼ to 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ tsp)
• ¾ tsp salt
• ¾ cup warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)
• 2 TB olive oil or cooking oil
• 1 TB sugar or honey
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 egg white
In a large mixing bowl, stir together one cup of the flour, plus the yeast and salt. In another bowl, combine warm water, oil, sugar and egg yolk. Add water mixture to the dry mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Then beat on high speed for three minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much remaining flour as you can.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (six to eight minutes total). Cover and let the dough rise until nearly double in size (about one hour). Punch the dough down. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Grease a baking sheet. Divide the dough in half. Divide each portion into eight pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a 12-inch-long rope for thin, crispy sticks or into a six-inch-long rope for thick, chewy sticks. Place the sticks two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Cover; let rise until nearly double in size (about 45 minutes).
Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water until frothy. Brush over breadsticks. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack. Makes 16 breadsticks. (You can freeze these and store, then remove to thaw on the morning of your picnic.)
• Cooking spray
• 1 navel orange, cut into eighths
• ½ cup orange juice
• 1 large egg
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Put the orange wedges, orange juice, egg and oil into a blender and blend until smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour the orange mixture into it and stir to make a thick batter. Stir in the cranberries.
4. Divide the mixture among the muffin tins, filling the tins about ¾ full, and bake until the muffins are golden and pop back when gently pressed: 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack and enjoy warm or toasted. Makes 12.
Restaurant chef Jelle Vandenbroucke brings years of experience at Michelin-star rated restaurants and a fresh creative flair to Four Seasons Hotel Seattle’s ART Restaurant, where he continues the restaurant’s reputation for delivering the best in urban Northwest cuisine. Originally from Bruges, Belgium, Chef Jelle attributes his success to his mentors in kitchens in Europe, the U.S. and United Arab Emirates. He prepared his first meal at 12, before entering culinary school and becoming a classically French-trained chef. Chef Jelle lives in Seattle with his wife Sheila, their newborn son, Matteo, and two dogs Chocolate and Caramel. He loves to explore the city and the great Washington outdoors, and of course try and sample all the wonderful restaurants Seattle has to offer.
View all posts from Jelle
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