Potluck Picnic with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Welcome to my Potluck Picnic … a weekly newsletter containing an assortment of
recipes, tips, humor and stories to inspire you to appreciate, cook, eat and share good food.
So pull up a chair and join the conversation!

quote of the week

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:13

 

Of books, music, movies and podcasts

The Turquoise Table
by Kristin Schell

Ever felt like you are lacking connection?

How many of your neighbors do you know?

A fellow food-blogger-friend of mine recommended the book “The Turquoise Table” by Kristin Schell. I am half-way through the book and am loving the concept of Kristin’s picnic table painted turquoise and placed in her front yard for the purpose of giving people in her neighborhood a place to gather, talk and build friendships. There are turquoise tables popping up all over the country including an online community for the sharing of ideas and support as well as a way for people to find local tables.

Marty and I have yet to meet many of our neighbors but this book has the wheels turning. If you see my using the hashtag #frontyardpeople, this book is the source!

Highly recommend adding it to your cart.

 

what’s up in the garden

Red Malabar Spinach Leaves, Vines and Flowers

One of the great disappointments for me in gardening is when the sun gets too hot and the air too humid for spinach to thrive. If we, here in the midwest, are lucky, a cool fall will allow for a second planting. That gap though …

Let me introduce you to Red Malabar spinach. This gorgeous vining plant loves the heat and humidity, has beautiful, edible flowers and can even be grown in pots or planters! Apparently it is not at all related to spinach but the rich, deep green color of the leaves and the familiar taste led to the name. Do not fear … it still has the high nutritional values and can be used fresh or sautéed or cooked just like it’s namesake.

It’s also quite pretty in flower arrangements!

Red Malabar spinach in floral arrangements

 

table time

When the forks are down, the dishes can wait.

I am trying to change my instinct to hop up from the table, clear the dishes and wipe down the table and cupboards. Why? Italy.

Mealtime in Italy is a relaxed event. Food is enjoyed, conversation is plentiful, laughter is inevitable. If you’re anything like me, eating has become a sporting event: how fast can I woof it down with bonus points for multitasking (scrolling social media, driving a car, watching garbage on television, working, etc.). It’s not healthy behavior and we model it to our kids, no matter their age.

Have you ever noticed, the minute someone starts removing the plates and utensils from a table, the conversation stops? It is a kind and thoughtful gesture to clear the table but we end up “clearing” the table of that time to engage. Whether eating alone or with company, take five minutes to think and/or talk about what you ate, where it came from, what you liked most/least and, most importantly, to thank God and the “chef” for providing it?

Let’s try to add a few minutes, some eye contact and more laughter to each meal … the dishes can wait.

 

on the foodie trail

While I failed to pack the perfect picnic lunch for our fishing trip last Saturday, I came through with a small town pub making some seriously delicious pizza! Pickles Pub in Kamrar, Iowa, was recommended to me months ago by the owner of Gravy Home Goods in Jewell. Small towns are the best!

Our fishing was less than productive but we all loved the pizza … especially the Pickles Pepper Pizza!

 

this week’s recipe

One day earlier this week, I picked some of the spinach described above, fresh cucumbers and an onion for a salad. The refrigerator provided a leftover chicken tender and some blackberries. None of the many bottles of dressing hanging out on the refrigerator door appealed to me. I wanted poppy seed dressing …

Print Recipe
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
This poppy seed dressing is light and creamy with a pop of freshness from lemon zest and juice. It is the perfect dressing for a spinach and berry salad, chicken salad, coleslaw or even fruit.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise/salad dressing
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • water
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise/salad dressing
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • water
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Saute onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter until tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Combine one tablespoon olive oil, greek yogurt, mayonnaise/salad dressing, vinegar, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add onions (with the oil and butter) to the dressing and puree until smooth.
  3. Stir in water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Pour dressing into a jar and add poppy seeds, stirring until evenly distributed.

if you haven’t tried this one yet …

Lemon-Yogurt Salmon with Vegetable Couscous

This Lemon-Yogurt Salmon is one of our favorite summer meals. The salmon cooks quickly on the grill, in a pan or in the oven, and the yogurt sauce provides moisture and flavor. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers … plan ahead, people … make a salad with spinach or arugula, cucumber, feta, red onion and toasted pine nuts or almonds!

what can you bring to the next potluck picnic?

Comment below in the “LEAVE A REPLY” box to share:

  1. what is your favorite salad dressing, and
  2. what is the title of the book you are reading now.

 

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