WHO doesn’t like light and portable foods?
“Oh, every kind of food is portable,” my niece Ellen said.
OK, let me start again. There are foods that can be prepared at home, packed and taken to the garden or porch where it is eaten by the family as part of a mock or pretend picnic.
“Mock picnic? Pretend picnic? That’s a good one. A picnic is a meal consumed outdoors or al fresco. But with Alpha, Beta and Delta raining on our best intentions, it is safer to stay home, have that mock outing, and add ‘eating in the porch or garden’ as part of what a picnic means,” Uncle Gustave said wisely.
My nephew Pannon said, “Can we please have a garden picnic, Uncle O?”
With those generous endorsements, I planned a garden picnic for my family. I rummaged through our refrigerator and cupboard to see what we had. There was enough to make finger foods.
I saw taco shells, ground meat, tomatoes and a lot more! I got to work.
TACO. I told Pannon the two of us would make taco filling with whatever we had: Ground beef, lettuce, red tomatoes, white onion, corn, salt and pepper. We did not have sour cream and taco seasoning so we improvised.
For sour cream, we mixed cream with lemon juice. The right recipe instructs mixing heavy whipping cream, lemon juice and milk, shaking it in a covered jar, then replacing the cover with disposable kitchen towel, and leaving it on the kitchen table for 24 hours. But we did not have 24 hours because the picnic was for Now.
“That’s a good idea though we can also use mayonnaise and a lemon,” my Aunt Tita Blitte said.
My cousin Dona tuned in. “We don’t have cottage cheese. So let’s experiment! Let’s substitute it with cream cheese. Thin it with milk and add a few drops of lemon.”
Cook the ground beef first then drain it once it is done. Saute minced garlic and onion. Add the ground beef and diced tomatoes. If you have taco powder, add it now.
Lacking that, I just seasoned it with paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and onion powder.
For toppings, Dona melted butter, added corn kernels and minced red bell pepper.
My nephew Polonggoy shredded two heads of lettuce. My aunt grated some cheese. Uncle Gustave added a bottle of Parmesan cheese to the food laid out on the garden table.
I reheated leftover lumpia, and made tuna salad sandwiches.
EASY PANCIT. Pannon wanted a pancit and in an emergency nothing beats pancit from a packet.
I made the pancit as instructed but tweaked it by adding sauted and seasoned shredded cabbage, sliced fish balls and diced shrimps.
As we snacked, my aunt said, “Thank You, Lord, for families.”