Jun 1, 2013

3 Course Picnic Meal: Holland Farmer's Market Chef Series

Every Wednesday and Saturday the Farmer's Market in our town is open from May until the end of November. I often go here during Saturdays with the tots so we can check the lovely produce each vendor sells and also just to relax and be with other people. Every Saturday they feature a chef from a local restaurant for their Chef Series program.

Whenever I can, I try to attend this event because I learn so much and get free recipes, too (sadly though for safety and health reasons, we're not allowed to taste the food!). For this particular Saturday, the chef assigned was Chef Micky Johnson of Salt and Pepper Restaurant. His menu was about dishes that you can make for a Picnic. I truly enjoyed listening to him as he shared some of his cooking techniques and of course, the wonderful recipe he shared, too.

For this post, I am sharing the recipes he has provided for this delicious and easy 3 Course Picnic Meal. I have noted down his explanations on how to cook them. I am excited to try this pretty soon!

The key here is timing. Begin with the Potatoes because they cook the longest. The last one you will make is the Salad 'cause it takes just minutes to make it though while the pork chops are cooking you can also begin to grill the Asparagus so it can cool down a little before you serve it with the rest of the vegetables. The Strawberry Shortcake is easy to assemble towards the end, too or just when you want to have dessert already. As long as you got all the required ingredients and has all the necessary cooking equipment too, this is pretty straightforward and easy. Remember because you are doing this for a Picnic on the beach - there shouldn't be too much pressure. Just relax and enjoy the cooking! :-)

Here's the lovely Menu from Chef Micky Johnson of Salt and Pepper Restaurant of Holland, Michigan.

Course 1 - Spring Salad


Local Greens (like Spinach)
Grilled Asparagus (choose the chunkier ones)
A few Radishes, chopped
1/2 -1 Red Onion, sliced
Hard Parmesan, for grating

For the Grilled Asparagus: In a Ziploc bag, place the trimmed Asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil. Shake to coat the Asparagus Spears.  Place the seasoned asparagus on a preheated grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on either side or until they become pliable. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.
Honey Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Juice of 1 Whole Lemon
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoon Honey, or to taste
1 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar, or to taste

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl and then drizzle over the veggies. Enjoy!

Course 2 - Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard Glaze and Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes


Yukon or Butterball Potatoes (Parboiled)
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (per 1 lb potatoes)
1 Tablespoons, fresh Rosemary (or your favorite herb), chopped (adjust based on the amount of Potatoes using)

Parboil the Potatoes. Place all the ingredients in a Ziplock bag and mix well. Wrap the potato mixture 3x using aluminum foil or cook in a cast-iron pan on the grill. Will take about 20-30 minutes to cook/grill depending on the heat and temperature of your grill.

Grilled Pork Chops

Pork Chops
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Montreal Steak Seasoning, or your favorite brand/mix

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and Montreal Steak seasoning on both sides. Grill to the desired doneness or temperature. For very thin pork chops - 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side should do it but for medium thick chops, 4-5 minutes grilling per side should be fine. Let this serve as your guide.

Note: You can marinade the chops too but make sure that your marinade doesn't have too much sugar so it doesn't burn during the process of grilling.

Chipotle Mustard Glaze

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/8 teaspoon, Chipotle powder (adjust to the desired level of heat)

When the chops are almost done, brush with the Chipotle Mustard Glaze and then continue to grill for another  minute or so until you get a lovely caramelization.

Course 3 - Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups fresh Strawberries, sliced
4-6 fresh Mint leaves (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon Orange concentrate (frozen variety)
1 Tablespoon Honey
Sugar, to taste
Homemade or store-bough Biscuits or Scones
Ready-made whipped cream

Mix all the ingredients together except the bread and whipped cream in a bowl. Slice or cut the biscuit in half and then serve with the lovely strawberry sauce and some whipped cream! Enjoy!

If you wish to print the recipe, there's a print-friendly icon at the end of the post. Click on the "remove images box" for easy printing.

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  1. Those potatoes look lovely! I think this is perfect for the picnic out! I'll try the shortcake too! I love strawberries! Thanks for the share!

    1. This is really a wonderful picnic menu. Hope to replicate it before the summer is over. Thanks.

  2. I would eat ALL of that Abby..no problem! Send me some!!!! Lovely post and great recipes for a picnic. Delicious!

    1. Thanks, Mary. So glad I was able to attend. The series is truly helpful.


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