More and more often, I see people of all ages gathering together and eating outdoors. Gone are the days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a bag of chips as picnic staples. Nothing against either of these food items, but sometimes a girl likes to feel fancy. So, I am helping you turn your casual picnic into something sophisticated yet simple to execute.
This grilled steak sandwich with whipped goat cheese and roasted garlic spread, along with flavor-packed pasta salad, is anything but boring. In fact, a similar sandwich I made during my time on the Food Network received rave reviews from celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.
Grab the Prosecco or sparkling water plus a few friends and head down to your local park for a tasty, outdoor social gathering that checks all the boxes.
Makes 4, 6-inch sandwiches
- 1 pound flank steak
- 1/2 cup finely ground coffee
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a lidded container and shake vigorously. Lightly drizzle the steak with olive oil and rub into the steak. Rub the dry ingredients into the steak a few tablespoons at a time. Flip over and repeat. (You will have some extra dry rub that you can store in a small mason jar for later.) If you would like, allow it to sit for 30 minutes before cooking. Grill to desired cook temperature and allow it to rest before cutting. When you cut the steak, cut it into thin slices against the grain of the meat for a more tender bite.
Tomato jam ingredients:
- 1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Tomato jam instructions:
Add all ingredients into a saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. This can be transferred to a jar for future use as well.
Whipped goat cheese spread ingredients:
- 1 head garlic
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Whipped goat cheese spread instructions:
Take a knife and cut the top off of the garlic so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place it on a sheet of tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Make an envelope with the foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until the garlic is golden brown. Combine the goat cheese and garlic cloves pressed out of the head in a food processor. Blend until smooth and whipped.
- French baguette
- Balsamic vinegar
Slice bread in half and lightly toast if desired. Spread a few tablespoons of tomato jam onto the lower piece of bread. Add arugula on top of the tomato jam and dress with just a bit of balsamic vinegar. Add the sliced steak. On the top piece of bread, generously spread the whipped goat cheese. Close the sandwich and serve.
Makes 8 cups
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta (or any small pasta: orzo, rotini, etc.)
- 3 ounces mini mozzarella balls, halved
- 4 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, halved
- 2 roasted red peppers, cut into fine strips
- 8 ounces artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces basil, chiffonade
- 1 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1-2 garlic cloves, micro planed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Add EVOO, balsamic, lemon juice, honey, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and Dijon into a jar, shake vigorously and set aside. Cook the pasta al dente, drain and add into a large mixing bowl. Add the mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, basil and feta. Add the dressing 1/2 cup at a time until all the ingredients are well dressed. Chill and serve.