For our first event, let's go to the redwoods for a friendly version of Food Network's Chopped where we'll choose from a variety of ingredients to make inventive and/or classic Chopped Salads.
The classic Italian chopped salad is a hodgepodge of small-dice food -- chopped up romaine, red onion, bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, olives, beans, salami or cheese, really whatever Grandma had on hand -- dressed with olive oil and vinegar, s&p. Good, yeah, but I think the Mountain Cooks can take the chopped salad idea and run with it!
The plan: each of us will bring prepped and chopped vegetables and other ingredients to contribute to our own "mystery basket of ingredients." At the park, we'll create several different salads from what we've brought, whisk up vinaigrette or other dressings, and enjoy!
Are you already thinking of combinations? Need ideas?
The venue: Park entrance fee is $10 per car. The picnic areas in H.C. Redwoods State Park are in a pleasant, sun-dappled setting with redwood picnic tables, a charcoal grill grate, close parking, and real restrooms. The tables are on hard-packed dirt, lots of leaves and fallen trees. See http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546 for info about the park and its rules.
The salad stuff: let's each bring at least 4 different ingredients. I recommend we add comments to tell each other what we will be bringing so we don't end up a lot of duplication. Please pre-prep. Washing and chopping is not something you want to do on site.
Other food to bring: We'll also need dressing ingredients, like oil, vinegar, or surprise us. Bread would be a great go-with. The grill is small, but available for anyone who wants to bring meat.
Drink: Bring a beverage for yourself or to share.
Other stuff: If you need special tools or equipment, please bring them. Bring folding chairs for comfort. As your host, I'll supply the basics (plates, cups, utensils, napkins, tablecloths, ice, bowls for mixing salads, charcoal, and other stuff I think we might need).