Summer Picnics

by Laura FrerichsTastemaker in Residence

It is high summer season on the farm, and the heat and humidity have left us wanting to cook as little as possible inside.  Picnic food (albeit an inside picnic because the mosquitoes are atrocious this year!) is a favorite as we get our best grass-fed burgers, steaks and whole chickens ready for the grill and prep some delicious side dishes and sorbet for dessert.  The watermelons sorbet is fabulous with the addition of fresh mint, and is amazingly refreshing.  As a bonus: Our babe, Willie, loves to gum the watermelon rinds! The jalapeno coleslaw is snappy and bright, even without the jalapeno or dairy products!  The kale salad is a perfect crunchy green salad to tide us over through the hot months when local lettuce withers and becomes bitter in the scorching sun.  And every good summer picnic must be accompanied by a tomato platter of the juiciest, tastiest tomato specimens from your garden or local farmers market.  What a fabulous time of summer for those of us who love to eat!  Cheers!

Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts

1/2 cup (105 grams or 3 3/4 ounces) walnut halves or pieces toasted
1/4 cup (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces) golden raisins
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 cup panko (15 grams or 1/2 ounce) or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
Coarse or kosher salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch kale washed and patted dry
2 oz pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor (1/2 cup total)
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

  1. Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.
  2. Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
  3. Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.
  4. Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.

Watermelon Sorbet


8 cups of watermelon, cut into chunks, most of the seeds removed
2-4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup honey)


  1. Make a simple syrup by boiling water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Let come to room temp (use an ice bath to speed it up) then chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Blend watermelon and citrus juice until liquid. You can also add herbs for any extra flavor- basil or mint can never go wrong. Try adding 1/2 a minced jalapeno for a little sweet-spicy kick! Pour through a sieve to remove any remaining seeds, then add the simple syrup.  
  3. Chill for 1 hour, then either use an ice cream maker to churn, OR leave it in the freezer in the container you have it in and stir every 20 minutes to mix ice crystals into the mixture until the entire thing in frozen (if you just let it freeze without stirring it will be a solid block. Stirring incorporates air, making it spoon-able.)