When it comes to entertaining, I like to keep it simple, especially during the summer: quick recipes, affordable ingredients and if something can be made ahead, even better.
One of my favorite ways to entertain this time of year is to throw an epic picnic with all the meat, cheese, fruit and — of course — something to satisfy my persistent sweet tooth.
Throughout the years, I’ve collected my favorite make-ahead tips, tricks, recipes and stories that make hosting a picnic a breeze — and I’m putting them to the test for my 21st birthday picnic in New York City’s Washington Square Park. (Spoiler alert: It was epic!)
In this make-ahead picnic guide, I’ve included some of my favorite recipes, such as my Charcuterie Sandwiches, Pearl Couscous Watermelon Salad, Roasted Grape and Mascarpone Toast, Salted Caramel Cannoli Dip and Charred Plum and Jicama Sangria — all perfect for making the day before your big day.
Pro picnic tips
1. Lighten your load.
Coordinate with your guests to bring picnic essentials like blankets, trash bags, disposable plates, water, wine and anything else that you might need. After all, you cooked all of the food — they can bring all the other stuff!
2. Set the mood.
Take some time (or ask enlist a guest) to curate a playlist that will match your event’s vibe — and don’t forget a speaker.
3. Keep food fresh and safe.
Traveling with food can be intimidating, so take the time to properly pick a