Thursday, August 30, 2012

Foodie Friday: Labor Day Recipes and Ideas

Welcome to Foodie Friday.
The end of summer always catches me by surprise. I know it's coming, but a secret, girlish part of my soul wants the slow, light-filled days to continue. When I was a child, I wasn't ready to face school and homework; 
I clung to summer like a sloth, begging it to stay.
Don't leave, I'd think. Stick around. I don't want to wear knee socks and sweaters.

Summer is a season and a concept. A time to play and stay cool and piddle.
This past summer, and the summers before it, have been hectic. Lots of writing and revising. Like my husband says, maybe it's time to think about retiring.
Summer can stick around a bit longer, even if it's only in my mind's eye.

For this Foodie Friday, I'm leaving you with one of my favorite posts from the spring of 2012, from Tartan Day. Plaid and picnics seem to go together like pumpkins and Fall--and that season is on the way. I can't see it, not yet, but it's almost here, creeping around the edges, eating up the daylight, sending a nippy, warning breeze.

Hope you have a happy, food-filled Labor Day.

A Tartan Picnic

“Ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”
                                                                    --Old Scottish song, "Loch Lomand"
My love for all things plaid began when I was a small girl, and my Mississippi grandmother told stories about our Scottish roots. “We’re members of Clan Kennedy,” my Mimi said. “Not to be confused with the Irish Kennedys, though we’ve got the luck of the Irish in our family tree.”
She was right about being lucky, because I married a plaid-loving fellow from Clan Maitland. My sweetheart, Will, needed special permission to wear the Maitland tartan.  Every April 1st, we celebrate Tartan Day with a picnic, and

 the clipped lawn serves as a backdrop for our beloved wool blankets
that we bought many years ago in Edinburgh.
I’ve said enough about plaid. The picnic is ready. Won’t you join us?
Fruit and Cheese
Scottish Scones and Highland Shortbread (recipe below)
A tartan picnic calls for savory and sweet dishes, such as tea sandwiches, Scottish pancakes, smoked salmon, scones and double cream; but our menu is lighter this year (because we're heavier!)
At our house, a picnic can be casual, formal, or smack in between. I think of my yard as an outdoor dining room, and I love to use crystal, porcelain, and cloth napkins.
  I always remember what my Mimi used to say:

"Don’t let a table or picnic be too uppity. 

Mix your china patterns. If things clash, it's a lucky sign."

I inherited Mimi's vintage tomato salt and pepper shakers. 
My semi-Scottish sweetheart contributed a knock-out rose.

Faux ants are always welcome to a picnic,
whether they're on the food screens or the tartan dinner plates.

Even the tulips are doing their best to be tartan-like.

Tartan (tärtn): Noun.
1. Wool fabric with a plaid pattern against a solid background;
2. a garment worn by Scottish clansmen;
3. a sure-fire, smile maker.

A tartan picnic wouldn't be the same without our much-loved picnic basket.

I'm not kidding. We are tartan crazy.

If I find a dish or bowl with plaid,
chances are it's going home with me.

Highland Shortbread
Printable Recipe

What You Need:
         1 cup butter, softened
         ½ cup white granulated sugar
         2 cups cake flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Pat dough into a baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until brown. Cool.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons cream
Organic pansies
Beat ingredients until smooth. Ice cooled shortbread squares. Garnish each square with an edible pansy.

Tips for Outdoor Dining

*Use a plastic tub or basket to organize tableware.

*Transport baskets/tubs in a child’s wagon.

*Make your picnic a special event--don’t be afraid to use china and crystal.

*Dish towels make inexpensive napkins.

*Serve easily transportable food. To prevent spoilage and melty-messes, avoid frozen concoctions.

Happy Labor Day

from Mlee and Will at...

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Thank you for the tips on outdoor dining and I love your plaids. The idea of transporting everything in a child's red wagon sounds precious and I bet it draws oohs and aahs.

    I can never get my fill of summer and get in a bit of a funk when it's time to let go of tomatoes especially. I visited our local farmers market for homegrown tomatoes and linked a "tomato sandwich with a pedigree."

    Hope you have a relaxing Labor Day weekend and thanks so much for hosting. Plus we highly recommend retirement!

  2. Your photos are so vivid that I can almost feel myself in a picnic :)

    Thank you for another party

  3. Your picnic basket is awesome! Thank you for hosting!

  4. I love your picnic. The picnic basket is wonderful and so are those little flower-adorned shortbreads. I love all the tartan. Joni

  5. Ilove your tartan picnic, Michael Lee. The shorbread looks so pretty and extra special decorated with the lovely flowers. Thanks for hosting.

  6. The picnic setting looks wonderful and your recipes sound/look fantastic! My husband's family always has a family reunion on Labor Day weekend - so much fun! I appreciate you hosting,

  7. Oh Michael, everything looks wonderful. And I love Tartan too - I makes my heart sing.

  8. A Labor Day Picnic is a great idea and your post is filled with great ways to have a wonderful picnic. Hope you have a lovely holiday and thanks for hosting!
    Miz Helen

  9. Hello Michael: Thank you for hosting the party today. What a lovely post with great picnic ideas. I am just loving those blue plates with the red flowers on them--so pretty! And I love the red and white striped napkins. Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us--I enjoyed it!

  10. I love a picnic,and I do love a picnic that ain't uppity...Micheal Lee I love this picnic basket and your blankets,the dishes are perfect,love the cute little ants on the dishes,mixing it up is marvelous idea,thanks for the tips.The menu is delectable,I want some HighLand shortbread now.

  11. Michael Lee, this was one of my favorite posts too. I love a good picnic and yours is sooooo inviting. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing this again. Have a great holiday weekend........Sarah

  12. Thanks for hosting and have a great Labor Day!

  13. My baby boy (just turned 20!!) is leaving for Scotland in a few days to study abroad for the semester, so your Scottish song lyrics are making me cry. I must focus on all the cozy, colorful plaids he can bring home for me. Your picnic setting is beautiful. Linda

  14. That is such a great looking picnic! Thanks for hosting :)

  15. That first photo is gorgeous! What a lovely picnic! I will bring the cupcakes. The recipe is very easy, so that we don't have to labor on Labor Day. Thanks for hosting!

  16. Tartan plaid is a timeless classic. My family was part of Clan Gunn, but are tartan was not nearly as "fun" as Maitland's!

    Thanks for hosting!

  17. Wow, a tartan picnic! Amazing. I live in Scotland with my Scottish husband. And although I'm English I adore everything Scottish and love the culture up here, the bagpipes playing across the river where we live in Inverness. It's such a beautiful place too.
    I always sing that song to my baby, I love it!
    Although you'd probably not be having a picnic if you were in Scotland now, it's freezing!

  18. Love your setting! Have a wonderful weekend.

  19. What a beautiful post! I'm sharing a recipe for apple pie ~ I thought it fitting for a Labor Day picnic. Have a great weekend!

  20. I too always want to hang on to summer a bit longer, but with children in school, it's not an option.

    Love all of the plaid!

    - The Tablescaper

  21. It is canning season here in the Midwest. I shared how the plan I made in January to put up and preserve food is going and my recipe for seasoned tomato sauce and pizza sauce.

    Thanks for hosting!

    We just started a blog hop called Eat Make Grow and we are always looking for quality bloggers to submit their links.

    Stop on by if you get the chance:


  22. Your picnic looks absolutely lovely! I love the ants on the plates - just adorable. Thank you for hosting this great link-up. Have a good weekend. :)

  23. Love your picnic setting, thanks for hosting, I linked Apple Brownies.

  24. Beautiful picnic basket! And the plates with the ants are very cute. :)

    It's blackberry season where I live so we're availing ourselves of the harvest. I've linked my blackberry curd tarts. Enjoy!

  25. I love plaid picnic sets. I was just reading that Edith Wharton was often dressed in plaid as a child... such a sweet idea... plaid and lace and Edith Wharton!
    Delicious dessert you have there... perfect for a picnic.

  26. Thanks for hosting! Have a great day! :)

    Check out my latest recipe, review & giveaway @ Baking Blissful

  27. It all looks so good but those tomatoes must taste crazy good. Look at the color of them. The best part of summer in my opinion.

  28. Your picnic looks wonderful. I LOVE all your dishes. The food looks great too. I am sitting here bored to tears, no plans and have been packing:( Hope you ahve a great weekend. I can't wait to see what everyone has linked.