It's like, a heat wave.

My word. June strutted out with a lasting impression. We've got a full-on heatwave out West. It's that kind of heat, that muggy, oppressive heat that crosses over into kind of sexy. I mean, you just can't help it if it's so hot that you must walk, or rather, sashay, around in nothing but a slip and and something cool to drink in a glass beaded with sweat. You may even have to put said glass up to your forehead or the side of your neck to further assist in cooling off. I'm just saying...

Or you could grab your bathing suit, an exceptionally cute looking, breezy throw over, and call your friends with a pool. Then you are able to do all of the above, but while sporting a bikini under an exceptionally cute looking, breezy throw over in lieu of the slip, and actually be cool – while acting sultry.

And so, yesterday, that is exactly what Fred and I did. The only thing is, unlike Fred - and most people - I don't really care much for pools. Unless they are about as hot as a bath would be. And I also realized that it had actually been a couple of years (three) since I had put on a bikini. But, I figured, it was that hot and I would be spending the afternoon with good friends - very good, old friends. So I threw the bikini and my impossibly perfect and exceptionally cute looking, breezy throw over into a canvas bag, grabbed my just-so worn-in, flouncy straw hat, and my fancy sunglasses and hopped in the car with Fred to head over to Kisma and Jonathan's place for a beat-the-heat poolside, backyard picnic.

The backyard picnic is great, as it can be as ornate or pared down as you want it to be. Why? Because a kitchen is right there. You don't have to pack cleverly or concisely. Fitting everything into a basket or back pack is a non-issue. And another fun possibility with a backyard picnic: games! 

Backgammon, chess, croquet, volleyball, Yahtzee, water polo... if you have the game, you can play the game. But all the fun picnicy parts are all in place: blanket, lots of snackies and noshables, any number of drinks (even the adult variety) and, of course, the flies. It seems no picnic would feel like much of a picnic without flies, ants or mosquitos, so just man up and deal with it.

After a quick dip in the pool, some laughter while recalling the debacle that was the end of my birthday last week over a glass of wine, and oogling and googling with their baby, Jones, we all got into our various places in the kitchen and grill to begin cooking, slicing and assembling everything for our picnic. We had a cheese and charcuterie plate with rosemary crisps, some homemade pickles, roasted almonds, cornichons, an orzo salad with fresh veggies and herbs from the gardenblanched and chilled haricot verts with minced garlic, lemon and purple basil flowers, grilled bratwurst with lavender and thyme sauerkraut and brown mustard, grilled haloumi, celery stalks and homemade bleu cheese dressing for dipping, fresh strawberries and blueberries with candied ginger, a couple of watermelon and lime water cocktails and some chilled wine. But what ended up being the star of this glorious spread was actually all Fred's. He has made this dish a handful of times, now with much success: grilled then marinated Summer vegetables over grilled rustic bread topped with burrata. It can be a snack, it can be an appetizer or it can be lunch. It's fresh, seasonal, robust, bright, and has a medley of shapes, colors, flavors and textures. You can use whatever veggies you happen to have at a given time, making it versatile, fairly easy and extraordinarily delicious.

After our massive festival of grazing food and sipping drinks, we all jumped back in the pool for another cool down before some more lounging in the grass, a little more grazing and another glass of so and so. Next thing we knew it it was seven o'clock. You have to love these long, Summer days.

And so, with the end of June comes the end of our picnic posts (for this year, anyway). And I can think of nothing more perfect with which to close out a month of picnic ideas that this recipe for Fred's grilled, marinated veggies. And, likewise, I can think of no recipe more perfect which which to usher in July.  

P.S. Thanks to Kisma and Jonathan for hosting this picnic and Kisma for styling the shoot!

Grilled, Marinated Summer Vegetables over Rustic Toast with Burrata

Serves 6

3 summer squash or zucchini (about 1 pound), sliced on a diagonal 1/2" thick
3 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1" strips
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons Sherry or red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
4 sprigs oregano
1 loaf of rustic bread, sliced into large chunks and brushed with olive oil, lightly grilled or toasted.
1 pound burrata

Place squash, pepper and asparagus in a large bowl with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, salt & pepper and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer on grill, turning peppers skin side up.

Roast until tender, turning squash once, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly; remove skins from peppers.

Whisk garlic, shallot, vinegar and remaining olive oil in a large bowl; season with salt & pepper. Add vegetables and oregano; toss to coat. Cover and let sit at least an hour.

Portion burrata evenly onto slabs of grilled bread and top with marinated vegetables.


  1. Looks tasty.Wish that I could eat in real life!

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  3. All so tasty and so happy to be the recipient of the leftovers!! Favorites: Ellz homemade blue cheese dressing, Fred's burrata veggie bonanza, the orzo salad with rye bread crumbs!, awesome. Oh and those dang beans, Jones ate them all the day after. Too much yumminess to write. Food!!! Friends!!!Fun!!!