Picnic Recipes for Canada and Victoria Day

In every region of Canada 131 years ago, picnics were a favorite form of socializing in the summer and food was always the star attraction, especially on July 1, which was known as Dominion Day. Today, it's called Canada Day.
 In 2004, Canada Day picnics are a little simpler, less awesome than the 12- to 15-course meals of another era. Some families may opt for grilled hot dogs and ice cream cones, still others might want to be more elaborate. Here are some suggestions to spice up your Candian Picnic

 Grilled Vegetable Pizza
 15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil
 1 red pepper, cut in quarters, cored, seeded
 1 yellow pepper, cut in quarters, cored, seeded
 10 large mushrooms
 1 large red onion, peeled, cut through root end into 1.25 cm ( 1/2-inch) wedges
 4 individual prepared pizza crusts
 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) bottled peanut sauce
 5 mL (1 tsp) hot pepper sauce
 500 mL (2 cups) grated mozzarella cheese
 125 mL ( 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
 375 mL (1 1/2 cups) crumbed goat cheese
 125 mL ( 1/2 cup) chopped green onion tops
 Brush vegetables with oil and grill for 3 to 4 minutes turning half way through. Allow vegetables to cool slightly and then slice peppers and mushrooms. Place pizza crusts on oiled grill and grill 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, combine peanut sauce with hot pepper sauce. Spoon sauce over crusts. Sprinkle crusts with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Top with grilled vegetables, goat cheese and green onions. Using a large metal spatula return pizzas to grill. Close grill or cover pizzas loosely with foil. Cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes depending upon crust thickness, using tongs to rotate for even cooking. Transfer to plates and serve.
 Makes 4 pizzas.
 Source:Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce.

 Thai Chicken Noodle Salad
 450 g (1 lb) pkg spaghetti
 10 mL (2 tsp) sesame oil
 3 to 4 limes
 30 mL (2 tbsp) soy sauce
 10 mL (2 tsp) Sambal Oelek or Oriental chili-garlic sauce
 5 mL (1 tsp) each of salt and sugar
 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
 1 red pepper, seeded
 2 to 3 carrots
 1 onion
 4 celery stalks
 115 g ( 1/4 lb) snow peas
 30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
 2 crushed garlic cloves
 60 mL to 125 mL ( 1/4 to 1/2 cup) water
 60 mL to 125 mL ( 1/4 to 1/2 cup) finely chopped fresh coriander
 4 green onions, thinly sliced
 Cook pasta according to package directions for minimum time suggested, usually 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain again. Place in a large bowl and stir with sesame oil. Finely grate peel from 1 lime and squeeze enough juice from limes to measure 60 mL ( 1/4 cup). Stir juice with peel, soy sauce, Sambal Oelek, salt and sugar. Stir with pasta to coat.
 Slice chicken into bite-size pieces. Thinly slice pepper and carrots into long strips. Thinly slice onion and celery. Trim ends from snow peas.
 Heat 15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Return chicken and any juices to pan. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onion has softened, about 3 minutes.
 Stir in 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) water, pepper, celery and carrots. Continue cooking, stirring often, until hot, about 3 minutes, adding more water, 15 mL (1 tbsp) at a time, to keep a little sauce visible under mixture. Add peas. Stir until they are bright green about 1 minute. Toss with spaghetti, coriander and green onions. Serve right way. Or if taking to a picnic, refrigerate, uncovered until cold for up to 1 day.
 Shopping tip: Sesame oil, Sambal Oelek and chili-garlic sauce are found in supermarkets where soy sauce is sold, as well as in specialty food stores.
 Makes 3 L (12 cups).
 Source: More Vitality Cooking by Monda Rosenberg and Frances Berkoff (HarperCollins, $13.95).

 Chopped Summer Salad with Mint
 and Parmesan Dressing
 1 clove garlic, minced
 2 mL ( 1/2 tsp) salt
 10 mL (2 tsp) Dijon mustard
 15 mL (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar
 75 mL (5 tbsp) vegetable oil
 45 mL (3 tbsp) olive oil
 375 mL (1 1/2 cups) peeled, seeded cucumber, diced into 1.25 cm ( 1/2-inch) cubes
 1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into 1.25 cm ( 1/2-inch) sqaures
 250 mL (1 cup) radishes, diced into 1.25 cm ( 1/2-inch) cubes
 500 mL (2 cups) tomatoes, diced into 1.25 cm ( 1/2-inch) cubes
 250 mL (1 cup) yellow pepper, cut into 1.25 cm ( 1/2-inch) squares
 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) finely diced red onion
 125 mL ( 1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese
 125 mL ( 1/2 cup) fresh mint, coarsely chopped
 In a small bowl, whisk garlic, salt, Dijon mustard and vinegar together. Slowly whisk in the vegetable and olive oils.
 Mix all vegetables together in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well. Add Parmesan cheese and mint and toss again.
 Serves 4 to 6.
 Source: Screamingly Good Food by Karen Barnaby, (Whitecap Books, $19.95).

 Canada Day cool as a colada
 Sip into summer with a Canada Day ice cream pina colada. The dog days cooler is just perfect for the dock, deck, porch or patio.
 "When friends drop in mid-afternoon," says Suzanne Janusz, home economist for Nestle Canada Inc., "I like to offer them a drink that's satisfying as well as deliciously cooling. My Canada Day ice cream pina colada fits the bill just perfectly."
 In blender, blend four scoops premium vanilla ice cream, 250 mL (1 cup) crushed pineapple and 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) coconut-flavored rum until smooth. Pour into two tall cocktail glasses and decorate each with a chunk of pineapple.
 Serves 2.

 Rhubarb Crumb Pie
 300 mL (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
 2 mL ( 1/2 tsp) salt
 45 mL (3 tbsp) butter or soft margarine
 45 mL (3 tbsp) ice water
 250 mL (1 cup) granulated sugar
 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
 Grated rind of 1 medium orange or lemon
 1 egg, beaten
 1.25 L (5 cups) sliced fresh or thawed rhubarb, cut in 1 cm ( 1/2-inch) pieces
 80 mL (1/3 cup) packed brown sugar
 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) quick-cooking rolled oats
 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) whole-wheat flour
 5 mL (1 tsp) cinnamon
 30 ml (2 tbsp) butter, melted
 In mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until consistency of oatmeal. Sprinkle with water; toss with fork to mix. Sprinkle evenly into 23 cm (9-inch) pie plate; press firmly over bottom and sides to create evenly thick pastry. Set aside.
 Filling: Combine sugar, flour and orange rind; mix well. In another bowl, mix egg and rhubarb; add sugar mixture and stir to mix. Spoon into prepared pie shell.
 Topping: In bowl, combine sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon; drizzle with butter, tossing to mix well. Sprinkle over filling. Bake in 200 C (400 F) oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until topping is golden brown and rhubarb is tender. (If top browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil after 30 minutes of baking.) Let stand for at least 1 hour before serving.
 Makes 8 servings.
 Source: Smart Cooking by Anne Lindsay (Macmillan, $24.95).
 Quick tips:
 If a picnic is in your Canada Day plans, here are some tips to make it a success:
 -- Carry a large plastic bag in case there are no garbage cans at the site.
 -- Wrap a napkin around each place setting (fork, spoon and knife) and tie with a piece of colorful yarn.
 -- Dampen inexpensive cloth napkins, fold and wrap in a plastic bag and use as an after-picnic clean-up for hands.
 -- Make sure any food to be packed in a cooler is well-chilled.
 -- If the trip is long, freeze raw chicken and meat to be grilled and put it frozen into the cooler. It will thaw during the journey.
 -- An egg carton makes a handy container for small, bruisable items that need protection such as apricots, plums, tomatoes and devilled eggs (individually wrap the eggs in plastic wrap).