Food & Drink

Pack a picnic dinner for Oxbow Meadows' Earth Day event

Bring a picnic dinner to Columbus State University's Oxbow Meadows on Sunday and watch short movies from the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on a 35-foot outdoor screen. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. on Earth Day and films begin at sunset. Oxbow is a registered site for The Nature Conservancy's Picnic for the Planet, a world record attempt for the most people picnicking in 24 hours.

Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students. The festival's short films are appropriate for all ages. Learn more about the films at and more about the event at

In honor of Earth Day, forget the disposable paper plates and pack your favorite plates and cups with some cloth napkins. Reusable picnic wear is cute and environmentally friendly. Don't forget your favorite picnic blanket and some cushions.

Here are couple of easy recipes that are great for picnics. Get more at

Berry lemonade

8 cups cold water

2 cups sugar

3 cups fresh lemon juice (15 to 16 lemons)

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blackberries

Club soda

Prepare sugar syrup: In 4-quart saucepan, heat 4 cups water with sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Cool.

In a food processor, pulse berries until pureed. Pour into medium-mesh sieve set over large bowl and press berry mixture with back of spoon to remove seeds; discard seeds.

Stir syrup into berry puree with lemon juice and remaining 4 cups water. Makes 13 cups. Pour into large pitcher with lid. Cover and refrigerate, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

At the picnic, pour into plastic cups with ice and add club soda to taste. Bring some extra berries to add to each cup.

Ham and olive sandwiches

1 10-inch round loaf of bread

2 cups olive tapenade

1/4 pound Italian salami, thinly sliced

1/4 pound ham, thinly sliced

1/4 pound provolone, thinly sliced

Cut the bread loaf in half horizontally and scoop out some of the inside, leaving a 1-inch border. Save scooped out bread for another use.

Spread 1 cup of olive tapenade on bottom half. Place layers of salami, ham, and provolone over tapenade. Place 1 more cup of tapenade over meat and cheese and cover with the top half of the loaf.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place a plate large enough to cover the loaf on top of the sandwich, weight it with two 16-ounce cans or something equally heavy, and refrigerate overnight.

Cut loaf into 4 to 8 equally sized wedges and wrap in plastic wrap. Keep chilled until picnic time.

You can buy olive tapenade or make it yourself using this simple recipe

Olive tapenade

20 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon rinsed, drained, and chopped capers

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons olive oil

Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse into chopped and well combined but stop before it becomes a paste. .

Dawn Minty, 706-571-8512 and Get more recipes and picnic ideas at Dawn's Dish blog

Related stories from Columbus Ledger-Enquirer