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Roasted Bell Peppers with goat cheese, pine nuts, golden raisins and fresh basil.

Roasted Bell Peppers with goat cheese, pine nuts, golden raisins and fresh basil.

This week we have prepared a full blown menu for your outdoor dining adventures (If you are too busy to venture out, serve indoors on a red and white checkered table cloth).

Roasted Bell Peppers with goat cheese, pine nuts, golden raisins and fresh basil.
A classic Provençal appetizer, this is so easy and yummy, you’ll be making it over and over again. The best version we’ve ever had was at Frank Stitt’s impeccable restaurant, Bottega in Birmingham, Alabama, and this is our take on the classic recipe!

Roasted Bell Peppers with goat cheese, pine nuts, golden raisins and fresh basil.

*Note: This is a “recipe without a recipe”, so just use as many peppers as you want.

  1. Halve and seed red, yellow, orange peppers first, then rub each half with olive oil.
  2. Place peppers on a foil lined cookie sheet and set under preheated broiler for about 6-8 minutes, turning once.
  3. Then wrap tightly in the foil for 10 minutes until the skin blisters and peels off easily.
  4. In a small roasting pan or skillet, toast pine nuts over medium heat, shaking frequently, till they begin turning brown. Remove from heat quickly and set aside.
  5. Simmer golden raisins in wine or water for two minutes, drain and set aside.
  6. Place pepper halves on a baking sheet, spread each with 1oz (or more) of softened fresh goat cheese, top with pine nuts, raisins, and chopped basil then fold the pepper to enfold filling and bake approximately 10 minutes.
  7. At this point the stuffed peppers can be refrigerated for several days.
  8. When ready for the picnic, place stuffed peppers on sliced toasted sourdough bread and serve at room temperature.

*Hint: A drizzle of good quality olive oil and an aged Balsamic vinegar will only add to the experience! This also makes a quick lunch or snack.

Olive Tapenade
This is one of our favorite appetizers for parties and picnics. It’s easy, quick, and far more delicious than any other version we’ve tasted. We first found this recipe in the original Silver Palate Cookbook, many years ago. Serve on toasted baguette, or dip with pita chips, sliced zucchini, or celery!

Olive Tapenade


  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup green (Sicilian) olives
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 Tablespoons water packed tuna
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup quality olive oil

In a food processor, process the first eight ingredients until smooth. Then slowly add olive oil to blend. Refrigerate overnight. Tapenade can be stored for up to a week in refrigerator.

Chicken Marbella
This tried and true favorite never fails to impress! Again, we must thank The Silver Palate Cookbook for turning us on to this recipe so many years ago.

Chicken Marbella


  • One whole chicken (21/2 to 3 lbs.) quartered or equivalent pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • Coarse ground salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1/4 cup capers plus a little juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 Tbsp fresh parsley & cilantro chopped and mixed
  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, oregano, salt & pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and bay leaves. Toss thoroughly, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place chicken in a large baking dish, and spoon marinade evenly over it. Sprinkle brown sugar over each piece and pour white wine around them.
  4. Bake for 1hr (or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork) Baste frequently.
  5. Transfer chicken, olives, prunes and capers to serving platter (or for our picnic purposes, to a tightly sealed container).
  6. Reserve pan juices in separate container.
  7. Transport to the picnic in a cooler, serve with a drizzle of reserved pan juices and be prepared to enjoy!

*Serving Suggestion: Serve with a side salad consisting of mixed baby lettuces and arugula tossed lightly in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Add a light grind of salt and pepper, and voila; Dinner!

Pair any of these dishes with the 2014 Gros’ Noré Bandol Rosé (750ml) – $32.99
The Bandol Rosé is the penultimate pink beauty, and Gros’ Noré ​2014 is a luscious example of how wonderful a Rosé can be; with it’s innate affinity for olives and herbal notes, plus naturally vibrant acidity, this wine is a juicy partner for every bite of your picnic!


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