Family Picnic Menu

Mexican Street Salad

2 cups green cabbage
2 cups red cabbage
1/2 cup red onion
1/4 cup green onion
1 cup radishes
1 cup carrots
1/4 cup red peppers
1/4 cup jalapeños
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup mint
zest of 2 limes
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper

Slice green and red cabbage and place in a mixing bowl. Slice red onion, and cut green onions and add to bowl. Peel carrots and slice, julienne red peppers and jalapeños and add to bowl. Pull leaves off cilantro and mint and add to the bowl.

Dressing: Zest and juice two limes into a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper. Whisk extra virgin olive oil into mixture. Toss salad and dressing together. Serves 6.

Shrimp Ceviche

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and diced
2 red peppers
1 small red onion
1/4 cup green onion
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
1 bunch cilantro
2 limes
3 oranges
2 lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Dice shrimp to desired size, place in mixing bowl. Add diced red pepper and red onion to bowl. Add sliced green onion to bowl. Smash roasted garlic into a paste and add to bowl. Pull leaves off cilantro and add to bowl. Juice lime, orange, and lemon and add to bowl. Add oil and salt and pepper. Taste and add more if needed. Serves 6.

Roasted Root Vegetables

6 red beets, medium sized
4 rutabaga, medium sized
4 turnips, medium sized

Separately, peel, dice and toss vegetables in neutral oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 425 degrees till just softened, but still firm. Toss in a vinaigrette of your choice. Serves 6.

Apple Purses, aka Dessert EmpaÑadas

2 apples
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup goat cheese
2 teaspoons green cardamom
zest of 2 lemons
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

On a flat surface, dust pastry sheets with flour, and roll out into desired shapes; set aside. Dice apple, sauté in butter on medium/high heat till you get a little color, set aside to cool.

Combine goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and cardamom. Whisk egg and water together, and set aside. Brush the edges of the cutout pastry sheets with egg mixture, place some apple mixture and the goat cheese mixture in the middle, fold pastry over mixture and crimp the edges.

Brush the outside with the egg mixture and bake at 425 degrees till golden. Serves 6.


  • Shop: Farmers markets, CSAs offer one-stop sources for in-season foods

  • Kids: Are more likely to eat what they grow

  • Salute the salad: Think of any leafy greens as lettuce

  • Eye candy: Strive for a colorful plate

  • Good to the last bite: Jar, pickle or freeze leftover produce

  • Table décor: Wood, baskets and rustic items say “comfort food”

  • Chart produce by season:

“Farm to table” is the mantra of Green Planet Catering, a 5-year-old company focused on serving locally grown, pesticide- and hormone-free foods. And sustainability, from compostable serving ware to the biofuel that runs its trucks, is its mission.Green Planet partners with N.C. State University in the Agroecology Teaching Farm to source its foods. Achieving farm-to-table meals at home is easier than you may think, says catering manager Daniel Whittaker.

“Farm to table simply means eating what’s in season and finding unique things you can do with it,” Whittaker said. “For example, your own take on potato salad might include blue, pink, white or red fingerlings,” rather than russets.

“And if you can imagine a lettuce salad, you can imagine a salad with hardy greens like kale. A raw kale salad with lemon juice is one of the best!”

Parents hoping to entice children toward fresher meal options might consider planting a small garden with them, to nurture food fun and pride. Even beets, though slimy and hand-staining, can be fun to pull out of the ground for roasting.

“Make it playful when you introduce new foods — saying ‘this is Mexican Street Salad’ is better than ‘here’s some cabbage and stuff you hate!’” Whittaker said.

Not a gardener? Hit local farmers markets for everything you need, even proteins, Whittaker says, or join a CSA (community supported agriculture) such as The Produce Box; some CSAs even bring fresh foods right to your door.

Springtime offers lots of food color, from root vegetables to leafy greens like collards, mustard and kale. Prepare greens slowly for best flavor, via long boils or sautéed in butter and seasoned with onion and garlic.

Green Planet will expand its farm-to-table focus this year as it merges with Market Restaurant proprietor, Chef Chad McIntyre, to create an eatery, grocery, butcher shop and more in downtown Raleigh as The Market: Restaurant, Grocery & Catering.

Whittaker says classes will be available on topics including meats, canning and container gardening.

Green Planet Catering, Raleigh
(919) 832-6767

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