Sweet Potato dinner outside

The dinner picnic is a sanity saving way to eat with friends and let the kids run and play.

By Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh
Sweet Potato dinner outside

Photo: Maya Visnyei

Like all parents, I’m forever schlepping snacks and lunches to the parks the kids and I hang out in. But one of my favourite ways to eat outside is to meet up with another family at a local park and make it a dinner party sur l’herbe.

If you’re lucky, things start to cool down in the early evening, the kids can tear around before dinner, you get to chat with other grown ups but best of all, the food is as simple as can be. Finger food, obviously, is the way to go: sandwiches, chopped fruit, easy salads and perhaps even an adult-only canteen that doesn’t contain water, if you know what I mean.

As soon as the light begins to fade, you can pack up the blanket and take your tired kids home – no dishes, no arguments over bedtime.
These Fresh Corn and Basil Muffins are always a favourite. They’re ever-so-slightly spicy and satisfying without being heavy. And they’re a great way to use the local corn that’s piling up in the grocery stores and markets right now.

Promise me you’ll try them with a schmear of goat cheese. Trust.

Fresh Corn and Basil Muffins
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (plus a bit unmelted for the muffin tin)
2 cups flour (plus a sprinkle for the muffin tin)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup corn kernels (I used two cobs)
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour your muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking sods, salt, sugar and chili.
3. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg and melted butter.
4. Mix together the dry and wet ingredients. Gently fold in corn and basil, making sure there are bits of yellow and green all through the batter.
5. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into your prepared tins.
6. Pop in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the muffins are golden.
7. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for a few minutes before popping them out of the tin.
Want more dinner picnic recipes? Check out these Sweet Potato recipes:

Nicoise sandwich: If you love the flavours of a Nicoise salad, this sandwich is for you. It’s the ultimate picnic sammie.

Salad on a stick: Everything is cuter on a stick. Including salad.

This article was originally published on Jul 20, 2012

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