While I do miss the white sand beaches of the Philippines, hanging out at Lake Tahoe isn’t so bad. And it’s a great excuse for a picnic with friends. So here’s a simple, no-fuss picnic spread, that will be okay without refrigeration for a couple of hours.



1. Slice up some European-style bread like a baguette or ciabatta.

2. Put in a pre-heated oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until crisp and golden, but not burnt.


This is a classic and is a hard one to mess up. I grow basil in my garden and it’s the best kind. Good pesto starts from the freshest basil, so get the freshest ones available.

1. In a food processor, combine 1 big bunch of basil leaves (the more the merrier), with equal parts olive oil and grated parmesan cheese. In Italy, instead of the food processor, they muddle up the basil by hand using a mortar and pestle. If you have the fortitude and muscle, I recommend this too.

2. Add chopped garlic. How much depends on your tolerance for garlic or garlic breath. I tend to use only a teeny bit.

3. Optional: add the zest of one lemon for a fresh zing.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Whiz everything in the food processor until well combined and desired texture is achieved. Correct seasoning.

Parmesan and Truffle Oil

I first tasted this at a host’s house in Emilia-Romagna in Italy. I love truffles and this simple and easy crostini dip was easy to go crazy over. Especially after I learned how easy it was to make!

1. Finely grate desired amount of Parmesan cheese.

2. Add truffle oil a little spoonful at a time, until the desired texture and flavor is achieved.

3. Optional: You can also grate some fresh garlic, if you wish, although I must say that the truffle flavor should be dominant and not the garlic.

Savory and Tangy Dip

Every now and then, I crave for tart and savory flavors when I’m snacking. Because this has both anchovies and gherkins (mini cucumbers that are pickled), it satisfies both.

You will need:

A handful of capers
About 12 pieces of gherkins. They’re small cucumbers that have been pickled. You can find them where you can find French deli items.
About 4 pieces of anchovies (from can is okay) or a couple of squirts if using the one from a tube.
A handful of fresh chopped herbs like mint, parsley and basil
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
A couple glugs of extra virgin olive oil

To make:

1. Chop all the ingredients finely. Mix well.

2. In a bowl, combine the chopped ingredients with the Dijon mustard and the extra virgin oil.

3. Correct seasoning if needed.

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