Monday, June 2, 2014

Little Dinner Party in the Park

It's that time again! The most wonderful and bug-bitten season of Chicago. Some might say I'm a cheap date, and they'd be absolutely right. Last summer I was scrapping the bottom of the financial barrel and picnicing was about the only way I could trick my dates into thinking frugal al fresco dining was romantic instead of just poor. You'd be surprised how affordable salads, breads, cheeses, dips, olives, candy and re-labeled Charles Shaw wines are. Especially when you prepare everything yourself in attractive picnic-wear. No one will suspect you actually only have six dollars in your checking account until next week. 

Drive Me Crazy Caprese 

Nothing brings picnic-ers together like a good caprese salad. Even a bad caprese salad is still better than no caprese salad at all. I put this together in about ten minutes while my date slept. I didn't have balsamic vinegar, so my cheap ass whipped up a quick dressing with red wine vinegar and olive oil. 

you will need the following: 

3-4 large tomatoes on the vine (sliced) 
Roughly a fuck-ton of fresh basil leaves
A big ball of fresh mozzarella (sliced)
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil 
1 crushed clove garlic 
salt & pepper

Step 1: Mix olive oil with vinegar and crushed garlic. Let marinate. 
Step 2: Slice stuff. 
Step 3: Arrange tomato slices, mozzarella slices and basil leaves. Make it look nice. 
Step 4: Drizzle with vinaigrette. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Nothing shuts people up like putting them in front of a movie. This summer you can have both! All summer long you can find me on the North Side of Chicago taking in the Park District's Movies in the Park series.  It's free, fun and slightly romantic even when done with friends. Their list isn't put together very well, so I sifted through and compiled a list of good movies in safe and scenic parks. 

Strangers on a Train @ Belmont Harbor (June 16th) 
As Good as it Gets @ Montgomery A. Ward Park (June 17th) 
Beasts of the Southern Wild @ Buttercup Playlot (June 24th) 
Dr. Strangelove @ Wicker Park (June 26th) 
Gypsy @ Hollywood Beach Park (June 27th) 
Gravity @ Jonquil Park (July 5th) 
Triplets of Belleville @ Cricket Hill (July 7th) 
Chicago @ Montgomery A. Ward Park (July 15th)
This is Spinal Tap @ Millennium Park (July 29th) 
American Graffiti @ Millennium Park (August 12th) 
Dreamgirls @ Millennium Park (August 19th)
The Wizard of Oz @ Oz Park (August 23rd)

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