Edible Monterey Bay




Dinner parties are out. Follow our guide and invite your friends for an outdoor meal.

In the springtime when the world is green. In the summer when the air is warm and fragrant. In the fall when the light slants sideways. Even in the winter, in a break between storms. There is no wrong time for a picnic. In fact, these times are perfect for a picnic—in wide open spaces, friends can sit six feet apart and partake in beauty, good food and companionship, while safely reducing the risk of germ transmission. Get outside, and take some snacks!

Children understand this intuitively: Breakfast is much more fun if you eat it spread on a beach towel in the yard. At its simple heart, a picnic is nothing more than this, delight in two of life’s great pleasures, good food and fresh air. Appreciation of one strengthens appreciation of the other, in a delicious feedback loop. What a beautiful meadow/ what an excellent sandwich/listen to that birdsong/have a sip of this! And so on.

So we packed our baskets. Actually, we packed four of them. Each with a theme, because we could not choose a favorite, and when writing for a food magazine, it seemed poor form to advise people to bring both quiche and spring rolls, cold sesame noodle salad and ginger beer and marinated cheese. Not that there’s anything wrong with an ad hoc assembly.

In fact, one of the beautiful things about a picnic is the freedom of it; go where you like, and eat what you like, and stay as long as you like and eat it in whatever order you like. Indulge in the occasion; dress fancy if that makes you happy, or go as you are. Discover a local park, climb a peak, spread a blanket beneath a tree in your backyard. There are no rules on a picnic. Just a set of guidelines, perhaps. A framework around which to assemble an epic outdoor feast.

Picnic Basket 1


Pumpernickel Open-Faced Sandwiches
Smoked Almonds
Apples with Aged Cheddar Cheese
Hard Salami with Whole Grain Mustard
Beer in Amber Bottles


Pumpernickel Open-Faced Sandwiches

RECIPE & PHOTOGRAPHY: Jessica Tunis and Amber Turpin

Assemble this one in the field or wherever your picnic takes you. A small cutting board is ideal for slicing whole cukes, or slice them ahead of time and carry them in a reusable container.

Picnic Basket 2


Cold Sesame Noodle Salad
Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Miso Pickled Eggs
Quick Asian Pickles
Matcha Shortbread
Ginger Beer or Green Tea Cocktail

Quick Asian Pickles

RECIPE & PHOTOGRAPHY: Jessica Tunis and Amber Turpin

These can be eaten in as little as an hour after making them, but they are at their flavorful best if allowed to marinate for 48 hours. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Picnic Basket 3


Hand Pies
Potato Salad with Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
Strawberry Lemonade (with or without vodka)

Hand Pies

RECIPE & PHOTOGRAPHY: Jessica Tunis and Amber Turpin

Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend. Add the cold butter chunks and process in bursts until incorporated and the dough is sandy looking …

Picnic Basket 4


Marinated Goat Cheese
White Bean Dip with Herbs and Lemon Zest
Nicoise Chopped Salad with Little Gems
Lemon Verbena Cucumber Cooler (with gin)

White Bean Dip

RECIPE & PHOTOGRAPHY: Jessica Tunis and Amber Turpin

Combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, zest and ¼ cup olive oil in food processor. Blend until smooth …

About the author

+ posts

Amber Turpin and Jessica Tunis live with their respective families in the green folds of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They share a love of food and writing, adventure and good company. Their collaborations on these pages are a natural extension of many good times spent together, gathered in kitchens and backyards near and far.