Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich

Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich with Basil-Edamame Spread (vegan)

Last week, I was in New York speaking at a Random House event with (one of my favorite bloggers ever), Jenny from Dinner a Love Story. We chatted about our shared love for the simple tomato sandwich and how you shouldn’t complicate things that are as beautiful as summer tomatoes. I forgot that I had this post in the queue – because I absolutely LOVE this slightly fancier tomato-with-other-things sandwich.

This reminds me of a juicy caprese sandwich except, well, there’s no cheese here. Instead, there’s a good slathering of this edamame spread that I’m still obsessed with. This time I made it with basil instead of cilantro which makes it taste completely different and oh-so summery.

The rest of the components are SO simple that the success of this sandwich depends on getting them right. First off, I recommend finding the best baguette you can get your hands on (we get ours from Elizabeth St. Cafe). Next, use in-season tomatoes and fresh basil. Since artichokes are out of season I used good quality jarred roasted artichokes which I’ve recently realized are far superior to canned artichokes.

Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich with Basil-Edamame Spread (vegan)

Assemble this early in the day at least a few hours before your picnic (or even the night before) so that the sweet tomato-basil juices do that thing where they mingle together and partially soak into the middle of the bread. I like to assemble this using one large baguette, wrap it up, store it in the fridge, and then slice it into individual portions just before I’m ready to pack them up.

Happy picnicking!

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Tell me, who doesn’t love a variety of yummy mix & match toppings on little pieces of grilled bread? Here’s a party idea that you can easily pull off this weekend. All you have to do is chill some rose, gather a bunch of toppings (and a bunch of friends)… grill some bread and voila, you have a fun, casual crostini party!

The combinations you can put together are endless, but my strategy here is pretty simple. I chose ingredients that hit on a variety of flavors and textures – sweet, savory, salty, fruity, herb-y, creamy, crunchy… you get the idea. For this post we’re partnering with Stonewall Kitchen because their delicious jams fit perfectly into this mix (hello, Hot Pepper Peach Jam!). I often reach for their jams, chutneys & crackers (among their other gourmet products) when I’m entertaining and when I don’t want to make everything myself.

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Your guests can, of course, mix and match crostini toppings to their hearts’ desire, but these were some of our favorite combinations:

Strawberry Champagne Jam +  brie +  mint
Hot Pepper Peach Jam + cashew cream + a peach slices + pistachios
– Pesto + Roasted Garlic Onion Jam + cherry tomatoes

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

And because Stonewall Kitchen is celebrating their 25th anniversary, they’re giving away a Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Picnic Tote Gift which includes: a nautical recycled tote by Sea Bags, stemless wine glasses, a teak wood spreader, a cutting board, a jar of their delicious Mango Chutney, crackers, a picnic blanket & an insulated Corksicle water bottle. (A $349 value), check it out and enter to win by clicking here!

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com