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Summer’s Celestial Spectacle

by Jane Worthington-Roth

Summer is the time when many flock to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Lenox, Massachusetts. A newly published book by Berkshire-based author Gina Hyams, The Tanglewood Picnic, highlights the history of picnicking on the lawn of the Tanglewood estate. Over the years the venue has seen everything from simple sandwiches to lavish spreads that include silver candelabras. I am pleased that I was able to contribute to the book with comments and a photo of a celestial picnic theme that my family enjoys on the lush lawn of Tanglewood. I’ve added some easy recipes below - grab your blanket and a copy of Gina’s book and enjoy the beauty of Tanglewood this summer.

Our favorite time to enjoy an evening concert on the lawn of Tanglewood is mid-August during the Perseid Meteor Shower, which generally occurs during the week of August 9th through the 14th. There is nothing more magical than to enjoy a delicious star-themed dinner, then to lie on a blanket and to watching the shooting stars as you listen to beautiful music!

We carry the celestial theme along with our tablescape and menu. As the meteor shower peaks at about 60 to 100 per hour, there’s a great chance that you will see a shooting star and make-a-wish!
Here’s our most recent menu in which we used in-season locally-sourced Farmer’s Market vegetables and herbs, along with bread, cheeses and lamb purchased at Guido’s in Great Barrington.

Garnished with a slice of Star Fruit

Watercress salad
Bring the rinsed watercress, fried prosciutto, cheese and fruit in separate packages. Assemble just before serving. Serve the watercress topped with prosciutto that has been cut into strips and lightly fried in a little olive oil. Put a small piece of Brie or Camembert on the side and garnish with either two dates, or a fresh fig, sliced in half. Dress the salad with a light Dijon vinaigrette just before serving.

Grilled Lamb Chops
Grill the chops at home and keep them warm in a foil wrap and hot pack.

Chickpea Salad
Sauté ½ a red onion, diced, and 1 tablespoon minced garlic in olive oil, then let cool. In a bowl, combine the onion mixture with 2 (15 oz.) cans of chickpeas, drained; ½ cup diced cucumbers; ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped; the zest and juice of 1 lemon, and a little more oil, if needed. This may be served chilled or at room temperature, and is the perfect accompaniment for lamb.

Corn Salad
In a little olive oil, sauté corn cut from 6 ears of fresh corn, a very thinly sliced fennel bulb and a thinly sliced onion, until the onion is translucent. Let cool.
In a bowl, toss the corn mixture with 4 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes, finely minced, and 1 bag of baby spinach, chopped.
In a separate small container, put ¼ cup balsamic vinegar and 1 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (minced), 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (minced).
When ready to serve, shake the dressing container well then lightly dress the corn salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Red Wine
For this meal we enjoy having something with a fun “starry” name, such as an Estrella Merlot.

For dessert, we always enjoy a platter of cheese and grapes, served with a crusty loaf of French bread. It’s easy to serve as the evening sky gets darker.

Hot coffee
Infused with a few pieces of Star Anise for extra warmth and flavor!