College kitchen: Wicker basket case

Because picnics don’t just have to be hot dogs and potato salad.

The Minnesota Daily made caprese sandwiches with watermelon, feta and cucumber salad for the College Kitchen series. Dessert was a berry puff pastry with Cool Whip frosting.

Tony Saunders

The Minnesota Daily made caprese sandwiches with watermelon, feta and cucumber salad for the College Kitchen series. Dessert was a berry puff pastry with Cool Whip frosting.

Maddy Folstein

When the temperatures reach 90 degrees in May, you can cower in the air conditioning.

Or you can remember that about a month ago we were cursing a weekend-long blizzard.

Whip up these recipes, grab your favorite picnic blanket and the chilled LaCroix from your fridge and head to your favorite park or your friend’s front yard — just make sure there’s some shade. 

And don’t forget, we wanted this weather.

Caprese Sandwiches

They look fancy, but they take less than 10 minutes to make. 

Ciabatta rolls

Mozzarella cheese

Tomatoes

Basil leaves

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

1. Cut rolls in half.

2. Heat olive oil in a small pan.

3. Toast bread in olive oil until warm and golden brown.

4. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella to the thickness of your liking.

5. Assemble layers of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil on toasted, halved rolls.

6. Drizzle each half with balsamic before assembling.

7. If taking to-go, use skewers or toothpicks to keep sandwiches intact.

Watermelon, Feta and Cucumber Salad

Sure, serving sliced watermelon at your picnic would be just fine. But you could also combine watermelon cubes with feta, cucumber and a red wine vinegar dressing — it will be the most refreshing side at the picnic. 

1/2 of a mini watermelon, cubed

1 cucumber, cut into half-slices or quarters

Feta cheese, to taste

For dressing:

2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well. 

2. In a large bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber and as much feta cheese as you’d like. 

3. Pour dressing over the salad, and mix well. 

4. If you’re packing this in a to-go container, choose something that won’t leak — there’s a lot of liquid in this salad, and it might leak into your favorite picnic basket otherwise. 

Berry Puff Pastry

Like a more mature Toaster Strudel. For these 90-degree days, place this in an insulated cooler or bag, or keep in the fridge or freezer before heading into the heat. 

1 frozen puff pastry sheet

Whipped cream, either homemade or store-bought

Berries of your choice (A&E used blackberries, raspberries and quartered strawberries)

1. Let frozen puff pastry sheet thaw until soft and malleable.

2. Unfold puff pastry sheet.

3. Bake according to package instructions. 

4. Let pastry sit until cool to the touch. 

5. Spread a thick layer of whipped cream over the center of the pastry. The thicker the layer, the fewer flakes will get caught in the whipped cream. 

6. Sprinkle berries over the pastry. Add chopped fresh mint leaves if you’re really trying to impress your picnic guests.