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Photo by Timo

The river that winds through town here is surrounded by little parks and gorgeous old buildings. Since coming here, I have been inspired to pack a picnic and meet friends on its shores.  Before today, I had only managed to enjoy the picturesque views with take-out pizza and beer.  It was great, but I wanted more.

Today, a friend and I gathered our things and went to the park. She made a delicious salad with chicken and avocados and her signature homemade salad dressing. I brought along strawberry hand pies from Martha. The recipe worked well, but I was worried about them being too juicy (a common problem with hand pies and berry pies especially). So I added a little step to her directions. I followed someone’s advice and let the strawberries sit in the sugar for a while. Then, I poured the sugar/juice mixture into a pan and let it simmer on the stove until it had reduced to half. I added this condensed syrupy liquid back in with the strawberries. And continued to follow martha’s orignal recipe. Bake them on a silpat, if you have one, because these do stick to the pan. Otherwise, these hand pies were easy and delicious. Perfect picnic food.

Next time, I plan to make one or all of the following for our picnic:

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