Putt-Putt Picnic

Olive and Feta sandwich

(Okay. It was actually minigolf. But “Minigolf Picnic” isn’t as fun or as alliterative … those two facts are possibly related.)

If it’s been a while since you’ve played minigolf, I think you should do it soon. Preferably with a group of friends and a picnic.

The last time I’d gone was for my own birthday three years ago. I made myself a cake and invited my buddies and we dragged (drug?) a wheelie cooler all around the place, zig-zagging between the giant shoes and windmills and castles and skateboarding rabbits, drinking icy cold cans of beer tucked tightly into truck-stop koozies. But that was three years ago and it was about time to rock that Putt-Putt Picnic Party all over again.

Good thing it’s Chris’s birthday week. Perfect timing on being born, Chris.

Now, here is the deal. When you’re eating outside and potentially in the dark (the best putt-putt is in the cool of the eve) it’s best to keep to a simple menu. That means, no salads, please, only one-handed eats. Sandwiches, chips, crudites, ranch dip, and pickles. And birthday cake. I make an exception for birthday cake. Sure, I totally could have made one-handed, pineapple upside-down cupcakes, but I wanted the experience of blowing out candles and cutting the cake and passing around slices on paper plates.

The pineapple upside-down cake recipe came straight out of the Joy of Cooking. I won’t reprint it here partly because it’s long, but mostly because I think everyone should have a copy of that book anyway.

However. The sandwiches, my friend. The sandwiches are really what this post is about. Similar to a muffaletta, these are our favorite sandwiches for roadtrips because they don’t get soggy and they can sit around unrefrigerated for at least an hour (more like three, but you didn’t hear that from me). Turns out they are also perfect for picnics for those same reasons!

The key is getting some badass olives and some chewy bread like ciabatta or focaccia. I use a mix of whole Calamata and green Cerignola olives, which I buy in bulk from the probably-only-slightly-contaminated olive bar at my grocery store. You could use regular, canned black (Mission) and green (Manzanilla) olives if you can’t find the fancy ones. I do buy the olives with their pits still in because the texture is firmer and nicer than pitted olives.

To pit olives without buying an olive or cherry-pitter: put the olives (one at a time) on your cutting board and press hard on them with the flat side of a wide knife blade. Be careful because they are slick! Most olives (like peaches, some varieties are more “freestone” than others) will smash open and break away from the pit fairly easily so you can use your monkey-fingers to pry the flesh away in two or three chunks.

Now down to business.

Olive and Feta Sandwiches

This is for one big sandwich which I cut into squares for serving. I do it this way for festivities’ sake, but by all means, make several smaller sandwiches if you like. It’s your funeral.


Kinda-Muffalatta Sandwich

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  • Yield: 6-8 1x


  • For the Olive-Feta Spread:
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped olives (equals about 10 large olives)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, julienned (technically this is optional, but a nice touch)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/21 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • For the Sandwich Assembly:
  • 1 large loaf of bread, French or ciabatta
  • 6 ounces sliced hard salami
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts (NOT marinated)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the spread. You may use it immediately or store it in the fridge for up to a week.
  2. Slice the bread horizontally.
  3. Spread the olive mixture on the bottom half. Try to get it as even as possible.
  4. Arrange the artichoke hearts over that.
  5. Arrange the salami over the artichokes; get as even a layer as possible.
  6. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top half of the bread.
  7. Slap the top half of the bread over that and wrap the whole caboodle up tightly in plastic wrap or if you are so fortunate as to have the perfect sized Tupperware, put it in that.
  8. Refrigerate (or don’t!) until it’s time to eat. This sandwich made as is will easily keep overnight with no discernible difference in texture and an even better taste.
  9. Add the cucumber slices right before serving

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  1. Randy on September 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I can see this as something that a single person could spread out as several lunchs (either that or I find myself a food buddy).

    I have a number of recipes that call for sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil (and reconstituted by soaking in hot water) so I buy them by the big bag. It seems reasonable that soaking them in hot olive oil would result in a reasonable facsimile of oil-packed, doesn’t it?

    • Hilah on September 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Yeah, that would totally work! Great idea!

      • Randy on September 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm

        I can’t believe what an idiot I was in attempting DIY oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. After 20 minutes of soaking in warm olive, the dehydrated tomatoes weren’t even close to rehydrating. So, I turned up the heat and proceeded to forget about them. When I finally remembered, I had burned them to a literal crisp.

        So Plan B was to rehydrate them in boiling water, drain them and THEN pack them in olive oil. After reading the ingredient list of the store-bought jar I bought so that I could finally enjoy this sandwich, I added salt and garlic powder to the olive oil. As soon as I can weigh the final product, I can calculate how much it costs to make them yourself. I don’t know if there’s going to be a huge savings, but DIY means you can get them to taste the way you like them.

        • Hilah on September 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm

          Wow! Randy, I am impressed! Food Experiments Foreverrr!

          That sucks about burning them the first go-round, but it does give me an idea for tomato-chips. What if one were to deep fry dried tomatoes??? It could be amazing.

          But more importantly, brilliant idea to reconstitue them first. I am shamed I didn’t think of that and sorry that it led to burning the first batch. However, it sounds like you are on to something, Professor, and I will be very interested to see your calculations. 🙂

          • Randy on September 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm

            I ate a couple of the tomato “fries” and wished I’d caught them a few minutes earlier. They were crispy but burnt tasting. Hopefully you can find a happy medium. I wish I could tell you what temp I used and how long it took to reach crispy, but I’ve got an electric stovetop with markings that bear little calibration to reality.

            You don’t need to feel sorry for anything. It was all my fault. I got side-tracked and forgot about the tomatoes.

            The cost for plan B was actually a few cents more than for store-bought. $0.75/oz for the store-bought versus $0.80/oz for the DIY. BUT I used fairly expensive extra-virgin olive and too much of it thanks to not having the appropriate size container available. The next time I make my own, I’m going to ditch the garlic powder and infuse the olive oil with real garlic before packing the tomatoes. And maybe salt the boiling dehydrating water before adding the tomatoes instead of adding salt at the end of the whole process.

  2. Anna on September 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Just a little FYI! Having a party (for my dog shhh) right now… and made your peanut sauce. Makin’ sure the veggies are extra cold for dipping. I took that tip to heart!!

    • Hilah on September 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

      That part is not to be taken lightly! I hope your secret dog-party was a success!

  3. Randy on September 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I went to Central Market to buy the olives, feta, etc. and guess what I found?!?!
    Muffaletta rolls! I guess I’m not disappointed that they only had one. It’s big enough for two servings. And in case there’s “overflow”, I bought a mini pagnotta loaf.

    • Hilah on September 27, 2011 at 7:59 am


  4. Randy on September 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    This makes a fantastic sandwich, even using bland supermarket hard salami that got kind of lost in all of that olive-feta goodness. I love the olive-feta spread so much I want to find other ways to use it. Like maybe tossing some of it in a salad. Got any other suggestions?

    • Hilah on September 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Yes! Try it in an omelette and you will be in egg-heaven. I bet adding some tuna and tossing it over some salad greens would be a great dinner salad, too. Or chopped up really fine, it might go well in celery sticks?

      • Randy on September 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        I love the omelette idea! I was thinking of a dinner salad, too. With all of the scare over mercury in tuna, I’ve replaced canned tuna with canned chicken where ever I used to use canned tuna. Costco has really good canned chicken. After this weekend’s orgy of chicken-fried steak and Wiener Schnitzel making, I’ll definitely be in the mood for a salad.

    • Randy on October 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      I wish I could remember to whom to give credit for the idea of making veggie bean burgers a little thinner and using them as the “bread”, rather than filling, for a sandwich, but I won’t let that stop me from suggesting the Hilah Inside-Out Burger: two “slices” of Hilah’s veggie bean burger and filled with her olive-feta spread.

      • Hilah on October 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm


  5. Ali on October 9, 2011 at 2:15 am

    I am in cooking heaven right now! I love your vids, lady. Cool cool stuff going on in your kitchen! Might just be a small town girl from Wyoming but I am feeling some of the same style as you have…. which makes me feel pretty awesome!

    • Hilah on October 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Hi Ali!
      It’s great to hear from you! I’m really glad you feel at home here. 😉
      Keep on being awesome, lady! Hope to hear from you again.

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