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A movable feast: Tailgate picnics take autumn eating outdoors

THE lazy days of summer have drawn to a close, and there's a refreshing nip of fall in the air. It's time to think about picnic outings and tailgate parties to welcome the change of seasons. Students home from college for a weekend or longer holiday often have football games on the agenda. This calls for outdoor meals featuring hearty sandwiches such as whole wheat pita pouches with salad mixtures, or hot buns and rolls such as empanadas, vegetable turnovers, and meat mixtures in pastry, plus fresh fruit, cake, or cookies for dessert.

A quiche or cheese-baked pie, served with a tossed green salad or the popular three- or four-bean salad, also make good choices for an outdoor occasion.

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And rolls or crusty bread already buttered and a tempting dessert will make for a complete lunch that satisfies the kind of appetite that always goes with outdoor activities.

``From the Farmers' Market'' by Richard Sax and Sandra Gluck (Harper & Row, $10.95) is a good place to look for fresh ideas on using produce. Dutch Apple Bars is just one of the many dessert recipes they include in their section on apples. Apple Ham Pie Pastry for one 9-inch crust 6 cups peeled, sliced tart apples 1 1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg cheese 1 cup diced ham 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 1/3 cup minced green onion 3 eggs, well beaten 1 cup milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Line pie plate with pastry and flute edges. Bake 8 minutes at 425 degrees F. Cool on wire rack.

In cooled crust, arrange half the apples. Top with half the cheese, ham, bacon, and onions. Repeat to form second layer.

Beat together remaining ingredients and pour over all. Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees F. or until knife inserted in pie comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cool. Four Bean Salad 1 can (15 ounces) chick peas, drained 1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained 1 package (10 ounces) cut green beans, cooked and drained 1 cup thinly sliced celery 1 small purple onion, sliced in rings 1/4 cup chopped parsley 2 cups mild cheese cut in julienne strips Dressing 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1 small clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

In large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Add cheese.

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In measuring cup, combine salad dressing ingredients. Blend well. Pour over salad and toss.

Cover and chill well before serving. If desired, serve over lettuce leaves.

Serves 8. Dutch Apple Bars Cookie Crust 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 2 tablespoons sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon salt Filling 10 cups sliced peeled apples (10 medium apples, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds) 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/4 cup sugar (or slightly more, if apples are very tart) 3 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Streusel Topping 1 cup flour 2/3 cup sugar Pinch of cinnamon 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Cookie Crust: Combine butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt; do not overmix. Press dough into buttered 10 1/2 x 15 1/2-inch jelly roll pan. Prick dough gently with a fork and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Filling: Toss apple slices with lemon juice in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, lemon zest and cinnamon. Add to apples and toss to combine; set aside.

Streusel Topping: In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine flour, butter, sugar, and cinnamon until crumbled to the size of large peas.

Place the apple mixture evenly over the dough. Scatter the topping over the apples. Bake until lightly golden and apples are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then trim edges and cut into 2- x 3-inch bars.

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