Tomorrow is the 4th of July and a day to celebrate our nation’s freedom. Weather permitting, a picnic sounds like a great way to celebrate the day, ending with fireworks.
Barbecued chicken legs and thighs would be a great, although messy main dish.
Here is a recipe from Tyler Florence of The Food Network Television.
By Tyler Florence
Prepare brine for chicken in large bowl that would fit in refrigerator: 2 quarts water 2 tablespoon kosher salt 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of the knife 4 sprigs fresh thyme Place in brine: 6 chicken legs and thighs, still connected, bone in, skin on, about 10 ounces each Refrigerate for at least two hours. (or brine today for tomorrow) Wrap: 1 bunch fresh thyme In: One slice bacon Tie with kitchen twine into a bundle. Heat in large saucepan over medium heat: 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Add bacon wrapped with thyme. Cook slowly for 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and gives the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add: 1/2 onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions soften. Add: 2 cups ketchup 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup molasses 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika (Penzeys has it) Freshly ground black pepper Turn heat to low, cook slowly for 20 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup to serve with chicken. Preheat outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue to medium heat. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of extra virgin olive oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface. Take the chicken out of the brine, pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the chicken pieces on the preheated grill and cook, turning once mid-way after 5 minutes, (for a criss-cross pattern on chicken) , flip and cook other side, turning after 5 minutes for criss-cross pattern. If you are at home, turn oven on to 375 degrees, place chicken on cookie sheet lines with foil and cook for 15 minutes, then brush liberally with barbecue sauce. Return to oven to cook 30 minutes more. If you are at the beach, you will need to finish cooking on the grill. It is not a bad idea to pack a meat thermometer with you to make sure the chicken at its thickest part reads 180 degrees F.
Fruits are in season now so a simple fruit and green salad would round up your meal.
Strawberry, Spinach and Feta Salad
In a large salad bowl with a cover, toss: 8 cups fresh baby spinach, cleaned, stems removed, and well dried Place paper towel in large zip bag, place carefully, which you will add to spinach when you are ready to eat: 5 cups sliced strawberries In a small zip bag, which you will add when ready to eat: 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds In another small zip bag, which you will top after adding the dressing: 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese Place spinach, strawberries and feta cheese in cooler with ice pack. In a medium jar with cover, place ingredients to make dressing: 1/2 cup canola oil 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup sugar ( taste and add more if you want a sweeter dressing) 2 tablespoons poppy seeds When you are ready to eat, place strawberries, almonds in spinach bowl, shake dressing well and pour over salad, toss gently. Sprinkle feta cheese over salad and enjoy!
Desserts should be simple and easy to carry, like cookies, brownies, cupcakes, or whoopie pies. You can make them tonight and have them ready for tomorrow’s party.
Stores like Hopaco now carry boxes and dividers for your cupcakes, whether they are regular sized or mini. It is a great way to get your cupcakes to your picnic without making a mess.
Foodie Things I have Learned
Two important principles to remember when making a salad are: 1. Make sure your spinach is dry. A salad spinner or placing them in cloth to remove all the water is important. Water on the spinach will dilute the dressing. I have made several salad bags by sewing together three ends of two dish towels and keep my greens in them. They not only absorb water from the greens but also prolong the life of them. 2. There is nothing worse than a soggy salad. Spinach is a delicate green and should be treated as such. The oil in the dressing quickly permeated the surface of the spinach and turns them dark green and soggy. So do not dress your salad until ready to eat.
Check out the activities in Downtown Hilo, there is a BBQ cook-off in the parking lot at Bayfront.
Please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.