The first dish is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver's peppers stuffed with tomatoes recipe from the Jamie at home show. I have done it before and the recipe can be found here. For the shoot, I omitted the pancetta.
You always want to have fried chicken at a picnic too, but I don't like the mess frying makes in the kitchen so was looking for a baked alternative. That recipe is repeated below. Potato salad? Of course - with a two step dressing. And finally a dessert - apple bars with a dollop of ice cream. All of the dishes can be made at home and taken to the picnic with you.
I wanted to make sure there was as little mayonnaise and dairy as possible - after all it gets hot here in Texas and proper refrigeration is crucial to ensuring that people don't get sick.
Baked (fried) Chicken - Total Cost $14, Serves 8
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
2 c buttermilk
1T dried orgegano
1T hot sauce (eg Tabasco)
2 c breadcrumbs (I used panko)
2T grated parmesan
2T finely chopped parsley
Mix together the buttermilk, oregano, hot sauce to make a marinade. Add a little salt. Place the chicken into the buttermilk and leave to coat in the fridge for at least an hour - and up to 12.
Just before taking the chicken out of the refrigerator, turn the oven to 375 and place a rackn in the center.
Mix together the bread breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley. Take each piece of chicken out of the marinade, shake the excess off, and roll it in the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides evenly. Lay the chicken pieces skin side up on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes - until the crumbs are evenly browned.
Potato Salad- Total Cost $6, Serves 8
3 pound(s) (medium) red-skinned potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks
Put the potatoes and a generous couple of pinches of salt into cold water in a saucepot. Bring to a simmer until the potatoes are just tender.
Meanwhile make the vinaigrette by whisking together the cider vinegar, oil and mustard.
When cooked, drain the potatoes thoroughly and then coat with the vinaigrette while still hot. Allow the potatoes to cool.
Mix the salt, pepper, mayonaise and whole milk together in a bowl, ensuring that the mayonnaise is thoroughly incorporated.
Mix the celery and green onions into the cooled potatoes, pour over the mayonnaise mixture and combine gently.
Serve in a pretty bowl with some paprika sprinkled on top for color
Apple Bars - Total Cost $17, 36 bars
1 stick butter (slightly softened - not melted)
1 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
1 stick butter
2 cup flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
4 lbs Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and chopped into 1/3" chunks
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, OK)
1/2t all spice
2T corn starch
3T lemon juice
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
1 1/2 sticks butter (hard, still cold from fridge), cut in small pieces
First, make the topping by combining the ingredients with your hands until they make a cohesive ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate.
In a large skillet add the applles, sugar, raisins and spices. Cook gently over a low flame until all the liquid has evaporated. You will need to stir occasionally. The apples will retain their texture.
Meanwhile, make and bake the crust. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt, then rub the butter in until the mixture looks sandy. The butter pieces want to be small enough to be invisible on their own. You could use a pastry blender if you prefer, or a couple of short pulses in the food processor.
Lay the crust mixture evenly in a greased 15x10 jelly roll pan, and press it down using the bottom of a glass to compact it and make sure it is even.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes - until the crust is light golden brown. It may form cracks at the surface - do not worry.
When the crust has nearly finished baking, mix the lemon juice and cornstarch together and pour over the hot apples (off heat). stir to allow to thicken.
Take the out of the oven, and while still hot cover evenly with the hot filling. Crumble the refrigerated topping evenly over the filling. Press down lightly, and bake uncovered for around 40 minutes in the 350 oven.
When cooked, remove the pan from the oven, and allow to cool completely. When cool cut the bars while still in the pan.
Serve topped with a spoonful of ice cream (if desired). They are also pretty good plain