Picnics and Barbecues
A picnic, or just eating outdoors, is a holiday from our daily table. Whether we are sitting in a meadow, on a mountain top, by the shore, or in our own garden, nature creates a casual mood and whets our appetite. Prepare food that is easy to serve and easy to eat, always make extra just in case. If you are barbecuing, get your fire started well ahead.
An out-door barbecue offers such a tempting way to get out of the kitchen on a warm evening. It's also a means of getting the men in the family into the act of cooking, if they aren't already, and provides a simple answer to feeding a number of people, yet making a party of it as good cooking smells waft across the backyard.
One is apt to get in a rut and fall back too often on hamburgers, hot dogs and steaks as the standard barbecue fare. Don't let this happen. There are so many things that can be barbecued deliciously. For instance, any fish or seafood that broils successfully can be done on an open fire as well. The same goes for meat, butterflyed lamb for instance, or skewed chicken livers, or shish kebab, and chicken. If you have a spit, then try doing roast meats that way, duck is particularly delicious done on a spit.
Vegetables and potatoes can be wrapped in foil and tucked in among the coals, once your fire is going well, or some like eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, peppers, summer squash and onions can be grilled at the last-minute after the meat is done.
A picnic basket could contain the welcome sight of something like cold vegetables, fresh scallions, small tomatoes, hearts of celery, avocado, slices of cold meats, fried chicken, a loaf of homemade bread, the possibilities are endless. Think ahead so you will have the cooked foods ready; fill containers with pickles and olives. Wine, coffee, tea or lemonade can tend to the thirst. Cheese is simple to pack and it is nice to have a variety. Cookies or a carrot cake would make the meal complete, with fresh fruit as a snack before starting home.
2-1/2 pounds chicken
1/4 cup oil
freshly ground pepper
Light the coals. Truss the chicken, rub with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange on spit. When the fire is ready, place the spitted chicken on the rotisserie and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees in the breast meat and 185 degrees in the thigh meat, basting every 15 to 20 minutes with choice of sauce.
Top 3 barbecue sauces;
1)...Chicken Barbecue Sauce
Brush this sauce on chicken as it cooks. Also good on pork.
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sage, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake well and let stand for several hours before using.
2)...Light Barbecue Sauce
This is a sauce that allows meat and poultry to keep their own character.
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rosemary, crumbled
Combine all in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.
A basic sauce, good on pork, ribs, hamburgers and chicken.
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup tomato catsup
1 teaspoon Tabasco
Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add 2 cups water and remaining ingredients. Stir until well mixed. Place over medium-low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.