Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Culinary Throwdown - Picnic Basket

This month's Culinary Throwdown Challenge is being sponsored by LaDiva Cucina and the theme is PICNIC BASKET. Diva will also do the judging - I guess. Well, as usual I waited 'til the last minute. I had been thinking about what to do and had an actual plan. I was going to do it this past weekend and actually try to take the Mrs on an actual picnic. The schedule, of course, actually went to hell in a hand basket and didn't happen.

So I regrouped today (Tuesday the 15th) , got my shit together and had at it. The picnic meal is Cold Barbecued Chicken, Amish Cole Slaw and Quick Potato Salad. We go on an annual family canoe trip and always take KFC with us because it travels well in the freezer chest. The slaw doesn't have mayonnaise so it will last a while. The potato salad was just because I like potato salad. So this was my inspiration - and I had 1 hour to do it in after I got home from work and cleaned up the mess the boys left in the kitchen.

Let me take a second here to vent and say that nothing torques me up more than coming home to a dirty kitchen when I'm in a time crunch. The Mrs never sees this because she doesn't get home until 6PM and even though I explain what I find, she thinks I over-exaggerate. She wonders why I'm always in a foul mood when I come home to find dirty dishes, frying pans, soda cans, food wrappers and glasses left over from the after-school smorgasbord the boy indulges in. And half the time he's eaten what I had planned to serve for dinner. I can't wait until he goes to college next year - but I digress.

Here are many of the ingredients that I used. I didn't use the hard boiled eggs because I didn't have any.

I mixed up both salads and had them in the fridge in about 30 minutes. The Amish Cole Slaw is from a favorite cook book and is very close to the one I linked. The big difference is the amount of vinegar is doubled and the sugar is halved. I think I will go with this next time because my cook book recipe tends to be too sweet.

The chicken thighs were par boiled and frozen (by me) a few weeks ago. I just defrosted them, slathered them up with my favorite barbecue sauce and grilled them for about 10 -12 minutes. Trust me that they were cold when we ate them because the Mrs was about 20 minutes late.

It was such a nice evening here in Jersey (about 75 degrees) that we ate out on the deck - picnic style. No blanket because the deck boards are to hard for my candy ass.

And here you go.

After Action Report: The chicken was good. Hard to mess it up and I had Mesquite wood chips in the barbecue for some nice smoke. I love the smell of Mesquite when I'm cooking. The slaw was meh. A little on the sweet side. The potato salad was surprisingly good for slapping it together in about 20 minutes. Everyone liked it a lot although the boys fished out the tomatoes. This is a keeper and I will probably add some fresh parsley and a little more mustard for color next time. All in all a decent 1 hour picnic meal.

This throwdown promises to have huge participation, so swing on over to Diva's to see the rest of the picnic fare.


Sharon Rudd said...

Sorry your weekend plans went awry and that you had such a rotten day yesterday, Buzz. But this is a heck of a spread that you put together in just an hour! I'm impressed! Up with my smackdown entry too . . .

Heff said...

Man ! EVERYBODY kicked my butt this time !

Great job !

Dani said...

Damn Buzz, you know how to work under pressure!! Great job and thanks for the links. I'm always on the hunt for good potato salad.

Buzz Kill said...

Thanks for being impressed but every weekday is pretty much like this for me. Tonight is Sloppy Joes and greenbeans because I only have 1/2 hour prep time. Welcome to my nightmare.

I don't see this as a competetion but more of a documentary of my everyday life. And I'll tell you my friend, your life is way better. Say Hi to Donna for me.

I was surprised at how easy the potato salad was to make. And the recipe called for a different potato cooking technique that I will definitely use for other recipes. I usually cook the potatoes whole for 15 minutes, let them cool for a while, then peel and dice. This recipe called for peeling and dicing first, then cook for 5 minutes. I quick cooled them in a colandar. This seemed quicker because the diced potatoes cool down faster and you can tell if the potatoes are done. I always have a problem with overcooking whole potatoes and burning my hand peeling and dicing because they never cool all the way.

And the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions were really nice with the potatoes. I learned a lot from this one recipe.

moi said...

Obviously, you are the man to have around in a culinary crunch. This all looks super yummy, and I'm intrigued by the bit of sweet in the slaw. Good luck!

Sandcastle Momma said...

I have to say that to throw something that tasty together in such a short time is amazing. It all looks so good and I agree that Mesquite smell really makes a difference.

I never thought of par-boiling chicken for a quick fix later. I'm going to try that.

Milk River Madman said...

I may try a challenge this year. Looks like I missed a good one this time through.

LatoshaDelapena0209嘉瑜 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chickory said...

nice job - i think adding red cabbage to the slaw would add some much needed color to the plate. you cannot go wrong with mesquite grilled chicken...and i gotta are far better off with your own than KFC which has so much sodium in it your heart dries up.

the boy leaves a mess in the kitchen for you to come home to!? grrrrr!

LaDivaCucina said...

Wow Buzz, you certainly came through in the clinch! Seems like all of us were short on time and good weather, thanks so much for the effort. As for coming home to the dirty kitchen, I feel your pain...why not have the boy START dinner for the family since he's so adept at cooking his own grub? How do you think Diva learned to cook, it was my job to do that from 11 years old! Even if it was peeling potatoes and dicing onions. Anyway, it's a suggestion, but of course I realize you are dealing with a teenager!

Interesting recipe for the potato salad with the tomatoes and cucumbers! And I too like the idea of parboiling the chicken. mesquite...yum! I only put a dash of sugar in my cole slaw too.

Great job and thanks for participating, I know how hard it is for you. Sorry that you couldn't take the Missus for a picnic, but there are two months left of summer!

Buzz Kill said...

It was more than a "bit" of sweet. That sugar/vinegar mix is tough to get just right. I think next time I will try 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of vinegar and see how that goes. If you get the sweet/sour right, it's a nice change from your mayo based slaw.

If Heff can do it, how hard can it be?

I used pre-shredded cabbage and it had some carrots in there, but red cabbage would brighten it up. The potato salad was blah looking too. I know KFC is bad for you but we only get it a couple of times a year and it's so damn good on those canoe trips. It's become tradition.

I was wondering where you were yesterday because you are usually punctual on your posts. The boy has become a constant source of friction between the Mrs and I. In her eyes he can do no wrong and in mine, he can do no right. We've (I've) tried letting him do dinner but the mess that's left for me after just isn't worth it. I'd be more patient with him if he actually cared about food, schedule or family - but he doesn't. I can't say anything or the Mrs gets pissed at me, so it goes.

I really liked the potato salad and the peeling and dicing of the potatoes before cooking. See my comment to Moi on the slaw.

Cooking takes my mind off of other things, and I so enjoy these challenges. I'm hoping that any challenges over the summer will be a little less stressful and I can really do something different. We'll see how it goes. Now go over to Intuitive Eggplant's entry and declare her winner already. That woman can cook.

buffalodick said...

I liked the look of that chicken!