Alex Guarnaschelli Blogs: 3 Easy Recipes for the Perfect Picnic

05/25/2016 at 02:14 PM ET

Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli

Alex Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef, Food Network celebrity chef, author of Old-School Comfort Food and the executive chef at New York City’s Butter restaurants. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Tuesday to get her professional cooking tips, family-favorite recipes and personal stories of working in front of the camera and behind the kitchen doors. Follow her on Twitter at @guarnaschelli.

This is my fun picnic plate for spring (or summer). It’s simple and made up of a few classics that I just love putting together. Something about fried chicken followed by a bite of a tangy pickles and some crunchy cabbage slaw makes me so happy. It’s such a great mix of textures and lighter than the standard potato and macaroni salad.

RELATED: Alex Guarnaschelli Blogs: The Best Method for Cleaning Your Cast Iron Skillet

While I will always devour fried chicken right out of the fryer, I also enjoy it cold with the cabbage and pickles at room temperature. You decide!

Pickling your own vegetables entails submerging them in a salt and water solution (brine) or an acidic ingredient like vinegar. Simply put, the good bacterium that exists naturally on vegetables consumes the starches/sugars in the vegetable and secretes acids (namely lactic acid) that prevent spoilage. More importantly: pickling adds irresistible flavor, gives them brightness and acidity and, in some cases, even increases their vitamin content!

A few important tips? If you’re planning to keep the pickles for some time before eating, use jars designed for home canning with tightly fitting lids without any dents or rust. Select tender vegetables (that are not wax-coated) of a relatively similar size. Kirby cucumbers, small onions and smaller zucchini or carrots are a few of my favorites. When sealing your pickling jars, submerge them and the lids in separate non-reactive metal pots and gently simmer them in hot water while you prepare your brine. That way you start clean and end the process with something safe and tasty!

Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli

Kirby Cucumber Pickles
These are tasty. I even have left them overnight and eaten them the next day. They still have the freshness of a cucumber with the beginnings of a pickle.

¼ cup sea salt
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
8 cups filtered/bottled water
4 lbs. Kirby cucumbers, thoroughly washed and dried
A few sprigs fresh dill, washed and dried

1. Make the pickling liquid: Mix the sea salt, apple cider vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes. Remove the brine from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the jars, one by one, from the boiling water and fill each with the cucumbers and a little bit of the dill.
The cucumbers (or other vegetables) should be fitted tightly and should come within ½ inch of the top of each jar.

2. Pickle the cucumbers: Fill each jar with the brine to the top and tap on a flat surface to remove any possible air bubbles. With the brine all the way to the top, wipe each top and rim with a cloth and tightly seal each jar. Refrigerate. After 24 hours, the lids should be flat on top and offer no resistance when you press down on it. After a few weeks, open the jars and wow!

RELATED: Alex Guarnaschelli Blogs: What It Was Like to Cook for Prince

Fried Chicken
I love the paper bag method my mom just casually whips up. Simple.

1 whole chicken (3-3½ lbs.) legs, wings, thighs and breasts separated, breasts halved crosswise
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. smooth Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
3 cups shortening

1. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, mustard, 1 tbsp. salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours and up to 18 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 350F.

3. Get ready to fry: Melt the shortening over low heat in a large cast iron skillet. Raise the heat to medium and use a thermometer to monitor the oil as it comes to 375F. In a large paper bag, combine and shake together the flour, 2 tsp. salt and paprika. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and toss them in the bag with the flour mix until they are coated. Arrange the coated pieces on a baking sheet.

4. Fry the chicken: use a pair of tongs to arrange the chicken in a single layer in the hot oil. Cook over medium heat 5-8 minutes on the first side or until golden brown. Carefully rotate the pieces to their second side and fry for an additional 3-5 minutes. When the pieces are browned, remove them from the oil and onto a clean baking sheet sited with a rack. Season with salt. Place the tray in the oven and cook for an additional 12-15 minutes or until all of the chicken is fully cooked. Taste for seasoning.

Cabbage Slaw
Serves 6-8

This cabbage slaw can be made hotter or milder depending on your personal tastes. I like the balance of 2 teaspoons hot sauce with the jalapeño. Want it milder? Omit the jalapeño and lower the amount of hot sauce.

¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp. hot sauce
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and grated on a grater
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 medium purple cabbage, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, cut into thin rounds

1. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine and whisk together the vinegar, hot sauce, mayonnaise sugar, Worcestershire sauce and salt.

2.
Prepare the slaw: Stir the sliced cabbage and jalapeno slices into the dressing and toss—preferably with your hands—to completely coat the cabbage and let sit at least 10 minutes (and up to several hours) to marinate. Taste for seasoning.

Share this story:

Your reaction:

The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

People

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Archive

The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

Posted on

On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 1 comments

Kali on

All I can say..this is one BAD BI***!!…….
I didn’t know I loved food until I started watching food network ..
And the moment Alex Beat Bobby Fley!!!!!! I was jumping up and down in my living room….screaming. I was raised in soul kitchens of grandma and great grand cooking the same time… ..so i know real. Alex is the realist!!!!
Its my DREAM to one day taste one of her dishes……love this B****!!!!