Archives for Picnic

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce box couscous

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (generous) grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
2/3 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced green onions
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Add couscous; stir 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Transfer to large bowl to cool.
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, and cardamom to blend in small bowl. Drizzle over couscous. Mix in garbanzo beans, dates, almonds, minced cilantro, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.



  • 12 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill weed


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, pickling spice, dill seed, and red pepper flakes. Stir, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  2. Remove the cucumbers to three 1 1/2 pint wide mouth jars, placing 4 cucumbers into each jar. Ladle in the liquid from the bowl to cover. Place a sprig of fresh dill into each jar, and seal with lids. Refrigerate for 10 days before eating. Use within 1 month.

Adapted from The Grrl Genius Guide to Life: A 12-Step Program on How to Become a Grrl Genius, According to Me! by Cathryn Michon.

Serves Enough


  • 2 (or some) boiled white potatoes
  • 2 (or some) boiled red potatoes
  • 2 (or some) boiled purple potatoes
  • 2 (or some) boiled Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 (or some) boiled sweet potatoes
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 each red, yellow, purple, green, and orange bell peppers, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons rough-cut Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup diced parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop the potatoes and the hard-boiled eggs and put in an enormous bowl with the diced peppers and onion.
  2. In a less-enormous bowl mix up all the other ingredients.
  3. Dump the less enormous bowl into the more enormous bowl and toss gaily. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Delicious if you eat it now, even better tomorrow.

Serves 8.

If you plan to serve the chicken later on the same day that you cook it, refrigerate it immediately after it has cooled, then let it come back to room temperature before serving. On the breast pieces, we use toothpicks to secure the skin, which otherwise shrinks considerably in the oven, leaving the meat exposed and prone to drying out. We think the extra effort is justified, but you can omit this step. This recipe halves easily.


  • 5├é┬ápounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, or a mix with breasts cut into 3 pieces or halved if small), trimmed of excess fat and skin
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Following illustrations below, use sharp knife to make 2 or 3 short slashes in skin of each piece of chicken, taking care not to cut into meat.
  2. Combine salt, sugar, and spices in small bowl and mix thoroughly. Coat chicken pieces with spices, gently lifting skin to distribute spice rub underneath but leaving it attached to chicken.
  3. Transfer chicken skin side up to wire rack set over rimmed foil-lined baking sheet, lightly tent with foil, and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.
  4. Secure skin of each breast piece with 2 or 3 toothpicks placed near edges of skin.
  5. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees.
  6. Roast chicken until thickest part of smallest piece registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees and continue roasting until chicken is browned and crisp and thickest parts of breast pieces register 160 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes longer, removing pieces from oven and transferring to clean wire rack as they finish cooking.
  8. Continue to roast thighs and/or drumsticks, if using, until thickest part of meat registers 170 to 175 degrees, about 5 minutes longer.
  9. Remove from oven; transfer chicken to rack and let cool completely before refrigerating or serving.

Getting Chicken into Make-Ahead Shape:

When chicken is eaten at room temperature or cooler, a fowl’s usual flaws become magnified. For this recipe, we found that a modicum of extra prep work kept the flavor, texture, and appearance from suffering.

SCORE: Scoring the skin (but not the meat) provided outlets for melting fat, yielding more fully rendered, paper-thin skin.

RUB: Applying a salty spice rub both on the skin and beneath it ensured that neither exterior nor interior came out bland.

CHILL OUT: Air-drying the rubbed parts on a rack in the refrigerator overnight gave the flavors time to penetrate while also drying out the skin.

PIN DOWN: Securing the skin with toothpicks just before roasting kept the skin from shrinking up into an unattractive bundle.