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Come Party With Me: Beach Picnic - Menu I

After an afternoon of kite flying fun, the guests at my beach picnic will certainly have worked up an appetite. To satiate them, I'm packing a picnic with delicious and classic flavors. Hearty, spreadable store bought cheese, flatbreads, olives, and hard boiled eggs will kick start the menu. I'll ask a few of the male guests to help me set up a fire pit with a grill on top. A picnic on the beach must have seafood, so fresh beer steamed clams are the first course. Next up, the quintessential fried chicken made at home and packed in colored Chinese take out containers. Don't let guests know that the chicken was baked in the oven - not deep fried - and when they ask for the recipe, smile mysteriously and say, "it's a family secret." Check out the first batch of recipes (you have to come back tomorrow for the salads and dessert!), just

Steamed Clams
From Martha Stewart

5 pounds steamer clams
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 beer
Chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges
Unsalted butter, melted

  1. Place steamers in a large bowl. Add enough water to cover. Add cornmeal, and stir to thoroughly combined. Let stand for at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours to allow the clams to purge their sand.
  2. Remove clams from water, and rinse thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine beer and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add clams, and cook, covered, until the clams have opened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove clams with a slotted spoon, discarding any clams that have not opened or ones with broken shells, to a large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Strain cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Serve clams immediately with lemon wedges, hot broth, and melted butter.

Serves 4.

Picnic Fried Chicken
From EatingWell

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 1/2 pounds chicken legs
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

  1. Whisk buttermilk, mustard, garlic and hot sauce in a shallow glass dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour or for up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk flour, sesame seeds, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Place the flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and place chicken on the prepared rack. (Discard any leftover flour mixture and marinade.) Spray chicken pieces with cooking spray.
  5. Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.

Serves 4.

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