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Perfect Picnic Menu for Memorial Day

From baked barbecue chicken to blueberry pie, how'd you like to pack the perfect picnic for Memorial Day? And one that's healthier than your usual holiday fare.

Food Network star Alex Guarneschelli, a judge on "Chopped" and host of "Alex's Day off," served up recipes on "The Early Show" Wednesday. She's also executive chef of the Manhattan eatery, Butter.

The menu included tangy spicy barbeque chicken, side of green potato salad and dessert of blueberry pie, washed down with lemonade.

The chicken had a traditional "wings" flavor, but was baked instead of fried. The side not only had some nice veggie components, but was dressed with a vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise. And the pie was made with jam and fresh blueberries instead of large amounts of sugar.

"Early Show" recipes galore!

My Mother's Chicken with Barbeque Sauce

My mother would combine everything into a pot and the sauce would just sit and simmer on the stove forever. I remember the smell would be somewhat acrid at first, like vinegar. Then the ginger, spices and lemon would take over and create this wonderful aroma. Doused on chicken and cooked in the oven, this sauce was amazing hot and cold leftover! It also works REALLY WELL for picnic on a couple of levels: It can be eaten cold OR, if the park you are headed to has a grill, you could just throw the cold chicken pieces on for some extra smoky flavor!

3 cups ketchup
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard (preferably Colman's)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup chili powder
1 "knob" fresh ginger (about 4 inches), peeled and cut in 3 pieces
5 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 lemons, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
4 to 5 pounds chicken parts, a mixture of light and dark meat, all relatively the same size
Kosher salt

Prepare the barbeque sauce:
In a medium saucepan or a large high-sided saute pan, combine the ketchup, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, dry mustard, Dijon mustard and chili powder. Whisk to blend. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and lemon slices and stir to combine. Simmer until the vinegar mellows slightly and the flavors start to meld together, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Discard the ginger pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet (or, if needed, 2 baking sheets) with foil. Season the chicken parts on both sides with salt, to taste. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the barbeque sauce into a large bowl. Reserve the remaining sauce on the side. Submerge the chicken pieces in the sauce and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet with some of the lemon slices. The chicken should all be in a single layer with a little space between them. If additional space is needed, use the second baking sheet. Brush with barbeque sauce.

Put the baking sheet(s) in the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and use a pair of metal tongs to turn the pieces to the other side. Use a pastry brush to coat the second side of the chicken with the barbeque sauce from the bowl. Do not reuse that bowl or brush again. Return the sheet(s) to the oven and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Poke a thigh with the tip of a small knife and verify the chicken juices run "clear" and not pink. Turn the broiler on and broil for a minute until the chicken is charred on top.

Warm the reserved barbeque sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a serving bowl.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve immediately with the warm sauce on the side.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings; about 1 quart sauce
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

Green Potato Salad

7 to 8 scallions, washed, dried and cut into slices (green and white parts)
1 small bunch chives, sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons water
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds red bliss potatoes, washed
3 bay leaves
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 teaspoon caper liquid
1 small bunch tarragon, stemmed and leaves finely chopped

In a food processor (or blender), combine the scallions and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Add water and blend. Pour 5 tablespoons of the olive oil through the top of the food processor in a slow, steady stream. Taste for seasoning.

Bring the potatoes to a boil in a pot of water and reduce to a simmer. Season the water with a pinch of salt and add bay leaves. Simmer the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes.

In a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes, whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard, capers and tarragon. Whisk in the remaining olive oil. Taste for seasoning. Drain the potatoes of their cooking liquid and discard the bay leaves.

Put the potatoes in the bowl with the dressing and lightly crush them with the tines of a fork. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss them in the dressing. Finish by adding the scallion and olive oil mixture. Stir to blend. Keep warm at room temperature until serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy

Blueberry Pie

This was a staple in my house growing up. The addition of the jam to the filling adds pectin and body so you can avoid using cornstarch. It also adds a richer flavor to the blueberries. Allow the pie to cool for at least a couple of hours (if you can stand the wait) or even overnight. The filling will be more "together" that way.

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus 1 tablespoon for pan
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup shortening, chilled and cubed
1/2 to 2/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons ice water
Special equipment: 1 (9-inch) pie tin

5 cups blueberries, discard any small or overly soft berries
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
12 to 14 ounces good quality blueberry jam

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 orange, juiced

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Coat the pie tin with 1 tablespoon of butter. Clear and clean off a large, flat surface. Lightly flour the area.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Pulse in the shortening and 1 stick of the butter. Add some of the ice water and continue to mix until it looks like wet sand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding more water and pulse again until it just comes together into a ball.

Put the dough on the floured surface and roll it into a ball. Cut in half. Reserve the second half. Using a rolling pin, roll out the first half, until it's at least 4 to 5 inches wider than the 9-inch pie tin, about 1/4-inch thick. Gently roll the dough onto your floured rolling pin and lay the dough into the pie tin. Press it into the bottom and the sides of the tin. Cook's Note: don't dock the crust because the filling is liquidy and will cause the crust to stick to the pie tin. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Roll the second half of the dough larger than the pie tin for the top of the pie. Gingerly lay it on a baking sheet and refrigerate it until filling is ready.

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, flour, butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice. Mix to blend. Stir in the jam and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.

Remove the top crust from the refrigerator and "fold" it onto the rolling pin. Lay the dough over the top of the pie. Trim the overlapping edges to a 1 1/2-inch overhang. Tuck the edges of the top crust under the edges of the bottom crust, this eliminates the need for an egg wash. Pinch the top to make the edges fluted and sealed all around the pie. Use a pastry cutter or small knife to cut an opening in the center of the top crust.

Put the pie in the center of the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

While the pie is baking, combine the sugar, water and orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer gently to reduce by about half and coats the back of a spoon.

Open the oven door and slide the rack out slightly. Pour the mixture over the pie and into the opening in the top of the crust. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely before slicing. Serve alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie, 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 25 minutes

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