Welcome to a Georgia Inspired Backyard Picnic

Today is Mustard Day, Watermelon Day, Grab Some Nuts Day and Georgia Day. Yeah, we got all those rolled into one awesome backyard picnic menu. Okay, so the mustard is just a teaspoon in the potato salad, but it’s there.

Did better with the watermelons. As you know by now, I stumbled across a site that broke down the top recipe searches during last year’s lockdown state by state. In Georgia, it was all about lemonade. So for our picnic, we’re serving up Watermelon Lemonade – how utterly refreshing!

Did someone say grab some nuts? Then Georgia is definitely the place to be! The soil of Georgia’s coastal plain, along with the warm weather and long growing season, is perfectly suited for the cultivation of peanuts. While we may think peanuts are a true nut, they are actually part of the legume family. I know, it’s grab some nuts and not grab some legumes day, but since Americans (and Australians) think of peanuts as nuts, then a good Georgia Peanut Pie counts, don’t you think?

And this all brings us to the celebration of the great state of Georgia. It seems Georgia has been getting a bad rap in the press (yet again). For a colony that was the only one to prohibit slavery, it’s change of attitude and outside pressure to accept slavery has now given Georgia the illusion as the birthplace of oppression. Popular thinking doesn’t necessarily make an evil morally right, and that’s an important lesson to remember, especially in this wild cancel culture we seem to find ourselves in. Take the word Picnic for example – way back in 1998 an email circulated about that appeared to be from the Smithsonian suggesting that the word Picnic is offensive to Black Americans because when the KKK had a lynching, folks packed a picnic and made a social event of it. The email suggested that these socials were called Picnics and that somehow that’s the true origins of the word. Utter nonsense, and it wasn’t long before the uproar fell by the wayside. But as so many things do, it’s come full circle once more. The truth of the matter is, if you look hard enough you’ll find reason to be offended by just about anything. Did the KKK lynch blacks? Yes. Did some of these lynchings have a social gathering associated with it? Yes. That doesn’t change the origins of Picnic – from the French pique-nique, a term from the late 17th century. Pique-niques were upscale potlucks of sorts often held outside. As for the practice of packing foods to be eaten outside, usually associated with a hunt, this dates back even further. Long before the KKK. Words such as “Social” can also be considered offensive, yet most of us aren’t offended by the words alone. I’ll be attending Barbecues, and Socials and Picnics without feeling guilty. If we’re going to go about canceling things just because someone out there may be offended, we need to do away with Christmas and Easter and a whole slue of things. We need to stop honoring those who have served in the military. We need to stop attending weddings. The list of offensives just goes on and on. I’m sorry but if you are offended, that’s your issue, not mine. Evil exists in the world. But so to is love and joy and uplifting the human spirit. Instead of tearing others down, try raising them up. We’re all better for it.

That’s my rant for today. Let’s celebrate Georgia with a wonderful feast of Southern specialties. The best part about a backyard picnic is that you’ve got use of the convenience of a kitchen while still enjoying the great outdoors. Have fun!

Georgia Inspired Backyard Picnic
Georgia Brine Fried Chicken
Southern Style Sweet Pickle Potato Salad
Sweet Corn on the Cob
Miss Deen’s Classic Buttermilk Biscuit

Watermelon Lemonade

Georgia Peanut Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Georgia Brine Fried Chicken
Chicken Buttermilk Brine
1/2 cup Water
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 cups Buttermilk
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Onion Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
6 Chicken Legs
6 Chicken Thighs, bone-in

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the salt and water until dissolved. Whisk in buttermilk, eggs, onion and garlic salt.. Add chicken, one piece at a time and turn to coat. Remove each piece of dipped chicken and place chicken into 2 gallon-size storage bags.

Divide buttermilk mixture over chicken. Seal storage bags and lay flat on 2 rimmed baking pans. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, 8 hours or up to overnight.

Remove bags with chicken from the rimmed baking pans, set aside. Place wire racks inside the baking sheets, set aside.

Seasoned Flour Coating
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the seasonings. Pour the mixture into a paper bag. Remove chicken 2 or 3 pieces at a time from the buttermilk mixture, letting excess buttermilk drip back into the plastic bags.

Drop chicken into the flour, coat by shaking the bag. Remove coated chicken, place on the wire racks. Repeat until all the chicken has been coated. Let chicken rest on the wire racks for 15 minutes. This will help the coating adhere to the skin.

For Frying
1/2 cup Lard or Shortening
1/4 cup Butter

Divide the shortening and butter between two 9-inch cast iron skillets placed over moderate heat until melted. It is hot enough when a drop of water sizzles across the hot fat.

Add the chicken pieces and cook over moderate to low heat for 30 minutes turning to brown all sides. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to drain.

Note: Do not cook the chicken fast over high heat. The coating will burn and blacken before the chicken is cooked.

Southern Style Sweet Pickle Potato Salad
6 hard-boiled large Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
5 medium Potatoes
1/2 cup Green Onions,
1/4 cup Mini Sweet Pickles
1 teaspoon Mustard
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
1 cup Mayonnaise
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Place eggs in a saucepan. Cover with 1-inch of water. Add 1 teaspoon Baking Soda to the water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep eggs for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath.

Remove eggs from pan with a slotted spoon. Tap to crack shell, then plunge in ice bath. Let sit in water for 20 minutes.

Peel eggs under cold running water, refrigerate until ready to use.

Meanwhile, peel and cube potatoes. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain; transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.

Dice eggs, chop green onions, dice pickles. Add to the bowl with the potatoes; toss well. Stir in mustard, celery seed and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper; mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

Sweet Corn on the Cob
6 Ears of Corn
2 teaspoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Butter, for cooking
6 tablespoons Butter, for serving
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with cold water. There should be enough water to cover the corn. Bring water in the large pot to a boil.

Peel off husks, clean to remove all the corn silk from the kernels. Trim the ends, set aside until water comes to a boil.

Add sugar and butter to the boiling water. Carefully drop the corn into the water. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot with a lid and slow-boil for 10 minutes.

Using kitchen tongs, remove the corn from the pot and place on a platter. Serve with remaining soft butter, salt and pepper as desired.

Miss Deen’s Classic Buttermilk Biscuits
2 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
1 cup cold unsalted Butter, cubed
4 cups Self-rising Flour
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cups cold Whole Buttermilk
Additional Butter, for serving

Heat oven to 425-degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter and set aside until ready to use.

Cube butter, resisting the temptation to cut the butter into pieces that are smaller than peas; bigger butter pieces mean taller, flakier biscuits. Place cubed butter in the freezer to get good and cold. The colder the butter, the better.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Use a fork or pastry blender, to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until crumbly and resembling floured peas. Gradually add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn the out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead 3 to 4 times. Pat dough to 1-inch thickness using a light touch; remember the more you work the dough, the tougher your biscuits will be.

Use a 2-1/2-inch round biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut dough with a swift down motion without twisting cutter. Flour cutter between each cut. Make cuts close together to minimize scraps. Gently re-pat scraps and cut to use all dough. Place biscuits on prepared pan, sides touching so they rise high. Gently press down top of biscuits with your knuckles to create tiny wells; brush with melted butter.

Bake biscuits in the heated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes; serve immediately with plenty of creamy butter.

Watermelon Lemonade
6 cups Seedless Watermelon cubed
3 Lemons, juiced
2/3 cup Sugar
4 cups Water
Ice for serving
Watermelon Wedges for garnish
Lemon Wedges for garnish
Mint Sprigs for garnish

Cube watermelon, making sure there are no seeds. Add cubed watermelon to blender and blend on high until well pureed. Pour through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth into a gallon jug. Gather up sides of cheesecloth and squeeze to force out as much watermelon juice as possible into a large pitcher. Discard pulp.

Juice lemons, add lemon juice, cold water, and sugar into the watermelon juice. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Taste for sweetness and adjust accordingly.

Fill glasses half way with ice. Pour Watermelon Lemonade over the ice, garnish as desired and serve.

Georgia Peanut Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
Peanut Butter Crust

5 tablespoons cold unsalted Butter
1-1/4 cups Flour
1/4 cup Cocktail Peanuts
2 teaspoons Light Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon cold Shortening, cubed
4 to 6 tablespoons Ice Water

Cube butter, place in the freezer to get good and cold. Cube shortening, place in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.

Combine flour, peanuts, brown sugar, and salt in bowl of a food processor; process until peanuts are ground and mixture is combined. Add cubed butter, peanut butter, and cubed shortening, pulse until mixture resembles small peas, 10 to 12 times.

Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over top of crust mixture. Pulse 4 times. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition until dough just begins to clump together. Remove dough from processor; shape and flatten into a disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap, and chill 2 hours

Note: Crust can chill up to 2 days.

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Place chilled dough disk on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle dough with flour. Top with another piece of parchment paper. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle. Remove and discard top sheet of parchment. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around rolling pin, separating dough from bottom sheet of parchment as you roll. Discard bottom sheet of parchment. Place rolling pin wrapped with dough over a 9-inch 1 1/2-inch-deep glass pie plate. Unroll dough, and gently press into pie plate. Trim dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang; fold edges under, and crimp. Set aside to make filling.

Peanut Butter Filling
1/2 cup unsalted Butter
1-1/4 cups packed Light Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 large Eggs
1/3 cup Half-and-Half
1/3 cup Sorghum or Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1-1/2 cups Cocktail Peanuts

Melt butter, set aside until ready to use. Stir together brown sugar, flour, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter, set aside.

In a medium bowl; whisk eggs well; whisk in half-and-half, sorghum or corn syrup, and vanilla. Add peanut butter; whisk until blended. Add peanut butter mixture to brown sugar mixture, and stir until combined. Spoon filling into prepared piecrust. Sprinkle peanuts over top, and place pie on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake in heated oven 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350-degrees, continue to bake until puffed and golden brown with the center set, about 45 minutes. Shield the edges of the crust with pie shields or aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning, if necessary. Transfer pie to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Brown Sugar-Bourbon Whipped Cream
1 cup cold Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Bourbon
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Chill whisk and bowl of a stand mixer in the freezer for 20 minutes.

In the chilled bowl, whip heavy cream on high speed until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Add bourbon and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To serve; slice pie, place on dessert plates. Dollop each slice with some whipped cream, serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

3 thoughts on “Welcome to a Georgia Inspired Backyard Picnic”

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