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Picnic Pointers With Summer Sizzle

Local celebrity chefs gear up for culinary outings

Red picnic basketBe it the gear, the food, or the location, picnics are all about personal style. Whether it’s the beach, the mountains, or an outdoor concert, the summer picnic ritual goes from high-end distinction with candelabras and silverware, to beaten up coolers and tired containers that have catered two-dozen memorable moments.

Whether it’s more glamping or a primitive fireside s’more circle, picnics involve key decisions. We’ve taken a whack at it here, asking local celebrity chefs how to outfit for a perfect picnic. Denise Appel, co-owner and Executive Chef of ZINC (New Haven) whips up some charred cabbage slaw and her own smoked black beans. Lucky for us, Appel is sharing trade secrets. Chef Kristofer Rowe of the Bee & Thistle Inn (Old Lyme) gives us his personal picnic POV. It’s the picnic guide of the season.

 

Picnic Menu

Corn on the Cob with Ancho Compound Butter
BBQ Ribs
Smoked Chipotle Black Bean
Charred Cabbage Slaw

SMOKED BLACK BEANS

serves 4-6

Food photography for picnic menu.Ingredients
½ LARGE onion chopped
½ TABLESPOON garlic
½ TABLESPOON ginger
2 CUPS BLACK BEANS (TO 6 CUPS OF WATER)
1 TEASPOON CUMIN
½ TEASPOON CORIANDER
½ CUP BROWN SUGAR
3 TABLESPOONS CHIPOTLE PEPPERS IN ADOBO (MINCED)
½ CUP CIDER VINEGAR
½ TABLESPOON CHILI FLAKES
3 TABLESPOONS SRIRACHA

Instructions
Start by soaking black beans overnight or at least 2 hours before you plan to cook them.
Strain water. (If you plan to smoke the beans, do so after you have soaked them.)
Smoke 4-5 minutes only.
Sauté onion, garlic and ginger in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add beans to your pan and add 6 cups of water.
Cook beans on high temperature, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until beans are tender.
Once beans are tender, add all the ingredients to the pot and let cook low and slow for 35 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

TEXAS HOT BBQ SAUCE

makes 2 cups, can be kept in refrigerator for 4 weeks

Connecticut Coastal MagainzeIngredients
1 small white onion diced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons banana chilies minced
1 tablespoon Peruvian chilies minced
3 tablespoons garlic minced
1 teaspoon black pepper ground
2 cups tomato coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoon tabasco sauce

Instructions
Sauté onion
Add peppers and all other ingredients
Simmer for 20 minutes
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Purée with a hand blender.

CHARRED CABBAGE SLAW

serves 4

Food photography for picnic menu. Ingredients
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
5 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoon chopped adobo chipotle peppers

Instructions
Sear cabbage, in small batches, in a hot pan with a little olive oil.
Let cabbage cool
Once cool, mix cabbage with all ingredients
Serve.

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