1. Pretzel-Crusted “Fried” Chicken
1 whole(s) (3-pound) chicken
1 pound(s) unsalted fat-free sourdough pretzels
2 tablespoon(s) paprika
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup(s) low-fat buttermilk
2 egg whites
2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut chicken into 10 pieces: 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and 2 breasts (cut in half to yield 4 pieces). Remove skin and trim any fat. Set chicken aside.
- Place pretzels in a heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag and crush into coarse crumbs. Mix in paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Divide pretzel crumbs between 2 shallow dishes.
- In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg whites, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in pretzel crumbs from first dish, then dip into buttermilk mixture, shaking off excess. Coat thoroughly with crumbs from second dish.
Place on parchment-lined baking pan and bake until chicken crust is crispy and an instant- read thermometer inserted into meat registers 165 degrees F, 40 to 50 minutes depending on piece.
2. Avocado and Ham Sandwiches
2 loaf(s) (about 18 inches each) ficelle
1/4 cup(s) butter, softened
2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon(s) coarse black pepper
3/4 pound(s) Virginia ham, sliced
3 large avocados, peeled and sliced
- Cut each ficelle loaf into 3 equal pieces, and split each horizontally along one side, leaving the other side intact. Open the pieces so they lie flat.
- Stir the butter, mustard, and pepper together until smooth, and spread on both sides of the bread. Layer with the ham and avocado, and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Wrap the sandwiches with parchment, and tie with a string to secure. Keep chilled and serve within 3 hours.
3. Strawberry Hand Pies
2 1/3 cup(s) (plus more for dusting) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 stick(s) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
3/4 pound(s) strawberries, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoon(s) strawberry jam
1 tablespoon(s) sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup chilled water, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and mix until just combined. (If dough is dry or crumbly and doesn’t stay together, add up to 3 tablespoons more chilled water.) Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 2 to 3 times, just until dough comes together. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make filling: In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, confectioners’ sugar, and jam, plus remaining flour, vanilla, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, beat remaining yolk and 1 tablespoon water for egg wash; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into 6 rounds.
- Roll 1 round into a 6-inch circle. Spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons filling onto half of circle, leaving 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges with egg wash, then fold dough over filling. Using a fork, crimp the edges to seal hand pie. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking pan. Repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling.
Using a toothpick, poke a few holes in the top of each pie. Brush with remaining egg wash and sprinkle each pie with 1/2 teaspoon sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
4. Pineapple Cooler
1 large (about 4 pounds) fresh pineapple
1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
11 sprig(s) fresh lavender, rosemary, or lemon verbena
1/4 cup(s) fresh lemon juice
- Cut the peel from the pineapple, remove the core, and cut the fruit into 1-inch pieces.
- Place the fruit in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until the pineapple is crushed but not pureed. Transfer to a large nonreactive pot, add the sugar, 4 cups water, and 3 herb sprigs.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Gently press the solids to extract the juice. Cool and stir in the lemon juice. Serve over ice garnished with the remaining herb sprigs.
Recipes and pictures by www.contryliving.com