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A Fourth of July Picnic

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Fresh side dishes put a modern spin on the traditional fried chicken picnic.

Since the chicken will be packed in a picnic basket, omit the recipe's optional cream gravy.

Old-fashioned fried chicken gets paired with a simple, updated gazpacho and a roasty potato salad brimming with fresh summer vegetables. Finish the spread with sweet-tart lemon cheesecake squares.

Menu Timeline

One day ahead:

  • Make the gazpacho (don’t dice the bell pepper or avocado for garnish).
  • Make the lemon cheesecake squares.

Two hours ahead:

  • Roast the corn and potatoes for the potato salad.
  • Fry the chicken.
  • Chop the vegetables for the potato salad and gazpacho garnish.
  • Toss the potato salad with the dressing.
  • Pack all dishes for the picnic.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 2 lb. small red-skinned or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1-1/2 lb. cucumbers (4 to 5 picklers or 2-1/2 large slicers)
  • 2 cups red, yellow, or orange cherry tomatoes (or a combination)
  • 2 large yellow peppers
  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 1 ear fresh corn, in the husk
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 5 lemons

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 3-1/2- to 4-lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 lb. cream cheese or Neufchatel (1/3-less-fat cream cheese)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter

Other Groceries

  • 1 box graham crackers (only 9 needed)
  • 1 loaf Italian country-style bread
  • 3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco; more if needed

Pantry Staples

  • 1-1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu

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