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Irish picnic baskets for summer concerts

Summer picnic basket
Summer picnic basket
Kimberley O'Dea and Google Images

It is time for picnics in the Brandywine Valley! Irish music concerts at the Bellevue state park bring many people carrying picnic basket dinners. Nothing more romantic than a couple with a full picnic basket on a blanket listen to music as the sun begins to set.

Many a picnic basket will be filled with goodies, including crispy Fried chicken, Irish potato salad, and homemade lemonade.

Lavender Lemonade

1 tray ice cubes

2 tbsp culinary lavender

2 cups boiling water

1 cup raw honey

8 lemons

5 cups pure water

Lavenders sprigs from the garden

1. Place the lavender into a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Allow the lavender to steep for about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the lavender and discard.

2. Empty ice cubes into a 2-quart pitcher. Mix the honey into the hot lavender water. Stir and pour into the pitcher with the ice cubes.

3. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and strain into the pitcher. Top off the pitcher with cold water. Stir to mix.

4. Taste and adjust with honey or lemon juice as needed.

Irish Potato Salad

This is a simple and delicious creamy-style potato salad that can be made in about 30 minutes.

6 white potatoes

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon green onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

1. Place peeled and sliced potatoes in a large pot and boil for 20 minutes, or until tender. While potatoes are boiling, cook bacon until crisp. Allow to cool slightly before crumbling. When potatoes are cooked, drain and let sit for 5-10 minutes to cool. Once cooled, add in mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, green onion, bacon, salt, and pepper.

Fried Chicken with Peach Dipping Sauce

4 –6 Servings

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cleaned and cut diagonally in half

½ cup butter

½ cup vegetable oil

1. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken breast pieces in the mixture.

2. Melt the butter in a large heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet. Add the oil and heat it to 375°.

3. When the oil butter mixture has heated, add the chicken pieces, in a single layer without crowding. The chicken pieces will cook quite fast since there are no bones.

4. When the chicken breasts are golden brown on one side, turn them to brown the other side. If the heat is correct, the chicken should be cooked through by the time the second side is browned. Since overcooked chicken breasts can be dry, make sure they are removed from the oil butter mixture as soon as they are barely cooked through.

Sauce

Makes about 1 ¼ cups

½ cup peach jam or preserves

½ cup water

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

If the peach preserves are really chunky, mash them with a fork or put them in the food processor and process until smooth. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and mix well. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.