Of Perfect Picnics and Pies

vintage picnicLabour Day Weekend is the last great weekend of summer in our part of the world and blessed by almost perfect weather, a large and pretty backyard and a conveniently dated family birthday, Dishing in the Kitchen hosted a ‘vintage garden picnic’ to celebrate all of the above-mentioned.

To make the perfect backyard picnic, select the ingredients with care. A sunny day is key, so be sure to pay homage to the weather gods.

Special Ingredients:

  • 1 sunny and warm (but not too hot) day
  • 1 large pavillion tent (just in case the gods don’t cooperate)
  • Several yards of cheery bunting
  • 25 dear friends and family members
  • 4 willing pie-makers
  • 1 chocolate birthday cake
  • 6 bottles of champagne, 6 bottles of lemonade, 2 jugs of iced tea
  • Assorted wine and beer
  • 1 urn of hot, fresh coffee
  • Mismatched china, linen napkins, borrowed forks

Scatter lawn chairs, sunscreen, straw hats and bug spray about the place. Create a simple menu and ask close friends and family members to bring salads and desserts. Assign a festive appetizer to one such person. Gently mix friends, wine, champagne and pies together.

Serve with joy before the sun goes down.

Our Menu:

  • Thai Asian Spring Rolls
  • Poached Salmon w/ choice of Salsa Verde or Garlic Dill Sauce
  • Oven-Fried Chicken (Gluten-Free)
  • Bean Salads
  • Potato Salads
  • Fruit Salad
  • Pickles
  • Dessert Buffet: Dutch Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie, GF Apple Pie, Coolio Cupcakes, Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing, fresh watermelon.

Gluten-free apple pieThe Kitchen is always on the look-out for ways to make food that is friendly for all kinds of diets. For the birthday picnic, we created two gluten-free dishes –  a gluten-free apple pie as a dessert option and the Oven-Fried Chicken as a main. Both were big hits. Here is the *recipe/method for the GF Oven-Fried Chicken. It was, as the saying goes, “finger-licken’ good”.


Soak chicken pieces in your favourite pyrex bowl overnight in seasoned buttermilk to cover . When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In dish, mix flours, half of the salt, the garlic powder, paprika, pepper and mustard. One piece at a time, drip off excess buttermilk and coat chicken in flour mixture. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. 

Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven, basting occasionally with pan drippings, until golden and juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with remaining salt. (Note: chicken may stick a bit. I found I got better results with the foil than without it. You might also try parchment. Let me know how it goes!).

  • Buttermilk: enough to cover chicken for an overnight soak.
  • Something for a spicy kick: cayenne, tabasco, Tony’s Cajun seasoning (this is what I used)
  • 1 1/2  cups all purpose Gluten-Free flour (I use Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/3 c tapioca flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp pepper
  •  3 tsp dry mustard
  •  30 legs, thighs or breasts of chickens

To make a smaller batch:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose GF flour
  • 1/4 c rice flour
  • 1/4 c tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 8 legs, thighs or breasts of chickens
  • Gluten-free oven-fried chicken ready to serveChicken in buttermilk and pyrexGluten-free oven-fried chicken
*chicken recipe adapted from Canadian Living Magazine 2004
**Photos: Vicki McLeod, Darlene Rosner


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About Vicki

I’m a coach and consultant and in my spare time I like to cook and play house. I believe happy idleness is a purposeful pathway to a contented life. And I am happiest either in my pajamas or an apron – or both.

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