Alex Hitz Picnic Recipes
Basil Parmesan Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Tomato
(Enough for about a dozen sandwiches to be cut in quarters)
1-pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked medium rare (still moist, but no longer pink) and then cut into large chunks
¾ cup finely minced onion, squeezed through cheesecloth
¼ cup finely minced celery, squeezed through cheesecloth
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, firmly packed
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup roughly chopped basil, packed
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Place the chicken, onion, celery, cheese, mayonnaise, basil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process it until it's finally smooth if you are serving the sandwiches as an hors d'oeuvre, or chunky and coarse if you are serving the chicken salad on a bed of lettuce or in a bowl.
2. For miniature sandwiches, I find a smooth consistency best, but not so much that the chicken salad is unrecognizable as such.
3. With a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, put the chicken salad on whatever bread you like. Top with another piece of bread, flatten it, cut the crusts, and cut into quarters on the diagonal.
4. Arrange neatly on a serving platter, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve.
Pimento Cheese on Celery Stalks
(Yields about 1 pound)
¾ pound red bell peppers (2 to 3 large peppers)
½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, preferably orange in color, grated (and weighed before grating)
½ cup mayonnaise
⅛-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⅛ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
2. Roast the peppers on a baking sheet in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin begins to blacken and blister. When the skins are fully blistered, remove the peppers from the oven, let them cool 2 to 3 minutes, and then cover them with plastic wrap and let them steam for 15 minutes. (The steam will loosen their skin.)
3. Remove the plastic wrap and peel the skin.
4. Chop the peppers in half, discard the seeds, and dice the remaining pepper strips.
5. Place the cheese, diced peppers, mayonnaise, cayenne, salt, pepper, and Worstesrshire sauce in a large bowl and mix them together. Let the cheese mixture chill in the refrigerator covered for several hours or overnight for the best flavor.
Luscious Lemon Ginger Squares
(2 to 3 Dozen Squares)
2 sticks (16 tablespoons salted butter, cold, plus more for the baking pan)
½ cup powdered sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flower
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat over to 350° F.
2. Butter a 9 X 13 metal baking pan.
3. In the middle of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until they are light, approximately 5 minutes.
4. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and stir in the flour, ginger, and salt until you have coarse crumbs.
Ingredients for Lemon Topping:
6 Large Eggs
2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon all-purpose flour
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.
2. Add the lemon juice, salt, and baking powder, and then whisk in the flour until it is thoroughly combined.
3. Pour the mixture over the pre-baked, cooled crust and bake it for 25-30 minutes, until it is just set.
(28 to 32 Brownies)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
24 tablespoons salted butter
4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Butter a 9 X 13-inch metal baking pan.
3. In a double broiler over low heat, melt the chocolate and the butter together.
4. Transfer the melted chocolate and butter to a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar until it is well combined.
5. Then add the eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt until they are just combined.
6. Pour the mixture into a prepared pan and bake the brownies for 32 to 35 minutes.
For more recipes, get a copy of Alex's book, "My Beverly Hills Kitchen."
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