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Independence Day
Independence Day

Seriously Simple: A casual Father's Day dinner

For Father's Day, what could be better than a simple backyard menu of succulent barbecued chicken and creamy potato salad, enhanced with lots of chopped celery and scallions?

First marinated, and then baked (or almost steamed) in an aromatic barbecue sauce, the chicken is then barbecued right before serving. Grilling the precooked chicken allows the skin to become crisp and dark brown. Cooking it in this fashion keeps the chicken moist on the inside and golden brown on the outside.

I am partial to this American-style potato salad. You can use Idaho potatoes if you like a dryer potato texture. I prefer the waxy red or Yukon yellow-fleshed potatoes.

The skins are left on the potatoes for extra color and texture. You can kick up the flavor with chopped red onion or even pickle relish.

Serve with dad's favorite ice-cold beer. If you don't want to fuss with dessert, pick up his favorite ice cream flavor and some brownies or cookies from the bakery.

Twice-cooked barbecued chicken

Servings: 6 to 8

Marinade:
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (3 1/2 pound each) frying chickens, cut up

1. In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Arrange chicken pieces in a shallow, large nonaluminum dish, and pour the marinade evenly over the chicken to coat it well. Cover, refrigerate and marinate for 2-4 hours, turning several times to make sure the marinade covers all the chicken.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve marinade in a small saucepan. Place the chicken in a large enough roasting pan to hold the chicken pieces comfortably. Cover the pan with foil very tightly and bake for about 35 minutes or until juices run clear.

3. Add the juices from the roasting pan to the marinade in the saucepan. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and boil for about 7-10 minutes or until marinade is reduced to a glaze.

4. Just before serving, prepare a barbecue for medium-high heat for grilling. Place the chicken on the barbecue and grill, basting with the sauce, for about 10-15 minutes, turning once, or until the skin is very crisp and brown. Serve with the remaining glaze on the side.

Advance Preparation: Can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead through step 3, covered and refrigerated. Remove chicken from the refrigerator 1/2 an hour before grilling. The sauce may be refrigerated and then reheated just before grilling.

Picnic potato salad

Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
3 pounds medium red, tan-skinned or yellow (Yukon Gold) potatoes
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Coleman's dried mustard
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes for 30 minutes or until tender but slightly resistant when pierced with a fork. Drain and cool. Do not peel. When cool, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl.

2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, celery, green onions, celery seed, parsley, chopped egg, dried mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well.

3. Pour mixture over potatoes and mix gently until coated. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours or up to 8 hours ahead.

4. To serve, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve cold.

Advance preparation: Can be made a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Taste for seasoning before serving.

-- Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Holidays." She is also a James Beard award-winning radio show host contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

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