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May 26, 2012 05:36 AM

What's for Dinner? #146 - Memorial Day Edition [old]

It's the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. Hopefully you and yours will be enjoying a cookout, the pool, parades, concerts, baseball or soccer games, what have you...

Please don't forget to take a moment to remember, honor, and thank all of those who have served our country, past and present. That's what this long weekend is all about.

But also remember to eat well! So who's firing up the grill?

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  1. As for me, I'll be burgering it tonight. Will pick up some 80/2 or 85/15 (non-pink-slime) ground beef (don't yet have the wherewithall to grind my own from a chuck roast) at Hannaford's and will patty it together with various herbs/spices....I'm not sure yet with what. It'll be an "open the spice cabinet and see what looks interesting" - perhaps some dried minced onion and Aleppo pepper.

    It will be grilled on the grill pan, topped with a slice of American cheese. It's probably not Chowish to use a cellophane-wrapped piece of cheese, but hey - it's what I like, 'kay? ;-) Served on a toasted English muffin, it's bound to have juices running down my arm. And I'm good with that. :-)

    I *always* have potato chips on top of my burgers now - started this awhile back and I love the crunch they give. (Chips go on the cheese side; ketchup goes on the bottom bun/roll/English muffin half, so as not to make the chips soggy). Only Ruffles or other good ridged chip will do.

    In addition, I picked up a 2 lb. bag of baby red, yellow and orange bell peppers at BJ's Wholesale Club last weekend. Wanted to make a "salad" with them, and went searching - this Orzo, Corn and Roasted Bell Pepper Salad caught my fancy. I'll be using TJ's roasted corn in place of the grilled corn and will just broil a few slices of sweet Vidalia onion instead of buying a red onion. (I'm not really sure of the difference other than color...anyone? I know the Vidalias are sweeter...but otherwise?)

    28 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      No grilling till Monday. Sunday is "picnic at home" to make elderly parents feel like part of the festivities. Eating on screened in porch includes brined and buttermilk fried chicken with spicy onion rings (might as well put all of the oil needed for the chicken to good use). Salad of watermelon, onion, mint, baby greens and feta and dessert of berries with sabayon.

      Monday is soft taco bar day. Fillings offered are roasted poblanos and sauteed onions, pickled red onions, guacamole with tomatillos, marinated and grilled flank steak, really good chorizo from Publican's Quality Meats, several good melty cheeses, grilled pork tenderloin with a forgotten frozen stash of Mole Negro, refried beans, Mexican beans, sour cream, pico de gallo and a few varieties of salsa. No idea about dessert but hopefully I will get inspired when I finish the endless shopping.

      1. re: KateBChi

        Fried chicken, onion rings, and a watermelon-feta salad. Heavenly!

        1. re: LindaWhit

          OOOO Yeah!!!! Fried Chicken....what do you put on them?

        2. re: KateBChi

          Kate, that sounds like a delicious porch picnic with your oldsters!

          and your Monday ain't too shabby either. enjoy!

          1. re: mariacarmen

            It worked out really well. I did the Thomas Keller Ad Hoc brine instead of my normal spicy buttermilk marinade for the chicken since I had the time. Wow! I like them both a lot but my father couldn't stop talking about how the chicken was flavorful and delicious all the way to the bone. This lemon brine is now a necessity. I drained the chicken from the brine and dried them with paper towels then let sit in some buttermilk flavored with Tabasco sauce for a half hour or so then dipped into a spicy flour mixture (cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and kosher salt). Timing was a bit of a challenge because I normally cook fried chicken just for my SO as it has never been a "family" tradition and I was now cooking for ten. Ended up cooking in batches and holding in a warm oven and then did the onion rings. I used the same combination of flour seasonings and marinated the mandoline sliced onions in buttermilk before frying in the strained chicken cooking oil. My sisters were helping me bread them and I was convinced that disaster was at hand. They got all "gloppy" almost like battered rings which I don't do. I just fried them as best I could in small batches certain that they would become a soggy mess after warming in the oven with the chicken. I stirred them in the oil as best I could and scooped out and drained on paper towels. These were the crispest, lightest most flavorful onion rings I have ever made. I don't know what I did right or what mistake, to me, my sister flour dippers didn't do but the things reheated in the oven the next day crispy and tasty. It would never have occurred to me to save old onion rings but I will figure this out!

            I loved the watermelon feta and mint salad. the sabayon mousseline sauce with berries was a huge hit. My mom wants to put it on everything. Thank you Jeremiah Towers for that chilled sabayon recipe!

            Monday was great but it was made amazing by a Bayless mole negro making experience over the last holidays. The sauce was 6 frozen months old but absolutely amazing. One of the battering (meaning sibs who helped flour the chicken and onion rings) sisters took it upon herself to buy all the ingredients for mole last year for the holidays (a job in itself) and said "let's make great mole for the holidays". I agreed thinking bonding time and shared pain in the a** tedious work. Instead I was given al of the ingredients and told to make it happen because she was gonna be working. evertytime I make a complicated mole I grouse and swear "never again". Then I taste it and watch my family taste it and go yumalicious and I guess mole is in my future but always in large batches.

            Great weekend but hard to see loved ones aging poorly but I know that they loved my food and that makes me feel like I have a wee bit of control

            1. re: KateBChi

              onion rings and fried chicken? Southern heaven!

              1. re: KateBChi

                Your brine and buttermilk technique is the same one I use. The Thomas Keller chicken is indeed moist, but I can't help but feel that maybe it's missing a bit of barely perceptible somethin'or'other without the buttermilk. Plus I'm a double dipper, so the buttermilk is definitely a necessity there.

                Please deduce what you did for those onion rings! They may be my favorite side dish, but I can never achieve anything better than slop and mush.

                1. re: JungMann

                  All sounds great Kate! Do you our JM - do you have a link you can share to that Thomas Keller brine?
                  Sabayon also sounds great, and the watermelon salad.

                  Love that aging family while you can, and gather the memories of food and time shared together:)

                  1. re: gingershelley

                    Here's the brine ingredients:
                    1 gallon cold water
                    1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
                    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
                    12 bay leaves
                    1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
                    2 tablespoons black peppercorns
                    3 large rosemary sprigs
                    1 small bunch of thyme
                    1 small bunch of parsley
                    Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
                    Two 3-pound chickens ( I used 3 lbs drum sticks and 3 lbs of cut up breast and thighs)

                    In a very large pot (I used 12 quart stock pot) add one third of the water and one cup salt plus herbs, honey and spices. Turn on the heat and stir to dissolve the salt. Then add lemon zest & juice. Let cool completely and add remaining water. Put chicken in pot and make sure it is completely submerged and chill over night. I chilled for closer to 20 hours then drained and dried the chicken picking off any herbs and spices. I then covered the chicken for another hour in buttermilk and some Tabasco sauce. When ready to fry dip in seasoned flour and fry in batches maintaining a temperature of 330 F.

                    I can't tell you how nice it was to my now aphasic father (recent stroke) pronounce the chicken "good to the bone"

                  2. re: JungMann

                    I agree that more than the brine is necessary and the buttermilk short brine before dipping in the seasoned flour works for me. I have done the double dip a few times I.e. dip in buttermilk then in flour, dip again in buttermilk, then again in flour and let rest on a rack for a bit. Sometimes the coating works too well. It seals the skin so much that you end up with fatty uncooked skin even though the crust is crisp and flavorful. Has this happened to you? I actually adjusted this to making skinless fried chicken to solve the problem for those of my friends that think truly fried chicken can be slightly more healthy.

                    As to the onion rings. I have a system that works for two people but not for cooking for 10. For two my system works great but I needed help for 10 people. One of my sisters is a great cook but she rarely fries or deep fries anything and my other sister will follow directions to the letter but it never occurred to me to tell her how to properly bread onion rings. When I saw that things were getting gloopy I was hardly Ina position to tell her that she was NOT helping. Besides she is an absolute dear and the only one who lives within 100 miles of my parents and she has earned a place in heaven for the care she has provided. I am not likely to say a thing that would tick this darling off. So I said everything was great even while laying a mattress for myself by saying "we might have done too many at once".

                    Basically she put a handful of onion rings into a bowl of buttermilk, drained slightly and dipped into a bowl of flour seasoned with the same spices as the chicken then placed them onto a platter. I started frying the initial batch which fried up perfectly, got placed on paper towels and placed in the oven to keep warm. My sibs were battering faster than I could fry them and the battered rings piled up on the platter and getting really "gloppy". I put less and less into the fry pan and after a short fry started breaking them up with a Chinese skimmer and cooked for longer than normal. I removed using the skimmer, put on another paper towel lined platter and salted lightly. Then into the oven to keep warm. Even though the onions were stuck together ( at first) because there were so few in the pan ( as per my usual technique) they just got super crispy and for some reason never lost it. They were crispy the next day from the fridge! Heated up on a baking sheet in the oven they tasted terrific the next day. Serendipity I guess.

                    1. re: KateBChi

                      I hope that's not just serendipity, because I want to recreate those results! I haven't made onion rings in years because they always seem a waste of money and effort once I tuck into them, but next time I have buttermilk...

                      I haven't undercooked chicken skin as far as I can recall. I fry at 350 until dark (I like extra crispy skin), so maybe the longer time at a higher temp is working in my favor?

                  3. re: KateBChi

                    all sounds amazing, glad you had help from the batter sisters!

                    and yes, it's terrible watching your oldsters grow old and infirm.... all we can do is give them as much enjoyment - with food and company - as we can. sounds like you're doing it all.

                    1. re: KateBChi

                      Sounds like amazing deliciousness! I will echo mariacarmen that it is so tough to see the loved ones aging poorly but now it is all about creating happy memories which you did in spades with your feast and sisterly cookfest this weekend!

                  4. re: KateBChi

                    Can I come to your Sunday or Monday party, KateBchi?

                  5. re: LindaWhit

                    I buy those baby peppers alot. Stuff with a mixture of Italian sausage, garlic, and grated parm or any Italian grated cheese. Toss with olive oil and roast or put on the grill. Really good.

                    1. re: Floridagirl

                      Sounds like a possible for Monday...

                      1. re: Floridagirl

                        that's a great idea, i've never thought of stuffing the babies...

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          They are great for stuffing. I cut an H like cut in the side which acts like door to allow easy stuffing and yet stays closed when cooking

                        2. re: Floridagirl

                          OK, now stuffing them sounds absolutely perfect! But I don't have a grill - would they broil properly? Would require a lot of attention cooking them that way, I'm sure....

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            You can broil or roll around a hot pan

                        3. re: LindaWhit

                          Mmmm, I WANT that burger too Linda!! Love the idea of ruffles atop the meat and I'm all about ketchup (and chopped red onion) on the bottom...bun toasted pls!

                          As for your onion question, I'd say colour and sweetness would be the only main difference as you point out. The only other thing I can think of is that I tend to find Vidalia's to be a softer onion than most ...perhaps they have a higher water content? Nonetheless, given the choice, I'd go with Vidalia all the way. They're so delicious and would be wonderful broiled.

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            I've never seen Vidalia onions here (damnit) and supposed they didn't travel well. Maybe because of the maybe higher water content and softness?

                            1. re: MaryContrary

                              Mary, I see you're in Texas. The Texas 1015 sweet onions are another sweet onion that is like Vidalias - I regularly see the Vidalias, Texas 1015 Sweets, and Walla Walla Sweet onions in my marketplaces in New England, so I'm not sure why you can't get the Vidalias in your area. Maybe it doesn't make sense to bring in Vidalias when you have the 1015s?

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Maybe so, Linda, because we don't see the Walla Walla's either. We buy the 1015's (so called, I'm told because they need to be planted on October 15) when they're available and they are much sweeter than any of the others we find.

                          2. re: LindaWhit

                            Thanks for that link, I'll make that to go with pork chops tomorrow, and leftovers with some roasted squash for lunch on Mon (along with a dollop of the chipotle mustard mayo I have fallen in love with lately!) I'd say the sweeter vidalias might actually be an improvement over the red onions?

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              LW, LOVE the TJ's roasted corn; that subs into a LOT of recipes calling for corn off the cob now. Many a friend thanks me for that product turn-on (meant in the most reasonable sense:)///

                              Sounds great! Burger and salad!

                              1. re: gingershelley

                                Both their sweet corn *and* the roasted corn are in my freezer.

                              2. The grill is out for the weekend. For tonight, I came across this recipe for Huli Huli Chicken and thought we'd give it a try

                                To go with that, some corn on the cob and a baby red potato salad I saw on the FN's Sanwich King that I thought looked good since I have a bunch of baby reds on hand anyway. Nice change from my usual potato salad with all the eggs, etc.

                                Hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend. And my personal thanks to all who have or are still serving our country as well.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: boyzoma

                                  boyzoma - you can't go wrong with that huli marinade! Sounds great - please review it here after trying it.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Will do. I'm excited to try it. I'll try and remember photos too!

                                    1. re: boyzoma

                                      Can't wait to hear your review of this!! If it's good, I wanna make it too!

                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                        As promised, here is my review: I used crushed pineapple in the blender to make the "pineapple puree". Did everything by the book and when tasted, ended up adding some extra pineapple and a tad more brown sugar. End result - Fantastic. DH says two thumbs up and a winner. The corn was nice and sweet. Did it this time in foil with butter pats inside. Potato salad was good, but needed a little more salt after sitting in the fridge for a while. Overall success and would definitely make this again. I included a photo that I remembered to take.

                                        And yes, CM, the milk did seem unusual, but I went with it. In retrospect, you could do without it. But it was still good.

                                        I keep trying to post with a picture, but it won't post. So I'll try to do the photo separately.

                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                          I'll try this for a photo. Nothing else is working so I tried to reduce the pixel size.

                                          Well, that worked. Sorry for the pixel size but that was the only thing that worked.

                                          1. re: boyzoma

                                            That is a great beginning of the summer meal, boyzoma!

                                      2. Went out for breakfast now off to a farmers market for inspiration. Tonight is a no cooking night- we are going to a musical and a bar in that order. Maybe tomorrow we will defy the condo board and fire up the grill- I think they're out of town. Want to try a grilled caesar salad and there are several steaks in the freezer. And need to stock up on any booze needed for Monday as the Blue Laws in Mass do not allow liquor/beer sales on Memorial Day. I've been to several 'interesting' cookouts on this holiday.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                          Yes, our lovely blue laws. Hey - at *least* they now have Sunday sales, right? Although I now live close enough to New Hampster that I could make a run for the border if they didn't have Sunday sales in MA. Enjoy the musical (which one?) and bar (which one? LOL)

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I feel for you guys. We can buy beer/wine, but the liquor store is closed (they are still separate from grocery stores here). That said, DH is picking up some Jameson's today and I'm making him a big batch of homemade Bailey's Irish Cream. It is so much better than the store bought stuff! Slides down so creamy!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Xanadu and somewhere in the trendy South End- maybe Coda. Back in the day of no Sunday sales I would visit my friend in Newburyport on Sunday because they were a border town and the package stores were exempted and they also have some terrific bars and restaurants
                                              not to mention farm stands everywhere.. we did a lot of good home cooking and drinking up there!

                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                Oh, both Xanadu and Coda sound perfect for today - enjoy! (Isn't Xanadu a roller-skating musical?)

                                                And yes - when they had the 15 mile exemption for border towns, I would often make a trip up to North Reading (I lived in Woburn, so it was easy) to pick up a couple of bottles of wine as well. :-) (Newburyport is a great town for bars and restaurants, I agree!)

                                                Have fun tonight!

                                            2. re: Berheenia

                                              You go for it.....BAR-B-CUE!!!!!! It's Memorial Day!!!

                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                Go Beerheenia! I think I am with the subversive group here, that thinks you should be able to GRILL AT WILL! I don't think we mean to get you in trouble, just free you and your fellow condo'nians (a word?) for what summer is all about:)

                                                Hope those overlords of yours ARE out of town...

                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                  We have had this restrictive system in WA for EVER, ends June 1! Finally, instead of going to state liquor stores for a (bad selection) of booze, finally, grocery, Costco, etc. within certain restrictions can finally sell hard booze. I can't wait to find Elderflower, Chinzano, Aperol, etc. finally where I shop allready. Feel for you BH, we also have had a restrictive 'only a few stores are open Sunday n holidays', and none are near me. Can't wait to get out from under having to plan ahead...

                                                2. Well, over here in Germany, we don't celebrate Memorial Day weekend.

                                                  It is, however, Whitsunday weekend / Pentecost, which the thrifty Germans have extended by making Monday a holiday and by extension "Whitmonday" (

                                                  Having no personal attachments to whatever is supposed to have happened on Pentecost (some holy ghost extravaganza, IIRC), we will celebrate a friend's birthday tomorrow with a picknick / bbq in the park, for which we've bought some merguez at the market today.

                                                  The fish dude is sick, which is why he was AWOL at both markets today and yesterday, so I had to have Thai dumplings (see photo) and wonton soup instead. Wah.

                                                  Tonight, a couple (mom & daughter) from the US is planning on getting together with us for dinner, followed hopefully by one of the best mint juleps in town... it's their first time in Berlin, and we may have a chance to show them around town a bit on Monday,.

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    Bummah on the fish dude being sick, lingua! But enjoy your cookout tomorrow - *and* playing tour guide to the family from the U.S. Always good to have someone "in the know" show you all the good spots for touristing. :-)

                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                      We went to Paris on Pentecost weekend in 2004 and everything was closed - especially the good museums and one woman on our tour was going to kill her travel agent when she got home. I heard that the city fathers were rethinking how much tourist money they were losing ...

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        you poor things, suffering through Thai dumplings....

                                                        have a great long weekend - hah! all your weekends are long ones now, ain't they? enjoy!

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          Lingua, Hope that Mint Julep brings on the HOLY GHOST, and gives you all kinds of reasons to raise your hands in praise:)

                                                          Isn't if funny when you look at different weekend of celebration in different countries? That we have 'memorial day' on the same day as Whitsunday weekend in the US? I swear, nearly every 'cultural' or "National" holiday, co-insides with what was once a religious one. Interisante... I should write a book about this phenomena...

                                                          Enjoy the cocktail, and the visitors!

                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                            Alas, no mint juleps for us -- the mom & daughter were exhausted from traveling, so we all went home after a very lovely dinner (I had the asparagus menu: asparagus risotto with pan-fried sea bass; rack of veal in porcini jus w/sautéed asparagus and baked polenta; woodruff parfait with strawberries -- yumboski!!).

                                                            Pentecost is actually not on the same weekend every year, kinda like Easter (?), so I don't think it's always on Memorial Day weekend. But yeah, considering how secular a country Germany is, it's amazing how many religious holidays are 'observed' in -- hey, a DAY OFF!!!

                                                            What's not to love :-)

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              Oh WOW! Your dinner sounds absolutely heavenly - and VERY filling!

                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                Nice! I had to google woodruff parfait--then I realized it was Waldmeister! Bet that was tasty.


                                                          2. I'm attending a couple of BBQ's one Sunday and one on Monday. Everyone is joining in with a dish, so there's no telling what may show up. It's for sure pulled pork with homemade coleslaw, and chicken kabob's. Burgers and Dogs undoubtedly will be available. I'm doing my classic potato salad and Individual Red, White and Blue Trifles.

                                                            I also want to extend my gratitude to all who have served, past and present. Thank you all !!!

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: othervoice

                                                              Welcome to the WFD threads, othervoice! And you can't just drop that "Red White and Blue Trifles" without giving us a hint as to how it's made! I'm thinking strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, and some kind of ladyfingers are involved? :-)

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                I have noticed ......Hot dogs are supposedly not the best thing for you nutritionally....but after doing some investigation....with the exception of maybe too much salt...Hot dog in a bun, some mustard and a little coleslaw or saurkrat they are pretty good for you!!!!!! SO EVERYONE EAT A HOT DOG THIS WEEKEND!!! (just don't overdo it!)

                                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                  Oh, hot dogs are DEFINITELY on deck at least once this long weekend!!!!

                                                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                                                    I love a hot dog with a cold corona..the dog must be on a bun, coleslaw and whole grain me this is Memorial Day....What is your version of this?

                                                                  2. re: PHREDDY

                                                                    Phreddy, after reading Rhulmans Charcuterie, I am convinced only crappy hot dogs are not good for you; originally, all sausage was just awesome spare meat, seasoned, put in tube form after whole-hog or beef slaugher. For those squeamish here, sorry to bring in the word 'slaughter", but - well, keeping it real!

                                                                    Tube steak ", is a fine form of preserving choice bits! I am going to join you, and eat a HOT DOG this weekend, in a good bun, with sourkraut and great mustard, and hopefully, at the party I am going to tomorrow, caramelized onions and home made bratwurst...... YUM:)!

                                                                  3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Doin' RIB steaks this weekend...Local Italian Sausage, Local Black Sausage, Kosher Hot dogs, and...give me some suggestions...

                                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                      MMM, the many delights from the noble pig. Cold beet salad? Vinegar slaw? Corn on the cob, curried bean salad..panzanella..7 layer salad..corn pudding, quinoa and black bean salad, deviled eggs...I could go on but I wouldn't want to show off! Hope that helped!

                                                                      1. re: shecrab

                                                                        Definitely vinegar slaw...bean salad with curry or other spices....all on the same page

                                                                        1. re: shecrab

                                                                          Nice Ideas SheCrab... for a young one, you are on point :)

                                                                        2. re: PHREDDY

                                                                          Grilled blanched Kale with garlic?

                                                                          Grilled steamed potato slices made into salad w/ strong mustard viniagrette with spring salad onions and hard boiled eggs. YUM.

                                                                          Roasted peppers with sherry vinegar and roasted garlic.

                                                                          Roasted peaches with bourbon and honey:)

                                                                        3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          +1, pleae dish (welcome) on the RWB Trifles; curious minds want to know!