Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't Get BBQ Sauce on Your White Pants: Memorial Day Recipes!

Memorial Day is the official sign that Summer is here! Restaurant patios start popping up and blocking your way on every sidewalk. You can finally bust out those white pants you've been hiding in the back of your closet all summer. And my personal favorite sign of summer, the smell of grills being fired up all over the neighborhood!

Tomorrow is a great day to honor the American tradition of a good ole' fashioned BBQ. Granted, with the way the weather has been, you might have to revert to indoor activities and hope the "Grill Master" has a good poncho...

Since the only grill I own is a Lil' Smoky that I operate from my miniscule back yard that I share with six other apartments, I offer up these fantastic recipes in hopes that someone will throw a hell of a party...and send me the leftovers.

Here are some of my favorite recipes/party ideas:

Grilled Kabobs
The easiest way to please everyone at your party (but mostly just your picky-eater sister who seriously picks at everything you make until frustrated, but still consumes 3/4 of the taco dip...) is to let them build their own kabobs. Here are some tips courtesy of
  • Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using. This will prevent them burning or splintering while on the grill.
  • Set up a kabob party with pre-soaked wooden skewers and a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, seasonings and dipping sauces for your guests to experiment with. Be sure to coat the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before you begin grilling. Count on guests using four skewers each.
  • Cut meats, vegetables and fruit into even-sized pieces for better cooking results.
  • Give foods with longer cooking times, like potatoes and carrots, a jump-start by partially cooking them beforehand.
  • Metal skewers are available—the flat versions prevent your meats and veggies from rolling around. You can also purchase kabob racks and baskets to make grilling a cinch.
  • For restaurant-style grill marks on your kabobs, wait until the lines appear and then rotate the kabob 90 degrees and wait for the next set of lines to appear.
  • If you're using a charcoal grill to cook your kabobs, wait until the coals turn gray and stop smoking, then spread the kabobs out.
  • When assembling kabobs, leave a small amount of space between each piece, which helps promote even cooking.

Cold-Fashioned Potato Salad
As a self-proclaimed Food Network junkie, I LOVE this potato salad from Alton Brown. It’s also the closest I could find to my Grandma’s recipe which is secret and magical. (She promised to send me leftovers from this weekend!)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, large diced
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 tablespoon very thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/2 cup small dice red onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place potatoes into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with cold water and place over medium heat. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and remove lid. Gently simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place into an ice bath to cool. Remove skin by rubbing with a tea towel. Slice potatoes into rounds and place into a zip top bag. Add the vinegar and toss to coat all of the potatoes. Place the bag into the refrigerator overnight.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, tarragon, garlic, onions, and celery. Once evenly combined, add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
Four Juice Punch!
Despite the incredibly lame name, this punch is actually crazy-delicious. AND you can make a double batch and divide it into alcoholic and non-alcoholic for the kiddies. Just be sure to put the spiked batch in a hard-to-reach place.
  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen cranberry-juice cocktail concentrate
  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen raspberry-cranberry-juice cocktail concentrate
  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen apple-juice concentrate
  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 liter chilled ginger ale
  • 2 liters chilled club soda
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 3 cups chilled vodka (oh yeah!)
Combine frozen concentrates in a punch bowl. (A large soup tureen makes a good substitute.) Thaw, mix well and refrigerate until needed. At serving time, add ginger ale, club soda, water and vodka, if using. Serve with plenty of ice. I like to add fruit to mine to make it a little more festive looking.

I hope everyone has a safe (and filling) Memorial Day! And please send all leftovers c/o Melissa at Psychobaby...


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