My Top 5 Foods for a Memorial Day Picnic
Nearly every year, May kicks us so hard that by Memorial Day, we don’t have a plan at all. We end up doing something with family, friends & neighbors at the last minute. But, guess what? It’s still just as fun! It’s nice enough the last Monday in May to eat outdoors, and even to cook outdoors (except the first May we lived in Colorado, when it snowed!) We have a simple little wooden deck near the back door of our home, and we usually spend the afternoon or evening out there.
Here are some of our favorite foods for the occasion:
1) Grilled Salmon and Veggies. We own a lovely device that allows us to grill cut vegetables. Our friend called it a “grill wok,” but it’s actually flat. The ones with sides are probably better, since the veggies are less likely to fall over the edge. It doesn’t take much effort to prepare this or to make it taste fabulous! I like to marinate the veggies in a bit of citrus juice, olive oil and herbs. Scott likes to put apricot barbecue sauce on the salmon. The important thing is to avoid overcooking the salmon. A few minutes on each side, depending on the thickness, the heat of your grill, & how far from the flame.
2) Garden Salad. Again, not much effort expended here. (That’s sort of the point, right?) Garden greens are still new & tender. Throw in your favorites and add a light dressing. I like to include raisins and nuts in our salad. You can make a nice seasonal dressing by whizzing a few strawberries with some balsamic vinegar in the blender. And speaking of strawberries…
3) Fresh Berries. They’re in season, so it’s the perfect time to get to your local produce stand and pick up some blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and even something more exotic if you like. They’re awesome just as they are, or with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or dipped in melted chocolate. You can also pair a berry with rhubarb, also in season, to make a great pie. Click here for my recipe (It’s for apple pie, but it works just as well for berries & rhubarb) and click here for the gluten-free crust recipe. Since they’re loaded with antioxidants and low in sugar, enjoy as many as you want.
4) Local Brews. We are fortunate to live near quite a few breweries and ale houses. It’s kind of a Colorado thing; but I know there are lots of places where you can find great local beers & ales. New flavors are appearing all the time. I’ve recently discovered brews made with coffee, chocolate, and ginger. (Okay, maybe not new to you, but to me, it was!)
5) Home made ice cream, sorbet or other frozen dessert. If you’re vegan, you need not miss out. You can make up an awesome sorbet or other dessert using an ice cream freezer. (You can even use a regular food processor if you just freeze some bananas ahead of time. Here’s a recipe I like from a cool website.) Get creative! Start with your favorite milk– could be almond, coconut, hemp, or dairy. Add some pureed fruit if you like. I like to use coconut milk with some coffee and pureed bananas. Cocoa and coconut are good additions to this mixture. If you eat dairy, add some plain yogurt or kefir. Sweeten the mixture to your satisfaction. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your freezer as to the amount of mixture you can put into it.
I’d love to hear what your favorites are. Have a great Memorial Day!