Our friends at Food52 and Bon Appétit magazine are always full of good ideas and innovations. This year for Memorial Day they have skirt steaks and slaws and yummy-sounding cocktails galore. See for yourself: http://food52.com/blog/6667-grilling-with-adam-rapoport-skirt-steak-with-chimichurri-sauce
Our crowd is a little less high maintenance, and prefers the comfort of ritual. So when we get back from the Tea Party Festival in Chestertown, the 10th annual Hailey Memorial Day Ceremony or even back from seeing Star Trek, we will dig into burgers, hot dogs, grilled Italian sausage, (a few shrimp tossed on the barbie for our pescatarian) potato salad and strawberry shortcake. This is America, after all, and what are we celebrating?
Thanks to all who have defended us and our ideals.
Popular Potato Salad
This is a recipe that people actually ask for – and not just because they are my in-laws and trying hard to be polite! It that constantly evolves and adapts, and each summer brings a new twist. I don’t always have green onions – Vidalias work just fine. No red potatoes? Go for Russets. A little fresh thyme? Why not? It is dependable, tasty and can be adapted and stretched to feed the masses. Just add more potatoes, and more mayonnaise. Particularly fine for large picnic gatherings. Plus you can make it in the morning, and it is just right by suppertime.
Many, many servings…
• 2 pounds little new, red potatoes
• 1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise thinned with milk
• 1 bunch green onions, chopped
• Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil the potatoes until tender. While warm (but not still steaming hot – I have melted my fingerprints slicing too early and my life of crime may start any minute now) slice potatoes and begin to layer them in a large bowl – one layer potatoes then a handful of green onions and salt and pepper. Pour on some of the mayonnaise mixture. Repeat. Gently stir until all the potatoes are coated. You may need to add more mayonnaise mixture when you are ready to serve, as the potatoes absorb the mayo. Put on the table and stand back – the stampede might knock you down!
A Spy Hamburger
Serves 4 – but you can do the math…
• 1 1/2 pound ground chuck (18% fat content) Ask your butcher to grind it fresh – this is an important celebration!
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. A major lesson learned: it is best not to handle the meat too much or you will get a tough little hockey puck. Put the meat in a bowl and pull it away into small, manageable balls. Wet your hands when you form the hamburger patties – it helps to keep you from getting sticky and it is easier to form the shapes. Make the patties thinner in the center – about 3/4 of an inch at the edges and 1/2 an inch in the middle. They will shrink and even out while cooking. Keep the hamburgers cool in the fridge until you put them on the grill.
2. Preheat the grill; making sure it is clean and well oiled. The coals should be hot – hold your hand about 1 or 2 inches above them for a couple of seconds to test. If you use a gas grill keep the hood down while cooking the burgers, but if cooking with charcoal, keep the lid off.
3. Don’t flip the burgers endlessly – this makes for tough dry hamburgers. Cook 2 minutes per side for rare, 3 for medium-rare, 4 for medium and 5 minutes for well done. That’s my favorite, a very crispy critter. Let the burgers rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This way they will finish cooking and will absorb their juices.
4. Beer, please.
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”