Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Menu

I don't think I've ever been so excited for Memorial Day. I didn't have any big plans, but I have been extra eager for spring's gentle warmth to turn into long summer days. And I was not disappointed this weekend. My (admittedly black) car registered 102 degrees as I was driving down 14th street in Washington on Monday. And while I'm not ready to bow down to the gods of heat and humidity quite yet, it was a nice change of weather for now.

With friends in town and the weather being what it was, it seemed obligatory to run out to the grocery store on Sunday and try to rustle up the makings of a Memorial Day BBQ. And I'm here to tell you that I timed it, and we had everything ready to be served within 1 hour of getting back from the grocery store. I used as many shortcuts as possible, some better than others (the extra 5 minutes to make a graham cracker crust will be well worth it) and in the end I think everything turned out pretty awesomely, if-I-do-say-so-myself.

So here is the play by play of what I made and how I did it. Oh and I should mention that this menu is assuming you have someone else taking care of burgers. But I'm sure you can bribe some guy into making and grilling some beef patties. These are some of my favorite quick dishes to make all summer long, so I hope you'll find something to add to your table!

Let's start with DESSERT!

Key Lime Pie
From my mom (who I think stole the recipe from the Marriott on Marco Island?)
Makes a 9" pie
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed (about 1 sleeve)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 butter, melted
  • 2 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (fresh is great- bottled is faster!)
  • 1 lime, zested
  • whipped cream
In a 9" pie dish, combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter. Spread evenly around the pie dish to form a crust that goes up the sides by about 1/2 inch.

In a large bowl combine the sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and zest. Taste and add more key lime juice if desired. Pour the filling into the pie crust and freeze for about 1 hour. You can cut and eat the pie directly from the freezer- just be sure to top it with whipped cream!

Now that we've got dessert in the bag, let's use those leftover ingredients to make a drink for the cook (and maybe your burger helper).

Gin Refresher
Makes 1 refreshing drink
  • 1 part gin
  • 4 parts Fresca
  • .5 part key lime juice, or to taste
  • lime slices (from the now naked lime from the pie)
Fill a large pint glass half way up with ice. Add 1 part gin and top with 4 parts Fresca. Add a good squirt of lime juice and garnish with lime slices.

On to some veggies! This broccoli slaw is very easy because you don't have to cook the broccoli but this means that you want to make sure and chop the broccoli very finely. I would suggest making this early on so it can sit in the dressing and start to get a little more tender. Although grated cheese is easier, I just can't make myself buy the stuff (it's coated in cornstarch....) so I either grate it myself OR just chop it ! Chunks of cheddar are way better anyway (plus, it's cheaper than the stuff in the bag).

Broccoli, Cheddar & Bacon Coleslaw
Adapted from our old neighbor Annette
Feeds 10-12 people
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 broccoli crowns (about 2 bunches), finely chopped
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar, chopped or grated
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbls cider vinegar
  • 1 tbls sugar
Heat a pan to hot and cook the bacon in batched until crispy. Drain on some paper towel and crumble. In a large bowl combine the broccoli, cheddar, onion, cranberries and bacon. In a small bowl make the dressing by combining the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Taste and season with salt & pepper. Add 2/3 of the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing if necessary.

Keeps well in the fridge for a few hours.

Texas Caviar
Adapted from my mom's friend Kimba
Feeds a crowd
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (if you like the stuff....)
  • 1 avocado, chopped (optional)
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
In a large bowl combine the beans, corn and salsa. TA DA!

We don't like cilantro so we didn't add any and none of the avocados were ripe yet so we had a pretty simple texas caviar but it's still delicious on a tortilla chip!


  1. Ok I LOVE the menu!! I need to plan something so I can make them! I think key lime pie is DEFINITELY something I'm in the mood for! AND! sans bacon (and sub veggie burgers :D)...the whole thing is totally vegetarian friendly! YAY! Everything looks great! Wish I could have been there! Love you!

  2. You know I'm all about my veggies! :)