So often, when I think back to the food of my childhood, all I remember is the seriously healthy stuff. Dark brown whole-wheat bread, carob chips and apple slices dominate my memories of what we ate during those years. However, a recent conversation with my sister brought up a whole other set of food memories.
She remembers the toasted cheese on white sourdough, fruit snacks in our lunches and the fact that just about every Saturday, we ate hot dogs and baked beans for lunch. I don’t know if our parents relaxed their food standards when my sister came along or if my memory is deeply selective. I do know that once prompted, I vividly recalled that baked beans were one of our pantry staples.
Part of the reason my mom was so willing to keep baked beans in the pantry and hot dogs in the freezer was that they were things we could easily help prepare. Opening the beans taught can opener dexterity and the frozen hot dogs could easily be wrapped in a paper towel and microwaved until warmed through. Plus, I’m sure she figured it was a meal that offered plenty of protein for our growing bodies (my mother is a big believer in the power of protein).
With this memory fresh in my mind and Memorial Day looming, it seemed the perfect time to try my hand at a batch of from-scratch baked beans. As is so often the case, a little digging led to a recipe from culinary mastermind Alton Brown. His recipe for The Once and Future Beans helped me nail it on the first try. The active work is fairly minimal, but the beans do need a solid eight hours in the oven, which makes them perfect for a lazy weekend supper and a definite candidate for The Weekender.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to kick off a sun-filled season than with a menu of relaxed, casual eats and drinks? Check out Food Network’s top five recipes for Memorial Day weekend and serve these beauties at your backyard cookout, holiday barbecue or neighborhood get-together.
5. Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes – Boasting layers of strawberry-laced whipped cream and in-season berries, stacks of cocoa-scented shortcakes from Food Network Magazine are the ultimate summertime dessert.
4. Beer Punch – Sunny’s adults-only punch bowl features fresh berries, a squirt of lime juice, grenadine and two bottles of beer.
Upgrade your barbecue sauce with help from six legendary pit masters.
Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce (pictured above)
Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous (52 South Second St.; 901-523-2746) is famous for its spice-rubbed ribs, and John Vergos, son of founder Charlie, still smokes them the way his father did when he opened the place in 1948: He cooks the pork ribs over oak charcoal briquettes, bastes them with a mix of vinegar and water, and seasons them with a paprika-heavy spice blend before serving with the sauce on the side. “Our sauce is not too heavy,” he says. “I like the little mustard and vinegar bite.” The recipe is a long-held family secret, but chefs in Food Network Kitchens ordered a few bottles and reverse-engineered the recipe.
Ready to eat in just 30 minutes, Food Network Kitchens’ creamy, vegetable-packed pasta salad (pictured above) is a no-fuss addition to your Memorial Day menu. This naturally meatless bowl boasts fresh parsley, crunchy celery and a touch of red onion and is tossed with a smooth mayonnaise-dry mustard-sour cream dressing. Easy to store, pack and serve, this traditional side dish is a must-have at holiday picnics or any other gathering.
If you’re hosting a backyard cookout or weekend get-together, complete your spread with Dave Lieberman’s grilled Veggie Skewers, strung with colorful bell peppers, fresh zucchini, squash and more. Before skewering, Dave marinates the vegetables in a simple olive oil-garlic mixture, allowing them to adopt that rich, bold flavor.
With so many delicious recipes to choose from Food Network’s Memorial Day and grilling roundups, where does one start? Trying to make your crazy and hectic weekends easier, the editors of FoodNetwork.com and CookingChannelTV.com have shared their favorite recipes and packaged them up into two menus — mix and match, substitute or just make one recipe. Whatever you do, enjoy them with family and friends and share your food photos with us on Food Network’s Facebook page.
Put a chillinto your grilling and chilling weekend this Memorial Day by mixing up a few simple and refreshing summer drinks. Our diverse ideas below will please the kids – and kids at heart – while offering some grown-ups-only favorites and unique twists on classic cocktails. Whether you’re simply barbecuing in the backyard with your family or hosting a neighborhood holiday cookout, these cool recipes are sure to quench everyone’s thirst.
A traditional Spanish and Portuguese cocktail, sangria is most often made by mixing red or white wine with fresh fruit, sparkling soda water and various liqueurs. Food Network Magazine’sRed and White Sangria recipes are classic examples of this European summer sipper.
Like sangria, the mojito has evolved from its original Cuban mixture of white rum and mint into a transformable cocktail capable of pleasing everyone. Not a rum fan? Not a problem. Guy Fieri’s Double Apple Mojito is made with vodka and apple juice. Similarly, Tyler Florence’s Blueberry Ginger Mojito Pitchers combine vodka, soda and fresh ginger.
Potato and macaroni salads: two of most iconic summer dishes in America. Here, elbow macaroni is tossed with ripe tomatoes, crunchy celery and a creamy dressing. Make it more personal by adding additional veggies for like diced bell peppers and cucumber.
With summer right around the corner, there’s never a better time to brush up on grilling safety. Yes, you may be the master of your grill; however, you can never be too careful.
1. Gas grilling should be done outside the home at least 10 feet away from the house.
2. Check all connections for leaks by turning on the cylinder valve and spraying the connections with a solution made by mixing equal amounts of liquid dish soap and water. If bubbles appear, those connections need to be tightened or replaced.
3. Keep the grill away from heavy foot traffic. It’s also highly recommended to keep children, pets and outdoor games like football away from the grill.
4. Always place lighters and matches away from the grill and children.
5. Wear fitted clothing. While you may be warm, you’re safest when wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed shoes.
Chances are you’ll be grilling burgers and dogs all summer long, so switch things up this Memorial Day by making fried chicken. Whether you’re making a small batch for your family or celebrating with a large crowd, you will become a fan fave with juicy chicken that’s crispy and golden all the way around.