Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

It's times like this I remember all the members of my own family that have proudly served in the military: my Father and Uncle, both of whom served with the United States Army in Vietnam; my paternal Grandfather, who fought for the Communists in the Spanish Civil War (though after the loss, he moved to Cuba and became a dedicated anticommunist) and my Maternal Great-Uncle and Cousins, all of whom served in the Israeli Defense Force, including my second cousin Yakov, who served with distinction in the recent conflict in Lebanon.

Of course, if there's one thing that Memorial Day is all about, it's the cookouts! Yesterday was the first year I went back and "manned the grill." I'm pleased to say it went very well, lip-smacking good.

Try this recipe of mine for all-American Cheesy Deviled Egg Salad. This went like gangbusters yesterday:

12 Eggs
2/3 Cup Light Mayonnaise
5 tbsp. Sour Cream
3 tbsp. Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Pinch of Ginger
Pinch of Pepper

Should serve about four piled high cookout egg sandwiches.

Important Note: generally it is customary to add salt to egg salad, but don't for this one because the salt should be included in the Romano.

Sour Cream is a really useful cooking tool and every chef should have a little bit on hand at all times. For instance, if you're making any kind of tomato pasta sauce and you're concerned about it being excessively acidic (a big concern if using sun-dried tomatoes) give no more than a tablespoon or two of sour cream to eat up the sourness and smooth the sauce out.

I would never presume to tell the great American grillmasters how to prepare the All-American Burger and Dog. But here's one condiment that could really boost a burger:

Orange-Chipotle Mayo

1 Cup Mayo
3 tbsp. Orange Juice
1 tbsp minced Chipotle Chilly Peppers

For a memorable cookout, just be creative. This year for the Memorial Day cookout, I added some Argentinean blood sausage and churrasco skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. They went like gangbusters along with the usual BBQ chicken and hamburgers.

(In a future post, I have to go on about Argentinean cusine, with the parilla and beef and pastas and empanadas and wines. They're the boldest and best world cuisine around.)

Here's a good BBQ marinade I generally use: cover the meat with virgin olive oil (the coarser and more virgin the better), then drizzle it lightly with soy sauce. Then squeeze a fresh lemon in and grind in some pepper. Flip the meat, grind in more pepper. After this, let the meat sit overnight in the refrigerator.

If you like, you can glaze your burgers with Jamaican Jerk sauce for about half an hour before basting. These "jerkburgers" go fantastically with the orange-chipotle mayonnaise.

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