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By Rebecca Fending
Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer festivities. Although it’s a somber holiday, the long weekend offers just enough time to celebrate warm weather with friends and family, as well as observe the meaning of Memorial Day. If you’re still undecided about how to celebrate this weekend, here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Memorial Day Recipes
Although you can’t go wrong with a classic cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs, celebrate a change in speed with these creative and different recipes and condiments this holiday.
Bourbon-Glazed Pork Skewers
This recipe from The Cooking Bride is perfect for any celebration this season. Light veggies and a sweet glaze make these skewers mouthwatering to even the pickiest of party guests.
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon mustard
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 pound pork loin trimmed of fat
- 2 green bell peppers
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 purple onion
- 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Combine orange juice, brown sugar, mustard, bourbon and one teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in cornstarch until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook until glaze has thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Set glaze aside to cool slightly.
- Cut the pork loin into 1-inch pieces. Toss the pork loin in half the glaze until coated. Set the other half of the glaze aside for basting.
- Slice the peppers into sections large enough to skewer. Cut the purple onion in the eighths.
- Toss the peppers, onion and the mushrooms with the olive oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt.
- Thread the meat and vegetables onto the skewers – alternating the meat with the vegetables.
- Preheat a grill to medium high heat or preheat the broiler and move the oven rack to the top third of the oven. Grill or broil for seven minutes. Turn the kebabs over and baste with the reserved marinade. Grill or broil for an additional seven minutes.
- Serve with any remaining glaze for dipping.
The name sounds weird, but this jam has taken the Internet by storm. From Facebook to Gordon Ramsay, this condiment is the best way to top any fresh grilled item, sandwich or even just on a bagel. This recipe from The Endless Meal has perfected the balance between sweet and savory to round out your Memorial Day celebration.
- 1 lb. thick cut bacon
- 2 extra large sweet onions, quartered and thickly sliced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (use coconut sugar for paleo)
- ½ cup water
- 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Cut the bacon into half-inch slices and add them to a large frying pan. Don’t worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked but still quite chewy. A few crispy bit are ok. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan.
- Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8-10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add the sugar and stir. Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- Add the reserved bacon, coffee, and water and increase the heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring about every five minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir through the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.
- Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving. There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge. As the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
Caprese Baked Catfish
If you want to opt for something lighter, fish is a great source of lean protein and essential fatty acids for brain health. This recipe (another winner from The Cooking Bride) is great all summer long with fresh tomatoes, basil and catfish.
- 4 catfish fillets
- Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 4 slices ripe tomato
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
- Pat the catfish fillets dry with a paper towel.
- Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. Arrange the fillets in a single layer on the foil. Brush the outside of each fillet with a light coat of olive oil.
- In a small dish, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, salt and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the fillets with the seasoning mixture. Carefully turn the fish over and repeat with a coating of olive oil and seasoning.
- Place one slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each seasoned catfish fillet. Place one slice of tomato over the mozzarella cheese. Bake the fillets at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each catfish fillet with the fresh basil. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top.
Finish out the weekend with this refreshing glass. Made with fresh blackberries, mint and club soda, this mojito from Delish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- Handful fresh mint leaves
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup light rum
- Crushed ice
- Club soda
- In a small bowl, muddle blackberries. Set aside.
- Place mint leaves in bottom of glasses. Divide and spoon blackberry mixture on top.
- Add rum, sugar, and lime juice and stir to combine. Top with crushed ice.
- Add club soda and garnish with mint leaves and more blackberries.
Activities for Memorial Day
Typically, this holiday weekend is about traveling, spending time with friends and family or even catching up on yard care that’s flown under the radar. However, if you’re looking to celebrate in an honoring way, here are just a few ideas.
Visit your local military cemetery
There’s no better way to celebrate this holiday than by paying your respects in person at one of Florida’s many military cemeteries. From coast to coast, the state has a number of national cemeteries that are often included in lists of military markers and memorials to visit. To see the complete list, see Leslie Megyeri’s article that details the whereabouts and layouts of these landmarks.
Poppies have long been the symbol of remembrance for veterans, but why? According to The American Legion, the red poppy was the first flower to blossom from the lime-enriched soils after World War I. It was thought that the red color indicated the blood shed from soldiers on the battlefield. Since then, the red poppy has been worn in observation of those who have served both past and present.
To celebrate this Memorial Day, consider planting your own poppies. Although growing poppies from seed requires cold stratification, you can easily do this in your refrigerator. For a complete guide to growing poppies from seed, visit Eden Brothers for more details.
If you’d rather donate in some way, you can donate flowers to be placed on military grave sites. The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation (MDFF) is a foundation that offers people from both near and far to participate in honoring veterans. Starting at any price you choose, you can donate in order to have MDFF volunteers place flowers on the graves of those who have served. To learn more and donate, visit www.memorialdayflowers.org.