What To Make For Memorial Day Weekend
It's safe to say Memorial Day weekend isn't going to be the same this year! In the past, we've spent the weekend entertaining over on the Mendocino Coast. There's always fishing, BBQ, s'mores and a whole lot of wine involved. But with shelter-in-place still in effect, we'll be kicking off the summer with some at-home cooking! I've been making a ton of new recipes this quarantine, but these are tried-and-true dishes that are perfect for warm weather and at-home eating! Oh, and don't forget the wine!
Key Lime Pie
A Key Lime Pie is the ideal summer pie - it's quick to whip up, makes for a great presentation, and is best served cold! I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe, but I've made a few adjustments to the classic recipe to make it more lime-y. Here's what you'll need:
5 tsp grated zest and ½ cup strained juice from 3 or 4 limes
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Graham Cracker Crust
9 graham crackers (5 ounces), broken into rough pieces
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup chilled heavy cream
¼ cup confectioner's sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
Lime zest/juice to taste
First, make the filling! Whisk the zest and yolks in medium, nonreactive bowl until tinted light green (about 2 minutes). Beat in the condensed milk, then the lime juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken (about 30 minutes).
Now, the crust! Make sure your oven rack is in the middle portion and heat to 325 degrees. In a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine. Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding the warm, melted butter in a steady stream; the mixture should resemble wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate and evenly press the crumbs into the plate, using your thumb and a ½ cup measuring cup to square off the top of the crust. Bake the crust until it's fragrant (the best smell) and beginning to brown (about 15-18 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely; you can put it in the fridge if it's taking too long.
Once it's cooled, pour the lime filling into the crust and bake until the center is set yet wiggly when jiggled (about 15-17 minutes). Return the pie to the wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Then, refrigerate until well-chilled (3 hours minimum). I usually make it in the evening and let it chill overnight before making the whipped topping. You can cover the pie with saran wrap, but make sure to make the wrap taut or else it will cling to the pie's pretty surface.
Finally, the whipped topping! If I'm being totally honest, I usually wing the measurements here since I've always watched my mom do just that with homemade whipped cream. But, feel free to follow the measurements above if you're new to making delicious whipped cream that isn't out of a can! Pour the heavy whipping cream into a cold mixing bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the confectioner's sugar 1 tbsp at a time until just-stiff peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract for flavor. Beat it, then add the zest/juice to taste. Feel free to pipe the whipped cream, slather it on, whatever presentation you prefer is perfect! I usually go for the most rustic, homemade-looking approach myself.
Now, it's ready to enjoy! It disappears fast, so be forewarned.
Watermelon Feta Mint Salad
Another easy recipe is a watermelon feta mint salad because...HELLO, the ingredients are in the title! Cube up a watermelon, add the crumbled feta, slice mint (we use the wild mint that grows on our ranch), and add a few squeezes of lime juice for some extra flavor. It's so simple yet makes a beautiful presentation, plus it's an all-around delicious dish that lets the simple ingredients shine.
A cheeseboard of some sort
Cheeseboards are a great way to make everyone happy! You've got cheese, dried and fresh fruit, crackers, maybe some olives or cornichons, a meat if you're a carnivore, nuts of some kind...the options are endless and the board comes together in the matter of probably 20 minutes (if you're not a perfectionist like me who could easily spend an hour). If you feel like putting some extra thought into it, roll a goat cheese log in herbs, pomegranate seeds, or edible flowers. Add some honeycomb or jam while you're at it! As far as arranging it goes, I get my inspiration from @aintooproudtomeg on Instagram who essentially crowds her boards and make they look super plentiful. Other people prefer to make a minimalistic cheeseboard, which is cool, too. Trader Joe's has always been my go-to spot for picking up the affordable makings of a cheeseboard, but Mendocino County locals can find what they need at Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op, Raley's or Safeway.
A Bagel Board
If your family's into the whole bagel and lox thing, kick off the weekend with a beautiful brunch board! I threw this together with a few different cream cheeses, bagels of different flavors and sizes, and the works - tomatoes, sprouts, red onion, cucumbers, smoked salmon and gravlax, capers, and fresh dill. You can even hard-boil some eggs and make some bacon in the oven if you want to add a little something extra! Just make sure to have options for every bagel eater in the family.
Other recipes we LOVE:
These Simple Smoked Ribs to make on your Traeger
This Stone Fruit and Strawberry Sangria (though we might add rose instead of white wine)