Memorial Day History; Easy Recipes for Holiday Gatherings

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By Judith Yamada, The Kitchen Maven

At first known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War. The holiday honors those who died while serving in the U.S. military. By the 1860s people in towns and cities all over the country were holding spring tributes to our fallen heroes, traditionally visiting cemeteries, attending or participating in parades and gathering to travel down memory lane with friends and family. It’s been difficult to prove the origins of the holiday because dozens of towns have claimed it. However, in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson officially proclaimed that the holiday originated in Waterloo New York.

Observed on the last Sunday in May, this American holiday provides an opportunity to thoughtfully appreciate the sacrifice so many have made, the birth of spring and the folks we love.  During these difficult times, it’s more important than ever to get outdoors, be with buddies and socialize safely. Many people throw barbecues or go camping during this long three-day weekend that unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season.

If you are planning a Memorial Day gathering and could use a couple of festive easy recipes, please check these out – White Beans & Spinach Antipasto and a zesty Teriyaki Sauce for whatever you’d like to barbecue this weekend.

Both recipes are in my cookbook “Thrifty Comfort Cooking for Challenging Times” which will be available for sale next month. All proceeds/royalties from the sale of my (very eclectic) cookbook will go to the Oregon Food Bank, Tillamook Services. Enjoy! http://kitchenmaven.org


White Beans and Spinach Antipasto

This colorful well-balanced recipe uses freezer and pantry ingredients along with a few fresh staples. Not only is it inexpensive but takes just minutes to prepare and is a quick flavorful and light meal for those warmer days we’re expecting. Serve it alongside crusty bread, focaccia, garlic toast or warm rolls.

1 – 10-ounce package frozen leaf spinach

1 – 15 ounce can great northern beans OR other white beans drained and rinsed

1 cup red bell pepper, finely diced

1 clove fresh garlic, grated or finely chopped

2 Tablespoons snipped fresh chives OR finely chopped tops of green onions

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Follow the package directions on the frozen spinach; don’t overcook. Drain, squeeze dry, and finely chop. In a bowl combine the spinach with the beans, bell pepper, garlic, chives, oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve, chilled, with crusty bread or rolls or garlic toast. Serves 6 as appetizer, 3 as an entrée.

Original Source Unknown

Teriyaki Sauce

This makes enough zesty spicy sauce for 1 ½ pounds basted ingredient. That ingredient could be salmon, chicken, tempeh, tofu, pork, eggplant or whatever you want to bake or barbecue per the chef’s usual method.

6 Tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari

¼ cup Mirin (Japanese cooking wine) OR white wine OR orange juice

1-2 Tablespoons Agaves nectar OR honey, to taste

1-2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced or grated

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes OR ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1-2 Tablespoons water, optional

Garnish:

2-3 scallions, trimmed, split lengthwise and thinly sliced at an angle, crushed nori (seaweed) and sesame seeds, optional

Combine all sauce ingredients and whisk well. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a simmer and slightly thickens. Lower heat and simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. If sauce is too thick add 1-2 Tablespoons water. Spoon or brush half the sauce over chicken or salmon, etc. while cooking. If brushing over raw fish, meat, or poultry, to avoid cross contamination, first separate half the sauce to another bowl. Use remaining sauce to drizzle over the protein after it’s done cooking.

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Memorial Day 2022: Facts, Meaning & Traditions – HISTORY

Memorial Day: Complete History, Meaning, Facts & Traditions (usmemorialday.org)