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Putting Together Your Memorial Day Meal

Put all of the elements together, and the result will be this flavorful menu.

The dessert is prepared, the chicken has been marinating and you're ready to put the finishing touches on your Memorial Day menu, including adding side dishes to the table.

Potato salad is quintessential cookout fare, so I searched for a classic recipe. This Classic Potato Salad caught my eye because of the more than 150 rave reviews. And you can add one more to those. This recipe is a keeper. I knew when I sampled the dressing that this was a winner, and my kids confirmed it by heaping piles on their plates and asking for seconds.

I used purple onions instead of white and three eggs instead of five. Play around with what ingredients you like, but keep the dressing as is - you won't be disappointed. Also, click here to learn how to cook your potatoes just right so you don't end up with cold mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with a little Hungarian sweet paprika before serving for some color.

The final side was grilled ciabatta bread. I smashed a clove or two of garlic and let it sit in some olive oil before brushing it on to the bread. After sprinkling with sea salt, I grilled the bread right before serving so it would stay crisp.

In case you missed my two earlier articles on how to prepare the Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart and Grilled Spicy-Citrus Chicken Thighs with Corn and Green Onions, below is a recap.

Chicken

It was with great relief that I was able to finally fire up my grill and crank out this Grilled Spicy-Citrus Chicken Thighs with Corn and Green Onions.

This recipe is mainly for a marinade that is used to flavor the chicken thighs, corn on the cob and green onions. The heavy amount of citrus tenderizes the meat, allowing the spices to seep in. But beware of marinating overnight because of the strong citric acid content; 4 - 6 hours should be sufficient. Make sure to place the poultry skin-side down on the grill to achieve those delicious grill marks. This will produce a crispy top skin while the underside cooks more slowly, resulting in a deliciously moist chicken with a light taste of citrus and spice.

When marinating the chicken in one zipper bag and the veggies in another, squeeze out the air before sealing the bag so the marinade has nowhere to go but into the chicken, corn and onions. The flavor of this dish is very light, so if you want a stronger taste, I would crush instead of slice the garlic and increase the amount of hot sauce. I kept it mild for the kids.

I liked the idea of the grilled green onions, but I would try something larger next time, such as leeks or Vidalias. And knowing my children would balk at the sight of charred corn, I opted to boil the corn then serve it with a chive butter. You could also mix in chili pepper, parsley or minced garlic with some softened butter, depending on what flavors you enjoy.

Dessert

This Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart is perfect for a spring evening. The thick shortbread crust is filled with a light and airy mousse that heightens the tangy sweetness of the strawberries.

Make sure to make the crust and filling the day before so it has time to set in the fridge. Even though it's not quite strawberry season in the north yet, it is in Florida and other regions. This tart is not only visually stunning, but it's a great project for the kids while you get your table ready.

After chilling the tart and filling overnight, let the kids wash and slice the strawberries. They love arranging the slices and brushing them with the glaze to achieve that appetizing sheen (my son was in tears because he missed laying out the berries). For a red, white and blue them, sprinkle some blueberries or blackberries on top before serving.

Although perfect in May and June, I wouldn't serve this tart in the heat of the summer because the filling is very light and melts quickly.

Jennifer Donovan May 29, 2011 at 09:08 PM
We were at an Indian party recently, and they char-roasted corn on the cob, then each person sprinkled it with this masala spice and squeezed a lime on there. It was SO very good!
Wendy May 31, 2011 at 05:00 PM
I am going to make the potato salad tomorrow. I can't wait!

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