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We spent this year’s Memorial Day with precious family.  Our Plan A was to take a trip to the beach but due to an unusual Tropical Storm, we changed our plans and stayed close to home.  It ended up being a fabulous Plan B – boating, laughing, playing games and most importantly – spending time together (oh, and enjoying some amazing food as well!).

Here’s what we enjoyed this year:







HAVE to have a flag represented somehow, so I threw together this dish for us to nosh on during the day.  It actually was really really a nice combination of flavors for such an easy combination:


cut up watermelon

Cubed monterey jack cheese

My son and his fiancee brought some appetizers.

A yummy antipasto skewers platter:

 And a delicious smoked trout dip with avocado:


(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 pork tenderloins (~ 1 lb each)

4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Vegetable oil (for grill)

½ cup peach preserves, warmed

Peach-Mustard Sauce (see below, for serving)

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper, and rub all over. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium heat and brush grate with oil.

Brush pork with some preserves. Grill, turning every 4 minutes or so and brushing with any remaining preserves, until charred on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130°, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Slice ½” thick.

Serve sliced pork with Peach-Mustard Sauce on the side.


2 large ripe peaches, peeled, cut into small pieces

¼ cup ketchup

3 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 tsp light brown sugar

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp (or more) kosher salt


Purée peaches, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, pepper, and ½ tsp. salt in a food processor until mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste sauce, and season with more salt if needed.

Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.


(Adapted from Saveur)

2 hothouse or English cucumbers, split lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise

1 TBSP kosher salt

1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1⁄4 cup rice vinegar

1⁄2 tsp sugar

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 habanero pepper, seeded and minced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

3 oz. feta, cut into 1⁄2″ pieces (optional)

1⁄3 cup roughly chopped basil

I used 2 baby jalapenos from my jalapeño plants I’m growing:

Toss cucumber and salt in a colander set over a bowl; let drain for 15 minutes.


Spread cucumber onto paper towels and pat dry.

Whisk oil, vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a large bowl.

Add cucumbers, peppers, onion, feta, if using, and basil; toss to coat.

Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.


12 ears of corn, husked

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (soaked for 20 minutes in cold water to take the harshness out, then drain)

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, large leaves torn

1/3 cup (or more) fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Rub corn with 1 TBSP oil.

Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl.

DO AHEAD: Corn can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Mix onion, remaining 5 TBSP oil, tomatoes, basil, 1/3 cup lime juice, and thyme into corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Salad can be assembled 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


(Adapted from Saveur)

3 lb. medium waxy red potatoes

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

3⁄4 cup olive oil

1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar

1⁄3 cup roughly chopped parsley

1⁄4 cup roughly chopped oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side. Using a fork, prick potatoes all over and wrap individually in foil; grill on the cooler section of grill, turning as needed, until tender, about 45 minutes. Unwrap and slice about ½” thick; transfer to a serving platter.


Cut potatoes into even pieces and place in a large pot of bowling water.  Boil roughly 10 minutes (or until soft when pricked with a fork – you don’t want them overdone).

Whisk onions, oil, vinegar, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl; pour over potatoes. Serve warm.

And we rounded out the evening with dessert that my daughter made:

A Memorial Day Trifle:

I’ve been preparing this trifle for years – it was my mother’s recipe, and you can use whatever fruit you like, but my daughter made this one and used red and blue fruit for the holiday.

Angel Food Cake (Store bought is fine)

2 cups whipped cream

2 cups cut up fruit

Rum (optional)

Layer a trifle bowl with a layer of angel food cake and sprinkle (if using) about 1 TBSP of rum. Top with a layer of whipped cream then some fruit.  Layer 2 more times, ending with the fruit.  Would be lovely with some cut up mint or basil too!  Chill at least an hour for everything to set.  DELICIOUS!


(Adapted from Trisha Yearwood)

My adult “kids” and their significant others stayed the night with us, so the next morning we had breakfast together before getting back to reality.  This classic breakfast casserole is one of my favorites.  So simple to put together the day before, then the next morning, simply pop it in the oven and you’ve got a fabulous breakfast that you didn’t have to work for in the early hours.  Add a quick fruit salad and a cup of coffee, and your family will love you!

1/2 loaf of sliced white loaf bread

1 pound fresh bulk pork sausage with sage

10 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated

2 cups half-and-half

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread in the bottom of a greased (or sprayed with cooking spray) 9×13 casserole dish.

In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat until fully cooked and no longer pink.

Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to drain the fat. Spread the cooked sausage over the bread and top with the cheese.

Then stir together the, half-and-half, dry mustard, salt and eggs.

Pour this mixture over the cheese.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the covered casserole until set and slightly golden, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to set for 15 minutes before serving.

*All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.