Travis Thompson: Anything cooked on the grill! I usually BBQ chicken thighs and my wife makes either potato salad or pasta salad.
Amy Wiens: Strawberry Pretzel Dessert!
Paul Casey: I usually start making Arnie Palmers around this time of year.
Place 12 Lipton black tea bags in a 32oz. pitcher of boiling water. Let the tea bags steep for 30 minutes. Pull the tea bags out and slowly swirl them around to remove tea residue at the top. You can also use a wood spoon to get any remaining residue. Then mix ¼-⅓ frozen lemonade concentrate directly into the pitcher or add in lemonade as you serve it.
John Gnazzo: Here’s one of our Memorial Day and summertime favorites:
Tacos de Sesos
Sliced thin, sesos may have the appearance of cauliflower, but vegetarian these are not. Sesos are brains, usually from a cow or goat, and they make a popular Mexican taco filling. Cooks and diners prize tacos de sesos for their soft, silky, almost custard-like texture, which provides a nice contrast to crunchy or fresh toppings such as onions, cilantro and lime.
To make tacos de sesos, boil the animal head to tenderize and release the flesh from around the face (this meat is often used to make the intensely-flavored tacos de cabeza). Once the face meat falls off the bone, a heavy and sharp knife cracks open the skull, granting access to the succulent interior. After seasoning the sesos, cooks braise or grill them, then serve the brains atop warm corn tortillas. Add in a dash of spicy salsa de chile manzano (manzano pepper salsa) and you have a mouthwatering balance of creamy, crunchy and spicy.
Another family favorite are Fish Balls, a tasty treat made by my paternal grandmother Rose Marotta Gnazzo:
Ingredients for 10 people:
- 4 pounds of anchovies
- Bread dough
- salt and pepper
- sunflower oil for frying
Make bread dough in a large bowl by dissolving yeast in warm water and adding a little sugar, salt, extra virgin olive oil and 5 cups of flour. Form fish balls as large as ping pong balls by taking a single anchovy and wrapping it in dough. After wrapping, fry the fish balls in plenty of oil until they are golden brown.
What are your favorite Memorial Day traditions?
Travis Thompson: I enjoy grilling and spending time with family outdoors.
Tom Bruns: Our favorite family tradition on Memorial Day is gathering our entire family, including grandchildren, for a Minnesota Twins baseball game.
Tim Lovestrand: We don’t have any set Memorial Day traditions but this is one of my wife’s favorite childhood traditions:
Nancy grew up in Buffalo, New York. Memorial Day always meant going to Thunder Bay in Ontario to open up their cottage. Large shutters had to be removed from the windows and stored in the garage. Inside the garage, a thorough cleaning was done (including removing the evidence that mice had used the garage for a winter home). Then her father would mow the lawn. After that, they looked forward to a summer full of beach fun and many picnics with family and friends. “Looking back,” she says, “I realize how special it all was and how very fortunate we were.”
Nicole Snell: We love boating…with plenty of chips and dip!
Amy Wiens: We try to spend the day outside. Usually there’s gardening to do and supper is typically grilled. Can’t go wrong there!
Betty Hunecke: I always hope for the best weather and grill burgers and hotdogs.
Paul Purington: Every Memorial Day weekend we go up to our cabin with my sister’s family. Some years when it’s too cold to go up on fishing opener weekend, we spend the weekend opening the cabin by buying groceries, putting in the dock and lift and getting the boats in the water. We usually play cards, cribbage and bean bags and enjoy good food, drink and laughter and participate in nature before the mosquitoes come out in full force! Last year, we swam on Memorial Day weekend because May was so warm. Not likely this year!
Lisa Schmid: We spend as much time outside as possible and keep the bonfire going all weekend. We cook over the open fire and walk to the cemetery to visit the graves of departed loved ones.