7 Ingredients that will save your Memorial Day weekend
We all appreciate holiday weekends, but sometimes the details creep up on us and suddenly, it doesn’t feel like the relaxing 3-day vacation we thought it would be. The campsite didn’t get reserved 9 weeks ago. Barbecue invitations didn’t go out to the neighbors. The spring pollen hasn’t been wiped off the porch swing. And heaven forbid you spend your weekend at a department store sale.
Fear not. Last-minute Memorial Day picnics and barbecues are a cinch when you have the right ingredients on hand. Here is a list of the 7 key ingredients that will grant you the power to make a variety of awesome recipes.
1. Soy Sauce
The super versatile sauce you’re usually dipping your chopsticks into is not to be reserved for Asian foods alone. Soy sauce adds a soft savory flavor to marinades and dressings without a lot of extra sodium or saltiness. Try mixing it into a marinade for a flank steak.
Aroma, taste, nutritious value- what’s not to love about garlic? It’s the sexiest, most versatile allium out there. One clove will add a subtle hint of flavor, more than four cloves will add a hot and fragrant kick to absolutely anything you have on the grill. Add minced garlic to a steak marinade, or throw a whole head on the grill alongside chicken and seafood. Just about any fish dish will benefit from having garlic as a companion.
Citrus fruits deliver us from a lot of bland and boring recipes. If you feel like your fish or chicken is missing something, a squirt or slice of citrus always does the trick. Hell, if you’ve run out of time to cook, you can soak your fish in some lemon juice and bam- you’ve got yourself some ceviche. Try sprinkling lemon, lime, or orange juices on grilled shrimp, or add a hint of sunshine to your cocktails.
Bourbon is a lot like First Aid kits; you want to always have it on hand because at some point during your barbecue or picnic, you may need to braise some meat, or glaze some chicken, or embellish a dessert, or distract your guests with boozy drinks. Regardless of how you use it, it will make everyone happy, especially when you use it in a novel way, like in ice cream shakes.
5. Root Beer
Another multi-purpose tool to have on hand. Kids love it with a dollop of ice cream for dessert, adults love using it as a glaze for ham and pulled pork. The sugar in root beer adds a nice caramelized glaze to meat and thick veggies when used in a marinade, and if you don’t use the whole bottle, you can pour the rest into an icy cold mug.
6. Sriracha Sauce (A.K.A. Rooster Sauce)
This is perhaps the most affordable, most attainable form of full-bodied sun-ripened chilies and garlic packed into a powerful sauce loaded with flavor. Just have it on the table for your guests and family to experiment with; if they like hot and spicy foods, they may end up squirting it onto everything they’re eating because it’s that good. One of the more clever uses of Rooster Sauce is in spicy wings.
7. Ice Cream, or Sherbet, or Sorbet
You can sandwich it between two cookies. You can toss a scoop into the leftover root beer, or any other beverage, for that matter. You can smash the whole contents of the carton into a pre-made crust and top it with whipped cream. You can also just serve it per usual, in a bowl or a cone. Ice cream, homemade or store-bought, doesn’t disappoint.
Are we missing some key ingredients in this list that have made your barbecues and picnics a breeze? Share them with us!
Photo by Kim Miller
Food, we love you.