For a period of time between around 1985 and 1995 my family would gather at my parent's house each Memorial. We siblings were living all over the country and with wives and boyfriends Christmas and Thanksgiving were almost impossible. So we chose Memorial Day as our and would gather for a long weekend of swimming, eating, jokes, and just generally being together.
1. Days PastMy parents are now in their mid-eighties and don't have the energy for such gatherings and another generation has been born making getting everyone together both more problematic and more expensive. But in honor of those halcyon days I've put together a menu of the sort we might have enjoyed one evening - but geared for two people instead of the crowd of family and friends I recall so fondly.
The Spanish are known for their tapas, the Greeks, Turks, and Lebanese for their mezethes, and the Italians for their aperitivos - although, to be frank, it's often hard to tell what the origin of a particular bite is (I've had tuna-deviled eggs in both Spain ad Greece). At any rate, tapenade is generally made with olives, but I'm especially fond of this version made with artichokes. Use the best olive oil you can get then simply spread it on a piece of bread, offer a glass of dry Vermouth with an ice cube, and provide plenty of napkins.
Like beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin is supremely tender - an excellent candidate for the grill. In this recipe I season it with jerk seasoning and serve with strawberry gastrique. The biggest drawback to tenderloin is that it isn't a uniform cut of meat ranging from 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick at one end and petering out to nothing at the other. My solution is to fold the thin end back over on itself then tie it with twine. This results in a piece of meat that will grill to an even medium.
Instead of potato salad, consider this refreshing soup made with fresh spring potatoes and leeks. It's wonderfully refreshing, rich, cool, and creamy. It's part of my regular repertoire for the parties I cater in spring and summer and always surprises people. And because it's pureed it can be served in a cup or mug without needing a spoon to eat it.
This salad dressing is light enough to go on baby lettuces and has a flavor sturdy enough to match grilled meat. So I'd suggest making a simple salad for Memorial Day, and then cutting up the leftover pork and making a meat salad with this dressing the next day.
By now you're feeling pretty full, so it's a great occasion for an Italian ice. The Italians make ices using almost anything from strawberries to mangos to peaches, but my favorite is lemon. Cold, deliciously tart and refreshing it's the perfect end to an al fresco meal. Although this recipe is scaled fro two servings, I highly recommend doubling or tripling it.