Planning your plate for Memorial Day

Memorial Day, May 28, is a time to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom. It dates back to just after the civil war.

Like Thanksgiving, it’s a time for reflection and a time to look ahead . . . and after the somber part, to look ahead to ribs, chicken wings, barbecue, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, beer, beans, and apple pie.

Someone smart could probably make a lot of money selling belt-stretchers right after Memorial Day.

A little planning can yield a holiday menu that is just as satisfying as the traditional fat-laden feast.

Let’s look at the spareribs. Succulent. Dripping. Fatty. Saucy. Run-down-your-chin ribs. Live-around-your-waist ribs. And you pay a fortune for bones. Count yourself lucky if you can buy some for $1.99 a pound . . . for mostly bone.

The alternative costs more per pound, but there is no waste. Pork tenderloin cooks quicker and has no visible fat. Instead of two or more pounds of ribs (we’re talking $4 here) a half-pound of tenderloin will be plenty. Look hard and you can find it for less than $3 a pound . . . that’s $1.50 per person.

Chicken wings are another favorite that costs a fortune for bone. Instead of wings (say $2.49 a pound), try drumsticks. They take longer to cook but you don’t need nearly as many, and if you keep your eyes peeled you can find them on sale for .79 cents a pound. Freeze them until the holiday. Coat the drumsticks with the same flavors as you use on wings.

If the car and mortgage are paid off, you might consider well-marbled beef rib steaks on the grill. And you might consider looking for the belt-stretcher guy, too.

Instead, try marinating skirt steak or shell steak or flank steak. Ask the butcher if you’re getting the inside skirt or outside skirt. The outside has a membrane that has to be removed.

Though these cuts are chewier than a Delmonico, they have plenty of flavor and little of the fat. Try marinating or pounding the meat a bit. You can find a device with a line or two of sharp blades that tenderize meats by cutting tough fibers.

Cook these steaks rare and let them rest a few minutes before slicing across the grain.

Baked potatoes are great for you. It’s what goes on them that messes them up. Instead of gobs of butter and sour cream try low-fat sour cream with minced onion and herbs as a topper. Grate a little assertive romano cheese on top instead of a heap of Cheddar.

Apple pie and ice cream? Of course. You can be only so good on a holiday.



story by TRENT ROWE, Food Editor


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