Another Memorial Day Open Thread

So.  A good Memorial Day to you all.  I’ve got some folks in my thoughts, as I know many here do.

It’s a grand day in the home of the bean and the cod.  Compared to what many in parts west of here have suffered recently, I’d have to admit that complaining about the weather is in poor form at least, but it is still true that this is our first really glorious spring day after about a week of cold and damp.

Which is why I took my camera along to a favorite nearby park on the pre-lunch walk with the sprout.  There I was rewarded with this sight:

Heron wide crop 3

In other useful news:  it was a significant (ending in 0) birthday for my spouse this week, and we had the party yesterday.  We hired a couple of folks to handle set up and serving, but former restaurant chef wife and myself did the cooking.  Among other things, I made this, from my new favorite cookbook, Yoram Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem.

It’s a fabulous lamb recipe, and worth grabbing the spices you may not have in your larder to achieve.  I modify the instructions a little — I use flat parsley instead of cilantro, and more significantly, I substitute a 3 lb or so boneless leg for the specified bigger bone-in haunch, and I slash it inside and out to really marry the marinade to the meat.  Also, I roast 400° (F) for about a much shorter time than the recipe calls for, as my goal isn’t actually a shwarma substitute; I want crispy on the outside, rare to medium rare at the center.  Those mods in hand, this is the best leg o’ lamb I’ve had in a month of Sundays, and me a sheep farmer’s nephew.  (I can really recommend the cookbook in general, also too.)

Tonight’s the obligatory rib-steak on the grill. (Memorial Day, remember; start of the barbecuing season and all that.)  I know John has asserted that there is one true path to perfect steaktitude (too lazy to look up the post, me) but I plan to smoke the rib for about 15 minutes on a very slow Weber, and then finish it with a quick sear on the stove.  I’d make a scallion horseradish butter to go with it if my other half permitted, but she most likely won’t, so we’ll probably go with a bit of chimichurri to sharpen up the moment.

Put your feasting plans in the comments — and I and mine wish all here a happy, safe, well-fed end to the holiday.






58 replies
  1. 1
    Keith says:

    I’m waiting on the grill to cool down enough to start smoking some ribs myself. Marinated them for a day in Coke (the soda, not cocaine or the coal derivative), then gave them another day vacuum sealed with a dry rub. Now it’s time to smoke them with some mesquite chips.
    In other news, anyone else hearing that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is dead?

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    Upside to your wife being 20, Tom: spry and full of energy.

    Downside: thinks “back in the day” meant the early 90s.

  3. 3
    Redshift says:

    I have a friend who loves to cook, and we go over for dinner most Sundays. A holiday weekend means a bonus meal! Last night was venison stew, and a very tasty kale salad. Tonight is going to be turkey. (He has a big basement freezer, and buys several turkeys in November/December when they’re cheap.)

    Yum!

  4. 4

    You know, I think this just might work.

    I can’t really see the GOP being able to afford standing in front of such a thing in a systematic way.

  5. 5

    But we’re going to make pizza on the grill.

  6. 6
    Antonius says:

    Hi Tom.

    Just finished “Newton and the Counterfeiter”. Nice work. Meticulous research, great focus on an engaging story, very plausible hypotheses concerning Newton’s state of mind. I really enjoyed hearing more about this phase of his career. I assume you’ve read Stephenson’s “Baroque Cycle”? Great fun.

    Thanks,
    Antonius

  7. 7
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Is that a turtle, or just a turtle-shaped stone?

  8. 8
    Warren Terra says:

    Congratulations and feliciations to your 30-year-old spouse.

    (I considered 20, but this would make the sprout walking around the park a little questionable)

  9. 9

    @👽 Martin:

    I can’t really see the GOP being able to afford standing in front of such a thing in a systematic way.

    Remember, they only have to get 13 states to avoid ratification, and that doesn’t necessarily even mean having a nay vote. They can just avoid ever bringing the thing up.

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    Congratulations and many happy returns of the day to your spouse! We love the Ottolenghi cookbooks and are living off of the eggplant dish that is the front cover of the other cookbook. In fact, if I weren’t struggling like a damned soul this weekend trying to do this horrible “memory board” for my daughter’s 8th grade graduation I’d be making it for dinner tonight. I look forward to trying the lamb dish. I mostly bought the Jerusalem cookbook to read it and haven’t really cooked out of it yet.

  11. 11
    Heywood J. says:

    Today I turn (dammit) 46, so we’re grilling bacon-wrapped scallops, ahi steaks with mango curry glaze, skewered chicken and local grass-fed beef, along with fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberry) and cheesecake topped with fresh mango and strawberry.

    Also, too — sincere thanks to all the Juicers who took a moment to grab the free downloads of my Kindle e-books for guitar. Total number of downloads for the weekend is nearly 1,000, way more than I expected. So thanks for that. (And they’re still free until midnight tonight!)

  12. 12
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    It looks like I’m going to be spending a month in China this summer teaching accounting. It turns out that it’s not a TA position like I thought; my former professor was contracted to do it but something has come up that prevents him from leaving the country so he’s put me forward to do it instead. I’ve never taught a class before, but the two I’ll be teaching, Into to Financial Reporting and Intro to Managerial Accounting are not only very basic but also have lots of course materials and lesson plans available that I can just cannibalize.

    I’m nervous and excited but I’m also a bit ambivalent. I don’t really like traveling and expect to be homesick for the last three weeks but it’s too good an opportunity to pass up if the people running the program approve me. It pays pretty well, too.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    Cuban style grilled game hens in a sour orange and garlic marinade, grilled sweet potato fries, steam whole artichoke with lemon butter dipping sauce and black beans with a dollop of plain greek yogurt.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): One of my best pals is on his way next week to be a trainer with the Bejing Ducks CBA team. He’s nervous but gonna do it.

  15. 15
    gogol's wife says:

    Memorial Day is a try-to-recover-from-Reunion-and-Commencement-weekend day for us. So it’s leftovers tonight. I’m just glad the weather is beautiful, after freezing my behind off on a hillside for three hours yesterday and constantly losing my stupid academic hat.

  16. 16

    @efgoldman: No, I get that. But the GOP screams voter fraud because they know they can’t scream about the wrong people voting. They’ve already ceded that it’s too toxic an issue. And they also recognize that with shifting demographics they need to get on the right side of this – hence the divide inside the GOP on immigration.

    I think this is going to be a difficult thing for the GOP to oppose because it’s not granting a new right. It’s granting a right that everyone believes already exists. Opposing it isn’t the ‘status quo’ argument as far as the public views things – opposing it amounts to a declaration that citizens do not have a right to vote. That’s a very different thing, and a harder thing for the GOP to oppose without continuing to carry the anti-civil rights yoke that has been on them for the last half century.

  17. 17
    Keith says:

    @👽 Martin: They’ll poison pill it with a voter ID addition

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Steeplejack says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Plus it’s an expense-paid trip to China, for chrissakes!

  20. 20
    Central Planning says:

    @Tom Levenson

    Memorial Day, remember; start of the barbecuing season and all that.)

    What?! I know I live in Rochester (NY), but barbecuing season never ends (probably because my grill is connected to the natural gas line in my house – I highly recommend everybody get the NG conversion kit)

    I think we’re grilling some Spiedie’s-soaked chicken tonight, along with a pork tenderloin. Mmmmm

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @👽 Martin: My old man, good DuPage County Republican he was, went to his grave believing Kennedy stole the election in Chicago. Never did change the outcome. It don’t mean nuthin.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @Heywood J.: Happy Birthday! Your menu sounds yummy.

    I’m in the mood for burgers so that’s what I’m making. Last night I made home made french fries, and they were such a hit I’m making them again. Cut up a home grown potato in french fry shapes, parboiled and drained, then oven baked at 450 degrees in home rendered beef tallow. Beyond good.

  23. 23
    Heywood J. says:

    @Steeplejack: Wow, thanks for that, very much appreciated. Any feedback you have on the books would be appreciated as well, you can hit the email if you prefer not to leave a comment or a review. I have more of these in the pipeline (been working on #3 all weekend and it’s a bit more ambitious than the first two, probably about 60+ pages), so I definitely want to know what’s working or not working for people.

  24. 24

    @Keith:

    @👽 Martin: They’ll poison pill it with a voter ID addition

    They can’t. It’s a constitutional amendment, not a bill.

  25. 25
    Heywood J. says:

    @Violet: Thanks Violet! They will probably have to knock down a wall and haul my fat ass to work tomorrow, but them’s the breaks.

  26. 26
    raven says:

    Nice Memorial Day Story:

    NEW ORLEANS — Before Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Central Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.

    Davis did get to read the diary — but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.

  27. 27
    Shortstop says:

    I would love to be cooking something wonderful right now. Alas, the downside of our good fortune in selling the condo days after listing it: now the basement storage unit can no longer be ignored. I got a couple of boxes in and started seriously thinking about setting the whole thing on fire.

  28. 28
    Violet says:

    @Heywood J.: It’s important to celebrate. That’s just as important as anything else you’re going to do tomorrow, if not more important. So enjoy today and tomorrow will be what it will be.

  29. 29
    Shortstop says:

    @Violet: what Violet said. Think not of the morrow, HJ.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @Heywood J.: Cool I gots mines!

  31. 31
    Steeplejack says:

    @Heywood J.:

    Have downloaded them, haven’t looked at them yet. I’m on holiday this weekend, damn it!

  32. 32
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Heywood J.: Happy birthday, and many happy returns!

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Congratulations — your professor obviously thinks highly of your abilities to offer you this chance. And a month sounds like a good length for your trip, too, long enough to really introduce your students to the info they need (and to do some sightseeing yourself) but not so long that you can’t see an endpoint when you get homesick.

  33. 33
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @👽 Martin:

    I’d like to think that the voting amendment will pass.However it’s been some years since stopped believing that anything would be too low down or wrongheaded for the GOP to do.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @👽 Martin:

    They’ll oppose it because it would allow felons to vote.

  35. 35
    BGinCHI says:

    @Heywood J.: Also 46. Great Minds Age Alike.

  36. 36
  37. 37
  38. 38
    Heywood J. says:

    @Violet: Oh yeah. It’s been a nice weekend, and for the north Sac valley, the weather has been just about coastal today. I was just thinking that I was being fairly decadent in my abundance of bbq foods, but everything in moderation.

    Plus beer, which as Homer S. reminds us, is the cause of — and solution to — all our problems.

  39. 39
    Heywood J. says:

    @Steeplejack: Ha, understood. Have a good one, and fire away when you’re ready.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @Heywood J.: Me too.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Go for it and make the most of it! My only caution: if you’re susceptible to respiratory problems, talk to your doctor before you go. The air in Beijing and Shanghai is like Pittsburgh in the 1940s, and the other major urban areas aren’t much better.

  42. 42
    Keith says:

    Bleh…I just found out my brother put his exotic Savannah cat (F3) out in the woods after getting tired of per peeing on his floor. I about freaked out when I heard that and told him to try to catch the cat and fly her out to me. I’ve already got two rescue kitties from this site, both of whom are fine, upstanding citizens, so I’m sure adding another will work out fine. She’s an absolutely gorgeous cat, too, and I can’t bear the thought of her being out in the woods fending for herself when she could be living the good life here.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013 NCAA men’s lacrosse champions, the Duke Blue Devils. 16-10 over Syracuse.

  44. 44
    burnspbesq says:

    Gotta love this. Three feet of snow in the Adirondacks on Memorial Day.

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/i.....diron.html

    Yeah, they have four seasons Upstate: Winter, Mud 1, Fourth of July Weekend, and Mud 2.

  45. 45
    Tom Levenson says:

    @aimai: Thanks…what pisses me off, btw, is that friends of mine hosted Ottolenghi and Tamimi several times when they were here waiting on the birth of their adoptive child, and didn’t put me together with them. Feh!

    @BGinCHI: ;)

    @Warren Terra: There’s that, isn’t there…

    @raven: Can I come over?

    @Heywood J.: Downloaded.

    @Antonius: Many thanks for those kind words. I started the Baroque Cycle while working on N + C, then realized that Stephenson’s Newton was whispering in my ear, so put it down and plan to pick it up again on the next long plane ride.

  46. 46
    Yatsuno says:

    Fish and chips. Right before the long weekend Mom demanded I pick up a halibut filet at the store since it was on sale. $40 for what’s normally a $100 hunk of fish. It will get eaten tonight heartily.

  47. 47

    @Tom Levenson:

    and plan to pick it up again on the next long plane ride.

    You’re going to need more than a long plane ride; it’s over 2500 pages. Next time you’re crossing the Atlantic on a freighter, perhaps.

  48. 48
    scuffletuffle says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Very best of luck, I hope you can cope with your nerves and enjoy the time to the fullest. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity to combine work and travel in a positive way.

  49. 49
    Cacti says:

    Tonight’s the obligatory rib-steak on the grill. (Memorial Day, remember; start of the barbecuing season and all that.)

    A steak on the grill is not barbecue.

    You live in Massachusetts so your ignorance is forgiven.

  50. 50
    Keith says:

    @Cacti: Agreed, that’s grilling. BBQ is low & slow. I’m partial to fatty brisket. It’s my belief that too many places only serve lean brisket, giving it a bad rap; it’s my suspicion that whenever Bourdain or Zimmern try some trendy BBQ place and flip out over how good it is, it’s because they’re being fed the fatty brisket with burnt ends.
    Good ribs are hard to beat, too, which is why I’m making them right now. Just finished 2.5 hours of smoke, now I have them steaming in foil with Mexicoke for a couple of hours, and I finish them off with some mopped on sauce (I prefer wet ribs to dry).

  51. 51
    aimai says:

    @Shortstop: We renovated our house 7 years ago and my spouse has just gone upstairs to the pull down attic and discovered tons of boxes we had no idea were up there. We’d thought the entire attic had been emptied out when we renovated. Horrors.

  52. 52
    Cacti says:

    @Keith:

    Agreed, that’s grilling. BBQ is low & slow. I’m partial to fatty brisket. It’s my belief that too many places only serve lean brisket, giving it a bad rap; it’s my suspicion that whenever Bourdain or Zimmern try some trendy BBQ place and flip out over how good it is, it’s because they’re being fed the fatty brisket with burnt ends.
    Good ribs are hard to beat, too, which is why I’m making them right now. Just finished 2.5 hours of smoke, now I have them steaming in foil with Mexicoke for a couple of hours, and I finish them off with some mopped on sauce (I prefer wet ribs to dry).

    Alas and alack, the wife’s been on the mend from surgery this past week, and I just haven’t had the energy for ‘cue this Memorial Day after tending to her and the little ones.

    Guess I’ll have to wait for the 4th of July.

  53. 53
    Dee Loralei says:

    @Heywood J.: Happy Birthday! Menu sounds great. I downloaded both of your books for my son. Will let you know what he thinks after he’s had some time with them.

  54. 54
    Antonius says:

    @Roger Moore: Roger’s right. Kindle or other such device recommended unless you want to check an extra bag :)

  55. 55

    @Antonius:
    Though Stephenson’s comment is always a good laugh:

    Of particular note is Sir Winston Spencer Churchill’s six-volume biography of Marlborough, which people who are really interested in this period of history should read, and people who think that I am too long-winded should weigh.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Make sure to find someone at the university who can help you with your visa application — you will need a formal (written) invitation letter from the institution you’ll be teaching at in addition to your passport and visa application. The university in China should be used to sending those, but you’ll need to track down the right person on your end who can help you with the application and get it sent off to the right consulate (it looks like you’ll have to send everything to Chicago). If you have all of your ducks in a row, it’s not difficult to get a visa, just a lot of paperwork.

  57. 57
    Batocchio says:

    Nice! I have that cookbook and have made Hummus Kawarma a couple of times; it’s become one of my favorite dishes.

  58. 58
    Hunter says:

    That photo could have been taken in Chicago’s Lincoln Park — although not this past few days, since it’s been cold, windy, and cloudy. Yeah — we have herons, too.

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