Memorial Day is a celebration with outdoor cooking and salads to go with it. Here are some dishes that work well with whatever you choose to serve on warm days.

Memorial Day is a celebration with outdoor cooking and salads to go with it. Here are some dishes that work well with whatever you choose to serve on warm days.


Peach Schnapps Iced Tea

Makes 4-6 servings.

Use a quick dissolving or superfine sugar for ease in preparing this recipe.

4 tablespoons quick dissolving superfine sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups cold water

4 tea bags

1 cup peach nectar

½ cup Peach Schnapps

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Bring cold water to a boil. Pour over tea bags in a heat proof container, stir briefly, add lemon juice, stir. Allow to steep 4-5 minutes or until desired strength. Strain tea and stir into another container; add sugar, peach nectar, and Peach Schnapps; stir and let cool. Pour over ice filled glasses. Garnish with mint leaves.


Greek Style Pasta Salad

1 12-ounce package spiral pasta

1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise then cut into slices

1 cup black olives, sliced in half

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled, more if desired

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and fresh ground back pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large salad bowl combine and toss together cooked pasta, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, onion, and feta cheese until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over the salad and toss until evenly coated.


Bell Pepper Relish

Makes about 4 cups.

1 small Vidalia or sweet onion, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, diced

2 banana peppers, diced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, minced

½ cup white vinegar

½ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup granulated sugar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a saucepan bring onion, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, and ½ cup water to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes or until reduced to about ¾ cup of liquid. Stir in peppers, and cook stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 20-30 minutes. Stir in thyme and parsley. Put into an airtight container and refrigerate. This may be kept for up to 3 months.


Bean Salad

¾ pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces on a diagonal

1 can red kidney bean, drained

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

½ medium sweet onion, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2-3 tablespoons sweet basil, chopped

1 tablespoon white vinegar or champagne or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

4 slices smoked bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled, if desired (Optional)

In a saucepan bring 1-inch of water to a boil, add green beans, cover and steam about 5 minutes until crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, toss together, green beans, kidney beans, chick peas chopped onion, tomatoes, and basil.

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, lime juice, sugar, and olive oil.

Drizzle dressing over bean mixture and toss to coat evenly. Add salt and pepper, to taste. When ready to serve sprinkle with crumbled bacon pieces, if desired.


Apple-Cabbage Slaw

2 medium carrots, cut into thin strips

1 large green apple, cored and sliced into thin strips

1 cup red cabbage, shredded

2 cups green cabbage, shredded

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon Dijon style mustard

In a large bowl toss together carrots and apple strips. Add shredded cabbages, toss together.

In another bowl whisk together yogurt, vinegar, sugar, and mustard. Add to cabbage mixture; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.


Lobster or Shrimp Rolls

Serves 4.

2 cups cooked lobster meat or cooked shrimp, cut into bite size pieces

1/3 cup good mayonnaise

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

4 top split style rolls or regular hot dog rolls

2 tablespoons butter, softened

Lemon wedges for garnish

In a bowl mix together lobster or shrimp, mayonnaise, celery, parsley, onion, and a pinch of black pepper.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spread butter over the inside and outside of the buns. Open the rolls and place them split sides down in the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, turning once, about 3-4 minutes.

Divide the lobster mixture among the buns. Serve with lemon wedges.


Slow Cooker Beer Pulled Pork

You can use the pulled pork in sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos, empanadas, burritos, inside stuffed peppers, or in a shepherd’s pie. Makes 8 servings.

1 3 1/2 pound boneless pork butt roast

1 large sweet onion, sliced

12 ounces beer, such as a dark ale

2 tablespoons brown sugar


 and ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups barbecue sauce, plus more for serving

 (I use Sweet Baby Ray or Maker’s Mark barbecue sauce.)

Sandwich or slider buns

Toppings such as onions, tomatoes, or pickles

Place the pork roast and onion in a 4 -quart slow cooker. Pour in the beer. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for about 6-7 hours, or until fork tender. Time will vary by slow cooker.

Transfer the meat to a platter or cutting board. Using two forks, pull the meat apart into shreds, discarding any fat. Strain the onions, reserving 2- cups of the liquid. Return the shredded pork, onions, and 1-cup reserved liquid to the slow cooker. Stir in the barbecue sauce. Add more reserved liquid as needed for moisture. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Serve as sandwiches between buns with toppings of your choice.


Strawberry Semifreddo

Serves 6-8.

This is frozen dessert similar to ice cream, and no churning with an ice cream maker is required to make it.

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

½ cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Pinch of salt

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

½ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

In a saucepan cook strawberries and sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries have broken down into a thick, chunky jam, but not syrupy, cook about 8-12 minutes.

In a bowl with an electric mixer whip cream and salt until cream holds a medium stiff peak. Gently whisk in sweetened condensed milk and yogurt until completely blended. Gently fold in half the strawberry mixture, just enough to create streaks, then gently fold in remaining strawberry mixture. The mixture should look marbled with pockets of strawberry jam.

Transfer to a loaf pan and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.