Memorial Day Barbecue and Side Dishes

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Author Susan Straight talks about Memorial Day barbecue and side dishes in the Inland Empire. Her body of work includes I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots.  Michael Silverblatt, host of KCRW's Bookworm, has interviewed novelist Straight on several occasions. (Click on the guest link at the bottom of this segment to access those interviews.)

Evan Kleiman shares some savory and delicious Memorial Day dishes.

Marinated Goat Cheese with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 - 2 cups fruity olive oil, enough to completely cover cheese
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves, crumbled
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
  • 3 - 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 small goat cheeses

Combine ¼ cup of the oil, the peppercorns, herbs and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat until warm. Let cool. Arrange a few of the sun-dried tomatoes on the bottom of a mason jar or similar wide-mouth container that is a little larger than the cheeses. Place the goat cheeses in jar and arrange the remaining sun-dried tomatoes around them. Pour the cooled olive oil with herbs, garlic and peppercorns over the cheeses. Add enough additional olive oil to completely cover. Marinate, covered, in a cool place for several hours or refrigerate for several days.

Grilled Flank Steak
Serves 4

  • 1 flank steak, about 2 pounds
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Lightly pound the flank steak with a rolling pin to tenderize the meat. Combine the remaining ingredients for the marinade in a shallow dish just large enough to hold the flank steak. Put the meat in marinade and cover. Marinate, refrigerated, from 2 hours to overnight. Turn the meat occasionally in the marinade. Remove the meat from the marinade. Pat dry. Grill over very hot coals or under a very hot broiler for about 4 minutes on each side, basting with the marinade as it cooks and seasoning with salt and pepper. Let cool a little. Slice thinly on an extreme diagonal or the meat will be less tender. Serve at room temperature without refrigerating. To serve the marinade as a dipping sauce, bring the marinade to a boil in a saucepan and reduce by one-quarter. Let cool before serving.

Peaches in Red Wine
Serves 8

  • 8 medium peaches
  • 1 liter bottle dry light red wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon

Dip the peaches in boiling water for several seconds. Peel. Cut the peaches in half along the natural line of the fruit and remove the pits. Combine the red wine and sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar melts. Place the peaches in a glass bowl and pour the wine over them so that it completely covers the peaches. Add the cinnamon stick. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 days. Remove the peaches from the wine and serve very cold along with a glass of the peach-flavored wine.

Music break: Calling for Ya by Tommy Guerrero