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Memorial Weekend Barefoot Bash Celebration Tips

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Memorial Day is a national holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May, an occasion to remember and visit the graves of the deceased relatives in cemeteries and churches, whether they had served in the military or not. Here are some Memorial weekend recipes ideas to enjoy the long weekend and get prepared for the beginning of summer.

Garlic shrimp is my family's absolute favorite Mexican seafood dinner. Fresh shrimp is peeled, skewered, saturated with garlic and butter, then cooked to absolute perfection over hot coals.

What better way to serve these delicious kabobs than with Ensalada Chileno Bay, Cantaloupe Soup and pitcher of Margaritas for a scrumptious, tropical, totally perfect Memorial Weekend Dinner? Sound good. Wait till you try the Baked Pineapple Delight for dessert. Ah yes.

Let's get you in the proper mood. Think outdoors. On the patio. Barefoot. With "Margaritaville" and other Jimmy Buffett songs playing in the background. (Other suggestions for great Memorial Weekend tunes: Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias Jr., Marc Antony or Gypsy Kings.)

Set your patio table for six. Invite some friends over. Get cookin'. Crank up the stereo. Your attitude will be magically shifted to another latitude-we promise! And you will certainly have jumpstarted summer!

All recipes serve six.

GARLIC SHRIMP ON SKEWERS

These take about 30 to 40 minutes to prepare. They can be refrigerated up to three hours before you're ready to cook. The cooking itself only takes about six or seven minutes!

3 pounds jumbo shrimp, deveined
2 - 4 tbsp minced garlic (depending on how brave you are re: garlic breath!)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and finely chopped
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
wooden skewers

In small bowl, combine garlic, wine, lemon juice, cilantro and melted butter or margarine. Place shrimp in 9 x 14 pan. Cover with marinade. Refrigerate up to three hours. When ready to barbecue, place the shrimp on skewers, making sure that they are well saturated with the marinade. Grill for three minutes on each side, basting frequently with marinade until done.

REAL AUTHENTIC BAJA MARGARITAS

Easy, quick and always a hit, these Margaritas are the real thing. We have one rule in Baja. No mix. It just ain't the same! These are a great way to kickoff any party. You can serve them on the rocks or blended, whichever way you prefer. Me-I like them both ways so I switch off. One blender-full serves four, so you better make at least two! (Takes about two minutes to make!)

4 ounces tequila
4 ounces Mexican Controy (Cointreau or Triple Sec may be substituted)
juice from 10 - 12 Mexican limes, freshly squeezed (about 4 ounces)
crushed ice to top of blender
Margarita salt (optional)

Place tequila, Controy, lime juice in blender. Fill until almost full with crushed ice. Shake well or blend until very slushy. Wet rim of martini or Margarita glass with water and swirl in small dish of salt. Pour Margarita into the glass. Ole!



ENSALADA CHILENO BAY

My family maintains that the best beach in all of Los Cabos is at the Hotel Cabo San Lucas. It's called Chileno Bay and it's famous for its underwater rock formations and awesome diving. Although I don't scuba dive, I do snorkel and I can vouch for Chileno Bay being jam-packed with wildly colored tropical fish.

This salad was inspired by a family vacation back in 1987. It's crunchy, tropical and a real delight. The medley of tangy fruits and vegetables will not only surprise and delight your palate, but it may even get you started believing you've just come in from spending a day snorkeling Chileno Bay. Or perhaps you've just gotten back from a long day of fishing off the coast of Los Cabos. Serves six and, since it has to be refrigerated for two hours prior to serving, plan on making it about 2 ½ hours before you're going to eat.

2 heads iceberg, butter or romaine lettuce (or combination)
1 1/2 cups jicama, sliced in strips
1 red onion, sliced
1 grapefruit
2 Oranges
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

Cumin Dressing:
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
6 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large avocado as garnish

Mix lettuce and jicama in large salad bowl. Arrange onion rings on top. Peel grapefruit and Oranges, removing all white membrane from sections. Arrange with tomatoes on top of onions. Cover and chill for one to two hours.

To make Cumin Dressing, combine vinegar, lime juice, oil, garlic and spices in food processor. Whirl until blended. Just prior to serving, peel, pit and slice avocado. Place on top of salad. Pour on dressing and toss gently. Serve immediately.

CANTALOUPE SOUP BAHÍA CONCEPCIÓN

Just southeast of steamy, subtropical Mulegé, almost two-thirds of the way down the Baja California peninsula, lies the incomparably lovely Bahía Concepción. It is one of the most-photographed spots in all of Baja, and justly so. Its pristine white crescent sand beaches surround an equally pristine, breath-takingly beautiful aquamarine bay. From one of our camping trips to the area comes this simple but distinctive chilled soup. The combination of cantaloupe and potato gives it a wonderfully rich flavor and texture. It's perfect for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta because it will convince you that you're dining al fresca-under a palapa-on the shore of Bahía Concepción!

Serves six and takes only a few minutes to make. It must be refrigerated for at least an hour, so plan on making it the same time you make the salad and then just shoving them in the fridge!

1/2 cup half and half
1 cup potato, cooked, peeled and diced
3 cups cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1/4 cup sherry
salt to taste
nutmeg and lime slices for garnish

Place the half and half, potato and cantaloupe in blender. Puree. Stir in sherry and season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve chilled in glass bowls, garnished with nutmeg and lime slices.

BAKED PINEAPPLE DELIGHT

Oh yum, yum, yum. Simple and exquisite, Baked Pineapple Delight combines the tastes of fresh fruit, rum and custard to create a memorable finale to any meal. Serves six. Takes less than a half hour to make, but can be made with the salad and soup and refrigerated for two or so hours.

1 large or 2 medium sized pineapples
sugar to taste
3 tbsp rum
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Sauce:
2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla

Lay pineapple on its side and take a thick slice from one side. Do not include green top. Set this slice aside. Carefully scoop out fruit and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mix pineapple pieces with sugar to taste. Flavor with rum. Put pineapple pieces back into shell, dot with butter and cover entire pineapple with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While pineapple is baking, make sauce by stirring together half and half, salt, sugar, egg, egg yolks, cornstarch and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened. This will take about 10 minutes.

Chill until ready to serve, up to two hours. Serve pineapple warm with cold sauce on top and try not to blush when you get a standing ovation!

 


Recipe and tips provided by Ann Hazard.

Join author Ann Hazard, as she leads you through four generations of historic Baja culinary adventure. She shares not only her family's favorite travel tales, but also the delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes she has collected and created. By the time you've cooked a meal or two and finished reading the book, you're guaranteed a lasting dose of Baja Magic. The book may even turn your perspective slightly to the South, lighten your heart and forever transform your outlook on life!


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