Memorial Day weekend cookout: Holiday dishes to remember The Denver Post

These delicious dishes give you big savory, tangy flavors — and more time with family and friends. The salad and cake are perfect for making ahead and sitting out on the picnic table, and the chicken can be basted while you chat over the grill. For more Memorial Day weekend cookout recipes, go to nytcooking.com. — Genevieve Ko

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

This Southern staple is the kind of cake that’s always on the table, ready to greet anyone who comes over. Good enough for dessert, it’s also not supersweet, so you could have it for breakfast with coffee or tea, or at any time of day. Made with canned pineapple and maraschino cherries (which can stay in the cupboard for a long time), it’s a delicious and beautiful cake that’s also budget friendly. The caramel finish is simple to put together, and the base is light and moist, but strong enough to hold up that joyful topping. If you don’t want to use whole milk, you could use an equal amount of the reserved pineapple juice. The end result will be slightly sweeter, but that’s not a bad thing.

By Millie Peartree

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup/110 grams packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup/57 grams unsalted butter, melted and still hot
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 (20-ounce/567-gram) can pineapple slices, drained
  • 15 to 20 maraschino cherries, stems removed

For the cake:

  • 2 cups/256 grams cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup/93 grams plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup/120 milliliters whole milk, at room temperature

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, vanilla extract and cinnamon (if using). Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish or round cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep.

3. Using a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel, blot any excess liquid off the fruit. Arrange the pineapple slices to your liking in a single layer on top of the brown sugar-butter mixture, covering the base of the pan, then add the cherries wherever there’s a gap. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the cake.

4. Prepare the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

5. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

6. On high speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, then beat in the yogurt and vanilla extract, scraping the bowl as needed.

7. Pour the dry cake flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer to low speed and carefully pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all the ingredients are combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.

8. Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Pour and spread the cake batter evenly over the topping.

9. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. (A couple moist crumbs are OK.)

10. Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edge to loosen, then invert the cake onto a plate. (Take care, as the pan may still be hot.) Serve warm or at room temperature.

Broccoli Salad

It is easy to understand why broccoli salad is a mainstay of potluck dinners and community gatherings. Not only is it a crowd-pleaser, but also raw broccoli is a clever make-ahead ingredient because it maintains its hardy texture and crunch over time. (This Southern-inspired recipe can be made up to 24 hours ahead, then stored in the fridge.) While most traditional Southern broccoli salads feature a creamy mayonnaise dressing and are finished with bacon bits and grated cheese, this vegan riff offers a punchy vinegar mixture that serves as a quick pickling liquid for the onions and raisins before it’s used as the final dressing. If you are making this salad in advance, leave the toasted almonds out until you are ready to eat.

By Hetty McKinnon

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup golden or black raisins (or dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli (about 2 heads)
  • 1 apple (any variety), cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, pepitas or sunflower seeds (see tip)
  • 1 cup red or green grapes (optional), halved crosswise

Preparation

1. Make the dressing: Place raisins and red onion in a small bowl. Add vinegar, sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of water, and toss to combine. Leave to pickle for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2. Peel the woody exterior from the broccoli stalks and discard. Chop the stalks into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the broccoli florets into 1/2-inch pieces. (The pieces do not have to be uniform or the same shape.) Place all the broccoli into a large mixing bowl.

3. After 10 minutes, finish the dressing by adding the olive oil and sesame oil to the bowl with the pickling raisins and red onion, and stir well to combine. Taste and season with more salt if needed. It should be tangy, slightly sweet and a little salty.

4. Add the raisin-and-onion dressing to the broccoli along with the apple and scallions. Using two large spoons, toss well so that everything is well coated. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Taste to make sure you are happy with the seasonings, adding more if needed.

5. When you are ready to eat, add the almonds and grapes (if using), and gently toss. Serve at room temperature.

TIP: To toast almonds, lay them out in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment, then roast at 300 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Let cool completely before adding to the salad.

Tajín Grilled Chicken

Tajín is a Mexican seasoning made from dried, ground red chiles, sea salt and dehydrated lime juice. It is great sprinkled over fresh cut fruit like mango and pineapple, or rimmed on an ice cold margarita. But it is also an easy way to add chile and lime to your favorite grilled meats, rubs or sauces. In this dish, the lime in the Tajín balances out the sweetness from the agave syrup, while the red chiles complement the smoky flavor of the chipotles. Serve the chicken as is or on toasted hamburger buns with a schmear of mayonnaise, chopped grilled scallions, cilantro leaves and sliced pickled jalapeños. This Tajín sauce also would pair well with grilled bass, cod or salmon, or with shrimp skewers.

By Rick A. Martinez

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, for the grill
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • Sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup light agave syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped, plus 1/4 cup adobo sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Tajín Clásico
  • 8 scallions, root ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems

Preparation

1. Prepare a grill for medium-high, direct heat; clean the grates well, then brush them with vegetable oil. Alternatively, heat a grill pan on medium-high and brush the pan with oil.

2. Arrange the chicken on a sheet tray and generously season both sides with salt. Whisk together the agave syrup, orange juice, orange zest, chipotles, adobo, garlic, olive oil and Tajín in a medium bowl.

3. Brush both sides of the chicken with the Tajín sauce. Grill the chicken, turning and basting often with the Tajín sauce, until cooked through, charred but brick red and glazed, 7 to 9 minutes. Grill the scallions, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides, about 5 minutes.

4. Serve the chicken with the grilled scallions, topped with cilantro.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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