Enliven a barbecue by melding American, Israeli favorites

On April 26, Israel honored her war heroes in a day of remembrance, Yom HaZicharon. In the Jewish state, it is a somber day beginning with the blare of sirens when everything comes to a standstill, as Israelis remember the fallen. Places of entertainment are closed and loved ones are mourned in ceremonies in every community. At sunset the mood swings to joyous celebration as Yom H’Atzmaut, Independence Day, begins.

Our Memorial Day, which falls on Monday, May 31, is perhaps not quite as grave. However, it is marked by similar rituals plus a good show of American flags appearing on balconies, windows and back and front yards. We wait a month before our Independence Day is celebrated on July 4.

In addition to the other rituals, grills are unveiled to mark the official start of backyard barbecues and picnics as we invite friends and neighbors to kick off the season of outdoor entertaining. Typically robust all-American favorites appear on the menu. Here’s one that includes some Israeli salads that are perfect accompaniments to barbecued foods. They’ll also help you get in the spirit for the San Francisco celebration of Israel’s 56th birthday, “Israel in the Ballpark,” on Sunday, June 6, at SBC Park.

Barbecued Beef Ribs | Serves 6-8

9 lbs. beef ribs (about 20 meaty ribs)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. curry powder

Preheat grill. Simmer ribs in a large pot of water 30 minutes. While ribs are simmering, in a small saucepan cook garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until golden. Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder and simmer, stirring, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute.

Transfer ribs to a large plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill ribs on a rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, meat sides down, until golden, 10 minutes. Grill ribs on edges until golden, about 3 minutes on each edge, and grill, bone sides down, until golden, about 3 minutes.

Brush ribs with barbecue sauce and grill, continuing to baste, until barely charred, about 1 minute on each side.

Turkey Burgers with Two Mustards | Serves 8-10

2 lbs. ground turkey
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. grainy mustard
2 Tbs. hot-sweet mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
2 Tbs. chopped green onion
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Form into 8-10 patties. On a preheated grill, cook about 5 minutes per side. Serve with toasted buns and relishes.

Olive Salad | Makes about 2 cups

1 lb. pitted mixed green and black olives, pitted*
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbs. tomato paste
3 slices lemon
1 tsp. chili powder or to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan cook olives in water to cover. Bring to a boil and then drain. Repeat process again.

In another saucepan combine tomatoes, oil, garlic and tomato paste. Simmer a few minutes and add the olives, lemon and spices. Add a little water and simmer about 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove lemon and let cool.

May be served as an hors d’oeuvre or relish.

*Imported olives are best for this dish.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Rebecca Ets-Hokin. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected].