Editor’s note: Sadie Davis-Suskind, 14, is an eighth grader at Jane Addams Middle School and an aspiring chef. A former “MasterChef Junior” competitor, Davis-Suskind will share a recipe each week that other kids can make as well.

Memorial Day always conjures up so many meaningful memories.

My family lives in the View Ridge neighborhood of Seattle. Every Memorial Day, you can step outside and the air  will be filled with the smell of food being grilled and the sound of friends and family celebrating togetherness by doing what we as Americans do best: EAT!

The barbecue grills are cleaned off, the watermelons get sliced, the pies are popped into the oven and the Popsicles drip.

Everyone looks forward to the barbecue, but what about those amazing side dishes that, in my opinion, either make or break the meal? While your parents are sweating over the grill, how about you whip up some magic of your own and maybe even outshine those burgers and hot dogs!

Here are two of my go-to recipes that will make YOUR food the center of your family’s Memorial Day meal.

My first offering may come as a bit of a shock. I’ll admit I have always preferred the French style of potato salad to the American version. The French potato salad is lighter because the heavy mayonnaise is gone, replaced with tangy vinegar, Dijon mustard and as many herbs as you’d like to toss in!

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Not only is it beautiful and fresh to look at, the lightness of the dish perfectly pairs with any type of meat your grown-ups may be cooking.

Next, I offer a spin on the classic Caprese salad, a dish that we all already know and love. I enjoy using seasonal ingredients and this is prime time for … PEACHES, one of my favorite stone fruits.

So, here is a tried-and-true recipe that really highlights the juicy sweetness of spring peaches with the already amazing match of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.

Sadie Davis-Suskind’s French Potato Salad. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
Sadie Davis-Suskind’s French Potato Salad. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

French Potato Salad

Ingredients:

3 pounds red new potatoes (or any waxy potato like fingerlings)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

4 scallions, chopped

½ cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup dill, chopped

2-3 tablespoons chives

2-3 tablespoons tarragon

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Put your potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to cool down a bit. When they are warm, cut them into bite-size pieces.

2. Mix the vinegar and mustard into a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

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3. Add your potatoes to the yummy vinaigrette and toss it all gently. Throw in scallions, parsley, dill, chives and tarragon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pro tip: Toss in the vinaigrette while the potatoes are still warm; this allows them to soak in more of the dressing. The longer this sits, the more flavor develops and the better it tastes!

Sadie Davis-Suskind’s Peach Caprese Salad.  (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)
Sadie Davis-Suskind’s Peach Caprese Salad. (Rebecca Davis-Suskind)

Peach Caprese Salad

Salad ingredients:

4 ripe peaches (or nectarines), pitted and sliced

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1½ cup baby mozzarella balls, halved

Basil leaves

Flake salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Dressing: 

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 lemon juiced

¼ cup olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Honey to taste (optional!)

Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Core and slice your peaches.

2. Plate all your ingredients for the salad on a large serving platter in some artful way; salt and pepper to taste.

3. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together.

4. Drizzle the vinaigrette over your salad.

Enjoy!