Hamburgers for the 4th of July; potato salad; broccolini – 4 July 2013

Well, this is an unusual dinner for us, but it shouldn’t be. I made hamburgers, potato salad, and broccolini for the three of us – R came over – and it was a  perfectly delicious dinner.

main130704I defrosted an 8 oz packet of Hb from a Costco trip in December, and worried a bit over what to do with the extra 4 oz for the second packet (from a separate freezer bag) since R took us up on our invitation. Amusingly, I found a 5.5 oz packet in there – clearly I was wrapping and then weighing, rather than weighing out specific amounts to wrap – so we had three burgers of 4 1/2 oz each. D and I went to Acme bakery on the 3rd to get their Round Buns, but they didn’t have any  only these new “Soft Round Buns” which are basically Pain de Mie, or squishy white American bread. Ok, they turned out to be a lot better than that, but much more like typical Hb buns than we usually use.

I also bought a very good looking heirloom tomato ($3.59/lb!) at the Bowl on Tuesday or so and had it sitting upside down on the windowsill in hopes it would be good – and it was. Not write-home-about-it good, but definitely a tomato. Cleaned up a leaf of Romaine.

Burgers: I thinly sliced maybe 1/8 of a yellow onion or less, and chopped it finely, so the pieces would not be lumpy. I shook some salt over it and added quite a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, then mixed well with my hands, and formed into three very wide patties. I managed to make them wide enough that even when they shrank, they were as wide at the buns. Yay! I salted the tops well, then cooked them on the lightly oiled range grill, direct, high heat, uncovered, for about 2 minutes on a side (flipping the salted side down to start – easier than trying to noodge them off the nice, round pancake turner I was using). I put ketchup and mayonnaise on mine, and salted the tomato a bit, and it was perfectly delicious. This sounds like a lot of salt, but compared to just about any pre-prepared food, it is a miniscule amount.

I made my favorite potato salad: I used a bag of fingerling potatoes, which I think is about 1 1/2 lb. The recipe calls for 2 lb, so the recipe’s measurements are in parens after what I used. The recipe says to clean the potatoes and split in half, but this time I actually cut slightly smaller pieces. I boiled these in salted water till tender – about 15 minutes – then immediately tossed with 2Tbsp+ (3Tbsp) tarragon vinegar (just calls for vinegar), as much tarragon as the garden could spare, perhaps only a couple tsp (3 Tbsp, but this is not necessary), 1/4 tsp salt (unspecified; 1/4 tsp was not quite enough so I salted a bit more later), and a small shallot, chopped fine. After the potatoes cooled, I added 2 Tbsp (2-3 Tbsp) mayonnaise and chilled the salad till dinner.

I used up the last of the broccolini I bought earlier in the week. I cut the stems into bite-sized pieces and left the leaflets in little clumps. I put a wire basket into the saucepan and brought salted water to a boil; I blanched the stems for 3 minutes, halfway through that time adding the leaflets, so they ended up cooking half as long. I pulled out the basket, emptied the water from the wine130704pan so it would not steam the broccolini more, and left the basket suspended over the pan till dinner was almost ready. I stuck about 1 Tbsp of butter in the pan and turned it on med, then fortuitously forgot about it, noticing just as some of the melting butter browned up. I dumped the broccolini back in and stirred quickly, and left this on to reheat and slightly cook the broccolini. I also salted this a bit. The browning of the butter turned out to be a taste sensation, and I will definitely go for this in the future!

We had some Orvieto from Trader Joes’ for “cooking wine” (wine to drink while cooking) and then Two Mile Wines’ Founder’s Rock, an outstanding red that we got at a discount for buying so much of it.

A bit later, before running off to see the fireworks on the first 4th of July when it has actually been warm in the evening here, we had some watermelon, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Also, here is a picture of our lunch salad, which D invented: avocado, grape tomatoes, halved, a bit of red onion or shallot, and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!


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