BURGERS with class!

“The Burger!  It’s a complete balanced meal, all in one. You’ve got your protein, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates and COMFORT! ” ~ Author unknown

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Why is it, that the foods we connect with felicitous memories always taste so much better?  It’s not surprising to learn that when asked the question; “What would you choose for your very last meal on earth,?” many people, hands down, responded with, ” A Cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate milkshake.” Perhaps it goes back to our childhood and the comfort we felt when our parents took us to  McDonald’s for a  Big Mac, Jack in the Box’s for their triple cheeseburger, or to  A&W ‘s with their signature Root beer floats.float   As a child, those were the days, weren’t they?      Who doesn’t love a savory and scrumptious burger from the grill?  (Especially now that so many TV chefs, ( who are cooking healthy now,) have come up with a huge array of diverse ingredients they use in their burgers, creating masterpieces we would never think up.

Summer  has arrived  along with its beckoning call to enjoy the great outdoors. It is the most popular season for grilling… It begins with Memorial day parties where we gather with friends, light up the grill and enjoy the flavors of bratwurst, black Angus steaks, turkey or chicken burgers, the all American hot dog and of course the legendary all beef patties, as they simmer upon the smoking coals, filling our souls with a medley of nostalgic memories. ( There is nothing to compare to the delicious aromas in the air when Kit puts on his “grill master apron” and lights up our BBQ.) 🙂 Even when it is in the 90’s with the humidity being 100 %, you will find Grantham , sitting at the foot of the grill, (30 pounds of his weight being his black fur,)  just waiting for the first bite of the evenings meal…  🙂 IMG_1263 In this blog, I want to share some outstanding burger recipes with you…a recipe of Kits and mine, (yes, low sodium and healthy,) but I have also researched some of the most famous and highly rated burgers from renowned chefs, each with a diverse heritage, bringing spices and flavors that add a little pizzazz to the classic American Burger. I hope you find one you love for your next BBQ, a movie night with your family or for your summer galas.

 

 

 

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DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER

To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world.” ~ David Chang

“I always admired Ray Kroc, the man who invented McDonald’s. Ray had a vision of the most commonplace thing-a hamburger and fries to go-but to him it was just the greatest thing ever, and he was going to make it the greatest thing ever for everybody else, and he did.”   David lee Roth

 

buns“It requires a certain kind of mind to see the beauty in a hamburger bun.” ~ Ray Kroc, creator of the McDonald’s franchise.

“Everyone has the right to a University degree in America, even if its in Hamburger Technology.” ~  Clives James

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“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” ~ Mathew McConaughey

The journey of a thousand pounds begins with a single burger.” ~ Chris O’Brien

“Anybody who doesn’t think that the best hamburger place in the world is in his home town is a sissy.” ~ Calvin Trillin

“You can fnorthind your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigation uses stars….We have munched Bridge burgers in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and Cable burgers hard by the Golden Gate, Dixie burgers in the sunny South and Yankee Doodle burgers in the North….We had a Capitol Burger — guess where. And so help us, in the inner courtyard of the Pentagon, a Penta burger.”
Charles Kuralt, journalist.

A Taste of Italy!

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Do you ever question how the people of Italy stay so healthy and fit, eating the abundance of delicious, decadent foods that they do?    Well, I have heard it said, they eat smaller portions,  always use fresh ingredients and do a lot of walking! 🙂  They certainly do know how to live! The Italian people love to celebrate everything with food. (I love that about this country.) 🙂  If they run out of an occasion to emblazon, they will gather around their dining table or their favorite Italian eatery and just  ‘revel in jubilation’ for  ‘the great food and wine itself.’   🙂 They adore cappuccino, espresso coffee, pasta, fresh seafood, vino, freshly made conolies and walking down to the piazza, where they meet with their friends and family, to catch up on all the latest news and happenings.They proudly own a passion for cooking and are renowned for their superb, spicy sauces and variety of cheeses they use in all of their pasta dishes. I am sure the burger with an Italian flare will not disappoint!

 

Italy’s Giada De Laurentiis’ Caprese Burgers

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 Ingredients for Burgers:
2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin beef
1 cup fresh or store-bought pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 7 to 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices, patted dry with paper towels
Pesto Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh or store-bought pesto

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Eight 3-inch-square pieces of tomato or plain focaccia bread, halved, or 8 hamburger buns, halved
4 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (16 slices)Directions

Cook’s Note: Freeze the mozzarella for 20 minutes to make slicing easier.For the burgers: Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Combine the beef, pesto, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form the mixture into eight 4-inch-diameter patties, each about 3/4-inch thick. Grill for 5 minutes. Turn the burgers over and place a slice of mozzarella on top. Cook for about 5 minutes longer until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is slightly melted. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes.

For the pesto mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and pesto until smooth.To assemble the burgers: Drizzle the cut side of the bread with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the pesto mayonnaise over the bottom halves of the grilled bread. Place the burgers on top and add 2 tomato slices. Add the top halves of the bread and serve.

 

Italian Mini Pub Burgers

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INGREDIENTS!

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/4 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
9 small ciabatta rolls, sliced in 1/2
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
9 slices (4 1/2 ounces) Taleggio cheese
9 large basil leaves

Directions

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground chuck, Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Pulse until ingredients are combined. Form the mixture into 9 patties. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes each side.

Brush the cut side of each roll with the olive oil and toast on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.

To serve, place 1 mini burger on the bottom half of each of the rolls. Place 1 slice of Taleggio cheese on top of the burgers. Place the basil leaf on top of the cheese and cover with the top half. Serve.

The Beloved SOUTH!

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 What can compare to a genuine , home cooked Southern meal? (I still have not found an answer to that yet.) 🙂 Cheese grits with grilled shrimp, fried okra, butter beans, hush puppies, boiled peanuts, Pecan pie, oyster stew, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, red velvet cake, buttermilk pie and my favorite, fresh crab from the Inlet water ways. There is an undeniable charm and haunting beauty that captivates each visitor , (as well as  resident) in the Carolinas… One of my favorite  Southern places is the prestigious and galvanic city of Charleston,  with it’s cobble stones streets, chiseled wrought iron fences, summoning Antebellum architecture and grandiose live oaks with their long beard swaying in the soft breezes. Each one, if you listen carefully, telling a magical story, hearkening back to all the many years they have graced this historical, entrancing land.  Every once in awhile, I’ll take out one of  my southern cookbooks, (inherited from my mom,)  and make Kit a special meal.   I know to get an extra stick of butter out, (yes, we will splurge for the occasion,)  as an authentic Southern meal simply can not be prepared ANY OTHER WAY! 🙂

For the vegetarian lover, Southern Cook , Paula Deens’   Portobello Mushroom burger!
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Ingredients
4 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared pesto
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
4 hamburger buns, split, buttered, and toasted
1 cup baby arugula
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
Directions
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.Brush mushrooms caps with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms, smooth side down, covered with grill lid, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender.In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pesto, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture evenly over cut sides of buns. Divide arugula evenly over bottom halves of buns. Top each evenly with peppers. Place mushrooms caps over peppers. Cover with tops of buns.

The South’s, Bobby Flay’s, Stuffed Cheeseburgers.
       (Just imagine on a freshly baked bun with all the trimmings! ) 🙂
                                           ***** 5 star’s for the cheese in every bite.

 

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Ingredients

1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 pound ground chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large hamburger buns, split
Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, for serving
Lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and avocado, for serving

Directions

Combine the jack cheese and chopped bacon in a bowl. Put the beef in another bowl and season with salt and pepper; use a rubber spatula to mix it in. Flatten 1/4 of the meat mixture in the palm of your hand. Squeeze together about a tablespoon of the cheese and bacon mixture to make a little nugget; put it in the center of the ground beef. Bring up the sides of the patty over the filling, making sure the cheese is completely covered by the meat. Flatten slightly for a nice patty shape. Set them side by side on a platter in the refrigerator while preparing the grill.

Place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Brush the grates with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Grill the burgers for 8 minutes per side for medium. (The USDA recommends cooking ground beef until it is no longer pink and the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.) Remove the burgers to a clean side plate while you toast the buns.

Rub the grill rack with more oil and place the buns cut-side down, toast for 1 minute. Serve the burgers with your favorite condiment and any garnish you like, such as lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and/or avocado.

 
THE SPICE OF AUTHENTIC MEXICO

 

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A beautiful land filled with a wealth of history, gorgeous sunsets,  heart stopping beaches,  resplendent waterfalls and taverns,  joyful and inspirational dancing, romantic music and some of the very best food in the world! Who doesn’t love  freshly cooked fish tacos, hot tortillas,  homemade Pico de Gallo, guacamole and bunuelos? Mexico is known for their fiery hot spices, that we all dare ourselves, (every now now then,) to indulge in.  🙂 They certainly know how to add a little “spice to life.” 🙂

 

 

The Blond Cook’s Spicy Mexican Cheeseburger.
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef (15-20% fat)
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • (1) 1.1 ounce package guacamole seasoning
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices cheddar jack cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomato
  • Optional condiments: mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine hamburger meat, salsa and guacamole seasoning. Dividing into equal portions, form 4 patties.
  2. Place on a preheated grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until desired amount of doneness is reached. During the last minute of grilling, place cheese slices on top of patties to melt.
  3. Place on toasted buns and top with avocado, lettuce, tomato and desired condiments
 “Cooking Light’s,” Savory, Cheese Burger, Mexican Style
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound ground round,
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (3/4-ounce) slices reduced-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • Grilled onions (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
  2. Prepare grill. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Place 1 cheese slice on top of each patty; cover and grill an additional minute or until cheese melts.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of sour cream over top half of each bun, and set aside. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each with lettuce, tomato, onions (if desired), and top half of bun.

 

SOUTH WEST TEX MEX, INTRIGUING AND SPICY

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There is nothing quite like the genuine flavor of Tex Mex cooking. Its been described as a flavor that is ‘smoked kissed,’ with its star ingredient being the matchless CHILE. While dining in the southwest, their is only one choice to make. Do you prefer GREEN OR RED!  This region of the United States is known for their bouncing and vivacious  way of life, music festivals, breathtaking landscapes, beautiful mountains, intriguing ruins, rich history as well as world famous cuisine.  Their specialties? Mouthwatering sopaipillas, fry bread, posole and a mixture of spices in all their dishes that will keep you guessing what their hidden ingredient is, long after you’ve finished eating. 🙂 Their secret? A mixture of Native American food with an abundance  of choice spices, brought exclusively by the Spanish Settlers,  arriving to the southwest from Europe and Mexico.

Rachael Rays Tex Mex Burgers

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Burger Ingredients

  • 12 slices  good-quality smoky bacon, 4 slices finely chopped and 8 left whole
  • 1 1/4 pounds 80% lean ground beef
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil or EVOO, for drizzling

Queso Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 14 ounce can  diced tomatoes with green chiles, well drained

Rolls & Toppings

  • 4 soft burger rolls, split
  • Crisp yellow corn chips
  • Chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro and pickled jalapeno

Directions

Burgers:

Arrange the 8 whole bacon slices on a broiler pan and bake at 375 degrees until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Combine the beef, chopped bacon, grated onion, garlic, chipotle puree and Worcestershire; season with salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties (thinner at the center); drizzle with oil. Grill the burgers for 5 minutes on each side for medium.

Queso Sauce:

Make the queso sauce; in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Stir in the cheese to melt. Stir in the tomatoes.

Buns & Toppings:

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and top with the queso sauce, crisscrossed bacon strips, corn chips, remaining toppings and bun tops. Serve extra sauce on the side.

Josh Bousel’s Green Chile Cheeseburger

Green Chile Burger

Ingredients

  • 3 medium poblano chiles
  • 1 half-inch thick slice of a large onion, skewered through the middle horizontally
  • 1 lb ground chuck, at least 20 percent fat
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 slices Pepper Jack cheese
  • 3 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Place the poblanos and onion on the grill and cook until charred on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Place the poblanos in a Ziploc bag and seal, set the onion to the side. When chiles are cool enough to handle, about 5-10 minutes, remove from the back, peel of the charred skin, and seed. Coarsely chop the chiles and onion together and set aside.

Mix the ground beef with the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Form into 3 1/3-lb patties and use your thumb to make a dimple in the middle of each one. Place the patties on the grill and cook until desired doneness. About 2 minutes before the burgers are done, top each with a slice of pepper jack cheese and allow to melt.

Quickly grill hamburger buns, cut side down, until nicely browned, about 30 seconds. To serve, place the burger on the bun and top with the chili and onion mixture.

 

DELAWARES SURF AND TURF

 

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Nestled upon the Eastern Shore of the United states, Delaware is a state that “has it all.” Tax free shopping, the infamous Rehoboth beach and its historic boardwalk, romantic and quaint Lewes beach, (the first town ever established in the United states,) alluring inlet waterways, enchanting lighthouses and junoesque rivers. This state is known for its renowned seafood,  fresh from the Atlantic ocean. One of our favorite eateries, grills up a “Crab daddy” burger that is heavenly…(they won’t give us the recipe, so we made up our own!)  🙂

Crab Daddy Burger! (our version.) 🙂

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Ingredients for burger;
1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup of oatmeal.
Salt an pepper to taste
Whole wheat hamburger buns
Mayo,
Two large fresh garden tomatoes
Large red onion
Romaine lettuce
DIRECTIONS
Mix ground beef, egg, oatmeal  and spices until well blended. Make four hamburger patties, set aside for grilling. (Grill 5-7 minutes per side, for your desired burger. )
Slice onions, tomatoes and lettuce for burgers
Ingredients for crab topping
1 pkg. (8 oz.) creme cheese, (softened to room temperature.)
1 cup mayo
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste
dash of Tabasco
1 pound lump crab meat
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
Mix together creme cheese, mayo, 1/4 cup of cheese and seasonings until blended, fold in lump crab meat( stirring gently.) Top with the remainder of cheese and a few more dashes of Old bay. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
While your crab topping is baking, grill burgers on the BBQ or inside grill. For your burgers finale, top them off with a generous amount of crab mixture.  Especially scrumptious with  Cole slaw and steak fries.

Susan and Kits Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Turkey Burger.
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INGREDIENTS
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup oatmeal
dash of Tabasco
salt and peeper to taste
1 box sliced, fresh mushrooms, cleaned
1 red onion
1 large , fresh garden tomato
romaine lettuce
Swiss cheese, or Mozzarella
1 TBSP butter
Mayo, Ketchup
Onion Hamburger rolls
DIRECTIONS:
Mix together in bowl, turkey, egg and oatmeal until fully blended. Add Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Make 4 hamburger patties . Heat up your BBQ and grill for about 5-6  minutes on each side, for medium rare. (Each grill cooks differently, so make sure you test a burger to see if it’s at the right consistency for you, before removing from heat. )
The last minute of your grill time, add your cheese and allow to melt.
While burgers are grilling, or this can be done before hand,
In small saute pan, melt butter at low-medium heat. Add your mushrooms and seasonings, cook until tender.
Slice your onion, tomatoes and lettuce.
Serve with condiments of choice, putting the warmed, sauteed mushrooms on at the last minute. A great side for this flavorful burger is sweet potato fries, hot from your oven.
                                         ***** Delicious and low in sodium!

 

Lastly, Two great sauces for your summer sandwiches and burgers from Rachel Ray.
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Tangy and sweet;
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • Mix the first five ingredients, and season with salt and pepper

 California-style sauce from Rach’s Cobb Club Burger sliders.

  • 1 cup sour cream,
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful of chopped herbs your choice – parsley, chives, dill, etc.
  • salt and pepper
PHOTOGRAPHS; In placing your computer mouse upon any of the  graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.