Yummy burgers for the Fourth!

Published 1:45 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Fourth of July is just around the corner and surely the beginning of summer. Also known as Independence Day, the Fourth of July has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to the more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

I enjoy the 4th of July. It is an excuse to grill out those hamburgers and see some fireworks. The one 4th I really remember is when we took our young children to New York in 1986. The fireworks were fabulous and the people watching in the park were all so nice. That was a long time ago!

I am grilling hamburgers and making gazpacho this year. My recipe for juicy grilled hamburgers is one you should try and the gazpacho is delicious. Nothing like a cold soup on a hot day!

Have a happy 4th.


Juicy Grilled


Serves 4

Canola oil for oiling the grates

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

4 whole wheat English muffins split

1 medium ripe tomato, cored and cut into 4 thick slices

1 pound 90-percent lean ground beef

2 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about ½ cup)

Pickles for serving, optional

Heat a grill to medium-high direct heat and lightly oil grates using a paper towel soaked in canola oil.

Spread a 16-inch long piece of nonstick aluminum foil on a cutting board. Top with the onions, ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon water. Bring two sides of the foil together, fold over twice to create a seal and seal the remaining two ends. Put on the grill and cook for 12 minutes, flipping once. The onions should be tender with only a bit of charring. Carefully open the top of the foil to let all the steam out and continue to cook the onions, tossing, until browned and lightly charred, 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

While the onions cook, mix the ketchup and mustard together in a small bowl. Season with pepper and set aside.

Lightly toast the English muffins on the grill and place one top and bottom of each of four plates. Spread some of the ketchup sauce on the bottom half of each muffin and top with a slice of tomato.

Divide the beef into four patties about four inches in diameter and just under ½-inch thick. Sprinkle with a total of ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the burgers on the grill and cook until the edges of the burgers are browning, 3 to 5 minutes, and then flip. Brush the burgers with the remaining ketchup sauce and evenly top with the shredded cheese. Cover the burgers with the grill lid and continue to cook until the cheese has melted and the burgers are a bit pink on the inside, about 3 minutes more.

Put one burger on top of the assembled muffin bottom and top with some of the grilled onions and the top of the muffin. Serve with pickles if desired.



Serves 4

8 slices white bread, crusts removed, bread broken into big chunks

2 pounds tomatoes, seeded

1 English cucumber, peeled

1 large white onion

1 green bell pepper, seeds and pith removed

2 cloves garlic, smashed

Kosher salt

High quality extra-virgin oil

2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

½ cup to 1 cup tomato juice, if needed

Soak the bread in a medium bowl of water to soften, about 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and place in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, 2/3 of the cucumber, ½ the onion, and ½ pepper and add to the bread. Add the garlic, season with salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix to combine and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry and to let the salt pull some moisture out of the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, for the garish, dice the remaining cucumber, onion and green pepper into perfect 1/4 –inch dice and reserve.

Working in batches, puree the tomato/bread mixture in a blender with the vinegar. Blend in tomato juice to loosen the mixture, if needed. Remove soup to a large bowl and stir in about ½ cup of high quality olive oil. Taste for salt and add more, if needed.

Chill. Serve cold garnished with the diced cucumber, pepper, and onion. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, is desired.