Friday, June 13, 2014

Grilling Merlot Burgers and Making Broccoli Salad

Do you eat radically different in the summer than in the fall and winter? We do.

Fall and winter eating is soups and casseroles, leftovers galore. It is comforting familiarity. Stuff that sticks with you and fills in the cracks.

Summer eating is light. It is more salads-both entree salads and side salads. The meals are simpler. We grill several nights a week. We trade in cooked vegetables for fresh fruit. 

I like both seasons of eating. But, I am so glad it is summer eating time now.

We just bought a new grill around Mother's Day. And I am putting that baby to work. Day after day after day. We have grilled chicken and burgers, brats and pizza. It has been so good! 

I enjoy grilling because the high temps cut cooking time way down. I enjoy grilling because it keeps the heat out of my kitchen. I enjoy grilling because it adds a unique flavor to the things being grilled.

Today I am sharing the meat and salad part of a meal we had recently. Merlot Burgers. Broccoli Salad.

I love the sweet, salty, crunchy, colorful combination that is Broccoli Salad. I actually use less sugar-like probably half of what is in this recipe. And, a huge time saver tip is using Hormel Real Bacon Bits. Think corresponding cup measurements for pounds of bacon. 

1 cup= 1 pound
1/2 cups= 1/2 pound

Etc. etc...

Broccoli Salad
2 heads fresh broccoli
1 red onion
1/2 lb bacon (or use 1/2 cup real bacon bits)
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup white sugar (or less or more according to taste)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

-Slice bacon into 1/2” pieces. Cook in a large skillet over medium high heat until brown and crispy.
-Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces. Chop the onion.
-Combine the bacon, raisins, broccoli and nuts.
-In a small bowl, mix the mayo, sugar and vinegar. Pour over the broccoli. Stir well to coat.
-Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours to chill.

Do you ever read a recipe and know it will be good? Merlot Burgers is one of those recipes. What can't be good about onions stewed in red wine? Seriously? The first time I made the recipe, I topped the burgers with shredded cheese, because that is what the recipe called for. I decided to go with sliced cheese instead. It stays on the burgers better. Oh, and these 6 burgers are BIG burgers.

Merlot Burgers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup red wine (like Merlot)
3/4 tsp dried thyme
2 lbs lean ground beef
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
chunk sharp cheddar cheese (6 oz)
6 Hamburger buns
lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard,

-In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 8-10 minutes, or until
soft and lightly browned.
-Add the wine and thyme and reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat
and set aside.
-In a large bowl, combine beef, onion mixture, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and form
into 6 patties.
-Grill over medium high heat, flipping once. (10-15 minutes) Top each burger with a slice of
of cheese for the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Both of these recipes are great for your weekend. Simple, quick. Delicious! Which one are you going to try?