Friday, July 1, 2011

Griddle Me This & Griddle Me That!

I can't believe Forth of July is Monday and we are already in the middle of 2011. This year is flying by. I am so ready for this three day weekend and to me the Forth of July really signifies that summer is here. Well summer is here alright, and I think I might skip out early today and hit the beach to bronze a little. It's too nice not to!
When I was younger my Forth of July's were always celebrated in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Starting somewhere around 9am and finishing up after fireworks. They day consisted of drinking on the beach all day long with friends while in my bikini, barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers, listening to Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath on the boom box, and venturing via bike on the crowded belligerent board walk to South Mission and Crown Point. It was day of chaos that always left me with a terrible hangover, a really bad sunburn and memories to last a life time.
This Forth of July I don't really have the desire for belligerent bike rides or crowed beaches and boardwalks but I do plan to celebrate. Maybe I'll venture on an urban bike ride around down town or the harbor, barbecue at some point, and end the day by watching fireworks from a secret sweet romantic spot in the hills of Mission Hills. The only question I have is...what to barbecue? Nothing seems more American to me then a burger so I am thinking about barbecuing hamburgers on the Forth of July.
I recently read in Food & Wine Magazine that the best burgers are made not on a grill but on a griddle and results from a recent trial run have shown that I have to agree that griddles are the way to go when cooking up burgers. The meat comes out juicier because it bastes in its own fat and it doesn't drip through the bars on the grill. Also you get a nice crispy outside when cooked on a griddle. I mean all the best burgers I have ever had are made in doors on a why are we charring good meat on a grill? You can buy griddles to put on your barbecue which is fantastic. Check out all the different griddles here. Or you can do it inside on a griddle which is how I did it. They came out deliciously juicy!
I would say the first most important factor when it comes to a good burger is the meat and I used organic meat from Costco. Yep Costco has organic meat...I was surprised too. I flavored it with salt and pepper only. Second is the bun and I picked Sara Lee's hamburger buns which only have 120 calories. They are small and soft and really don't steel the show of the burger. And Third is the toppings. You can choose to go all American and top your burger with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion or you can think outside of the box and take your burger to the next level. I did just that and topped my burger with a home-made a garlic aioli saucebalsamic & mustard caramelized onionsblue cheese and organic arugula It was nothing less then amazingly delicious I had two burgers that evening!Yep I think that's the plan...This 4th of July menu will have an American Hamburger on it. Grilled on a griddle, and fixed up the independent way with some next level toppings. I might have to add bacon into the mix since its a holiday. We are celebrating Independence Day after all! Oh and Zeppelin will be the music choice while grilling on the griddle! For old times sake.
Do it your way this Independence Day and have a great 4th!Recipes
Balsamic & Mustard Caramelized Onions
2 red onions thinly sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
kosher salt & pepper to taste
on very low heat add onions, balsamic and mustard and cook till caramelized and sweet...about 45 minutes
Garlic Aioli
1 cup mayo
2 cloves of garlic smashed into a paste with a little salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon thyme leaves chopped
1/4 smoked paprika
1 tablespoon honey
kosher salt & pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together and check flavoring for your liking. I even added a pinch of cayenne pepper and some fresh lemon juice.

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