Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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It’s strange when a holiday falls in the middle of the week.  People have to go back to work the next day, so it’s this little blip in the week that makes you WANT the full, extended weekend, but few actually get it.  I figure since people might be celebrating all weekend, a recipe for a few burger-accompaniments would be in order.  I might even post, again, tomorrow with what we cook, tonight.  Maybe I’ll post on Sunday, too, with what happens on Saturday.  I love a good excuse to celebrate the summer all weekend long.  We really don’t need an excuse, but when festivities are high and people are cooking and grilling, it’s a wonderful time to try out new recipes and make the old, beloved standards.

We’ve been Top Chef fans since its debut seven years ago.  We developed a love-hate relationship with Spike during his season and bought his cookbook and now that relationship is all love.  He really understands how to do comfort food and takes nostalgia (burgers, shakes) to a new level.  So he is the go-to for summer time recipes!  I highly recommend his cookbook, The Good Stuff Cookbook and especially his recipe for the Good Stuff sauce that we now have to have on every burger we grill!  It’s a perfect blend of sweet, tangy and savory and it is perfect for burger toppings or a dip for fries!

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Good Stuff burger sauce*
makes about 2 cups

2 cups homemade or Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 tbs ketchup
2 tbs molasses
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender (or in a cup with an immersion blender) and puree until smooth.  The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*taken directly from The Good Stuff cookbook

We also are addicted, lately to caramelized onions.  There’s really nothing difficult about making them, and they completely improve everything they touch.  I’ve added them to omelets, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, stir-fry, beans, rice dishes – EVERYTHING!  Here is my simple method:

Caramelized Onions
makes 2 cups – can easily be scaled down

6 white onions, halved and then sliced thin
2 tablespoons neutral oil like Canola
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a 12″ cast iron pan till it shimmers.  Dump all the onions in at once and let it sit there for a few minutes.  Then, gradually start flipping and stirring the onions around till they all get coated with the oil.  Your pan will be VERY full if you used all 6 onions.  Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes.  You want a deep, rich brown color on all the onions.  They will greatly reduce in size till you’re left with about 2 cups of onions.  We keep ours in the fridge and scoop out portions for everything under the sun, but most recently, they were an AMAZING topping to our burgers this weekend, complete with smoked gouda, pickles and the Good Stuff sauce.  Oh, heavens…

The last recipe I’ll impart is a very classic deviled egg recipe that includes a good amount of olive oil and the result is the most silky texture to the filling and the perfect balance of acid and richness from the egg yolks.  The recipe is adapted from the Serious Eats site, which, if you haven’t become addicted or receive their weekly emails, you will and you must.  So many great recipes come from their extensive research and trial and error!

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Deviled Eggs
makes about 18

1 dozen large eggs, not too fresh
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably home made
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Up to 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
Crushed red pepper or hot paprika

Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat, and let stand ten minutes. Drain eggs and peel under cool running water. Slice each egg in half lengthwise.

Place all of the yolks in the bowl of a food processor. Select 16 of the best looking egg white halves and set aside. Reserve the remaining 8 for another use. Add mayonnaise, mustard, half of vinegar, and hot sauce to food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

With machine running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season mixture to taste with salt and remaining vinegar (if desired). Transfer to zipper-lock bag. Filling and egg white halves can be stored in the refrigerator up to overnight before filling and serving.

Cut off corner of ziplock bag and pipe filling mixture into egg whites, overstuffing each hole. Drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper, chives, crushed red pepper, and sea salt. Serve immediately.

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