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The Grilling Season Is Here

July 8, 2014
by Kate Myers , Emmetsburg News

There some things that we are irreverent about at our house. Gardening is one. I have been known to transplant flowers and shrubs when my spade is sharp, not necessarily when the time is perfect and I don't always use Upstart or other product to encourage root growth, but that is another topic.

We also don't apparently follow the rules about grilling. We grill year around. I think I would be lost if we didn't fire up the grill in the middle of winter. However, at our current home, it didn't take us too long to figure out the direct West wind causes problems. But instead of packing the grill away, we just moved it out of the wind.

All that being said, I noticed the June issue of Good Housekeeping dedicated a fair amount of space to grilling. I took particular notice of the two pages highlighting burgers and a variety of toppings recommended by Guy Fieri. Always looking for different dinner ideas, we decided to spend the summer taste testing the suggestions.

The first thing Chris noticed, when I showed him all the details, was that he has been making the actual burger all wrong. Now, thanks to the Good Housekeeping Taste Kitchen, he knows to divide 2 pounds of ground beef, lamb, pork or turkey into 8 mounds and to loosely shape them into balls. He also knows to then gently flatten the balls into inch patties with his hands. And he presses the center of the burger with this thumb, making a deep indentation, and then refrigerates them until he is ready to grill. When grilling, he no longer presses them down with his spatula. I really thought that was what grilling was all about how do you get those cool flame flareups?!

Crunchy Onion topping was the first taste treat we tried. It involved topping each burger with a dollop of onion dip and canned fried onions. I really hope our trainer isn't reading this. Mark, this was way before you gave us our eating plan! In all honesty, we were disappointed in the flavor. So we pushed forward.

The second week we took all the fixings with us to our daughter's house. We mixed avocados and mayonnaise with some garlic. On top of that, we were to add shredded carrots and alfalfa sprouts. Abby gave it two thumbs up!

Week three had us fixing The New Englander burger for a family gathering. My family tends to be conservative, so I thought I was safe with the cheddar cheese slices, thin slices of Granny Smith apples and red onions. Quite frankly I didn't pay attention to how many tried all the toppings, but I found the combination quite tasty.

The next burger we fixed was the Creamy Pesto. It involved beating together reduced fat cream cheese and pesto along with some lemon juice. We had some sundried tomato pesto sauce in the refrigerator, so I used that for the pesto. The instructions then had us topping it with romaine lettuce. I used fresh garden lettuce.

The most recent topping we tried was guacamole and three tortilla chips. Like the others it was tasty, but I noticed the chips got soggy if you let the burger sit too long between bites. I guess I should be eaten my baby carrots once I finished the burger.

In all there are 14 different suggestions for toppings and I am not sure we are up to all of them. The Spicy Elvis suggests dividing crunchy peanut butter and hot-pepper jelly among the burgers. That might be a little too daring for our taste.

I find the Island Burger intriguing with the combination of shredded pepper jack cheese, green onion thinly sliced and a slice of pineapple ring. I am pretty sure Chris won't go for that. Maybe on the night I want that burger, I will encourage Chris to cook some bacon for his burger. It is a known fact that there isn't a bacon cheese burger that man hasn't liked.

As we head into a holiday weekend, I encourage everyone to be a little daring and try a new topping or two.



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