The Grilling Season

While summer’s the time for everyone to head out, what’s better than a night at home with friends and a few grilled hamburgers?

It’s the summer season, and it’s time to grill–time to gather together friends and family, and feed them well. A hearty meal always hits the spot, especially a cozy night in with a fun and simple meal.

Anything tasty and hearty would be welcomed as comforting and satisfying. I have chosen the simplest of menus, tried and true, but updated and given a contemporary touch. A juicy hamburger, but the patty filled with wonderful flavors of garlic, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese makes each bite pure heaven. The addition of thick slices of roasted beet and soft goat’s cheese fills each bite with pleasure. Serve with a side of grilled vegetables tossed in pesto, and a banana/ginger smoothie sweetened with maple syrup. To finish, a tray of baby cupcakes decorated with iced roses.


Garlic and Herb Hamburgers with Goat Cheese and Roasted Beets

21⁄2 pounds ground meat (beef and pork combination is my favorite)

1⁄2     cup parmesan cheese

1     cup finely chopped onion

1    cup finely chopped mixture of fresh herbs, like oregano, basil, thyme and mint

2     teaspoons salt

1    teaspoon ground fresh pepper

2    beaten eggs

1⁄4     cup breadcrumbs

1     teaspoon minced garlic

Combine all the above ingredients thoroughly, and divide into 6 to 8 equal portions. Form these into balls and flatten, so they are about 4 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. Cook on hot grill, pressing down slightly. Turn the heat down and cover for three to four minutes. Flip over and cook for three to four minutes on the other side.

ASSEMBLY:

4     good-sized beetroots, washed and dried

arugula (rocket) leaves

soft goat’s cheese

6     large hamburger buns

Wrap the beets in foil and cook in a 370-degree oven until soft, about 30 to 40 minutes. When cooled, peel and slice into discs. Assemble patty, goat cheese chunks and beetroot slices with layers of arugula leaves between the buns, and serve while still warm.

Grilled Vegetables Tossed in Pesto

Select fresh and firm bell peppers, parsnips, asparagus and yellow squash. Slice lengthwise, place on a lightly greased grilling tray and grill on medium heat (about 350 degrees) for about 30 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat and toss immediately in pesto.

Pesto

1     large bunch fresh basil leaves

1     cup good-quality parmesan cheese

1     clove garlic

1     cup good olive oil

1⁄2     cup toasted pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor until well processed, but not too fine. Store in a clean jar with a topping of olive oil for up to a month.

Banana-Ginger Smoothie with Maple Syrup

6     ripe bananas

4     cups milk

3     teaspoons ginger powder

1     cup plain yogurt

1⁄2     cup pure maple syrup

Blend the above ingredients together and serve in tall chilled glasses.

Butter cupcakes

I prefer Duncan Hines. Use one cake mix packet for butter cake and follow the instructions on the back for cupcakes.

Icing

Mix one stick of butter together with small amounts of confectioners sugar until a soft and smooth consistency is attained. Add one or two drops of red food coloring for a pale pink color. Spoon mixture into a clean and dry icing bag to which a star-shaped nozzle size #17 has been attached. Pipe out in a twirl some icing to achieve a rose shape on the cooled cupcakes.

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