Hamburger; tarragon potato salad; zucchini with tomato and onion; pickle – 16 June 2011

A simple and yummy meal – well, simple, but it still took an hour to make!

I moved a half-pound of hamburger from freezer to fridge a couple of days ago to defrost, and today mixed it with minced yellow onion and Worcestereshire sauce, plus salt and pepper. I mixed these by hand, and made them into very thin and wide patties, so that when they shrank, they would more or less fit the buns. This worked. They were good tasting, too.

The buns were not what I had intended to buy, but Kaiser rolls were sold out by the time I got to the Bowl about 5:15. Instead I bought a pack of Bread Workshop asiago cheese rolls. They were intriguingly rumply-looking, and I thought why not? It turned out they were a bit on the squishy side for hamburger rolls (yes, regular Hb rolls are squishy, but we never buy those) and we both thought it would have been better if I’d grilled them a bit to put some crunch in. I did grill the burgers, but it was pretty much an afterthought, when I discovered the cast iron pan was not cleaned and I didn’t want to deal with it!

I made a favorite potato salad, from Saveur’s Taste of Summer (2006), which uses fingerling potatoes. (The darker lump at the top is a rather cute potato brush.) The potatoes are halved or quartered, boiled in salted water, and then tossed, while still hot, with a lot of chopped tarragon, a minced shallot, and, importantly, vinegar. I used plain white vinegar (bizarre, I know) – it’s more for bite than for taste, and it works just fine for this dish. After the salad cools, you add some mayonnaise (about 3 Tbsp for 1 1/2 lb potatoes).

I bought a zucchini b/c it would be easy, and a tomato for the burgers despite the fact that there really aren’t any tomatoes in the store yet (just reddish things shaped like tomatoes). Worrying how to use up the rest of the tomato, I realized I could make something with the tomato and zucchini together, and that worked well. I cut up a tiny bit of onion, cooked it a bit in oil, then added the diced tomato and zucchini, salt and pepper, and cooked for 10 minutes or more, till very soft. I realized later (once I decided to grill the hamburgers) that I could have grilled zucchini strips, too, but this was just fine. Oh, and I pulled out some Clausen dill pickles that D (remarkably) bought the other day. Great addition 🙂 I realized that pickles are just another flavor of salt, like capers, olives, anchovies, and parmaggiano.

Wine: We decided to open both People’s Wine Revolution wines together so we could compare them. This would be the Syrah, and the Zin/Syrah/Petite Syrah called “Bea’s Knees”. The Bea’s Knees seemed to me a lot smoother, but the Syrah has an interesting bite to it. When we had the two separately with different meals, I would have said the Syrah was the lighter of the two, but really, they are pretty comparable, and if anything, the BK seems a bit lighter when they are side by side. The first dinner we had the BK with seemed to suit it very well, and I think it is better suited to a more complex set of flavors than tonight’s dinner. Fun exercise nevertheless.

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