We had some higher than normal temperatures this weekend in Charleston and it made Alfonso and I nostalgic for the summer. In summer one of our favorite ways to cook, like many in the South, is grilling. So before the Christmas baking begins, on this first day of December we’re going to take you back to a warm day in July where the salty beach air whips through your hair and whispers in your ear, “Its a perfect day for grilling burgeerrrrss…”
Like a lot of our meals, the burger style was derived from ingredients we already had on hand- giant hunk of blue cheese and some fall staples: apples. We made the blue cheese into a sauce and sliced up the apples as well as some onions, turned on the grill and just like that it started smelling like summer ’15.
We like a nice char on our fruit and veggies, but take them off sooner if you do not. Also, all of these things can be done in a pan (preferably cast iron) if you don’t have access to a grill.
Look at these grilled little babies!
So without further ado, presenting:
Blue Cheese and Grilled Apple Burger Sliders
For the blue cheese sauce:
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. good, creamy blue cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
1/2 whole milk sour cream
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t thyme
1/2 t pepper
salt to taste
For the burgers:
6 slider sized hamburger buns
1 lb ground beef (preferably grass fed or organic)
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T good Worcestershire sauce
1/2 red onion, sliced thick in complete circles
1/2 favorite apple, sliced thick in complete circles
1 cup baby arugula, packed
To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. When hot, add onions and sauté until golden and tender. Add garlic and stir together for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a food processor (we use a Ninja) pulse all of the other sauce ingredients until smooth and combined. Remove and pour into a medium sized bowl. Add the onion and garlic mixture and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste, but be careful because your blue cheese and mayo may already be quite salty. Keep covered in the fridge until the burgers are ready.
To make the burgers: Mix the ground beef with the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Clean hands work best here to combine everything evenly. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form patties. Make them slightly thicker on the edges than in the center and they will cook more evenly. Spread the onions and apples on a tray and drizzle both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Take your buns with you to the grill too.
Heat a gas grill for 5 minutes and add the onions and apples in a single layer. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until desired char is reached. Remove and cover to keep warm. Place burgers on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, flipping only once. This will give you around a medium burger (depending on the thickness). Remove and cover with foil to rest for 5-10 minutes. Open buns and place inside side down on a low heat grill and toast until grill marks begin to form.
To assemble the burgers place arugula, patty, 1 heaping tablespoon of sauce, 1 onion slice, and 1 apple slice on a bun and repeat.
You obviously need some potatoes to go with those burgers. I mean, this is America. We made some mini twice baked potatoes to go with our mini burgers.
All you have to do to make a twice baked potato is bake the potato (these were mini potatoes) covered in olive oil, salt and pepper. When it’s done, cut in half and scoop out the insides. Mix the soft potato with your favorite mashed potato toppings- they can be as simple or as complex as you like. Spoon back in to the potato skins and top with a little cheese. Back in the oven until heated through and the cheese is bubbly and you have the perfect burger side.
Part of the idea behind the mini meal is so that you will still have room left over for Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Loaves!
The cake recipe is from Molly Yeh’s award winning baking blog, My Name is Yeh. I used the basic chocolate cake part of this delicious looking recipe. I halved it. I also replaced the boiling water with coffee. Adding coffee to chocolate is a trick I learned from Queen Ina Garten. She says, and I agree, that it makes that chocolate taste chocolatier.
Alfonso made a peanut butter buttercream frosting to go with the chocolate coffee loaves.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all relationships were like chocolate and peanut butter?
Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Loaves
1/2 of this chocolate cake recipe
*replace the boiling water in the recipe with piping hot coffee
For the peanut butter buttercream frosting:
1 stick of butter, softened (preferably overnight)
1.25 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 t sea salt, divided
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
To make the frosting: In a high speed mixer combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and half of the salt until mixed well on low speed then turn the speed up to high and whip until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside
Bake half of Molly’s chocolate cake recipe in 3 greased and floured mini loaf pans according to the recipe. When done, cool completely and remove from pans.
Cover the tops of the loaves with the frosting you made and grate the chocolate over each loaf. Voilà!
If I can bring myself to leave the summer behind this week and start thinking about Christmas, then we might have some baking going on. Either way, stay tuned for more recipes coming right at you and have a wonderful December 1st!