Fourth of July Cook-“in”

We were excited to be at home this year for July 4th after having missed it the last few years due to summer travel abroad. We also are lucky enough to have fantastic views of the East River so enjoyed watching the fireworks show!

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Typically for New York, it was extremely humid and hot outside so while we briefly considered going to our deck and having a patriotic cook-out, we decided to stay inside, and do a cook-in. How did we keep from the smoke filling our apartment? Well obviously, “someone ooooo-pen up a window!” (see around time 1:36)

As part of the Klein family tradition, we of course had a 1776 viewing and after discovering that friends of ours had been meaning to see it, we had them over and did a little Fourth of July party.

 

I knew I wanted to cook burgers on our Staub grill pan which is one of our favorite kitchen tools, so went into the grocery store looking for some good grass fed beef. After lengthy conversation with the butcher, it turned out that apparently 80/20 meat is the best for juice burgers.  Leaner cuts will sometimes end up drying up too quickly and there ends your party, so get the slightly fattier stuff!

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Served with a refreshing potato salad, and a blueberry pie dessert (complete with lopsided stars as I made them free-form), we ate a very American dinner!

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<<Menu>>

  • Burgers
  • “Spring” Potato Salad – this salad a friend brought to a bbq where we had rack of lamb and it was divine (I used shallots in lieu of spring onions)
  • Blueberry pie

<<Recipes>>

Burgers

  • 1 – 1.5 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • About 2 tsp kosher salt
  • sliced tomatoes (for filling)
  • butter or romaine lettuce
  • thinly sliced onions
  • cheddar cheese, sliced
  • pickles (optional)
  1. Break the ground beef into 4 or 6 big chunks, roughly the same size. Mix in salt and pepper.
  2. Gently shape the chunks into patties and press a finger into the middle of each to create a “dimple” (this apparently helps the patty cook evenly).
  3. Set your pan over medium heat and heat up some butter or oil (about 1 tbsp)
  4. While the pan is heating up, toast the buns in an oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or just in batches in the toaster.
  5. Going back to the burgers, increase the heat to medium-high, and when it’s hot cook the burgers for 3-5 minutes on each side.
  6. Throw on buns and have guests fill with their favorite toppings!
  7. (If you want to add cheese and have it melty and gooey, add it after flipping the burger on top of the patty.)

Adapted from the Kitchn which also has fantastic videos to guide you through!

Spring Potato Salad

2 pounds small new or fingerling potatoes
1 pound asparagus
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, green beans or other spring pea
4 small-to-medium radishes, thinly sliced

Pickled spring onions
3 spring onions (about 6 ounces) or shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Sharp mustard vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with one inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, and then drain. Set aside to cool
  2. Meanwhile, pickle your spring onions (or shallots). Whisk vinegar, water, salt and sugar together in the bottom of a small container with a lid until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  3. Slice the bulbs and paler green parts into very thin coins and submerge them in the vinegar mixture. Cover and put in fridge until you’re ready to use them.
  4. Refill the saucepan you used for the potatoes (here’s to fewer dishes!) with salted water and bring it to a boil. Prepare an ice bath, a large bowl with ice and water in it. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus.
  5. One minute later, add the sugar snap peas. Two minutes later, drain both together then dump them in the ice bath until chilled. Drain the vegetables and spread them out on towel to absorb excess water.
  6. Slice the cooked asparagus spears and sugar snaps into 1/2-inch segments and place them in a large bowl.
  7. Chop potatoes into moderate-sized chunks and add them to the bowl.
  8. Cut the radishes as thinly as possible, with a mandoline if you have one.
  9. Whisk the dressing and vegetables together when the vegetables have all cooled off. But don’t mix together more than about 2 hours before serving as the color of the greens is less vibrant afterwards (though the salad is still delicious).

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Spring Potato Salad.

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