Jul 13, 2010

grilled burgers and veggies & quick pickled cukes

cucumbers get the honor of starting this entry. i got the cukes out of a whim (hmm, but isn't that what i usually do?) thinking mom's quick pickled cucumbers. actually, i'm not sure these are pickled as per se, i call them pickled because there is vinegar...







i left some of the peel intact, the cukes make prettier slices that way. somehow, now that i haven't been to work for months, there seems to be less need for zen (=chopping) therefore i used the mandoline to slice







traditionally, at least in finland, dill is used in the brine for this kind of cukes, but i used flat leaf parsley, minced fine. could be that i'm gastronomically challeged when it comes to dill. i'll nibble it if it lands on my plate on something, but i'm very hesitant to use it myself. could be that i'm put off because a slimy, off-white meat dish we were served at school that had dill in it...







i did measure what i put in the brine, but that was on saturday and for the life of me i can't remember how much of each...fortunately this is more of a taste thing. i like my cukes quite vinegary, not too sweet. anyways, you could start with 1½ cup of cold water, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp white pepper mixed together until sugar and salt are dissolved. have a taste, if your tongue curls up, add some water (and sugar), if it's too tame, add some vinegar. salt isn't my thing in these, so feel free to add some more if your palate needs it.

i divided the batch between two jars, then added the parsley, poured in the brine, closed the lids and gave them a good shake. put them in the fridge for a couple of hours and served chilled with the burgers. not sure how long they keep, would imagine a week, they never last too long in my fridge







i had bought some ground beef for the burgers and these were the only things that went into the mince. i went quite light on the salt but heavy on the black pepper, thought that people could salt according to their taste when eating. for the 1 kg of mince i used one heaping tsp of dry mustard







i tried not to handle the mince too much besides mixing in the spices. i find that the denser the mince gets, the drier the burgers, could be just me, though. did measure out the mince to get equal size burgers







as i was going to be grilling these, i placed them on an oiled parchment on a baking tray, poured some oil on them as well. that way i didn't need to take the oil out the yard for grilling. see the indentions in the middle of each burger? that is to avoid the bulge when they cook on the grill







oh boy, was it hot at the grill. though it's kinda nice that in the summer you don't have to wear woollen socks to be warm, this recent hot weather isn't for cooking at hot stoves, or grills.

the finnish word for this kind of weather is helle. just to be sure, i looked in the dictionary for the translation, it is simply hot weather. for us to have a specific word for this kind of weather proves it is special. in finland, helle is defined as when the daytime high is over 25,1C (a mere 77,2F, which, i know, is barely nothing in some places...). yesterday they measured the highest temperature in 76 years, 33,9C.

it's been hot for over a week and seems to go on for another. let me remind you, we do cold, we do ice, we do darkness, this immense heat and bright sunshine are strangers in this part of the world. therefore, almost no one has AC in their houses. i'm fighting the nighttime heat by sleeping under a wet kitchen towel, not too high-tech but allows me to fall asleep.

oops, back to grilling







i did grill some eggplants as well, but by this time it was getting close to people arriving, me getting sticky hot, and well, i kinda forgot that i should have taken some more pics...







i had whole wheat buns for the burgers, not quite round but they packed what needed to be packed on the burgers, namely the classics ketchup and mustard, dressing, my cukes, cheese. that's my slaw on the side (cabbage, carrots, spring onions, sour cream, mayo, salt&pepper and a hint of vinegar). as i was actually paying attention to cooking time to make sure they were almost cooked thru on the grill (as they would continue cooking some more on the platter) the burgers were juicy and tasty in between the buns. and everyone tooks seconds...which always makes a cook happy!



2 comments:

  1. You almost make me want to cook!!!
    Such a super blog!

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  2. thank you! cooking is as difficult as you make it...or simple.

    on the other hand, if i lived in nyc, i'd be torn between trying all different restaurants and cooking at home (if my kitchen was bigger than a closet, that is)... can't wait for my sept trip to the city!

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