Grilled Burgers & A Creamy Cucumber-Grilled Potato Salad


Burgers on the Grill  |  Sweet & Spicy Ketchup  |  Creamy Cucumber & Grilled Potato Salad

Intro Collage

Someone heard me yesterday and turned the heat up a bit.  Morning fog gave way to brilliant sunshine fairly early today and we hit a high temperature of 80°F.  Our French doors were open all day letting in cool Bay breezes and the abundant sunshine flooding our deck this afternoon nudged my tomato plants up an inch or two.

It was a lovely evening…a glass of wine enjoyed on the deck, the water below us studded with sailboats, the scent of a charcoal fire filling the air, a simple dinner…welcome to the weekend!

My friend, Linda, makes the best homemade ketchup I have ever tasted using tomatoes from her garden.  It is quite the process and each year, come September, she sets aside a few days to make several bottles of this wonderful sauce.   For several years now I have been the lucky recipient of one of those treasured bottles…treating it as if it were liquid gold.  Maybe, if we are lucky, she will share the recipe with me this year.  For our burgers tonight, I settled on a sweet & spicy ketchup that I made, adapting a recipe, from Food & Wine.  It doesn’t beat Linda’s famous ketchup but it does have a wonderful deep flavor that outshines anything you can find from the grocery store variety…perfect for the barbecues of summer.

Sweet & Spicy Ketchup {adapted from Food & wine}

  • 4 dried pasilla or ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tablespoons organic, whole cane sugar {unrefined & unbleached}
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium skillet, toast the chiles over moderately high heat, pressing with a spatula and turning once, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the chiles to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes, until the chiles are completely rehydrated.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the plum tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño and onion with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are just soft; let cool slightly. Peel the garlic.
  3. Drain the pasilla chiles and transfer to a blender. Add the plum tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, molasses and sugar and purée. Season the ketchup with salt and pepper and transfer to a glass jar. Refrigerate until chilled.

Ketchup Collage

This evening’s salad was a nice compromise between a traditional potato side served with burgers {chips, french fries, potato salad} and a green salad.  The potatoes, which were tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper and then grilled, provided a salty, savory taste while the cucumbers and red onion provided some crunch.  The dressing, made with crème fraîche, was light and silky.

Creamy Cucumber & Grilled Potato Salad {adapted from Food & Wine}

  • 2 pounds small to medium Red Bliss potatoes (about 12)
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup crème fraîche or mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil, plus more for brushing
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ cup chopped parsley plus 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderately low heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool completely, then cut them in half lengthwise.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, vinegar, honey, mustard, celery seeds and garlic. Gradually whisk in the ¼ cup of oil. Stir in the crushed red pepper, oregano and 1 teaspoon of minced parsley and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Generously brush the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the potatoes, cut side down, over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and hot, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
  4. Toss the potatoes with the dressing and season them with salt and pepper. Fold in the cucumber, red onion and the ½ cup of chopped parsley and serve.

Salad Collage


Finally, prepare your favorite burgers {we used simple ground chuck tonight & seasoned the patties with sea salt and pepper}…


And these usual players {the cheese we used tonight was a Wisconsin sharp cheddar}…


The final dinner plate…




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3 thoughts on “Grilled Burgers & A Creamy Cucumber-Grilled Potato Salad

    • Not necessarily. What most people call brown sugar is white refined sugar to which molasses has been added {a.k.a. “traditional brown sugar”}. There are also “natural” sugars such as raw sugar, or natural brown sugar which have not been processed {bleached and refined}. These raw or natural sugars are evaporated pure cane juice which has been crystallized and are naturally brown in color. They don’t go through the refining process like white sugar. There are no additives or dyes like there might be in traditional brown sugar. However, the only way any of those sugars could be organic is if the sugar cane itself was grown organically, i.e. without pesticides or chemicals. To be organic, a food can also NOT be genetically modified.
      Organically grown or not, it is important to seek out those raw sugars that have not been processed. I no longer use any processed sugars in our diet. To read more about the nightmare of processed sugar and the effects it can have on your health, check out Dee McCaffrey’s book “The Science of Skinny”. As a note…raw, pure sugars can be easily substituted for refined sugars on a 1:1 ratio.

      • Wow! Who knew there was so much to learn about sugar! I’m going to replace all the processed crap I have in my cupboards for the unprocessed version. If I need to indulge in a dessert, at least I can make it healthier.

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