Well it looks like fall is here to stay. As much as I love the season, I just am not ready for it this year. I feel like summer was here for about two weeks and then the leaves started changing. Oh well, hopefully there is still time to get one last camping trip in before the snow comes.
I figure this is the time to showcase what was probably some of the best 'summer food' I had this year. I can take no credit, for it was served to me by my parents while I was home mooching off of them after I got laid-off. Juicy Lucy Hamburgers, Grilled Deconstructed Caesar Salad, and Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad, will forever be in my brain when I think of waning days of warm weather. The wonderfully fresh ingredients straight from the farmers market, the grill smoking in the back yard, and a bottle of wine (or three) with the people I love; what a great way to wrap up the summer.
This bottle in particular was the last of the bottles brought home from our trip to Italy.
Since my parents hold these recipes, and I had no part in cooking them (I don't even know what was in half of them) I will simply do my best to describe the photos. All three of these dishes are pretty basic actually, made from simple fresh ingredients, combined to make something exceptional. I wont give away their secrets, you can look for the recipes someday in the Helgerson/Boynton Cookbook, coming to a store near you (you guys almost done with that??).
Basically a Juicy Lucy is a hamburger STUFFED with cheeses of your choosing (and I mean stuffed, I think mom put 3 or 4 kinds of cheeses inside). This is thrown on the grill and stacked high with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and whatever else floats your boat.
This was easily one of the best hamburgers I have ever had, and my god was it HUGE. Look at the cheese oozing out of the center. It's hard to look away right?
Tomato, Feta, and Basil Salad
I am just starting to be able to eat raw tomatoes. I was a very picky child, and as I am getting older and getting into cooking, I have been choosing various foods that I didn't really like growing up, and then working towards enjoying them, and eventually loving them. I am definitely well on my way to loving raw tomatoes, and this salad was a key player in that process. A mixture of yellow heirloom tomatoes from my uncle in southern Minnesota, and some gorgeous red heirloom tomatoes that are thriving in pots out on the driveway at my parents house, some fresh basil, herbed feta, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Deconstructed Grilled Caesar Salad
This is probably my favorite salad of all time. Yes it is that good. Last time I asked my Dad for the Caesar dressing recipe, he just gave me a list of ingredients, no measurements whatsoever. A little trial and error was needed, but if you have never tried homemade Caesar dressing before do it now. Please, you will thank me later. Mayonnaise, crushed garlic, smushed anchovy (yes that is the correct culinary term), lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, white wine vinegar, and cracked black pepper. That's all it takes to have the most heavenly Caesar dressing you have ever tasted.
To elevate this salad even more, the heads of romaine are left intact, sliced in half, brushed with olive oil and grilled just for a minute to char the outside, while leaving the innards cool and crisp.
Instead of croutons, there is grilled garlic bread.
Last but not least, for the brave eaters: a whole anchovy splayed on top. Add a little (or a lot) of freshly grated Parmiginao Reggiano and I think you'll find that deconstructionism never tasted so good.
Hope your end of summer eating was as enjoyable as mine. Time to get out the pumpkin lights. :-)