I don’t know about you, but I’ve always viewed hamburger buns as purely functional things. They’re receptacles, carb-wrappers, so you don’t get your hands dirty while eating the truly desirable bits within. Cheese, for instance, and grilled onions, and sauteed mushrooms. Oh right, and the patty too.
Buns are integral to the entire structure of the burger, yet they’ve done little to niggle my desire, warrant my enthusiasm, or raise lustful thoughts (and shouldn’t they? Given their namesake and all). Until now, that is.
These buns—blogged about by Deb and later Sara—are dreamy: as in, they bake like a dream, come together in a cinch, and their ingredients can be found in most anyone’s pantry. They’re also versatile: I chose all-purpose, whole wheat, and rye flour to go in mine, and they came out hearty but light, soft but complex. But most importantly, they raise the hamburger bun to a higher echelon, one that will no longer be left until the end as an afterthought. And is there anything worse than forcing yourself to eat afterthoughts?
You’ll be ready to fire up your grill after making these.
Would you mind if I talked weather right now? I ask this because a) this is only my second blog post and I don’t want you thinking I’ve already run out of things to say, and b) the weather is pretty much the only thing people have been talking about recently.
Here goes anyway: Wow. The heat here in New York is intense.
Summers in San Francisco are a lesson in delayed gratification. Trust me on this. Because of the city’s location, it becomes a cold magnet in June, July, and August, and the hotter it is elsewhere, the colder the city becomes. But if you’re patient, summer does arrive sure enough. And it’s damn near perfect. September and October are two of the best months to live in the city—when it becomes drenched in a glorious, warm glow that emphasizes its thousands of incredible views. Have you seen the Golden Gate Bridge under such conditions? Amazing. (But then again, it’s the Golden Gate Bridge.) You know the Painted Ladies? They bask under the attention of the sun. And Dolores Park overflows. Yep, life is good.
Which is why, since this is my first June in New York after all, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the onslaught of true heat. It swooped in overnight, along with its partner in crime, Humidity (they’re the Bonnie and Clyde of the meteorological world), and together, wreaked havoc on the stewing masses of us city dwellers. I can tell they’re going to figure largely in my plans this summer—culinary and otherwise.
Anyway, Chris and I have, er, implemented certain safety measures to ensure proper hydration and aeration. Namely, we must always keep the water filter filled to the very top and the bedroom window open. Privately, I’ve decided there must always be limeade. Vigilance!
Limeade is king. Limeade is the antidote to the swelter and to the cloyingly sweet beverages that I normally avoid. And because you can control the amount of sugar that goes in, the tart can truly shine through—if that’s your thing. Chris and I have taken to drinking it alongside hearty burgers; it’s a great counterbalance. And because limes are so inexpensive, you just might want to make it all summer long.
So much of what people know about food is derived from their growing-up experiences. In my particular case, spicy Sichuan fare was often on the menu for dinner. Therefore, I’m a complete beet newb. My impression of these root vegetables was formed by countless encounters in salad bars: eerie, amorphous, almost-pulsating blobs most unnatural in color. I thought they were dyed in fact, until I questioned the sense behind dying a vegetable an awful unpalatable shade of… glistening fuschia.
Well, it turns out, they’re really really good. Last week, I bought a bunch from my local farmer’s market and roasted the heck out of them, until the balsamic glaze I’d brushed them with (you know, just in case I didn’t like their taste after all) charred and crisped. Their flavor, beneath the sweet-sour of the vinegar, was oddly pleasant, earthy. Yum. They snuck their way into many sandwiches after that.
This week, I brazenly decided to experiment a step further and conquer the Raw Beet. And that’s what I present you with today: a slaw made of shredded beets and carrots, tossed with a shallot-y, lime-y dressing and topped with sesame seeds. Let’s just say, there’s no turning back. I’m forever a convert.