The rule #39 in Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” states, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” He writes that occasional sweets, fried, and other not-so-healthy foods are okay as long as one is willing to take the time to prepare for them themselves (he figured people will eat less since they are such hassle to make). I had the urge for a nice, juicy burger over the weekend so I decided to make it at home (guilt free)! I’m not a fan of fast food in general and the only places that I would buy hamburgers are either from In-N Out Burger or The Habit, so preparing for it at home wasn’t too much of a chore.
I went to a local grocery store and picked up two pounds of 80/20 ground beef (I know that 90/10 is better but 20% fat makes the patty much juicier), onions, tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, and a pack of burger buns. I divided the ground beef into four, making each patty a half pounder, and froze three for later. Making burgers at home is so simple and inexpensive, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. For less than $10, you have enough food for four people!
The burger was delicious. I slathered the bun with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and some horseradish for heat, and sandwiched the toasted buns with juicy patty, raw onion rings, tomato slices, and a handful of arugula. I wasn’t in the mood for a fancy burger with premier cheese and caramelized onion and wanted a simple, no-frill burger so the processed cheese and yellow mustard worked just fine.
By the way, do you remember the pickles I made last month? I finally decided to pop open the jar to try them out with the burger, and to my delight, those cucumbers came out amazing. They were crisp, well seasoned with great flavors of garlic, dill, and a little bit of sweetness, coupled with a wonderful kick of hot peppers! Here is the recipe. I hope you would try it. I know you’re going to love it!
Makes one jar
4 pickling cucumbers, sliced in half
4 garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon peppercorn
4 dried hot peppers
5 springs of dill
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
A drizzle of soy sauce
Boil water in a large pot. Put the jar and cap in boiling water for about 3 minutes to sterilize. Keep the hot water boiling, as you will use it later.
Slice the cucumbers in half, down the middle. Put the cucumbers in a bowl of ice water for about 30 minutes. You can also put it in a bowl with just cold water and put it in a freezer for about 30 minutes. This process makes cucumbers remain crisp during pickling, or so I heard.
Heat the vinegar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. In the meantime, put all the ingredients in the jar. Once the liquid come to a boil, turn off the heat and pour the liquid into the jar.
Put the lid on the jar tightly and put the jar in the boiling water, standing up. This allows the jar to vacuum seal properly. When you push the top of the lid and it doesn’t bounce back, that means that the jar is sealed properly. Let it cool for about an hour before you put it in a refrigerator. Let the pickles rest for about 4 weeks.