It’s time. Maybe past time. The Secret of Summer Cheeseburger is smoking on my (little) grill, and the fireflies are out here at the Small Table. Perfect summer nights require perfect summer food, and this burger is #1 on that list. A few years ago, I was watching my favorite guy-who-wears-a-bowtie, Chris Kimball (formerly of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS). He was talking about how you may not want to grill a burger that is not all the way cooked through for a child. I had to agree. His answer to this was simple and awesome, and even though I like a good medium-burger sometimes, I have found the Chris Kimball method rocks the taste and texture, as well as the moisture content of a well-grilled burger.
I love my 8-inch skillet, and this recipe is one big reason. Breakfast for breakfast or breakfast for dinner– whatever you fancy, this frittata will fit the bill. I use a couple of ‘convenience products’ so that it comes together quickly: evaporated milk and frozen shredded hash browns. I also switch out the mix-ins to match my mood. Ham can be bacon or sausage. Green onion can be red or white onion or artichokes or spinach or mushrooms or peppers. Mozzarella cheese can be ricotta or cheddar or Monterrey Jack. Today, we’ll stick with the basics.
Here in Small Table Land, we really do try to sit down to breakfast each morning, though it’s sometimes hectic. If we can’t get all three of us at one sitting, we can usually get 2/3. (This is because food takes priority for me over almost everything except clean socks.) Once in a while, however, we eat on the run. Hand-Cakes let us eat something hearty and delicious, without the aid of a chair or a fork.
The beauty, or rather, the luxury of a great small recipe is that you can use judicious amounts of luscious ingredients–precisely because it is small. Eat it; savor it; it’s gone. Then it’s back to eating mostly healthy food. You may have heard this referred to as the 80/20 rule: 80% healthy food, 20% indulgence. It has totally worked for me long-term, which is why I love some good heavy cream and egg yolks when a great recipe is begging for them!
Pasta and sauce has long been the choice in-a-rush meal here at the Small Table. There are three long-simmer sauces that I like to make when I have time (recipes to come), but in a pinch a good jar-sauce can be a wonderful thing. Upgrade your standard pasta-and-sauce dinner with some sausage, parmesan, mozzarella, and tortellini. This makes enough to have a little for lunch the next day, which can be just what you need when you’re short on time.
On Saturday mornings, Mr. Luxury and Little S make pancakes while I am out walking. They always offer me a taste when I walk in, knowing that I will gently demur. I really want to like these pancakes. Really, I do. But it’s the mix-ins, of which they are especially proud, that always give me pause: candy corn, jelly beans, rainbow sprinkles, fruit snacks. I guess I am a maple syrup purist– I really don’t want all that candy fraternizing with my flapjacks.