Cooking inside is not very appealing, so we've been spending a good number of evenings out on the front lawn. Coronado folk migrate to their front yards in the summer, to watch the walkers and bikers go by and to chat with the neighbors. We move our grill just outside the side gate, plop down a few chairs and a table, and enjoy the ocean breeze while dinner cooks.
Grilled buffalo sausages have been the rage around our abode this summer, so I decided to try ground buffalo this time, for Mini Beef Burgers with Roasted Chile Relish and Pablo's Pickled Onions. The recipe is from one of my newer cookbooks: Big Small Plates, by Cindy Pawlcyn.
Also in the cookbook is a recipe for Black Pepper Mini Biscuits, which are suggested for the burgers.
These sliders would be ideal for a summer party. The Pickled Onions and Roasted Chile Relish, with a slice of Monterey Jack cheese and shredded lettuce, serve as outstanding condiments. Of course, full-sized burgers served on a fresh buns would be equally superb.
Black Pepper Mini Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a food processor. Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and pulse a few more times until the mixture clumps together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, finish it with a few pats of the hand, and roll into 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch rounds with a pastry cutter, and place biscuits on the baking sheet. Gently place scraps together and cut out remaining biscuits. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Make a glaze by whisking the egg and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and brush over biscuits. Bake until golden, about 12-14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Mini Buffalo Burgers with Roasted Chile Relish and Pablo's Pickled Onions
1 pound ground buffalo meat
Pablo's Pickled Onions
Roasted Chile Relish
Soft Monterey Jack cheese
Shredded iceberg lettuce
12 Black Pepper Mini Biscuits
Pablo's Pickled Onions
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of one lime
Pinch of salt
Combine the onions, lime juice, and salt in a nonreactive bowl and mix well. Cover and let sit a couple of hours at room temperature. The onions will become soft and turn bright pink.
Roasted Chile Relish
2 Anaheim chiles, roasted and peeled
2 Pasilla chiles, roasted and peeled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 scallion, white and light green parts, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
6 sprigs of cilantro, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut the chiles into 1/4 inch wide strips and place in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, scallion, oregano, minced cilantro, salt, and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture over the peppers and stir. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Cooking & Assembly
Divide the ground buffalo meat into 12 portions and form into patties. Cut the cheese into 12 squares to fit the size of the patties. Season the burgers with salt and pepper and grill to desired doneness, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Put a square of cheese on top of each burger after flipping them over.
Toast and butter buns. Place some shredded iceberg lettuce on each of the bun bottoms and top with the burgers, cheese side up. Add some chile relish and a few slices of pickled onion and finish with the bun tops.
An accompanying red or white Sangria is essential. This red sangria has a few extra shots of liquor.
Red Wine Sangria
Slightly modified from Jose Andrés, Made in Spain
1 bottle of fruity red wine
5 tablespoons brandy
1/4 cup Grand Marnier, or other top-quality orange liqueur
1/4 cup vodka
1 orange, peeled and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip of lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 splash soda water
Combine the wine, brandy, Grand Marnier, vodka, orange, apples, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Pour the mixture into a pitcher filled halfway with ice. Add the orange juice and soda water, stir, and serve.
Make sure each glass gets some ice and fruit.
After dinner, and a few Sangrias, the sun will be setting and thoughts of pompous lawyers who give my profession a bad name will be put to rest for another day. And soon thereafter, I'll be in bed dreaming about that much-deserved vacation.