poco cielo

my little heaven

Home, Sweet Home

As I sit here writing this post today, I’m joined with some tea and some delicious chocolate covered strawberries given to me by a special someone. img_0244 It is days like these that I am grateful for the little things in life and the little signs of appreciation shown by others. To be quite frank, you don’t see that too often and I don’t think it isn’t because it doesn’t happen. Rather – it is because it doesn’t command the same amount of attention as negativity seems to get, especially in social media. This is why I think it is easy to start a day off very badly. You get on Facebook or whatever and immediately see people arguing or complaining about something or someone or posting some kind of meme doing the complaining or trash talking for them. This can be upsetting and ultimately set the day up badly. Recently I’ve been trying something new in the morning as soon as I wake up. I write down three things that I am grateful for. It can be anything from coffee to my family to the fact that it is a day that I don’t have to be at work. Anyone can do it and I think that maybe – just maybe – it can help not only make me happy, but keep me from posting negative comments on the internet. However, I am starting to ramble so lets move on.

I had the opportunity to visit my home in West Virginia, the one that I grew up in. I knew I wanted to make a meal for mom and dad from the Back to Basics book and when I noticed that the weather was going to be niceimg_0142, the Niman Ranch Burgers were it. I think burgers are a good comfort food and the options with them are endless. Now, this recipe calls for Niman Ranch beef. They are a ranch in California that raises grass-fed beef and they have a number of distributors located throughout the United States. It can be hard to find, however, many stores now are carrying grass-fed beef and I was able to find some at the Whole Foods right down the street from me. Be warned…it is pricey. This is because grass-fed beef aren’t fed hormones (to make them abnormally bigger) so therefore the production is on a smaller scale and more sanitary than a large-scale beef operation. If you ever want to see how large scale meat production works, watch a documentary called Vegucated. It turned me off of meat for several months last year when I watched it. It’s sad and really gross what goes on and actually how little the farmer actually makes.

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Anyway, I took the grass-fed beef home and made these burgers for mom, dad and of course I had to make their dog Kaia her own.

Little Kaia

Little Kaia

The tiny one belongs to Kaia

The tiny one belongs to Kaia

Kaia was rescued by mom and dad earlier this year from Carolina Poodle Rescue. Granted she isn’t a poodle but they don’t discriimg_0159minate when it comes to rescuing dogs. Kaia has really come out of her shell since then and she can also be quite the picky eater. Something she’ll eat one day she’ll decide she doesn’t want the next. Hamburger though is a common favorite though.
The burgers are extremely good – I think that the grass fed beef has a slightly better flavor overall so it’s something I might splurge for more often and the seasoning was perfect. Ina is kind of a purist when it comes to burgers. She doesn’t put a lot in them because it can mask the beef flavor. So these bascially just have some Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in them. Easy.

Now lets talk about the onions. OH MY GOD. Ok – I only halved the recipe because I didn’t think we’d use them all.

Sweaty onions

Sweaty onions

Seriously MAKE THE WHOLE RECIPE for them. Make more. They are soooo good. I’m already keeping this recipe back and thinking of things I can do with them. Seriously they are easy too. You can leave out the vinegar at the end if you want but it does give it nice flavor. I also used dried thyme because I forgot to pick up fresh at the store and they were still good. Cooking them low and slow brings out the sugars inside the onions and makes them really sweet and of course the butter makes them delicious. I cooked mine a little lower than her recommendation and they took a little longer but I’m telling you – try them, you won’t regret it.

I decided to make the creamy cucumber salad to go with this because honestly, summer is basically over and I think that this recipe is more of a warm-day recipe and it pairs really well with the burger.

Mealtime

Mealtime

You could make it in the winter and broil the burgers and pretend it’s summer in the middle of February when it’s 20 degrees out. I mean – I may just do that. Speaking of broiling/baking – the fire alarm went off again this week, but it wasn’t my fault. Of course it was the one day that I was working from home this week and raining. The alarm starts going off telling us to evacuate I noticed it was for the whole building and not just my apartment the time 🙂 and grabbed my stuff and headed out. I noticed that like none of the staff from the building were coming  out so I went back in and that’s when they informed me it was a test. LOL. At least I know the alarm works in my apartment and the piercing noise from it would wake me out of a comatose sleep.

I paired this whole meal with a Primovito from Winc. According to them, the Primovito grape varietal is a “cousin” to the Zinfandel grape. It was first planted by the Phonecians (we’re talking like around 1000 B.C. in the Middle East). So they are definitely a very old grape variety, hence the name Primovito (kind of like a derivative of primitive). This wine has a lot of fruit flavors on the palate and is very easy to drink with the burgers and cucumber salad.img_0223 It honestly doesn’t need to breathe much and I think is very good for casual drinking. I utilized a tip from one of my favorite wine bloggers, Whitney Adams, and that is that sometimes it is fun to be casual with wine. I served it in a little tumbler like she mentioned and it honestly tastes just the same as it would in a fancy wine glass. I think some may be turned off to wine because there are so many types of glasses (some for red and some for white) and it can sometimes be take way to seriously. Honestly, wine should be fun and it should be shared. That’s why I want to share it with you. If you want to try Winc and get a discount on your first order, use this link: https://www.clubw.com/2lhy61q4ll7.

Well, that’s pretty much it for this week. I know it was a rather long post, but a lot has went on and I wanted to share it. Have a good weekend!

Print Recipe
B2B #12: Niman Ranch Burgers
From Ina Garten's Back to Basics book, pages 120 and 121.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Burgers
Caramelized Onions
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Burgers
Caramelized Onions
Instructions
For the burgers
  1. Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.
  2. Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 6 (3 and 1/2 inch) patties of equal size and thickness.
  3. When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grates with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Place the burger on the grill and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Turn the burgers and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes (3 for medium, 5 for almost well-done).
  4. Serve each burger on a bun with condiments of your choosing and top with the caramelized onions. Serve hot.
For the onions
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan, add the onions and thyme and toss with the oil. Place the lid on top and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes to sweat the onions. Remove the lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 25 to 30 minutes, until the onions are golden brown. If the onions are cooking too fast, lower the heat. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes scraping the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan.
Share this Recipe
Print Recipe
B2B #13: Creamy Cucumber Salad
From Ina Garten's Back to Basics, page 85.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix the cucumbers, red onions, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of salt in a bowl. Pour them into a colander and suspend it over a bowl. Wrap the bowl and colander with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to drain for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.
  2. Pour the yogurt and sour cream into a sieve lined with a paper towel and suspend it over another bowl. Wrap the bowl and sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the second bowl.
  3. When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a kitchen towel and press the towel lightly to remove most of the liquid. Place the cucumbers and yogurt into a large bowl with the vinegar, dill, 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and serve chilled.
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2 Comments

  1. Nice post. Thanks for the recipes. I definitely want to try these.

    • zharpine

      October 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Thank you Kandi! If you do, let me know how they turn out! If you have any questions let me know.

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