Juicy Lucy Burgers

I’m back and I’m ready to start cooking!

Sorry for my ridiculously long absence – some exciting stuff happened over the last 6 months – for starters, I got married and went on an amazingly long and necessary honeymoon to Southeast Asia. As you can imagine, my time was 100% consumed by wedding planning, honeymoon planning and of course, work. But here I am… back and ready to get this recipe train going again.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which means, you are all planning on BBQing, right? Right. Meet the mother of all hamburgers – THE JUICY LUCY. Meat dripping with fat, stuffed with cheese, grilled, topped with goodies and shoveled directly into your month. It’s that easy (and ever so delicious).

The Juicy Lucy is a legend. The birth of this monster cheeseburger is claimed by 2 separate joints on the same street in South Minneapolis. Whoever invented you Juciy Lucy – you taste good and that’s enough for me.

So sink your teeth into this burger, light a sparkler and try not to blow off any limbs this July 4th!

1  1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 chunks melty cheese (such as pepper jack or swiss)
4 hamburger buns, split

Combine ground beef, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form 8, thin patties from the beef. Each patty should be slightly larger than the chunk of cheese.

Sandwich one chunk of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.

Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns, top with grilled onions and sauce!

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Looking at my latest Bon Appétit magazine, I was overcome by the desire to make EVERYTHING in it immediately! With great haste and much enthusiasm, I cooked up a delicious menu for the week jam packed with lots of fresh veggies, grilled meats and vibrant flavors of lemon and spices. Since Judd and I are avid vegetable consumers, this light and fresh sugar snap pea salad seemed the perfect side dish to a summertime dinner. I say summertime, because technically it IS summer…. although, for those of you that live in the Bay Area… I really mean, cold, dreary and winter-like.

Tucked away within our apartment, we leisurely prepared a delicious meal that just begged to be eaten outside… at a BBQ. If it wasn’t for my bundled clothing and cozy slippers, I would have thought it was a gorgeous June evening the moment I dug into this light and refreshing dish. The sugar snap peas explode with color and crunch, while the radishes, feta cheese and mint transport your taste buds to the warm Mediterranean. A simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice make each bite burst with citrusy flavor. Yum!

Done is under 10 minutes, this dish is perfect for a Forth of July barbeque. Picture this… cold drink in one hand, seared meat cooking on the grill and a zesty vegetable salad that makes you blissfully happy it’s summertime….

Makes 6-8 servings

1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, trimmed, stringed, cut in half on diagonal
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sumac plus more for garnish
1 bunch radishes (about 6 ounces), trimmed, thinly sliced
4 ounces ricotta salata or feta, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint

Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Cook peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain; transfer to bowl with ice water to cool. Drain peas; transfer to a kitchen towel-lined baking sheet to dry. Whisk oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon sumac in a small bowl. Toss peas, radishes, and cheese in a large bowl.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dressing and salad separately and chill.
Add dressing to salad and toss to coat. Season salad with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with mint and sprinkle with sumac.