Ciabatta buns / Gluten-free buns
Ground beef / Montana lentil burgers
Montana Blueberries - Paradise
Amaltheia Organic Produce - Belgrade
Lowdown Farm - Moiese
Lowdown Farm - Moiese
On the Rise - Bozeman / Sister's Gluten-Free - Belgrade
Yellowstone Grassfed Beef - Bozeman / Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center - Ronan
We had burgers in mind this week because they don't require much effort: cook the burgers, cut the buns in half, and pile them high with sliced heirloom tomato, sweet onion, and a handful of fresh basil. But of course, there's so much more you could do with these ingredients if you want to.
You can make aioli from store-bought mayonnaise, or make your own. Make your own this way with a blender or this way by hand. Either way, a few additions can turn it into a stellar condiment for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, or a dip for veggies or french fries. Aioli is basically garlicky mayonnaise, but the things you can add to it and still call it "aioli", at least in the US, are boundless.
You can add: grainy mustard or horseradish paste, chopped tender herbs (tarragon, parsley, chives, dill, etc), a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped pickles or capers, grated onion, smoked paprika, hot sauce, soy sauce, grated ginger, cracked pepper, etc, etc.
To use your fresh basil in aioli:
Put some mayonnaise in a bowl - as much or little as your want. 1 C mayo = ~1 C aioli
Using a mortar and pestle, blender/food processor, or by hand with a knife, make a paste from:
garlic cloves or scapes - I use 2-3 cloves per 1 C mayo
A few handfuls fresh basil leaves, stems removed - or as much/little as you want
pinch of salt
Stir the basil/garlic/salt paste into the mayo and let sit for about 30 minutes. Spread on a lightly toasted bun with your burger and toppings of choice.
Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Onion Salad
Adapted from Ronne Day, Fine Cooking. This salad is bursting with the flavors of summer - even a small scoop makes a nice accompaniment to a summer meal.
~ 1 lb heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 a small, sweet onion, sliced very thin
1/2 C fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
1 Tbs sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: if you have other tender garden herbs to use, like parsley or chives, chop some up and add them to your liking
Toss everything together in a bowl and let sit 15-20 minutes so the flavors meld. Toss again and serve. Or, cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
Tips for Cooking Grass-fed Beef Burgers
For most uses, grass-fed ground beef can be treated just like other ground beef, especially if you use it in a dish that cooks in seasoning and liquid, like taco meat, spaghetti, chili, or curry. However, because grass-fed beef is rather lean, you may want to treat it slightly differently than fattier grain-fed beef for things like burgers. Grass-fed beef cooks faster with less fat to insulate it, and less fat also means the meat will be drier when it's fully cooked. So, to try to avoid dry burgers:
Reduce the cooking time or target internal temperature by 10 or 20%. Let it rest after removing from heat - it'll continue to cook and the juices will redistribute. Some argue that grass-fed beef tastes best when cooked to medium or medium-rare.
Make bigger patties. Especially on the grill, this can help keep the inside of the burger from drying out too quickly. You can press a thumbprint in the center of the patty to keep it from shrinking too much, if that's a concern.
To add some of the richness you might miss from fattier beef, mix it with up to an equal amount of ground pork. Or, cook it in a little more fat. Pan-seared burgers could be finished with a bit of butter in the pan. Grilled burgers could get a brush of oil on each side before they go on the grill.
Add moisture to a burger by mixing in some finely diced onion and bell pepper with the beef. If you caramelize the veggies first, they'll add a little depth and sweetness as well.
And, if all else fails, add some extra sauce or juicy tomato slices and call it good :)
Additional Recipes & Suggestions
Blueberry Basil Lime-ade (or lemonade) - can be made with or without booze
Fresh tomato and onion were key ingredients in this deliciously simple dal recipe we shared last fall.
High-quality buns and rolls can be used for many other things, like sandwiches (obviously), or personal pizzas (slice in half, top with pizza toppings and broil or bake until bread is crisp and cheese is melted). or croutons (tear up and toss with a little oil and seasoning and bake until crunchy),