When I get an idea in my head, there’s really no stopping me. I’m stubborn that way! So for whatever reason, I recently had this idea to do burgers one weekend night with the roommate… but in typical Kati fashion, I wanted to make just about everything myself. And so, I made homemade pickles, ketchup, potato salad, and brioche buns… all from scratch!! Look at me go!
Also, coincidentally I went to my first New York Mets Game recently — nothing beats hot dogs and hamburgers with crinkly fries at a ball park! I’m in such an All-American carnivorous mood lately.
First up, homemade pickles (I made these a week before our burger night so they had time to marinate/sit)! I chose to make two types (again, I can’t do anything half-assed) – bread and butter pickles pretty for atop a burger and dill pickle spears. Pickling also seems like a good culinary skill to master… I’ll be able to pickle anything soon enough. I’m a big fan of pickled garnishes – it seems like all the rage these days!
Funny enough, finding cucumbers for pickling was actually a tad difficult. My recipes called for “pickling cucumbers” and “Kirby pickles” – none of which I could find. Maybe it’s not pickle season? All in all, I knew I was looking for smaller pickles than your average “salad” cucumber. I finally found Persian cucumbers which seemed perfect. (Of course, the Middle Eastern/international theme continues in my life!).
Fun fact: I vehemently dislike cucumbers, but love pickles!
The bread and butter pickles were a bit sweeter – more sugar added to the vinegar mixture. But they were both great! And I finally got to use my small mason jars I’ve had for months!
*Warning – making homemade pickles will cause your whole apartment to smell like vinegar…
Next up, homemade ketchup. The process was a bit labor intensive — you stew your tomatoes with onions and spices then blend and strain, but I felt very accomplished. My ketchup was a little sweet and smoky – definitely homemade and not Heinz but still awesome! Definitely a good different! It paired so well with the burgers too!
I stumbled across this German potato salad recipe from Saveur (I had never even thought of making homemade potato salad… seemed like a perfect addition to homemade burger night!). It’s so simple and a lot tastier than those gross store bought mayo based potato salads. I’ve had a lot of those types of potato salads in my life and after this exposure, there’s no turning back now! It’s lighter and the bacon adds such a nice saltiness. Warm or cold… it’s great.
Now, I think the pièce de résistance of this meal has got to be the buns… This was my second time making bread – again, much easier than I expected. The dough was super sticky, which worried me, but the buns turned out great. I should play around with shaping and forming them prior to baking (they were a bit big), but still perfect for burgers. I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and could not recommend it more! I think the secret to these buns was baking them in an oven with a shallow pan of water sitting on the oven floor. Perfection!
Our burgers were also great – a little chopped onion, salt and pepper and a little cumin.
Add an awesome array of toppings and you got yourself a damn good burger night!
I was actually very impressed with myself – everything tasted so good!
The meal got rave reviews from my roommate too! We eat some damn good meals at my house! Now, if only our table had some chairs, I would invite some people over LOL!