Category: Caprese

Caprese Burgers with Sweet Corn-Potato Salad or the Last Rose of Summer

Caprese Burgers with Sweet Corn-Potato Salad or the Last Rose of Summer

        After this post, More Time will be on vacation for a brief period.  See you later!

The last two days, when Dave and I have gone out to walk the dogs, it’s been all of 45 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now, of course, we live in Minnesota; the rest of the country might not have those lows.  We have freeze warnings coming up, so I was out collecting the last of the tomatoes and also enjoying the last blooms in our yard…

Backdoor Italian parsley


Backdoor herb pot–Sage (top), Chives (left), Thyme (right), Rosemary (bottom), Mint (left)


Almost the last of the cherry tomatoes

Last rose of summer?


Dried dill seed


Birds still enjoying the sunflowers


Last rose??

When the summer seems to be slipping away, jackets are dug out, gardens are dug in, and, when you walk up for groceries, the stores are decorated with mums and winter squash.  There are end caps full of canned butternut squash.  (I saw a pumpkin on a porch while walking the other day.)   My initial response is, “Wait! It’s too soon. Why are there stands of dried cornstalks?  It’s still warm. I haven’t worn out my shorts yet! Let’s go to the lake one more time.”  But, it’s real; it’s true; it’s mid-September.  So I watch the garden for the last of its bounty, stand in the sun every chance I have, and think about what’s in the freezer that needs to be used before the season changes–and also, in our case, before we move back to Colorado.


What to make with both dill and tomatoes?   Hamburgers from the freezer?  A round of fresh mozzarella in the fridge? Two ears of corn?  For a couple of years, I’ve thought of caprese everything (as you’ve seen), but while I had Caprese burgers in mind, I never made them.  They might be better with lamb, but I had beef—there it is!  A little potato salad that used up the gorgeous Minnesota corn was the perfect side.  It was 65 degrees in the back yard, so we donned sweaters and ate on the patio.
Try this:
caprese burgers  serves 4
  • 1 pound ground meat–beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, pork, or sausage
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 1/3″ – 1/2″ slices fresh mozzarella
  • 4 sprigs fresh basil
  • 4 thick slices of a large tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 4 whole wheat buns
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar, optional
1.  Heat grill over high heat.  Divide ground meat into four sections and pat each one a ball and then flatten into a burger. Season generously with salt and pepper. Lightly oil grill and place burgers on grill.  Cook burgers about four minutes, flip and cook another three minutes or until burgers are done to your liking. (Safe cooking for beef is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 165 for chicken and turkey See temperature chart here.)
2.  While burgers cook, spread buns with mustard and place a slice of salted and peppered tomato and a little chopped onion on the top half of the bun. When burgers are done, add a burger to the bottom half of the bun and top with a slice of mozzarella and some basil.  If desired, sprinkle tomatoes with a little balsamic vinegar.  Serve hot.
While much of our fragrant dill has flowered and gone to seed, we still have some baby dill weed.
sweet corn potato salad      serves 4
Leave out the crushed red pepper and hot sauce if you don’t like your salads with a kick.
  • 2 large baking potatoes, baked and chopped (leave skin on)
  • Kernels of two freshly cooked ears of corn*
  • 1 cup cooked green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly
  • 2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped**
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 small dill pickle, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style  mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • Hot sauce, optional
*Cook 2 ears, unshucked, in microwave 5 minutes @ full power.  Cool, hold perpendicular to board, and slice kernels off.
1. In a large bowl, place potatoes, corn kernels, green beans, carrot, and eggs.  Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper) and the pinch of crushed red pepper; drizzle with one tablespoon oil and mix gently.
2.Stir in onion, pickle, and celery.  Sprinkle with fresh dill and parsley. 
3. Stir in mayonnaise, the other two tablespoons of olive oil,  mustard, and vinegar.  Mix gently, but thoroughly. 
4.  Add one tablespoon lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if necessary.  (You might also like more red wine vinegar or a few drops of hot sauce.)

5.  Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate, well-covered, overnight and serve cold.

**Quick, microwaved “boiled” eggs–instructions here.

{printable recipe for potato salad}

Sing a new song; make a new potato salad,

Grilled Tuna Salad with Late Summer Vegetables and Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Grilled Tuna Salad with Late Summer Vegetables and Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

I’m not sure there’s anything like a summer salad that appears to be a Niçoise-Caprese mix.  It’s the best of summer flavors combined and makes you feel as if you’re in Italy and France at the same time.  Especially if you’ve added grilled eggplant and zucchini along with a lemon-basil vinaigrette.

I never pass the fish and seafood in the store without seeing if something’s on the fire sale.  $9 OFF a pound is a fire sale for fresh tuna.  It means they have to get rid of it that day, preferably immediately. I’m willing to eat that tuna. I’m happy to run home and cook it straight away.  Here’s what I did with it,which was all dependent on what I had in the fridge and on the counter after a visit to the market at the Capitol in Saint Paul:

grilled tuna salad with late summer vegetables &
spicy lemon-basil vinaigrette
serves 4

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds or lengthwise into1/4″ thick slices
  • 2  3/4-inch slices of a very large yellow onion
  • 2 6-8 ounce thick tuna steaks
  • 1/2 cup each cherry tomatoes and boccocini (small mozzarella balls)–about 12 each
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup Nicoise or kalamata olives
  • Juice of half-lemon
  • Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Preheat indoor or outdoor grill over medium-high heat.  Brush eggplant, zucchini, and onion with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Grill about 8 minutes, turning once.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  After a few minutes, slice into one-inch pieces.
Brush tuna with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill 2 minutes on one side until there are dark grill marks; turn and grill other side about 2 minutes for medium rare – rare, depending on the thickness of the tuna. Cook another minute or two for medium-well.   Remove and let rest 1-2 minutes.  Cut into one-inch chunks.
To a large bowl, add tomatoes and boccocini (small mozzarella balls), spinach, olives, and sliced eggplant, zucchini, and onions. Stir gently and drizzle with a bit of lemon juice; add tuna and stir again.  Drizzle with remainder of lemon juice and then generously with vinaigrette.  Divide between four pasta or shallow bowls, placing cherry tomatoes in one section, cheese in another, and so on. Garnish with olives and reserved basil julienne. Serve warm or at room temperature.Cook’s Note 1.:  If you’ve a large enough grill, grill the vegetables and add the tuna during the last few minutes.  I made this on a big cast iron indoor grill that covers two burners (Lodge), but it still wasn’t big enough for everything. Add to that, I’m only an indoor griller and like things in manageable batches. I leave the big gas or charcoal grill to Dave or whomever I can lasso into firing it up.  2. If you’d like a bit heartier salad, stir in a 15-ounce can of drained cannellini beans (season first pepper and with a bit of the vinaigrette) along with the grilled vegetables.

spicy lemon-basil vinaigrette
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • generous pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons basil julienne, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, spices,  mustard, shallot, and two tablespoons basil.  Slowly add the olive oil, whisking all the while, until vinaigrette is well mixed and emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasonings. (Rest of basil is for garnish)
Wine:  Go American and drink a great big California Chardonnay.Sing a new song; make a new salad,

Linguine Caprese or How I Got My Tomatoes On

Linguine Caprese or How I Got My Tomatoes On

Saute a little garlic and shallots; cook up some pasta.  Add fresh tomatoes, chopped mozzerella, parsley and basil. That’s it.

I seem to be spending every waking hour figuring out how to use up the cherry tomatoes and basil that just keep coming.  (Was there a little voice whispering, “Fresh pasta?”)

Continue reading “Linguine Caprese or How I Got My Tomatoes On”