Bacon and Kimchi Burgers


I like to consider myself a bit of a burger connoisseur. Well, this burger makes the top 10 list, that’s for sure. It combines the traditional (beef, American cheese) with the ethnic (kimchi, sambal) for an absolutely delicious burger. This is another winner from Food & Wine’s list of best recipes. Well done, Food & Wine, well done. It’s easy and fast, and pretty darn impressive as well.


IMG_5695What I love about this: first, it’s easy. Second, the spiciness from the sambal and kimchi, crunch from kimchi and bacon, and cheesy goodness all together are amazing. It may take a little hunting for the Asian ingredients but it is so worth it.

TW’s Tips

  • You’ll find sambal in the ethnic food aisle near the Thai and Asian ingredients. It usually comes in a small plastic jar.
  • Kimchi — tossup where you find it. If you’re not in New York you probably have to go to an Asian food store to find it. At my grocery store, which has virtually everything, I found it in the refrigerated area of the produce section.
  • Make the burgers thin and don’t overcook. A little red is good.
  • The sambal mayo is fantastic on sandwiches — the lunch or breakfast kind. Save the leftovers and spread liberally.


Bacon and Kimchi Burgers


  • 1/4 cup sambal oelek (Indonesian chile sauce)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef chuck
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 slices of American cheese
  • 4 potato buns, toasted
  • 1 cup chopped drained cabbage kimchi (6 ounces)


In a small bowl, combine the sambal with the mayonnaise and ketchup and mix well.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the bacon over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels.
Form the beef into eight 1/4-inch-thick burgers and season with salt. Grill over high heat, turning, until browned, 
1 minute per side. Make 4 stacks of 2 burgers each on the grill and spoon 1 tablespoon of the sambal mayo over each stack. Top with the cheese, cover and grill over high heat just until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.
Spread the remaining sambal mayo on the bottom buns. Top with the burgers, bacon and kimchi, close and serve.


Caprese Burgers


Nothing beats an amazing burger.

I believe I get my love for burger from my mom, who is likely to order the burger on the menu no matter what restaurant we go to. She loves a good burger, and so do I. This is a good one — with a play on the caprese salad. Basil (in the form of pesto), tomato and mozzarella — all on a sweet brioche roll, melty and delicious. Recipe from Food & Wine. It’s a little rich, as you’d expect, but have a little salad on the side if you feel bad. Or do what I did and count the pesto as the green vegetable. Yep.


TW’s Tips

  • I didn’t bother with the meat mix they recommend, but bet it’d be good
  • Use fresh mozz and you’ll be happy you did
  • Make some extra pesto for your next meal (it’s great on salmon, sandwiches, pasta, you name it)
  • This pesto uses almonds but feel free to use walnuts, pine nuts, etc.
  • Use a nice, thick layer of pesto — deliciousness



  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup salted roasted almonds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound ground beef sirloin
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 6 slices
  • 6 brioche hamburger buns, split
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced


In a food processor, combine the basil with the almonds and garlic and pulse until the almonds are finely chopped. Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and process to a paste. Add the grated Pecorino and pulse to combine. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. You should have about 1 cup.

Transfer 1/4 cup of the pesto to a bowl. Add the ground chuck and ground sirloin and a pinch of salt and gently knead to blend. Form the mixture into six 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burger patties lightly with olive oil.

Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the burgers over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Flip the burgers, top them with the mozzarella slices and close the grill. Cook for 3 minutes longer for medium-rare burgers. Grill the buns until lightly toasted, then spread some of the pesto on the bottoms. Top with the burgers, the tomatoes and the remaining pesto. Close the burgers and serve right away.

The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Everything Salmon Burgers


It’s summer, so burgers are a must. But I’ve been feeling a bit beef-ed out lately (yes, that’s a term), so this salmon burger definitely appealed to me. The recipe (a Rachael Ray) incorporates the everything bagel (poppy seed, sesame seeds, onion flakes) into the salmon mixture, perfect for all my everything bagel lovers, and the scallion cream cheese topping is a killer. So. Good.



IMG_3805Even better, these cook really fast and are a great, healthy alternative to the regular burger.

TW’s Tips

  • Make sure the cream cheese is fully softened before mixing the topping — leave it on the counter for at least 30 minutes-1 hour. Otherwise it won’t mix easily.
  • I hear some places actually sell everything bagel seasoning — you could substitute that here for the seeds, etc.
  • Don’t overcook the burgers. I like my salmon medium rare; don’t be afraid to keep it pink in the middle.
  • Serve with a salad or potato salad — I wasn’t a big fan of this one so I’m not sharing the recipe, but this is one of my favorites.

Everything Salmon Burgers


  • 1 1⁄2 lbs skinless salmon fillet, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended-McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh dill
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1⁄2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 crusty kaiser rolls (or other rolls of choice)
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Sliced beefsteak tomato
  • Sliced red onion


Place the salmon in a food processor and pulse to coarse grind the fish.Transfer the fish to a mixing bowl and season with the grill seasoning, poppy and sesame seeds, onion flakes, and dill. Use your hands to mix, then divide into 4 equal portions and form each portion into a patty.

Heat a about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Cook the burgers for 3 minutes on each side for a pink center, 4-5 minutes on each side for fully cooked.

While the burgers cook, combine the cream cheese with the scallions. Fold in the sour cream and lemon juice. Split and lightly toast the rolls.

Serve the burgers on the toasted buns topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and some of the cream cheese sauce.

Open-Face Blue Moon Burgers with ‘Shrooms


As the 4th of July often involves grilling and burgers, in the spirit of Independence Day grub (one day late), I offer this ahhh-mazing burger. Courtesy of Rachael Ray, it’s the Open-Face Blue Moon Burger with ‘Shrooms…and it will knock your socks off. What makes a burger so good? Well, besides the well-cooked, juicy burger itself, in this case it’s the combo of pungent blue cheese, earthy mushrooms, bright parsley and spicy arugula, all on a crunchy, thick piece of bread with well-seasoned tomatoes underneath. Suffice it to say that the flavors in this are pretty crazy. The mushroom-blue cheese sauce is so delicious that I could drink it straight from the plan.

This is definitely a knife-and-fork kind of burger, and I’m okay with that. It just means there’s lots of delicious, messy stuff going on with it. And it’s pretty awesome when the sauce and burger soften the crusty bread just a little bit and you can sop up all that goodness in one bite.

TW’s Tips

  • I didn’t use 2 whole pounds of beef and I definitely make smaller, more realistic size portions. A quarter pound burger is pretty big, and Rachael calls for a 1/2 pound — yikes. That’s a lotta beef.
  • Baby arugula works well for this, and you won’t need to de-stem.
  • Not the end of the world if you can’t find a yellow tomato. It just looks prettier with some variety in color.

Happy Fourth!

Open-Face Blue Moon Burgers with ‘Shrooms


  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, a generous handful
  • 4 thick slices country-style crusty bread
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 small bunch arugula, washed and thick stems removed
  • 1 red beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 1 yellow beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 4 ounces good-quality blue cheese, crumbled


In a mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin, Worcestershire sauce and chopped shallot. Mix thoroughly. Score the meat with your hand, marking 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a large 1-inch-thick patty. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the patties liberally with some salt and pepper, and then drizzle the patties with a little EVOO and place in the hot skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the patties are firm to the touch and cooked through.

Preheat the broiler.

While the burgers are cooking, preheat a second large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO and butter. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and spread them out in an even layer, resisting the temptation to stir for a few minutes to let the mushrooms start to brown. Once brown, go ahead and stir, continuing to cook for 2 minutes, then add the onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring every now and then, for about 3 minutes, or until the onions start to look tender. Add the chicken stock, bring it up to a bubble, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the parsley and stir to combine; taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

While the burgers and the mushrooms are working, toast the bread slices under the broiler until they are golden on both sides.

Coarsely chop the basil and arugula.

Place a piece of toast on each serving plate. Top each piece of toast with 1 slice of red tomato and 1 slice of yellow, and season the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the arugula-basil mixture and put a cooked burger on top of that. Add the blue cheese crumbles to the mushrooms, stir to combine, and top each burger with the mushroom-blue cheese mixture. Grab a fork and knife and dig in.

Herbaceous Beef Burgers

“Is that cheese oozing out of that delicious-looking burger?” you ask. Why yes. It is.

Which is reason #1 why you need to make these awesome “Herbaceous Beef Burgers” (recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray). You form the burger — beef with a mix of dill, parsley and chives, around a chunk of creamy goat cheese, so when you bite into the burger all of that melty goodness lies in wait inside. The herbs in the burger give it a great, fresh taste, and I love the unconventional burger toppers of cucumber and radish.

I made these burgers with my “Little Sister” through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. It’s a pretty simple, straightforward recipe so it’s great for cooking with someone, and she loved the results! The honey mustard sauce is a great finisher.

TW’s Tips

  • More than 1/4 pound burgers are too big for me — I used about a pound of meat instead of the recommended pound and a half, which makes the burger look sadly small on the huge kaiser roll, but it’s more than enough for a filling meal.
  • I served this with potato salad and fresh corn on the cob from the farmers market — yum!
  • Add on tomato or avocado if you want more veggies involved.

Herbaceous Beef Burgers


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dill (a generous handful)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 4 ounce log goat cheese, quartered
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 crusty whole grain kaiser rolls, split
  • 4 leaves green-leaf lettuce
  • 1/4 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 thin slices red onion


Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine the beef, parsley, dill, chives and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 mounds. Press 1 piece of cheese into the center of each mound, then form a patty around the cheese. Drizzle the patties with EVOO and grill for 4 minutes on each side for medium.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mustard and honey; season with salt and pepper. Layer each roll bottom with lettuce, cucumber, radish, onion and a burger. Spread honey mustard sauce on the cut side of the bun tops and set into place.

Horseradish Burgers with Havarti and Tomato Remoulade

Insert the word “havarti” into any recipe name and you’ve got me! I loved these horseradish burgers courtesy of Guy Fieri’s “Food” cookbook… and not just because of the havarti. The horseradish was JUST enough to give the burger some zip (I hate it when horseradish is overpowering), the meat was moist and juicy, and the remoulade…well, you’ve got to try the remoulade.

Let me say, to start, that I’m not a mayo fan. And remoulade is mostly mayo (which I didn’t know until I read the ingredients). However, the French know best, and if you pair mayo with a number of some of my favorite ingredients — namely dill pickles, capers, Dijon mustard, garlic, Tabasco and sea salt — you’ve got a delicious sauce that I was licking off my fingers as it oozed out from under the bun. Who knew?

Overall, this was a really simple meal to make. Not too many ingredients to mix into the burgers, you just throw them on the grill or grill pan, mix up the remoulade, throw some sweet potato fries in the oven, and you’re good to go!

Horseradish Burgers with Havarti and Tomato Remoulade


Tomato Remoulade

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 anchovy fillet, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 dill pickle, coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh or prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 16 slices Havarti cheese
  • 8 large hamburger buns, split
  • Cooked bacon, lettuce, sliced tomato, and onion, for garnish


In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the remoulade. Pulse a few times to combine. Cover the remoulade and pop it in the fridge while you make the burgers.

Put the beef in a large mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the horseradish and chives; season with salt and pepper. Hand-form the meat into 8 burgers, cover them, and set them aside in the fridge while you prepare your grill.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill and get it very hot. Burgers stick to a cold grill, so it’s important that you give the grill plenty of time to heat. Here is a restaurant tip to keep food from sticking to your grill: Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel; then carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill. This will create a nonstick grilling surface. Grill the burgers for 8 minutes per side for medium; 7 minutes if you like your meat rare. If you like well done, I can’t help you.

When the burgers are just about cooked, put a couple of slices of cheese on top of each and cover the grill for 1 minute to melt the cheese. Remove the burgers to a clean side plate so you have enough room to toast the buns.

Rub the grill rack with the same paper towel as before to clean off the small charred pieces; then toast the hamburger buns cut side down for 1 minute. Serve the burgers with the tomato remoulade and any garnish you like, such as bacon, lettuce, sliced tomato, or onion.