If you’re of a certain age and you remember, or maybe you’re just addicted to “Saturday Night Live” reruns, the culinary battle cry of “Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!” will probably make you roar with laughter, feel really hungry, or a little bit of both. Though September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day, who needs a reason to salute and savor this sizzling American classic?
For so many of us, the thought of a juicy grilled burger for lunch topped with velvety, melting Swiss, cheddar, Jarlsberg, gruyere, pepper jack, muenster, bleu cheese–even traditional American cheese is enough to bring us up from the beach or straight off the trail. In the kitchen or as the star of a backyard barbeque or hibachi picnic in the park, creative cheeseburgers can be crowned with bacon, tomato (try sun dried!), red onion, guacamole, teriyaki sauce, sauerkraut, relish, barbeque sauce, sautéed onions and mushrooms, roasted eggplant, chili, pineapple, ham, salsa, chipotle or jalapeno peppers–or maybe a tasty grouping of these (why stop at one or two?)!
Though some reports claim otherwise, among the most widely accepted accounts of the origin of the cheeseburger is that it was born in the 1920s, a creation of young Lionel Clark Sternberger who was a chef in his father’s Pasadena, California restaurant: The Rite Spot.
Standard as bar food (sliders and a cold one, anyone?!), and elevated in more recent times to tempt discriminating diners at a host of posh eateries, off-the-charts cheeseburgers using Kobe beef, brie cheese, caviar or truffles can pique the palate though not without poking a few holes in the pocketbook. And if beef is not your bailiwick, variations can include using ground turkey or chicken, with many of today’s veggie burgers on the market supremely tasty (try the ones made with black beans for extra protein and fiber, or make the recipe below). Try these twist-on-tradition recipes for kicked-up cheeseburgers, and celebrate National Cheeseburger Day in very good taste!
Bleu Cheese Burgers
2 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 Kaiser rolls, split
For sauce, in a small bowl stir together yogurt, bleu cheese, mayonnaise or salad dressing, and mustard. Cover and chill until serving time.
Crumble ground beef into a large bowl. Add green onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper; mix well. Shape mixture into six 3/4-inch-thick patties.
Grill patties on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until meat in no longer pink, turning once. Top with bleu cheese sauce.
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