Hamburger—why is it called hamburger and contains no ham? The 12th century Tartars placed their meat under their saddles and during the day’s ride the meat was “ground,” became very tender, and was then eaten raw. The term Steak Tartare refers to a tenderized raw steak dish still served today. The German Hanseatic League traders went to Russia and the Crimea and began trading with the Tartars. They discovered the pounded, tenderized steak and brought the dish back to Germany, to Hamburg to be exact. Eventually the steak was served cooked instead of raw and named Hamburger Steak, meaning steak prepared in the Hamburg style. Hamburger steak migrated to the United States in the 1840s with German immigrants. It was first served during the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. (As a side note, the first waffle cone for ice cream also made its debut at the 1904 World’s Fair.) There the first Hamburger steak was served on a bun and became the Hamburger. The term “burger” is used today to denote a meat or vegetable patty on a bun, as a veggie burger, salmon burger and too many more burger variations to name. Today the recipes are one more hamburger variation and more summer side dishes. Have a hamburger for Father’s Day. Enjoy!

Roquefort Hamburgers

1/4 cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese of your choice

2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

4 slices thick cut sliced French bread or 4 sesame seed hamburger buns

Olive oil for brushing toast or buns

Tomato slices, red onion slices, lettuce for each burger

Combine cheese and butter. Transfer to wax paper and shape into a fat log. Freeze cheese log for 20 minutes until very firm. Add salt and pepper to lean ground beef. Divide ground beef into fourths. Shape each fourth into a ball. Slice Roquefort butter into 4 pieces and insert into the center of each ground beef ball. Reform into thick patties. Grill, or saute in a skillet. Brush French bread slices or sesame buns with olive oil, and grill or toast them. Serve with tomato, thin red onion slices and lettuce if desired. Makes 4 large burgers.

Checkerboard Salad

1/4 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large avocados, peeled, sliced into 1-inch cubes

1/2 pound feta cheese wedge, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 Serrano Chile (For hot and spicy slice into small rounds; for a milder flavor, slice in half lengthwise, remove seeds and membrane, chop into a small dice)

1/4 small Vidalia onion, small dice

1 bunch arugula

Prepare watermelon, avocado, and feta cheese cubes. Layer 3 pieces high into a checkerboard, forming a cube three layers tall. First layer: watermelon, feta, watermelon; second layer: feta, avocado, feta; third layer: watermelon, feta, watermelon. Drizzle with Checkerboard salad dressing, and serve with arugula.

Checkerboard Salad Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil

Juice of one lime

2 Tablespoons champagne or tarragon vinegar

2 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon each kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake very well to blend.

Squares Salad

1/4 watermelon, small and seedless

1/3 pound Asiago cheese

1 bunch arugula

Sprigs of mint

Slice watermelon into 3-inch squares 1-inch thick. Slice Asiago cheese into 3-inch squares 1/4-inch thick. Stack squares, alternating between watermelon and Asiago cheese. Lightly drizzle with white balsamic vinegar and cranberry-chile sauce. Place sprigs of mint. Serve with arugula, or spring mix greens if desired.

White Bean, Tomato and Green Bean Salad


1 Tablespoon Lemon juice

1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (white balsamic vinegar is nice)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Combine ingredients, stirring with a whisk, or shake well in a glass jar. Set aside.


5 cups, cut to 1-inch size, green beans, about 1 pound

1 cup finely chopped tomatoes, or 1/2 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and patted dry with paper towels

1 (15-ounce) can navy or cannellini beans, well-rinsed and drained

1/2 red onion sliced thin and cut into half rings

1/2 cup blue cheese, or other cheese, crumbled

Snap ends off green beans and yellow wax beans. Rinse well. Place green beans in large saucepan of boiling water. Cook 3-5 minutes at a full boil. Remove from heat. Drain. Place green beans in ice water to blanch for 3-5 minutes. Drain completely. Place green beans in a large bowl. Repeat with yellow wax beans. Drain navy or cannellini beans completely. Rinse well. Add tomato, navy or cannellini beans, and onion half slices.

Toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese crumbles. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Yield: 4 servings at 1/2 cup per serving or serve over a bed of mixed salad greens to serve 6 to 8.

Four or Five Bean Salad


1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


1 14-ounce can green beans or 1/2 pound fresh green beans, in 2 inch pieces

1 14-ounce can yellow wax beans or 1/2 pound fresh wax beans in 2 inch pieces

To prepare fresh beans, rinse, snap, and cook 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water. Rinse beans in an ice water bath for 5 minutes. Use as you would canned beans.

1 14-ounce can red kidney beans

1 14-ounce can white cannellini beans or white navy beans

1 14-ounce can garbanzo beans

1 red onion, sliced in very thin half rings

In a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, combine all dressing ingredients. Shake well.

Rinse canned beans; drain completely. Combine all beans and the sliced onion in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Refrigerate salad several hours to overnight to combine flavors. Yield: serves 12

A Ruby Red Fruit Salad


3 Tablespoons light brown sugar

Juice of 1 orange

2 teaspoons honey for additional sweetness and shine, to taste


2 red or purple plums, washed, halved, pitted and sliced into very thin wedges

(Or use peaches or nectarines if plums are unavailable)

2 cups seedless red grapes, each cut in half

1/2 pint blackberries, cut in half if very large

1/2 pint red raspberries

1/4 small watermelon, cut into bite-size pieces

2 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

In a large bowl stir together light brown sugar and orange juice. Add honey if you are using honey for extra sweetness or for shine. Set aside for at least 5 minutes to allow the brown sugar to dissolve. Wash and prepare fruit. Add fruit and mint leaves to large bowl and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate up to 1 day. Serves 6.

Golden Orange & Green Fruit Salad Variation

Dressing: Same as above


2 or 3 peaches (or nectarines) washed, halved, pitted and sliced into very thin wedge

1 yellow or green apple, washed, cored and sliced into thin wedges

1 yellow or green pear, washed, cored and sliced into thin wedges

2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments

Or one small can Mandarin orange segments or both

1 small pineapple, cut into chunks, or 1 small can pineapple chunks

2 cups seedless green grapes; grapes cut into halves

2 small kiwi, peeled, stem end removed, cut in half and sliced into thick wedges

2 Tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped

In large bowl stir together orange juice and brown sugar. Add honey if desired. Allow to stand for 5 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve. Wash and prepare fruit. If using any canned fruit, drain very well and pat dry. Add fruit and mint leaves to dressing in large bowl. Gently toss to combine. Refrigerate for up to 1 day. Serves 6.