July 6, 2013 Comments Off on fourth

We live in an immensely practical state.  Fireworks for the 4th of July get spread out over three days in our little corner of the place–the big city politely gets theirs out of the way on the 3rd, leaving the suburbs to fire all of theirs off on the 4th.  This means the smaller towns get to go on the 5th–Friday this year.  The result?  Everyone gets to see two or three fireworks displays, and none of the small places get abandoned by people looking for bigger and better shows.  

I got the kids back on the 3rd, leaving my folks to go see the ones in the big city.  There was a concert beforehand, and my folks, being my folks, left before the fireworks started to beat the traffic.  We went there on the 4th to watch all of the suburbs fire theirs off–from the condo balcony we counted five major displays, plus uncountable backyard pyrotechnics that barely made it above the tree line.  My mom made brats for us and turkey burgers for her and L, and while O went straight for the brats, she did point out that I’d never grilled turkey burgers for them before.

“And with good reason,” I told her.  “The reason people eat turkey burgers instead of beef burgers is to cut down on fat.”  And the way you make delicious stuff on the grill is to make sure whatever it is comes loaded with fat–either in the grillable itself, or slathered on to the outside of it.  Turkey?  Skinny stuff–fine for the oven if properly basted, but death by dryness on the grill.

Still, O persisted, and I looked up as many hacks as I could.  Ricotta cheese?  Bacon?  I went with a couple of egg yolks and a miso and mirin paste folded into ground turkey.  And the other strategy, which I figured was foolproof, was to make sure the burgers came loaded with toppings.  That way, if the meat ended up dry, at least there’d be some crunch and juiciness on top of it.


And were there toasted brioche buns to go with them?  There were.  This is the Jeffrey Hertzberg/Zoe Francis “Five Minute” brioche formula, albeit a little wetter and, therefore, a little bit puffier.  Brioche is a kid-week-only affair; even lightened up, the stuff has enough butter and egg yolk in it to quickly chew up a whole morning workout’s worth of calories.  Just the thing for two scrawny teenagers, though, and the leftovers will make for good grilled cheese sandwiches.

The results?  Fair.  The kids plowed through them and pronounced them fine, I thought they were still turkey burgers–a bit on the dry side, and even with the miso/mirin flavor bomb they still ended up tasting like toppings.  Which, given some organic tomatoes, bean sprouts, and blanched red onions, were hardly bad–just not the beefy hit that a good burger would give you.

The fireworks last night in our fair city were spectacular, of course.  O spent most of the display texting best friend A, who’s in town visiting for the week.  But C and I had a good time discussing the sublimity of the whole experience.  Fireworks, like Roman ruins or the Sears Tower, are very good at reminding you how very small you are, and I think C likes the idea that really, really big things put everyone–small people included, on a more or less even footing.


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