Thirty Minute Thursdays: Perfect Burgers + 2 Tasty Side Salads make for a healthy cookout!

At the risk of completely contradicting all that I wrote yesterday, I’d like to introduce a new feature here at Floptimism: Thirty Minute Thursdays, the day of the week where I will feature one (or several) dishes that I’ve made recently from my Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals cookbook.

Most of the recipes I post here are either my own creations or pulled from internet sites, and as I collect more and more bookmarked recipes to try, my rather large collection of real, tangible cookbooks has been tragically neglected. I decided that starting this summer, I would choose a cookbook and cook my way through it, perhaps in a vaguely Julie & Julia manner, but a little more relaxed. I won’t cook absolutely everything and I don’t have a deadline for when I want to “finish” – I just want to start clearing out my cookbooks, testing the waters, finding gems, and donating ones that don’t really live up to expectations.

 There’s only one dilemma: do I post the recipes? I have posted recipes from cookbooks – in fact, from this Rachael Ray cookbook specifically – and in general don’t find it to be ethically troublesome, especially when I alter the recipe here or there. However, if I’m turning this into a blog feature and planning to post a vast majority of a single cookbook’s recipes, is that copyright infringement? Is it threatening Rachael Ray’s profit margins if I just hand you the book, each week a different page, free of charge? How thin is the ice on which I’m skating? I’d love to know your opinions, because I’m really not sure where the line is drawn.

For now, I’ll share with you 2 photos and post one of the recipes. I made a vinegar cole slaw and a three-bean salad as side dishes for 4th of July, and paired them with delicious grass-fed burgers, spiced according to what Annie at Annie’s Eats calls The Perfect Hamburger Recipe. I have to say, the burgers were pretty tasty, though not intensely flavored enough for me to deem them quite perfect. Delicious? Absolutely! Easy? Sure thing! Next time I might add a few more onions and a dash more spice, personally, but definitely check out her post for that recipe.

 Now back to these salads. The cole slaw recipe was good, enjoyable, but nothing memorable. In fact, at its worst it could be described as bland, though I think that’s being a little too harsh. At its best, it is a simple, very subtle slaw that improves after a little time out in the fridge – I’m talking overnight, not the 20 minutes Rachael calls for. I enjoyed it more when I added some paprika, and even more when I mixed some leftovers with roasted veggies and grilled chicken pieces. My mom said it reminded her a little bit of a vinegar cole slaw she makes sometimes, though she insinuated that hers was better and, well, mighty flavorful. If I make that any time soon (or just taste it!) I’ll have to let you know.

The three-bean salad was much, much better. If you don’t like beans, you can sit this one out (my dad’s not a big bean guy – can’t get him past it), but if you do…please try this salad. It’s extremely flavorful, tangy with a bite from a wasabi-infused mustard I used, and the texture of the cool beans is very pleasant. L said he doesn’t really like cool, non-traditional salads so he warmed his up and gave me a thumbs up for it, so I can now tell you with confidence that it’s delicious at any temperature. I also ate the last of it over fresh spinach this afternoon, and it was wonderful. My only complaint with the recipe is that it makes an obscene amount of dressing – you could easily quarter the dressing and still have enough to generously coat the salad. I served it with a slotted spoon and it was still a little drenched, so I’ve indicated that change below.

Three Bean Salad, adapted from Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 6-8 servings

The Ingredients
½ pound fresh green beans, washed and cut into thirds
1-2 heaping teaspoon dijon or wasabi mustard
½-1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
15 ounces red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup parsley, minced

The Method
Steam the green beans and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, combine the mustard, sugar and vinegar in a medium-large bowl and whisk in the oil. Add all three beans and the parsley, tossing to coat evenly. Serve slightly chilled, room temperature, or slightly warmed, to taste.*

*This dish can be made in advance, though you may want to consider upping the dressing a little to keep it moist as it sits in the fridge. The extra dressing can be drained prior to serving if desired.

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