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From the Kitchen: A last taste of summer’s long days

CHRISTIAN TYLER RANDOLPH | Gazette-Mail file photo

How about another go-round with a cookout or picnic before we have to don heavy coats?

Make-believing we’re still in the month of July, what do you think about trying an Italian burger and a little strawberry lemonade about now?

It’s a good thing if you say yes, because with today’s recipes you have the instructions to do just that.

You may suppress those annoying hunger pangs with a mighty scrumptious hamburger full of old-world flavorings. We here at the ranch branded it with our stamp of approval.

Initially, when reading the recipe, I feared it might not amount to more than just a meatball on a bun, but it came out as a respectable savory patty.

I used the seasoned fresh ground turkey from a brand sold in Walmart, but with all the other seasonings added to the meat, plain ground turkey or beef will be fine.

I had some uncooked patties left over and froze them. When they were later cooked, the burger tasted the same as it did when fresh.

I do that a lot — make a batch of something with the purpose of freezing a portion. And most times it’s something that I go ahead and cook, preserving the leftovers. It makes mealtime quicker by defrosting/heating a ready-to-go dish.

It’s also a frequent practice of mine to cut a recipe down to fit two to four servings, but sticking to the standard amounts in a dish that’s freezer-friendly.

As for a beverage today, I had been on the hunt for a homemade strawberry lemonade since this year’s Memorial Day TasteofALL event. A food vendor had made it as part of their Taste menu.

I saw the glistening, rosy, frost-on-the-dispenser beverage early on while helping get the room and restaurants set up. I didn’t get back to it until later. Much too much later. It was naturally a sell-out and had disappeared.

Luckily, the Pampered Chef site came to the rescue with their easy recipe. And I know there’s a powdered drink mix and even bottled already-prepared strawberry lemonade out there, but this one lets you make your own lemonade from fresh lemons to enable you to brag, “I made it myself.”

You may only have difficulty with one ingredient — the frozen daiquiri mix. The Southridge Walmart doesn’t carry it.

I did find it here in Charleston at Bigley Foodland. It may be in other grocery stores, especially Kroger, but I halted my search after uncovering it at Foodland.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at

Italian Burger

Makes 6 patties

1 egg

¾ cup grated Parmesan or three-cheese Italian

½ cup finely chopped or grated onion

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

¾ teaspoon dried basil

¾ teaspoon dried oregano

¾ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon dried crushed rosemary

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 pound ground beef (suggested 80/20 ratio) or Italian-seasoned or plain ground turkey

Sliced provolone

Pizza or pasta sauce, warmed

Buttered and toasted hamburger buns, onion buns or English muffins

WHISK egg, cheese, onion, parsley and all seasonings until blended well; stir in beef or turkey, mixing gently but well.

DIVIDE mixture into six portions, flattening each to a patty. Cook as desired until no longer pink in center. Top with cheese; place on bun bottom; spread with sauce; place bun top on burger and serve.

NOTE: If you have any sautéed peppers; fried-to-golden-brown onions; cooked mushrooms; sliced fresh tomatoes; and arugula lettuce, they may be added to the burger. To get totally over the top, sauté pepperoni slices just until heated through and arrange over the patty in the bun.

Strawberry Lemonade

Makes 12 (1-cup) servings (over 2 quarts)

1 10-ounce can frozen non-alcohol strawberry daiquiri mix, thawed

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

¾ cup sugar

10 cups cold water

Fresh strawberries, halved — optional

STIR together in 3-quart pitcher or container the daiquiri mix, lemon juice, sugar and water. Add strawberries in amount to taste; chill until serving time.

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