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Burgers and dogs, dressed up for the party

Memorial Day always triggers the cookout season — if you can dodge whatever showers and storms we’re having at the time.

This year, we’re going to throw lots of ideas at you thanks to variety of food blogs.

Burgers have become an anything goes meal. You can even make a cauliflower burger or serve your burger on a ramen noodle bun or a doughnut. That pretty much runs the gamut, doesn’t it?

You can also fill your burger with things like buffalo chicken, salmon, falafel or peanut butter. To heck with tradition.

Hot dogs are not getting equal attention, sadly, but we’ll throw in some ideas for those, too.

This one is for my vegetarian friend, who’s looking for new recipes:

Spicy Cauliflower Burgers

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 head cauliflower (about 6 cups florets)

3-4 Tbsp. oil, divided

A few generous shakes of spicy seasoning, such as chili powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, etc.

1 minced garlic clove

3/4 cup breadcrumbs or ground almonds

3/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the quinoa according to package directions, but use just 1 cup broth or water.

Cut the cauliflower into florets, transfer to a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and sprinkle with the spices. Roast for 20-30 minutes. Let cool. Pulse in a food processor to form small pieces that stick together, but do not puree.

Combine the cauliflower with the quinoa, garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, salt and more of your spicy seasoning. Form 10 patties.

In an oiled or non-stick pan over medium heat, cook the burgers until golden brown on each side, flipping carefully to avoid breaking. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

Top with slaw, chipotle mayo and magic green sauce.

The slaw can be as simple as a sliced cabbage, lime juice, a little oil and cilantro. You want something crunchy.

To make chipotle mayonnaise, buy a can of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and mix about 1 Tbsp. with 3/4 cup mayo. The more chipotle you add, the spicier it will be.

Magic Green Sauce

1 avocado

1 cup packed mixed parsley and cilantro leaves

1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed

2 cloves garlic

Juice of 1 or 2 limes

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup pistachios

Pulse all ingredients except nuts in a food processor until blended. Add pistachios and pulse until smooth.

Serve as a dip, spread or sauce. This would be delicious on a ground beef or turkey burger, as well.

— Pinch of Yum

After watching a video of making the ramen burger, it’s obvious that is way too labor intensive for a crowd. You’d spend half the day making the ramen buns before you ever got around to assembling, and the whole thing is supposed to be served hot.

The same was true for the burgers with macaroni and cheese buns. First, you have to make macaroni and cheese, and then let it chill for several hours or overnight. And then make the buns and then cook them. It’s a holiday, people!

The doughnut burgers are basically a hamburger served between two doughnuts. You could try it with candied bacon if you want to further ruin your diet.

This one, though, sounds good and it’s not complicated.

Outrageous Chorizo Poblano Cheeseburgers

Chipotle Aioli

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp. chipotle powder, or to taste

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Charred Poblano Peppers

4 large poblano peppers

Chorizo burgers

3/4 pound Mexican chorizo

3/4 pound grond beef

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground chipotle, optional

Toppings

Monterey jack or cheddar cheese slices

Lettuce leaves

Charred poblano peppers

Tomato

Red onion

Hamburger buns

First, make the aioli by whisking together all the ingredients until smooth in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Can be made several days in advance and used on other things.

Using your broiler, gas stove or grill, char the poblanos all over by placing in a dry skillet, baking sheet or directly on the grill. Use tongs to turn until completely blackened. Remove from heat and put in a bowl covered loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to cool before removing the skin, stem and seeds. Cut into lengthwise strips. Set aside.

Mix the chorizo, ground beef and seasonings in a bowl. Divide into four patties and indent the center of each patty. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, then cook the burgers on a grill, in a pan or in the oven. Place cheese on top and melt it slightly.

Spread the buns or rolls with the chipotle aioli. Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom halves of your burger buns or rolls, add a slice of tomato and top with burgers. Top with slices of poblano peppers and onion, if desired. Serve.

— The Heritage Cook

On to the dogs. You know you can put just about anything on top of a hotdog — chili, slaw, onions, mustard, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut, crushed potato chips, cheese, pickled peppers, pickles of all sorts, Thousand Island dressing, whatever you can imagine.

The cheesier the better, I think.

Grilled Cheese Dogs

4 hot dog buns

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

4 hot dogs, cut lengthwise

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Assorted toppings

Flatten hot dogs with a rolling pin. In a small bowl, stir together butter, garlic and onion powder. Spread over the bottom side of the buns.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sear hot dogs until charred. Set aside.

Place bun buttered side down in the skillet and top with 1/2 cup cheddar. Top with a sliced open hot dog and sprinkle with cheddar and the topping of your choice, like green onions, cilantro, a little relish, etc.

Make sure you have cheddar on both sides of the flattened bun. Cover the pan with a lid and let the cheese melt, then use a spatula to close the bun.

Serve with lots of napkins.

Pickle Dogs

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

2 Tbsp. chopped chives

Salt and pepper

5 hot dogs

5 large pickles

Mustard

Ketchup

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar and chives. If this is for kids, you might want to leave the chives out. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large skillet or grill pan, cook the hot dogs until slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side.

Slice pickles lengthwise, but don’t cut through. Using a spoon, scrape out some of the seeds in the center. Spread each pickle with the cream cheese mixture, add the cooked hot dog and serve with ketchup and mustard.

— Delish

Other ideas: Serve hot dogs in a corn or flour tortilla with a little guacamole and onion and pass the salsa.

Add a slice of deli ham, Swiss cheese and sliced pickles for a Cuban dog.

Place cooked dogs in buns on the grill and top with shredded mozzarella and pepperoni, with a little warmed marinara sauce. Allow cheese to melt before serving.

Top the hot dogs with macaroni and cheese, potato tots or corn chips.

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