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If you’ve never had the chance to visit, you really should. Yes, it’s true what they say: it rains a lot. But when the sun makes a cameo, Vancouverites come out of the woodwork, regardless of the actual temperature. You’ll see people jogging, wearing shorts, and hanging out on patios. That’s what J. and I did the other day (coming out of the woodwork, not wearing shorts and jogging). We had a full on barbeque, just the two of us.

A Good Burger (makes 4)
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
In the past, I always used recipes for burgers that had bread crumbs, egg, and water like a large, flattened meatball. So when I saw this recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (yes, I have many), I was intrigued. Olive oil and mustard. That’s it. As Ina would say, how easy is that?

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat your barbeque at medium-hot.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add mustard, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork or your fingers. Then shape the meat by gently patting it into 4 patties of equal size and thickness. Then make an indent in the middle of your patty so that it cooks flat and evenly – this is very important! Also, be careful not to compress or overwork the meat, even if it seems like the burger is fragile. This ensures that your burger is tender.

When the grill is hot enough, place the burgers on the grill and cook each side for about 4-5 minutes. Serve with toasted buns and your choice of toppings.

Caramelized Onions
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. thyme (I used dried)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. brown sugar

Heat the butter and olive oil together over low heat in a saucepan. Once the butter is completely melted, add onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to coat the onions in the oil and butter. Then cover and cook for 10 minutes to sweat the onions. Uncover and cook for another 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the onions start to brown too fast, lower the heat even more. Eventually, the onions should get sticky and syrupy. Finally, add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan. Season to taste.