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Hamburgers: Condiments are Key

So, now that you've got those perfectly ground, formed, and cooked burgers on the platter with the requisite veggies, how can you make those patties sing? A cheese plate with a few out-of-the-ordinary choices is a welcome addition. As are sliced avocados (sprinkled with lemon juice to keep them from browning) and grilled onion slices. All of these are simple and delicious additions to the usual spread of toppings and choices to offer.  But making your own condiments? Believe it or not, many are easy to make and have convenient yields, so you won't be complaining about all of the catsup you've had to fit in the fridge or can.

All the same, we usually have two minds about these types of recipes as we make our way through the JOY testing each and every one of them. When we sit down to blog, it is often hard to decide which recipes to share. Many of them are fabulous, but we save them for another time or venue because we feel it might be too much work for what you get. We definitely have this concern whenever we venture into the condiment-focused areas of the book, especially with commonly-used, store-bought items like mayo, catsup/ketchup, and the rest. It often feels a little tragic, as there is such a big difference between these squeeze-bottle products and what you can get out of you own kitchen.

Luckily, when we rediscovered Red Onion-Garlic Catsup during a recent test, we decided that all of the usual concerns were made laughable by the ease with which you can whip this stuff up and the marvelous results. It is perfectly at home atop a burger, keeping bites of flank steak company, or any number of other places you might reach for a relish, steak sauce, or tomato catsup.

An even worthier substitute for tomato catsup, Marisa Mcclellan's Tomato Jam pairs wonderfully with your other favorite burger toppings (but most especially a slice of extra-sharp cheddar cheese and some dill pickle slices), or, for a middle-of-the-road compromise, take your favorite store-bought mayo and add a pinch of ancho chile powder and a squeeze of lime.

Red Onion-Garlic Catsup
about 3 cups

Heat in a large deep skillet over medium heat:
     1⁄3 cup olive oil
Add and cook, stirring often, until well browned, 10 to 20 minutes:
     5 large red onions, thinly sliced
Stir in and cook until the garlic and ginger are softened, about 3 minutes:
     1⁄4 cup minced garlic
     1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
     1 medium ripe tomato, finely diced
Add:
     1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
     5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
     1⁄2 cup molasses
     3⁄4 cup cider vinegar
     1 teaspoon ground allspice
Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with:
     Salt and black pepper to taste
Let cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, puree it in a blender or food processor. Serve warm or cold.

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Note: For a tart crumble, add the smaller amount of sugar. For a sweeter crumble, add the larger amount.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Have a 9-inch pie pan ready.
Combine in a...