Smashing my meat through Texas – Burger

Hi Folks.  Another year means another burger recipe.  This one took top honors at the second annual Nunes’ Yard Knife Fight!  I’ll give the recipe for a single burger.  Please scale up for each burger.

2x 85g balls of regular ground beef (not lean, you need the fat)
2x slice of pepper-jack cheese
1tsp BBQ sauce
1tsp mayonnaise
1tbsp (heaped) sauced pulled pork
1-2 onion rings*
2tsp butter
1 plain white bun (fresh but not fancy)
Salt
Pepper

*if you are making your own onion rings here is the ingredients for that.
3/4C of AP Flour
1 can cheap beer
Salt & Pepper
1 Sweet Onion

Ok so IF you can, make your own pulled pork some time in advance.  Pulled pork is great in that you can freeze leftovers and this is a great use.  I always like to put a pork product on my burgers (typically bacon) but this is a great little mix up.  Because the pulled pork is (or should be) a smoked product you still get a little of that bacon-esq flavor going on while providing new flavors and a neat new texture.  Pulled pork is less ‘chewy’ than bacon.  Keep the pulled pork warm on a very low burner while you work on the rest of the burger.

Cut and butter your bun and set aside.

Start heating your frying oil to about 350F (170C).  You can use store bought onion rings if you must but they are so easy to make using a simple beer batter.  O used 3/4C of AP flour, 1 can of cheap beer, salt, pepper and whatever other seasoning.  Whip it smooth.  Cut your onion into 1cm thick rings, dump in the batter and fry until crispy and golden.  Don’t over crowd your oil or the temp will drop.  I use about 5cm of oil in a dutch oven as my fryer.  Use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable.  You can use peanut (great fry oil) but check with guest re: allergies please.  I used a large sweet onion here.  Try to match your onion size to the size of your bun.  You want it to be just under bun diameter.  Once the rings come out of the oil place on a rack or paper towel to let extra oil off.  SALT YOUR RINGS!  They will taste super bland if you don’t.  Don’t be shy with the salt.  We aren’t making health food here today folks.  Keep the rings in just a low, warm oven (170F is my lowest oven setting).

Ok.  Now get a flat top or cast iron skillet nice and hot.  A medium high heat on a stovetop is great.  You CANNOT make this type of burger on a grill.  Trust me.  Toast your buns until they are nice and golden.  Set aside but have your other condiments ready.  These come together fast.

Toss your pulled pork onto the griddle.  It will get crispy as you cook your burgers.

Ball your meat into loose balls.  Do not add filler.  Do not pack tight.  Just nice loose balls of only meat.  Once your grill is hot place two balls down and then smash them to about 50 to 75mm thick.  Real nice and thin.  If you have a wide, flat fipper use that.  I used a sauce pot.  Whatever you have that is heavy and flat.  Smash it good.  These are called smash burgers.  Now DO NOT TOUCH the burgers for at least 45 to 90 seconds.  Just toss salt and pepper on them. Again be generous.  There is no other seasoning in these burgers.  Once you see the browning start to creep up the sides of the burger and you see some fat really start to sizzle, then we can flip.

Once we flip don’t bother seasoning again.  These are nice and thin so one side is fine.  Place your pepper jack on one of the burgers and rush over to your bun.  WAIT!  Check that pulled pork.  Toss it around a bit.  Don’t let it burn.  Ok.  Now to your bun.

You about about 45 seconds to get this right so buckle up charlie.  Toss some BBQ sauce on the bottom bun and some mayo on the top but.

Put your onion ring on the top bun and go get your pulled pork, put it on the bottom bun.

Ok.  Now your burgers should be just about ready.  Have a little peak under them to make sure they are nice and crusty.  Put the plain patty over the cheesed patty and then transfer onto your pulled pork.

That is it.  Bob’s your uncle.  It was a hell of a ride but you now have a very tasty BBQ inspired burger.  Enjoy!

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Deadly 3 Cheese Mac n Cheese

Holy Moly I scored big on this one.  Right cheese blend and totally creamy.

1 bag of macaroni pasta (750g)

1 small onion (diced)

1/2 crown of broccoli (diced)

~300g of picnic ham (diced)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (grated)

1 1/4 cup pizza mozzarella (grated)

1/2 cup smoked gouda (grated)

2 tbsp butter

2 to 3 tbsp AP flour

473ml whipping cream (~2c)

Salt and Pepper

Bread Crumbs

 

Ok.  In a med sauce pan saute the onion, broccoli, ham and garlic.  Only about 5 to 7 minutes.  They dont have to be right cooked soft because the whole mess is going into the oven.  In the meantime get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.  Drop your pasta when the water boils and cook as per instructions minus a minute.  You want them a little under done because again, whole mess goes in the oven.  Once your veg/meat mix is done set it aside in a bowl.  Wipe out that same pan and make a roux with the butter and flour.  Make sure you cook it out for a minute before adding your cream.  Slowly in small batches add the cream, making sure to combine the previous addition before adding more.  Once about half the cream has been incorporated you can add the second half in larger portions.  Once you have your basic bechamel toss in your cheese (reserving 1/4c of the cheddar and mozzarella for topping) and stir until creamy.  Toss in your veg/meat mix and stir for 2 minutes.  Once all the flavors have mixed tast and season with salt and pepper.  I’d wait until now to season because both the cheese and the ham bring salt to the party.  Your pasta will also carry some salt so it should be just to taste at this point.  If you havent already done so drain that pasta and throw it back into it’s pot.  Now dump that evil good cheese sauce over the pasta and stir.  Taste once more for seasoning before dumping it into a heatproof baking dish.  Now at this point if you aren’t feeding 10 people you can refrigerate or freeze a portion.  Once in the heatproof dish sprinkle the remaining cheese and a bit of breadcrumb over the top.  Bake at 425f for about 20 mins or until the cheese on top is nice and bubbly and the breadcrumbs have browned.  Let stand a while before serving cuz she is HOT.  Have fun!

King Kamehameha’s Revenge

I blog post from Brad!?  Hath hell frozen over?  Nah.  I just made a kick butt burger and I don’t want to forget what I did.  This burger was created for the first annual Nunes’ Yard Knife Fight burger contest.  I huge shout out to the Johnson’s for stepping up with their Little Nero slider/caesar combo.  Everyone ate well so we are all winners.

Yield 8 large burgers

The patties

  • 600g grnd pork
  • 600g grnd beef
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs (opt)
  • 3 table spoons Epicure Asian Stir Fry seasoning
  • 2 table spoons of soy sauce
  • salt & peppers

The rest

  • large Hawaiian sweet rolls (or other bun)
  • 8 pineapple rings
  • 8 thin slices of Spam
  • 2 med onions
  • ~8 large mushrooms
  • 1.5oz of Canadian Rye Whiskey (I recommend Crown Royal)
  • Teriyaki sauce (~1 tsp per burger)
  • Mayo
  • Butter
  • Pepper Jack Cheese (or other spicy mild gooey/melty cheese)
  • Siracha

Combine all the fixings for the burgers in a large bowl and mix well.  You your hands.  Get right in there and squeeze that flesh.  Go right savage.  Add breadcrumbs if your mixture is a little too wet/loose.  You want it to form up into nice balls.

Roll out 16 ~200g balls of meat.  Press them flat and then place a small chunk of the pepper jack cheese on 8 of them.  Use the remaining 8 as toppers and seal that chunk-o-cheese in the burger.

Set your Sous-vide machine to 140F and…  WHAT!?  You don’t have a sous-vide machine?  Why is Brad going all French when he just took French 11 so he could go on the sweet ski trip (props to putting up with me Mdm. Park)?  Anyway I’m not going to go into it but google sous-vide and then go buy a unit.  It will change your life.  Anyway sous-vide the burgers at 140 for 90 minutes.

While your burgers are getting all frisky.  slice the onions and the mushrooms and cook them slowly over medium heat with a lot of butter (2-4 tbsps) for at least 30 minutes, longer if you aren’t burning them.  Low and slow makes the best onions.  I recommend doing this in a cast iron skillet for reasons soon to be revealed.

Don’t forget to start your charcoal grill (because propane is for chumps!) when your burgers at at the 45 minute mark.

Once the grill is at temp you can grill your Spam and pineapple, leaving it at the corner of the grill to stay warm.

When there is 5 minutes left on your sous-vide, toss the whiskey into the onions/mushrooms and ignite to flambe them.  This legit works so well in imparting that nice sweet rye flavor into the onion/mushroom mix and adding some really nice char flavors.  It really elevates the onions.  I call them Royal Onions (because Crown Royal).  I guess they could be Club Onions or Alberta Premium Onions if you are desperate.  Anyway light it up.  Your guest will be impressed (if you don’t burn anything down.  Do this step outside with a hose nearby for safety).  Anyway keep those beauties warm.

Toast your buns before you put the burgers on the grill you want them set up and ready to go.  Throw some mayo on both the top and bottom bun.

Once your burgers are done sous-vide grill them on the hottest part of the grill for about 60 seconds per side.  Move quickly.  Drop burger on the grill, slather a little teriyaki sauce on it and get ready with a second slice of pepper jack.  After no more than 60 seconds flip, slather again and throw that cheese on.  Keep the slice thin so it melts.  Remember there is cheese in the burger so you don’t need much more.

Just before the burger comes off, throw some of your royal onion/mushroom on the bottom bun.  Then hit it with your burger.  Then the grilled pineapple and the Spam.  Now drizzle (for shizzle) the Siracha over the mess and top with the final bun.

Now I recommend serving this with some sweet potato fries and Siracha mayo.  Throw a drink umbrella in it and try (unsuccessfully) to convince your wife to serve it in a grass skirt and coconut bikini.  You also have to do a perfect cross section and show off the cheese oozing out of it.

So why the name?  Well clearly it is Hawaiian themed.  I also wanted the cheese to kinda be like lava flowing.  And the revenge is because it has a little heat to it.  It really isn’t that hot.  You could crank it up with a hotter hot sauce if you wanted to but this is a real nice mild heat.

So there you have it.  Enjoy and maybe I’ll post more things here.

Holiday Update

I was recently approached by a local paper to write articles for them.  Unfortunately due to declining ad revenues the addition I was supposed to post for didn’t see the light of day.  It did, however, get me in the urge to start writing a little.  The following are some of my musing on the holiday season.

As I sit back in my chair with my value-brand scotch (this economy.  Amiright?) my mind drifts to the season and what it means for me an my family.  This is a special time of year when right about December 12th I start to freak right the heck out trying to sort out all the Christmas gifts I could have just ordered online but procrastinated too long.  I am then forced to throw on a pair of pants and my festive holiday-stained t-shirt and venture forth unto The Mall.  The most holy of shrines in this consumer season.  I have my routine down pretty good.  I have a list.  And if I am lucky I have even brought it with me instead of leaving it on the counter at home.  With (maybe) list in hand I first have to put’er in 4 low and monster truck onto the glacier that was once a parking space.  After removing the crampons from the hike down the mountain I wade into The Mall.  Being stubby as I am gives me an advantage to facing the Christmas crowds.  My low centre of gravity allows me dig under and hip check my way past screaming child and frail elderly alike.  I give a quick salute to the mall Santa.  He is the true hero of the season.  Having that many children sit on an old dude’s lap without anyone getting arrested is really an amazing feat.  I deftly dodge from store to store, my arms weary with the load.  And at each stop I pull out my prayer card.  Not because it is a holy instrument but because I pray every time I swipe it that it still works.  It is amazing but as I make my way back to my truck I find that I have gained Samson-esq strength, carrying what appears to be three times my body weight in toys, booze and discount chocolates (this economy.  Amiright?).  After quickly apply my parking ticket (apparently I was parked in Sherpa only parking) to another person’s window (Merry Christmas!) I pull onto the highway and head for home.  As Mr. Buble reminds me for the 100th time this year that a fat dude in red is about to pull off an astounding amount of B & Es I let my mind drift to the more import parts of the season.  I know that you have been force fed tinsel and good cheer since the day after Halloween but try to remember it is important to celebrate the holidays.  Take any time off you have to really try to connect with your family.  This year I want to spend more time on the slopes telling Lucas to ‘make a damn pizza already!’, and Ben to ‘Stop whining, you are not hurt!’ and of course Tam ‘Yes dear’.  But really, I encourage everyone to connect with loved ones and really make this season one of love and joy.  Put things like job stress, relationship troubles and US president-elect on the back shelf.  Get out, enjoy the amazing beauty we have around us and let that fill your heart with the joy of the season.  And if that doesn’t work, there is always the budget scotch.  Have a Merry Christmas

Mini Pita Pizzas

So I totally stole this from my brother-in-law.  He made them for us one evening and they are stellar.

Serves 4

4 8inch Whole Wheat Pitas

4 tbsp Pesto

8 tbsp Pizza Sauce

2 BBQed Chicken Breasts (diced)

1/2 Package Turkey Bacon

2 Cup Diced Spinach

1 Green Pepper (diced)

1/2 Medium Onion (diced)

2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (Grated)

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Spoon a tbsp of pesto on each pita.  Spread evenly.  Spoon 2 tbsp pizza sauce on each pita.  Spread evenly.  Now top the pizza with a portion of the chicken, bacon, onion, peppers and spinach.  Finish it off with the cheese.  Bake the pizzas right on the rack for about 10 minutes.

Super simple and super tasty.  But wait!  You like pineapple on your pizza!?  Ok.  Put some on!  You can swap out whatever you want.  Just don’t over-top the pizzas or they won’t cook properly.  Also, because of the short cook time, pre-cook all meat and if you want softer veggies, pre-cook them a little as well.  Another neat tip is you can prep a lot of topping and have it a few times in a week.  Then all you have to do it top and cook.

Once again thank to Josh and Sonia for the great recipe.  Comment below with your own pizza topping ideas!

Bike to work year

As some of you know I ride my bike to work. I have been doing this for over a year now. I really enjoy it and it saves us a ton of money. Here are some of the pearls of wisdom I have learned over the year.
First off I will let you know my cycling style. I ride about 4k a day (2 to work and 2 back home). Second is I ride in almost all weather conditions. That is the type of riding I will be talking about commuter riding in all weather.
Let’s go over some of the gear you will need starting with your bike. Currently I am riding on a $50 walmart special and while it has served me well, you may want to invest a little if you are riding all the time. My bike is really starting to show wear and it just isn’t really meant to last. You also want to find a good all around bike. If you by a skinny tired road bike it will work great on dry, clean roads but as soon as you hit rain, gravel or snow (yes you can hit snow) you are in trouble. Also, a huge tired mountain bike is great for getting through the slick and loose stuff but you have to really work a lot harder to move those big soft tires up a hill. Also, you are really going to want a few gears. I really don’t see the need to have more than 15 (I typically only use about 5 of mine) but you need some. Those fancy classic cruiser bikes may look cool (I am taking to you, artsy hipsters!) but if they don’t have gears you will find yourself walking your bike. Go to your local bike shop and tell them what you are doing with your bike. They should be able to show you a few good commuter bikes that should let you ride almost every day. As for bike accessories I highly recommend some lights. I don’t ride much at night but during the winter I have had to be at work early. You really need both a headlight and a taillight to be seen. Some nice LED based lights work great and last a long time between battery changes. I, personally, am not a big fan of mud flaps. I find they get in the way more than they keep you dry but give them a shot if you like. I also don’t use a bag rack on my bike. I just use a backpack but if you have to haul a lot of gear to and from work you may want to invest in a bag rack and maybe some saddle bags. You want to have more space than you think you need. Buy a really long bike lock. A long lock works best in case you ever need to lock to a tree. I just use a bare metal chain and a pad lock. It works well. That pretty much covers it in the bike department. On to all weather clothing.
You have to be ready for all weather conditions. Let’s start from the bottom and work up. I use a simple running shoe for riding. It works well and is comfortable. I also have a change of shoes at my office because while running shoes go great with a bike they don’t go well with a tie. Also, your shoes may get wet so always have a spare pair. That goes for socks too. Throw a spare pair in a desk or a locker at work. In the summer, wear shorts when you bike. If you are wearing pants, you have to make sure they don’t get into your front sprocket (gears) or you will tear them and jam up your bike. Wear tight fitting pants (shudder), tuck your pants into your socks (shudder) or use a Velcro strap to keep them away. I know that all of these solutions aren’t the most fashionable but it is better than going through a pair of pants every week. In cold weather I also wear long johns. Your legs will get pretty chilly without them. As with most things, dress in layers on top. I wear just a t-shirt in the summer but in colder weather I either wear a hoodie or my winter jacket. Be sure if you are wearing heavy clothing you can unzip as you go. My ride to work is always way colder then my ride home. If you are really sensitive to cold weather you may want to wrap a scarf around your face or get a mask. You want to find a good pair of tight fitting glasses. Try not to get a pair that is tinted too dark. You need to wear them in many different weather conditions. Cold air, snow (yeah, snow, for real) and rain are really hard to see in without glasses but you don’t want them too dark or you won’t be able to see. Top thing off always with a helmet. This is very important and if you don’t wear one, you are just asking for a brain injury. I also have a thin toque. You don’t want anything too bulky because it makes it hard to get your helmet on over it so a nice thin toque is your best option. If it has rained, there is a good chance you will get a bit muddy riding in. If your workplace has a shower, use it. Don’t shower when you leave the house, just shower at work. Otherwise pack some pit stick and you change of clothes. Wash your face and arms at work and re-pit. You may also want to pack a sweat towel if you are up hill to work.
So now you have your bike and you are dressed, what is next. Well you are always going to want to pack a change of clothes or store a set at work. Weather can change quickly and because you don’t have a car to whip home quickly in, be prepared! Don’t forget a second set of footwear. Like I mentioned above your feet will eventually get wet. Depending on the length of your trip you may want to pack some water with you. One thing I recommend leaving at home is your MP3 player. If you are riding a bike trail it might not be an issue but if you are riding on the roads you really want to be able to hear what is going on around you. I use my ears a lot when riding on the streets. People don’t generally pay attention to cyclists so you always have to be responsible for your own safety.
Weather is your biggest challenge when riding. There are a few things to be aware of. When the roads are wet be sure to slow down a bit. It is amazing how a little water affects your traction. You can also ride in sub-zero temperatures but be very aware of ice. If you hit ice on two wheels you will go down, fast. I have ridden to work when it is snowing but if there is more than a skiff on the ground you may want to walk to work. Also, be aware that after a snow, the plows rarely go near the bike lanes so you have to keep an extra eye on the vehicles around you. When ride a bike you save a ton on vehicle costs. Start a cab fare jar where you put in $10 a month. That should give you more than enough for those rare times you need to call a cab. Also, learn the bus schedule. Many times in bad weather you can use the bus to get to work. Cheaper than a cab and in this city they are never crowded. When riding in town, share the road goes both ways. Drivers are supposed to share the road with you but you also don’t own it on a bike. Get over when you can and let drivers pass you safely. You are a slow moving vehicle so yield the road when possible. Also, unless you make direct eye contact, assume drivers don’t see you. Make sure you error on the side of caution. You saying you had the right of way doesn’t do you much good when you are in traction.
So that is my biking run down. The last thing I want to say is that ANYONE who is able to walk, can ride to work. You may almost die the first week. You will wheeze. You will sweat. But if you try it out for one week, it will become bearable. After 2 or 3 weeks you may even enjoy it. I am a perfect example. I am over weight (obese by Wii standards!) and I basically get no other real physical activity, and I can do this. By riding to work, I save us $300 a month car payment, $25 a week in gas, $100 a month insurance, $20 a month maintenance. Bike tires cost pennies to repair and I can do it myself. I am also almost carbon neutral (I breathe pretty heavy). So if you are trying to save money, get fit, be green or just because I dare you to, get out and ride. There really isn’t an excuse. Please post comments or questions below. I am sure there are things I missed but I am happy to answer questions.

A few things to mention

It has been quite some time since I last posted and this post will be a bit of a mixed bag.  I can tell by the piles of emails and comments that my throng of devoted readers has missed my postings but fear not, I will try to do a little more.

First off a quick D&D update.  Our heroes defeated the Sharn, snagged another one of the legendary weapons and headed back to the university.  Once there they got word that the Bard’s home town was under siege by the undead (yes, them again!) so they traveled to the Dalelands.  After training up some recruits, the town was again besieged by the walking aberrations.  The heroes classed in the streets and drove back the dark forces.  We leave them preparing retaliation.

I am taking a break from my D&D posts because our group is taking a break from my campaign.  One of the other fellows wants to try his hand at DMing and I really don’t mind just sitting back and playing for a while.  I may do something either here or on another site to review the goings on of his adventures.  I might do something interesting and write it like a journal of my character.  Anyway just some ideas.

Back to the real world.  I really haven’t done much new stuff in the way of cooking.  That is to say I haven’t done any of my own stuff.  I have been trying a few things but they have been from recipes so I don’t feel I can take any real credit for them.  I will, however, shout out to this recipe for butter chicken.

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Main/Chicken/recipe.html?dishid=8423

It was really neat to cook because the flavour really doesn’t come together until the end.  It turned out super tasty.

The other really quick recipe I want to share is something Tam has started drinking.  Just take a can of club soda and add a lemon wedge and a lime wedge.  It is very low calorie and extremely refreshing.  Also, if you add a shot of vodka it becomes a great little summer drink.  It is so much better for you then Sprite.

The last think I want to touch on is I am getting really into photography.  Tam got a Canon EOS Rebel T1i for Christmas.  I did most of the research on the camera before we got it so in my learning I got very interested in the whole process.  So I am starting this new hobby and I will be making posts about it.  You can catch some of my updates on Facebook and Twitter as well as my Flickr account.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimrod108/

I am really open to any feedback as I am really just starting out.  I hope to improve and slowly upgrade my gear.  I will also post stuff shot by Tam as she has a great eye for things.

Thanks again to my loyal readers.  I guess this is happy new year!