The Burger Project

So with the advent of getting 75 lbs of hamburger with our side of beef (this is after we gave 40 lbs to neighbors) I’ve decided to start playing with my favorite food The Hamburger.

Yes I WILL gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today.

So while I got caught up in making this new burger I totally forgot to take a picture. What is worse is, I made them again for lunch and forgot again.

This burger I am calling the Ciabatta Bacon Burger.


For The Burgers

1 pound Ground Beef (don’t use that 2% fat beef for these. You’re not saving yourself. Get the 15% and live a little)
2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
6 ounces Smoked Pork, finely chopped (see note)
1 small Onion, sliced
Slices Of Monterey Jack Cheese
2 each Ciabatta Buns, sliced in half
2-3 Tbs. Bacon Fat

For The Sauce

5-6 Tbs. Mayo
2-3 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce


Mix hamburger, garlic, salt & peppers, and smoked pork together. Form into 4 even patties and let chill at least 1 hour.

Next mixed the mayo and worcestershire sauce together and season with s&p.

Slice the onions thin and cook in 1 Tbs of the bacon fat. Do not caramelize, just quickly brown them a bit and soften them just a tad. You still want that crunch.

When time to grill heat grill to medium low (burgers should never be cooked on high heat. My BBQ does quiet well when all burners are on low. I only heat up the side the burgers are cooking on) Cook burgers to desired doneness. We like ours with just a blush of pink. Put cheese on top of each burger and let rest.

While the burgers are resting – take remaining bacon fat and heat it up a bit. Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the Ciabatta buns. Grill the buns cut side down till nice and toasted. This is where a lot of the flavor comes from.

Assembly – The burgers are served open faced. Take a Tbs of the mayo sauce and generously put on cut side of bun. Add a cheese covered burger, top with onions and some fresh cracked pepper.

Note – Wait what do you mean you don’t have any smoked pork?! Doesn’t everyone smoke a 10 pound pork butt before they make burgers? No?! Ok ok fine, if you don’t have some smoked pork on hand, then use bacon. Cook it a bit, but not to the crunchy stage. Crumble it up and add to the beef. You’ll need about 6 slices. This is a great way to get your rendered bacon fat for the rest of the recipe if you don’t keep all your bacon in the fridge like I do.

PS – which is great for fried green beans, fried potatoes, making hash..well you get the idea.


Paradise is so close to home

“Hey we have a few extra days, where do you want to go or do?”
“I don’t know, where should we go? Is there something going on we could do?”
“HHmm let me get on Google and see if I can find something.”

With gas prices soaring, and time for many being a precious commodity, it’s very hard to decide what to do. For those that are my age (no no don’t ask) I remember being piled into the family car and taking that ‘Sunday Drive’. As kids we had no idea where we were going. We didn’t complain (much) and we didn’t have every electronic gizmo in the world to distract us. We actually talked *gasp* with our family. We played games that spark our imaginations and challenged us.

I live in a very small community. And it is a wonderful community filled with folks that will start up a conversation like they’ve known you for years. The people here are humble, friendly and will often times be more than happy to come help you with a project you have going. If you head into the bigger town about 15 miles away you can walk into a Lowe’s or Home Depot where a nice man will, for the next 30 minutes, help you with every detail of getting your next project going. He’ll look at your list and make recommendations. As he walks off you suddenly realize he doesn’t even work there. Now that’s small town living.

So I decided to take off my city girl hat once and for all. I am a country gal now. I shall embrace all it has to offer. Here are a few of images of what can be seen within just a couple of miles from me.

A calm oasis.

A calm oasis.

Plat I Reservoir offers a peaceful setting where you’ll often times find folks fishing quietly by the shoreline. On Saturdays during the summer kids are out jumping off the docks and laughing.

Will need more foraging skills before I eat these.

Will need more foraging skills before I eat these.

Not sure what kind of mushrooms these were. But the cluster was about 6 inches wide and piled upon itself about another 6 inches up.

Even the ladybug seems happy to be here.

Even the ladybug seems happy to be here.

My pear tree was just magnificent this year! The blossoms are so beautiful with the white, yellow and red.

It's just amazing to watch them roll in.

It’s just amazing to watch them roll in.

A late storm rolled in at the end of May. I wish you could smell the air! If I could bottle this I would make a fortune.

Many were in full bloom, but the geese preferred I stay a bit farther back.

Many were in full bloom, but the geese preferred I stay a bit farther back.

Here at Cooper Creek Reservoir you will find lily pads in full bloom with big dragon flys buzzing along in all colors imaginable.

These little guys were very friendly

These little guys were very friendly

And I defy anyone to not go “OOhhh how cute!” when confronted by a friendly group of baby geese.

Late spring blossoms and a field of hay. Just beautiful.

Late spring blossoms and a field of hay. Just beautiful.

You know it’s early summer when the fields are being cut and the hay is rolled. Even some late spring flowers make for perfect quintessential scene.

Taking the time…

So often we are in a hurry, we work, have kids, social calendars you name it. Then right in the middle of all this chaos our phone blips, ipads gurgle or an email dings you to remind you that someone’s birthday or anniversary is moments away.

It is at this point that the panic starts. Omg I cannot believe I forgot all about that, what do I get, where do I go? I’m the biggest procrastinator I know. Lately, however, I have taken the time to set my reminders for 2 weeks and 1 week before said event. This has helped me tremendously considering the fact that I now live in a rural area which makes running to stores obsolete.

But then the most marvelous thing happened. In the midst of planning for trips, going to S. Cal to visit my family, returning home to get ready for my family to come up and see our house for the first time, we get a package in the mail. It’s from Derek’s Aunt Linda. She picked colors, went and bought the yarn and then took the time to make us a beautiful afghan for the lap.

I wish you could feel how soft this is!

I wish you could feel how soft this is!

She had no idea our color scheme, but picked colors she felt were Oregonian.

This reminded me of how fast our lives are that we quickly just buy something for someone because we feel obligated to do so, often times not even taking the time to really think about what it is we are buying.

I wish I had the talent to make gifts. All I can do is cook, but that’s very hard to do for folks far away. FedEx is good, but I don’t think that good.

So my goal is to make what I can for people. Like my Blackberry BBQ Sauce, or Limoncello (which I will start this fall), traditional BBQ sauce and maybe some spice blends. For those that know my love of food, will know that when I make something for them it’s because I love them more.

Thank you Linda for loving us and taking the time 🙂