Burger Project 2013 – It’s the Noodle Dream!

Ok so the title is a reference to Kung Fu Panda for my husband. But the burger does have noodles!

My daughter, as you may or may not know, lives in Sweden and is studying for her Master’s Degree.  After a failed Skype attempt today, we opted for a phone call. It was during this call she informs me what they are having for dinner. A Ramen Burger…a what?! You guessed it ‘Top Ramen’ noodles make up the bun. I was so intrigued and knew I simply must incorporate this into my burger project. So from over 5,000 miles away I start receiving pictures of this Burger Project by proxy…or rather Laura!

Forming the noodles into a 'patty'

Forming the noodles into a ‘patty’

All pressed and ready to cook up

All pressed and ready to cook up

Beautifully cooked and ready to assemble

Beautifully cooked and ready to assemble

Perfect size!

Perfect size!

And let's eat!

And let’s eat!

Well done Laura and Joakim! I think you have successfully made us all curious and hungry!

1 package ramen noodles
2 eggs, divided
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 tablespoon sriracha
1 beef burger patty
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
1 slice American cheese
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 cup arugula

  1. Cook the ramen according to the directions on the package (including the seasoning add half to the noodles and the other half into the burger meat itself), then drain off the liquid. Let cool to room temperature. In a small mixing bowl, whisk 1 egg until no streaks of yolk remain. Add the ramen, tossing thoroughly to coat with the egg. Divide the egg-dressed ramen into two portions, and place each half into a ramekin.
  2. Cover the ramen with plastic wrap, and weigh it down with a can of soup to compress it into a bun shape. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Add the oil to a skillet, and set over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, unmold the ramen buns into the pan, and cook until the bottom is a dark golden brown. Flip both of the patties, and cook until a dark golden brown on both sides.
  4. Whisk together the sriracha and ketchup in a small bowl. If you don’t have Sriracha you can use red chili paste.
  5. Season the hamburger patty with salt, pepper, a splash of soy sauce, and sesame oil. Wipe out the skillet, and cook the burger over medium-high heat until medium rare, or to your preferred degree of doneness. Finish with a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil. Top with a slice of cheese.
  6. Wipe out the skillet, and lower the heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and fry 1 egg sunny side up.
  7. Assemble the burger in this order: ramen bun, arugula, ketchup, burger patty (cheese side up), fried egg, scallions, and the second ramen bun. Wrap in wax paper for easier eating, and serve hot.
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Burger Project – Breakfast Burger

Well Burger Project 2013 is taking a twist tonight.

I don’t know about you, but there are times I love breakfast for dinner. And for breakfast I often times indulge in dinner leftovers. Who doesn’t love cold pizza for breakfast? Or leftover Chinese tossed into a frittata? So with that in mind…I love bacon and eggs, with a side of biscuits and gravy. Oh my stars but that is a luscious breakfast to me. And on the dinner flip side, give me a great burger and I can have all the things I love on one plate.

This dinner has simple ingredients, but requires timing. First up, the ingredients.

Breakfast Dinner!

Breakfast Dinner!

So a pound of ground round, some breakfast sausage seasoning, eggs, bacon and yes a package of country gravy mix. (But I do make mine with milk and not water)

Before you start preheat your oven to 150 degrees. This is going to be your warming area. Mix the hamburger with 1 Tbs of the sausage seasoning. Form into 4 equal patties and let rest so the flavors can develop in the meat.  In a cast iron skillet fry up your bacon so it’s crispy. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel lined plate and place in oven to keep warm.  Next in the bacon drippings fry your burgers on a medium heat for about 3 minutes on one side, flip and cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and place on warming plate and place in oven. Next cook up your gravy and keep warm. Using the same pan as the hamburgers were cooked in brown the hamburger buns cut side down and remove to plate.  In a non-stick skillet add 1-2 Tbs of butter and gently fry your eggs just till set. The yolks should be bright yellow and still liquid. As soon as they are done, take one burger, dunk into the gravy and place on toasted bun. Next add 2 pieces of crispy bacon and top with cooked egg.

And you will be eating a luscious, creamy with a salty crunch burger. When the egg yolk breaks over the burger it adds such a wonderful flavor and richness.

Burger1 Burger2

Now go forth and create the goodness!

Burger Project 2013 – Hamburger di Italia!

Che un progetto divertente questo è stato e continua ad essere! Oh sorry about that, got caught up in the Italian feel of this chapter. What I was saying was What a fun project this has been and continues to be.

And for the record no I do not speak Italian, rather I Google translate fluently and in many languages.

Tomato Harvest

Tomato Harvest

On to the burger. So a couple of nights ago my inspiration for this burger hit. I had harvested a whole lot of tomatoes and made tomato soup and also a large batch of Arrabbiata sauce and cooked a wonderful roast. Well I had some sauce left over and just refused to waste anything.

This is such a versatile sauce I recommend making a double batch and freezing some!

Arrabbiata Sauce

Arrabbiata Sauce

Everything just pulled together and made a very tasty, moist and packed with lots of flavors, hamburger.

Let’s start with our ingredients. Now remember, I may not type out salt and pepper in all my recipes, but it is a given that you must always taste and season your food. Salt wakes up the dormant flavors that are sometimes hiding just beyond the palates reach because of spicier seasonings, sweetness or even sour. Add a pinch of salt and suddenly you’ll start to taste new flavors you did not even know where there.

P1040791So here we have a pound of good hamburger, some onion, garlic, Proscuitto, Mozzarella and Arrabbiata sauce. You will also need a batch of garlic oil. Which I mentioned in one of my other burger projects.

Start by taking 1/2 of a large onion and grate it. Yes grate. You need this to be a fine consistency and let’s face it that’s a lot of knife work. So get out the grater and do the job much quicker. As you scoop the grated onion up, give a squeeze (over the sink) and get some of the liquid out. Next take 3 cloves of garlic. Now I know I’m going to get some flack here, but I want you to use a garlic press. I know, I know! But there is a time and place for a garlic press and this is it. It’s because you need that super fine consistency. If they are chunky even from a mince they won’t cook evenly. Ok so there, I said it. Add about 1/3 cup of the Arrabbiata sauce, a tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper and mix it up well. Be sure to measure the final product so you can get 4 even patties. P1040792

Put these babies on a medium grill for about 15 minutes. P1040793

Oh do these smell good. But they need to rest for about 5 minutes. Now then, let’s add the toppings and cover for a good rest. Top each burger with one piece of the Proscuitto and a slice of mozzarella cheese. I forgot the picture after I added the cheese but I’m sure you get the idea.

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Cover the patties and let’s make the buns.  Brush the hamburger buns with the garlic oil and sprinkle some dried Italian herb seasoning (it’s just dried herbs no salt). Place these on the grill and toast.

P1040795

P1040796

Assemble and enjoy 🙂

Italian Burger

I added just a touch of seasoned ketchup to one side of the burger bun. Served it with a salad, why Caesar of course!

You all have been taking notes on this project I hope. There just may be a test at the end.

Burger Project – Get the passport!

Ok tried a new burger tonight. Let me just say – Winner Winner Chicken..er..Burger Dinner.

This was a fun burger to work on. It’s called the 3 Continent Burger because we have meats from 2 continents and the condiment is from Asia. Let’s begin. Of course we started with a pound of grass fed Oregon Beef. But to that we added 6 ounces of Linguiça which is a Portuguese sausage.

A wonderful sausage - Linguiça

A wonderful sausage – Linguiça

This sausage comes in typical sausage form. I buy them two to a pack and freeze them individually. So when thawed simply remove the skin and cut into 2″ pieces. Put these into your food processor and let that wonderful appliance do all the work. If you don’t have one, shred it on the larger side holes of your grater.

Mix this in with your hamburger, salt/pepper and half a grated onion. That’s it! Leave it alone. Do not be tempted by the garlic or swayed by the fresh herbs. Cover your ears, steal your urges and make the patties. I made five 4.4 ounce patties. Now I know what some of you might be thinking, why not just 4 really good and thick burgers? Well because, burgers should be thin. The ratio of bun, veggies and condiments must be balanced. Anyone who tells you they love a big thick burger is in denial. What they are really saying is – “Man I wish I had a thick steak right now, but all I got was this burger” and so they are over compensating.

Time to make the sauce while the burgers come to room temp. (Why? well because this way when they hit the grill they won’t seize up on you and become those hard hockey pucks with the big bubble arch in the middle) The sauce is our 3rd continent – Asia. This is a combination of ketchup (ok so not from Asia), sweet red chili sauce and hot chili paste with garlic. I needed something sweet, with a slight tang to go with the spice of the sausage.

Not so secret ingredients.

Not so secret ingredients.

The second flavor, which is more subtle, but I think of as a pantry staple is garlic oil. You simply must make a batch of this. It takes all of 10 minutes to make and is great for any recipe when you reach for olive oil. Instead reach for this! The small batch is 1 cup of olive oil, 6 cloves of garlic skins removed. Put the cloves in the olive oil and put on the stove over medium heat. Let this simmer till the garlic is a golden brown but don’t let it burn. You may have to turn the heat down once the olive oil comes up to temp.  Then remove from the heat and let cool completely. The garlic is great on baguettes or a bagel with Prosciutto. Remove the garlic, when oil is cool, and store the oil in a container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Take a pastry brush and oil the hamburger buns and grill them while the burgers are resting for a nice toast.

Pantry Staple

Pantry Staple

Who doesn't love toasted buns?

Who doesn’t love toasted buns?

And once assembled you have a burger that makes perfect sense. The reason why the grill was invented.

3 Continents - loads of flavor!

3 Continents – loads of flavor!

3 Continent Burger

1 lb hamburger
6 oz Linguiça ground
1/2 half medium size onion shredded
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Sauce

1/4 c ketchup
3 Tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp hot chili sauce with garlic

Mix all the burger ingredients together and form 5 patties. Let rest while you make the sauce.  Grill burgers over Med-Low heat for about 10-12 minutes. Pull and let rest while you grill the buns.

Assemble and get your passport ready.

Burger Project a New Appreciation

So I always thought that a great burger had to be grilled over hot coals to have the savory and juicy goodness when we think of an awesome hamburger.

Oh lordy was I wrong! Folks please never put limits on yourself as I did. But allow me to back up about 30 years.

Mom, Dad…if you are reading this, please go play solitaire or check your Facebook page for the next 10 minutes. Thanks…
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Ok….so when I was a kid growing up we had burgers on the grill now and then, but mainly they were fried in a stainless steel pan until..well…they were D O N E. Seasoning, funny enough, was mainly salt and pepper. My folks didn’t get fancy with the garlic powder and onion powder till much later. And when when I say cooked till done, I mean they were done in the pan for at least 5 minutes, which means as they sat for 10 minutes while we all got our buns ready and, yes you know what that means…way over done. Of course I never realized this until much later. Resting times were never addressed in the 60’s and 70’s. (No my age is not up for discussion)
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So while my folks didn’t know it, but when frying burgers salt and pepper are the only seasonings you should use. I had no idea my folks were so avant garde.

Let’s get to the awesomeness of the burger for the night. First off we have so many fresh, out of the garden ingredients going on here. The hamburger itself is from the side of beef we bought. Next up we have 3 cucumbers I cut up and pickled for the night in cider vinegar, pickling spice, salt and fresh dill I grew along with homegrown lettuce for our burgers. Next to our dinner is fresh picked cherry tomatoes and a ball squash.

I started by making my pickles so they’d be ready for dinner.

1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water, plus more, if needed
2 teaspoons each: kosher salt, pickling spice
1 large pickling cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 Combine cider vinegar with 1/2-cup of water, salt and pickling spice in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil.

2 Place cucumber in a clean, dry glass container just large enough to hold all the slices. Pour boiling brine over cucumber slices to cover completely. If all cucumbers are not submerged, add cold water to cover. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for about 10 days.

I chilled these for 2 hours before we put them on the burgers. They  had an ever so slight sweetness to them but the crunch and pickle flavor was such a superior flavor than any store bought pickle.

For our dish you will need one ball squash, about 1/2 cup of small cherry tomatoes and 2 cloves of garlic. Take a ball squash (they look a lot like a zucchini but they are round and about 5-6″) Slice into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Take about a tsp of kosher salt and salt one side. Let these sit for 10 minutes. You will see a lot of moisture build up. This is a good thing as it’s drawing the moisture out so they will crisp up. After the 10 minutes, use a paper towel and wipe them off to remove the moisture. Let sit again until the burgers are done. Wash and dry tomatoes and slice the garlic in thin slices.

The hamburgers were the most basic of burgers. But the offered an enormous amount of flavor.

1 lb of hamburger (15% fat)
1-2 tsp Salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Sorry no more ingredients are needed. Put the meat in a bowl, add salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands. Then simply form 4 patties no more than 4 ounces each. The patties should be pretty thin, they will be about 6″ diameter but will shrink to 4″ when cooked.

Get your iron skillet heated up to just below the smoking point. Add your patties and cook on high for about a minute. They will get nice and brown. Now flip those tasty meat patties over and cook them for another 5 minutes on med-high heat. Pull them and cover them for the next 8 minutes while you make the squash/tomato side dish.

In the same pan as the hamburgers were cooked, use a paper towel and absorb all but about a tablespoon of the pan drippings. Add your squash and brown for about 2 minutes. Turn squash over, put the garlic and tomatoes in and add some fresh cracked pepper and about 1/4 cup water. (keep your stove fan on at least medium as there will  smoke and steam). Let the tomatoes cook for about 2 minutes or until they just start to burst. Turn the heat off.

So for our burgers I believe simple buns are the best. If you need fancy buns your meat is not the star. I toasted ours for about a minute and then added a mayo mixture of – 1/2 cup Mayo, 2 Tbs worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp mustard, salt and pepper. A bit of ketchup, homegrown lettuce, red onion and homemade pickles.

Wow what a meal! The squash dish was so magnificently seasoned from the pan drippings the hamburger meat provided and the tomatoes brought such a nice sweetness to the dish.

Another incredible dish for  Burger Project 2013

Another incredible dish for Burger Project 2013

Folks I must challenge you. Summer is not over! Get your burger project started post haste!  You will not be disappointed.

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions

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.