Burgers…Again??

So it’s that time of the year to go crazy and make all different sorts of burgers as seen here, here, and even here. So as you can tell, when it comes to summertime cooking, burgers are my go-to staple.

In this particular case I went a tad above and beyond and even made the rolls- a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour and topped with roasted sesame seeds and sea salt.

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And then there’s the burger. A wonderful combination of beef and seasonings all packed together and grilled to perfection. In this instance, I went with the smoked bacon I had made a while back (sad to say as I am writing this I am all out and will have to make another batch), some fresh sliced avocado, and a nice semi-fried egg ready to ooze out after that first bite. All this with a side of Polish pickles and some homemade potato salad- don’t ask how to make that, it seems like everytime I whip up a new batch I am always adding different ingredients.

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Enjoy.

Holiday Breakfast Endeavours: Variations of French Toast

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend (for those of you who had it). The mornings were nice as the sun was coming up and to have the opportunity to make some breakfast, go out on the balcony, and relax.

First attempt: The first attempt at french toast i went with a caramelized pear combination which I then added crished macadamis nuts too. It was quite tasty and had the flavors reminiscent of a monkey-bread. It was also topped with blueberries.

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Second attempt: The second day, I went with more of an apple-berry flavor combination. I diced up apples into small pieces, put into a small saucepan, and then i added blackberry port. This was then thickened with a little corn starch to make more of a syrup as it was heating it.

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Both came with the side of homemade bacon which can be seen here.

Enjoy.

Fresh Bacon- Hmm, Let’s Make Some Burgers… Part Two

So, at the beginning of the week I finished (quite successfully) my first attempt of making my own bacon- which can be found here. So with fresh bacon, beautiful weather, and having the time to barbecue, of course I’m going to take another crack at type of burgeri with past attempts beinf found here and here.

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In this instance with the bacon imparting a slightly sweet flavor from the pecan woodchips, I wanted to add flavors to accent. I just so happened to have on hand a cheddar infused with cranberries and cinnamon- that seemed like a good place to start having a little tart and a slight spice. Now with sweet and salty ahh, need something a little fat and oily so I made some fresh onion straws and then a vegetable to sort of soak it all in (fresh spinach leaves). And finally, can never leave out the side of homemade potato salad.

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Enjoy.

Weekend Breakfast: A Simple Omelet

The one thing I am starting to like more and more about the weekends (especially with the weather getting warmer) is just having the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy breakfast. During the week and working in the lab, I do go in a little on the early side- though I like the tradeoff as I get out early to enjoy the afternoon and evening hours, but in turn I miss being able to sit and enjoy a good breakfast.

It has been a while since I just made a breakfast with eggs being the main ingredient (there has been a lot of pancakes, french toast, etc. lately) so we went with omelets this past weekend.

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My Simple Omelet (fed 2 of us with some leftovers for a 1 person quick breakfast):

6 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup diced up spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cupĀ grated Cheddar (I used an aged sharp cheddar)

I took all these ingredients, mixed in a large glass bowl and put on the side for the time being (as they only take a few short minutes to cook).

Bacon is bacon- no real special way of cooking, just inĀ  a pan and cook to desired liking (I’m a crispy guy and the wife prefers it a little fatty).

Ahh, apricots (now in season). So I used my paring knife, cut the fruit circular around the pit and popped off the two halves. In the small “crater” I put in a small but of butter and sprinkled a little brown sugar. These were then put on the baking sheet and put in the oven at 385 for about 20-25 minutes.

When those were close to the end, just poured the omelet mixture into a pan and cook til done. I then placed this over some bok choy I sauteed after the bacon.

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Enjoy.

Bacon- What more needs to be said?

With a trip up to Northern New Jersey to visit my parents last weekend, it gave me the opportunity to buy some products I do not normally see or can obtain easily where I currently reside- one of them being Pork Belly. So since I had the opportunity, I decided to give it a go.

With this particular piece, I decided “hey, why not try making my own bacon.” and so I did.

First things first- curing the meat. I’ve read different literatur on curing and salts and there are those specificaly designed for such an instance as to keep the meat a particular color (in this case it would be a pinkish color). Personally I like the all-natural look nor do I have curing salts so I used my mortar and pestle and ground up some of my Moroccan sea salt. I mixed this in with some brown sugar and then poured in some aged whiskey. I took this mixture and brushed it all over both sides of the belly (sort of formed a glaze) and then placed the piece in a 1 gallon ziploc and put in the refrigerator.

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Every other day for 1 week I flipped over the bacon. On day 7, I took it out and washed it off in cool water. I then put it on a rack over a tray back in the fridge (fat side up) to dry over night.

On to the good part. I lined a roasting pan with aluminum foil and tossed in a few handfuls of Western Pecan wood chips and some water. I then layed the rack over the pan as to give space between the chips and the meat. I then formed a triangle of foil over the meat (as to not come in contact). I set the oven to 200 degrees and before placing this in the oven, I put the covered pan on the stove top for a quick 2 minutes on high heat to garner some smoke in/around the pork belly.

The belly was then cooked for about 6 hours at which it got up to temperature (150 degrees). I then let it cool down and then wrapped with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil.

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Enjoy.

Summertime Grilling: Burgers Part One

A while back in the winter time I had originally posted an “indoor” version of a burger which can be seen here.

Now that the weather is warm and the grill can be fired up, it is time to have some fun and experiment with different variations of burger concepts and toppings. Today I will present two wonderful ideas and as the summer progresses, there will be many more to come.

Before I get into the main jist of things, I’ll quickly go through the making of the patties. I am not typically one to add a whole lot fo stuff into the burger itself or jump on the tv craze of “stuffed” burgers. I am somewhat agreeable with chef Bobby Flay in that the burger itself should be simple and that adding additional flavors and elements should be in the roll, toppings, etc.

The patties I created I used 90% ground beef. I take a few strips of uncooked bacon and dice them up into a mush and mix well into the beef. I know a lot of people may utilize seasonings such as onion/garlic salt, but I prefer to finely dice up both vegetables themselves and add them into the mix. I then utilize some sweet paprika and a touch of sage and then make the patties by hand (no tools required).

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The first version I attempted was a nice little bit of sweet and spicy. Along with grilling the burgers, I had also cut up slices of fresh pineapple and some orange habaneros and tossed them on the grill as well. In a small skillet I had fried up and then used breadcrumbs to coat and make some crispy onion straws. I had also fried up some bacon which I added some fresh peppercorn for a little kick.

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When the burgers were close to being fully done, I tossed some Colby cheese onto the patties and let it melt on top (about 4-5 minutes).

The final product was as follows: Bottom layer of roll, Romaine lettuce, burger with Colby cheese, grilled pineapple, onion straws, bacon, and finally the orange habanero.

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And, now on to the second version.

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In this instance I decided to go with more natural and “woodsy” flavors as opposed to sweet and spicy combinations.

As in the previous instance, as the burger was almost done I had added on the cheese to melt a little. I chose a nice 3 year aged cheddar to top. After the cheddar, I cut up a fresh avocado and threw on a nice slice of that. I had some dried lobster mushrooms which I had re-hydrated in some water and then sauteed in a little oil. Now with my birthday just happening, one of the gifts I received was the Polyscience Smoking Gun. What better way to test was to cook up a few slices of bacon and then add some applewood smokiness to them? This was all served on a ciabatta roll with some red leaf lettuce and a side of polish pickles and some chips.

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Enjoy.

What I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow…Weekend Breakfast

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Well with the weekend almost here, I can almost taste what awesome breakfast I can cook and enjoy out on the balcony. This one here is last weeks French Toast with a fresh mixed berry sauce and a side of bacon. Thinking of doing some type of omelette for this week. hmm….