Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother’s day thoughts and a Good Burger

I thought I would be resentful, I got no flowers, no breakfast in bed and no “pamper Mommy, god forbid she lifts a finger” day.  But as I was going to bed yesterday, I found myself smiling with satisfaction; I just had exactly the kind of Mother’s day I wanted.
My dogs are pigs, my kids are pigs and my husband is the Master of this swine gathering…I didn’t get out of doing housework, but all the piggies in my home curbed their drool, paw prints and crumbs on the counter for over 24 hours.  Best present ever, to wake up on a Sunday morning and not have to go into the cleaning hypo-drive right away.
I got no flowers, but I got help planting my garden and I didn’t even have to ask 300 hundred times.  My husband only made a mild cringing sound at the site of another citrus tree on our deck.  I am sure I will hear a much louder reaction when the thing dies…
I got no breakfast in bed, but I got to enjoy a nice long run in the park, which is much better for my ass than bacon and eggs.
I got the mildest possible version of teenage attitude at the request to fold the laundry, the rambling and ranting only lasted half an hour.  And the precious older offspring gracefully watched as his sister washed all the floors, without the usual suggestive comments of how much money she should be charging me per choir.
I got to sit in the sun, enjoying a glass of wine, with the dogs peacefully snoozing at my feet.
And I got to eat a damn good burger….which, as far as I am concerned, is as close to bliss as I can get…
Flowers wilt, breakfasts end up growing your thighs, the precious little drawing (they were cute when the kids were 3) end up forgotten in the draw somewhere, but a nice peaceful day and a genuine regard for the things that make me happy will stay with me for a long, long time.

Ultimate Burger (it is all in the meat)
The recipe makes 6 burgers ( ½ lb each)
For the burger
2 lbs beef sirloin (ground coarsely)
1 lb file minion (ground coarsely)
4 strips of thick cut maple bacon (ground together with the meat)
1 small yellow onion diced
1 tbs olive oil
¼ cup ketchup
4 tbs Montreal hamburger or steak seasoning
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
Sliced Aged cheddar cheese (optional)
Salt as needed

For the toppings
I always go with the simple and classic tomatoes, red onion and pickle toppings.  Ketchup is always a must, but to impact the flavor a bit more I came up with two flavorful spreads to use instead of straight up mayo. 
Roasted Garlic and chive aioli
1 large head of garlic roasted
4 tbs chopped chives
¾ cup of Japanese mayo ( or homemade mayo)
A squeeze of lemon juice

Spicy horseradish aioli
¼ cup shredded fresh horseradish
1 chili pepper in adobo sauce + a little extra adobo
1 tsp Chinese mustard
1 cup of Japanese or homemade mayo
A little black pepper and salt if needed

Now let’s contemplate the bun, I personally hate the soft supermarket buns.  First of all, they are too small, second they get soggy and mushy, and they don’t bring anything to the party, not in terms of flavor or texture…  The bun question can be argued endlessly, for me there are only 3 choices, here are the pros and cons of each:
1.        A fat and toasted brioche bun – the pro is in the buttery flavor.  It is also soft but not mushy, which helps in catching all the great juices.  It toasts up nicely due to all the butter in the dough.  The biggest problem is the ratio of bread to burger, brioche buns are usually tall, creating too much bread situation, than again…. Is that really a bad thing
2.       A toasted English muffin (the sandwich size).  These are made for tasting and bring great texture if not flavor.  All the nooks and crannies sap up burger juice and help create a nice flat vessel for all the condiments.  I personally cannot find anything wrong with the English Muffin as a bun, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea…
3.       A Portuguese sweet bun – I am on a fence about these, they are flat and flavorful, adding a touch of sweetness to a very savory dish.  However, even well toasted these seem a bit too soft and fall apart easily. However, just for flavor along, they are worse trying

Make the burger meat, grind the sirloin, the filet and bacon together or ask your butcher to do it…
Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the diced onion.  Cook on low heat until the onion begins to caramelize (you can sprinkle a bit of sugar on top for more even results).  When done, cool to room temperature and pulse in the food processor to make an onion paste.
With your hands mix the meat, onion paste, seasoning, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.  Do not overwork the meat.  Wrap the mixture tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs.
When ready to cook the burgers, let the meat mixture come to room temperature.  Form the patties and cook on the grill until desired doneness… I like mine medium or medium rare…  I also like to use a weighted press on the burgers in the first few minutes of cooking, helps to create a nice crust.
Toast the buns and melt the cheese over the burgers (if using)
To make the spreads:  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.  These are better a few hours after they are made, allows the time for all the components to create a nice flavor.  These can be made in advance and can be stored in airtight contains in the fridge for at least a week.  They make nice condiments for sandwiches as well so make extra.

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