Sunday, June 17, 2018

Almost-Famous In and Out Burgers {Animal Style}#ForAnthonyBourdain

A couple of years ago, I watched a quick video where Anthony Bourdain talked about his favorite restaurant in all of Los Angeles, In and Out Burger. The video stuck with me because I've been to Los Angeles, and I think of it as a food mecca with endless restaurants, all serving some of the most delicious food in the country. Then I watch Bourdain, who has been fortunate enough to try all kinds of food and cuisine, the world over, and he states that In and Out Burger is his favorite restaurant in all of Los Angeles. Kind of mind-blowing, right? 

Bourdain went on to say that every time he landed in Los Angeles he began and ended his trip at In and Out Burger. To paraphrase, Bourdain passionately extols the virtues of and an In and Out burger saying  "good bun selection, good quality meat, reasonably fresh greens and garnishes, no fancy cheese but a good cheese-like substance, and two thin patties that expose the maximum areas of meat surface to the tongue." 

When we dedicated this week to Anthony Bourdain over at I Heart Cooking Clubs I knew instantly what I wanted to make, a knock-off In and Out Burger, Animal Style. Years back Food Network published a knock-off recipe in their magazine that I thought would work well. Trouble was the recipe called for 60% lean beef and to be honest, I've never seen this in any market around. I decided to take a trip to the Bluegrass Stockyards, which is right down the street.

It may seem strange to some to visit a stockyard for meat, but it is actually a beautiful building where farmers buy and sell cattle. There is also a restaurant, gift shop, retail shop, and a meat shop, among other things. I found some well-marbled ground beef that was 73/27 and raised locally. I knew this was the best I could do.

 In the video, Bourdain talks about the burger saying something like "this is like a ballistic missile, a perfectly designed protein delivery system and I like mine animal style, and I'd tell you what this is but I'd have to kill you." A description only Bourdain could give.

It's been years since I've had an In and Out burger and I wasn't sure what animal style was so I looked it up. It appears that Animal Style means that your burger has mustard grilled beef patties, extra dressing, grilled onions, and extra pickles. Sounds like an awful lot of goodness, if you ask me!

These burgers take a lot of time to put together (making the caramelized onions takes 40 minutes alone), but if you have a hankering for a burger piled high with goodies, then this is your recipe! I'd love to be able to tell you that it's a good knock-off recipe, but truth be told, it's been way too long since I've had an In and Out burger to give proper feedback. I can say that the burger has a lot of five-star reviews on the Food Network site. We definitely enjoyed it, especially the caramelized onions, sauce, and mustard-fried patties. It was messy, it was over-the-top, and it was a somewhat obnoxious burger to eat.

In many ways, this burger reminds me of Anthony, full of goodness but oh so naughty. Many thanks to Anthony Bourdain for taking us along on his journey. His stories will definitely live on.

Almost-Famous In and Out Burgers, Animal Style
Adapted from Food Network
Serves 4, or more depending on size

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
2 large onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
2-pounds ground beef chuck (preferably 60 percent lean)*
4 hamburger buns, split
1/4 cup sliced dill pickles
3/4 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
 4 to 8 thin slices tomato
ground pepper
1/4 cup yellow mustard
8 slices American cheese

Note: These burgers are best if the patties are quite thin. We opted to serve ours as singles, not doubles. I would encourage anyone making this to make their sauce the night before so the flavors have time to meld. Also, the sauce is quite thin when first mixed and will thicken overnight. Be mindful of how much sauce you add to your burger or it will be too messy. One tablespoon per burger is a very good guideline. Also, it would be wise to make the onions ahead of time as well. This helps to speed things along when it is burger time. I was unable to source 60% lean beef so I used a local ground beef that was well marbled and 73/27.*

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and 3/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft, about 30 minutes (if the onions brown too quickly, reduce the heat to low).  Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 8 more minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer, stirring, until the water evaporates, about 2 more minutes; transfer to a bowl and set aside. (The onions can be made up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate, then reheat before using.)

Mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, and vinegar in a bowl; set aside. Shape the beef into 8 patties (making the patties thin).  Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat; lightly brush with vegetable oil. Toast the buns on the griddle, split-side down. Spread each toasted bun bottom with about 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise mixture, then top with a few pickles, some lettuce, 1 or 2 slices tomato and another dollop of the mayonnaise mixture; set aside, keeping the griddle hot.

Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, put the patties on the griddle and cook 3 minutes.  Spread about 1 heaping teaspoon mustard on the uncooked side of each patty, then flip and top each with 1 slice cheese; continue cooking for about 2 more minutes or longer, until the desired doneness. Top 4 of the patties with caramelized onions, then cover with the remaining patties, cheese-side up. Sandwich the double patties on the buns.  *Feel free to make single patties as well, which is what I did.

Theme: For A Friend {For Anthony Bourdain} IHCC

 This is the way I will remember Bourdain, down to earth, extolling the virtues of a good burger as opposed to all the fancy restaurants L.A. has to offer. Love his style!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Farmer's Market Salad with Shrimp, Basil Citrus-Honey Vinaigrette, and Herbs de Provence Croutons

Like most of you, I woke up Saturday morning to the devastating news about Anthony Bourdain. I was shocked and saddened to say the least. I immediately thought of the food blogging community and knew this would have a huge impact, but I mostly thought of my best blogging friend, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen. Deb is a much bigger Bourdain fan than me. Over in Hawaii, Deb was sound asleep with no knowledge of the sad news that awaited her.
Hours later Deb and I messaged about the news. Our hearts went out to Bourdain's family and friends, but our hearts also went out to our current I Heart Cooking Clubs chef Eric Ripert, not only because Eric and Anthony were best friends, but also because the news outlets were reporting that it was Ripert who found Bourdain. I couldn't imagine finding any of my friends that way.

It was then we decided to honor Bourdain, as well as Ripert and Bourdain's friendship, with a special theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs next week, For A Friend.  If anyone would like to join in with a dish to honor Anthony Bourdain, please do so. Your dish doesn't have to be specific to any chef or theme. Your recipe can be anything that speaks to you. A comforting dish. A dish inspired by a story or an adventure. A unique one-of-a-kind dish, like Bourdain. It can be anything, For A Friend.

If you would like to participate in our special theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs, please click on the link to IHCC in this post. It will redirect you to our site where you can link your dish, and a picture, to our post and also see the dishes others share.

I urge everyone to continue discussing mental health and suicide. These issues are simply not discussed enough. If you, or a friend are suffering, please know that you are important, you are loved, and you make a difference. Please call 1-800-273-8255, 24/7 for help.

I'll end with my favorite Bourdain quote, and one I tend to live my life by, "Move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move. - Anthony Bourdain

Farmer's Market Salad w/ Shrimp, Basil Citrus-Honey Vinaigrette, and 
Herbs de Provence Croutons
Recipe Adapted from Avec Eric
by Eric Ripert
Serves 2

1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
3 - 4 cups fresh lettuce
1/2 pound shrimp
teaspoon olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
sliced cucumber
sliced tomatoes
 2 slices of country bread
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence

For The Dressing: Whisk the lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice, honey, and mustard in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil while whisking constantly until completely emulsified.  Add the basil and whisk. Set aside so the flavors can meld.

For The Shrimp: Preheat oven to 400F. In a skillet, or baking sheet, toss the shrimp with one teaspoon olive oil and one clove of minced garlic. Bake at 400F for about 8-10 minutes. (You can arrange the shrimp on a skewer if you like).

For the Croutons: Cut two slices of country bread into cubes. Melt two tablespoons butter and add in about 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence. You can either toast the croutons in the oven with the shrimp or toast the croutons on the stovetop. I made my croutons on the stovetop over medium heat until the bread was toasty on all sides. It took less than five minutes. Allow to cool.

To Assemble The Salad: In a large bowl, toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing. I added sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, but you can add whatever you like. Any kind of olive would be especially nice with this salad. Arrange the salad in a bowl, decorate with homemade croutons and shrimp. Drizzle the shrimp with a bit of the dressing, both for looks and taste. Serve immediately!

Follow This Link To IHCC

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Giada's Pizza Di Spaghetti

I've been very busy reorganizing my cookbook collection and cataloging an updated list of all recipes I want to make. Recently, I had a pile of Giada's cookbooks and I was astounded to find that after years of making Giada's recipes, I somehow managed to have nine whole pages of her recipes I wanted to make! Time to get busy!

This Pizza Di Spaghetti is a recipe I've always wanted to make but never got around to for one simple reason, it requires leftover spaghetti. In my house, there is no such thing as leftover spaghetti. My husband and daughter make sure there are never any leftovers. So, for this recipe, I made a batch of spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce and allowed it to sit on the counter to cool for about 20 minutes. That is about as leftover as it's going to get around here!

 Pizza Di Spaghetti is essentially a fried spaghetti pie, so I got out my best nonstick skillet and mixed the "leftover spaghetti" with the eggs, Parmesan cheese, milk, and salt and pepper. I turned the skillet to a medium heat and tried to fry the spaghetti mixture. After a few minutes it became clear the mixture was adhering like glue to my nonstick pan, so I got out my cast iron pan, and switched the mixture over to the cast iron. The cast iron was better, but still somewhat of a mess.

I've been cooking for a long time, and I used two really good pans, and I had all kinds of trouble trying to flip the Pizza Di Spaghetti. The one cup of Parmesan cheese in the mixture proved to stick to both pans, regardless of how much olive oil I added. Finally, after dirtying a sinkful of dishes, and using a large baking pan to aid in flipping, I was done. I was also frustrated.

You can see that my Pizza Di Spaghetti is a little dark in places. I'm really not sure how the dark spots could be prevented since the copious amounts of cheese darken quickly before the egg in the dish is fully cooked, even at a lowered heat. This dish didn't work for me for several reasons.

First, I never have leftover spaghetti. Second, this is a finicky thing to make and requires lots of effort and dishes. Third, this dish requires adding unnecessary calories, in the form of added cheese, eggs, milk, and quite a bit of oil, to spaghetti AND finally, this Pizza Di Spaghetti is just ok! Spaghetti, or even reheated spaghetti, is definitely way better. So, save yourself the calories and dishes, and in the odd case that you do have leftover spaghetti, just reheat it!

Now, it sounds like I'm fussing, but I've actually started to like it when I discover that something isn't for me. I know it sounds bizarre, but I actually become stressed out about trying to fit in all the things I want to do, or see, or eat. I find it ultimately helpful when I come across something that I don't like because it usually allows me to cross off several things on my list. This dish is a perfect example of that. I can now cross off any and all Pizza Di Pasta dishes on my list from Giada and anybody else. I have learned that I like the original pasta dish best the first time around, or even reheated, and that I don't need to fuss about with any leftover pasta concoctions. I consider that a win!

Pizza Di Spaghetti
Adapted from Everyday Italian
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cup leftover cooked and sauced pasta
1/2 cup olive oil

In a large bowl, beat the 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, the milk, eggs, salt, and pepper. Add the leftover pasta and toss to coat.

In a 10-inch diameter, nonstick saute pan, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the pasta mixture to the pan, spreading evenly. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Carefully invert the pasta mixture onto a plate, then slide it back into the pan. Continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown and the mixture is heated through about 6 minutes. Transfer the pasta mixture to a serving platter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut into wedges and serve warm.