Steaming Meat

Steamed meat doesn’t sound appealing at first. But when you add cheese everything suddenly seems ok.

Steamed Cheeseburgers. Made famous by Ted’s in Meriden Connecticut are worth the trek if you find yourself anywhere in New England. If you are not then get yourself a “Burg’r Tende’r” and get busy steaming at home!

My first reaction when I was invited to a “steamed cheeseburger” event was “huh?” My host explained the backstory about Ted’s in Meriden (which happens to be her hometown) and how she purchased one of these contraptions a while back so she could have a little taste of home here in Boston.

burgr tendr

I feel like everyone needs a “Steam Cheeseburger Chest!”

It was MUCH smaller than I imagined – think “easy bake oven” size! The tiny part at the bottom holds the water to create the steam. The door opens to reveal shelves that hold trays of meat and cheese.

trays of cheese and burger

That’s cheese in the top 3 trays (with room for 2 more trays on the top shelf) and ground beef in the rest.

The ground beef trays get a head start by about 5 minutes and the cheese goes in after that for about another 5 mins. So 10-12 mins total.

The amount of cheese that goes in the trays is somewhat excessive but the idea is that once it melts it really “pours” over the burger and really almost envelops the burger!

cheese trays

can there ever be too much cheese?

melted cheese

Add other toppings as you wish!

The steamed burger is the juiciest – most delicious – burger and the amount of cheese is just perfect!!

Now off to the world wide web to see about getting one of these contraptions for myself!

 

 

Home Opener- A Day Later

ready for the grill

Home opener for the Red Sox was yesterday – Home opener for my grill was today!

Both have some meaning around here. Red Sox means crowded subway lines during games and neon colored tags on ladies purses worn as a small badge of pride that they were recently at a game. Home opener for my backyard grill means an entire category of cooking opens up after along winter of “same old same old.”

I was planning on cheeseburgers but since I had the grill on I decided to throw on a few other items I had kicking around in my fridge – creating the “trifecta” of baseball grill food: sausage, hot dogs and burgers.

I did put a twist on things by not just making any old cheeseburger, but a green chili cheese sauce burger. (on toasted English muffin cause everyone knows they make the best rolls!)

green chili cheeseburger.jpg

A green chili cheese sauce can easily be made by melting 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour, creating a roux. Add in about a cup of milk whisking constantly till thick. A pinch of seasoned salt and some black pepper to season. Add in 2 slices of provolone cheese and about 4 oz mild cheddar cheese. Whisk in a few dashes of the green Tabasco® sauce and about 2 oz of chopped green chilies (this is half of the small can – if you want to use the whole can, double the other ingredients and make a big batch of cheese sauce for a crowd!)

Serve warm drizzled over burgers, nacho chips or just about anything!

All Star Cookout

Recently I had a friend from grad school and her husband over for a cookout. They are from China and when they had us over, they gave us a full cultural experience. It was delicious and fun!

So I thought I would return the favor and have an “all American” cookout.  Featuring only “all-star” cookout items!

Cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chips and dip, deviled eggs, potato salad and for dessert… a toss-up between strawberry shortcake or apple pie!  Apple pie and ice cream won out.

even upside down - you just know this burger was delicious1

even upside down – you just know this burger was delicious!

Lettuce, tomato, Heinz 57…..you know the song! I put out all the burger fixin’s and let everybody build their own. But cheese was mandatory. Seriously who eats a burger without cheese?!

no cook out is complete without TWO kinds of chips!

TWO kinds of chips AND watermelon!

Everybody has their favorite potato salad recipe, but I went with a standard mix of mayonnaise, finely diced onion, seasoned salt, black pepper and a splash of vinegar and a couple of pinches of celery seed.

Devilishly delicious!

The secret is a little pickle juice!

I finally got to use my special deviled egg server. The thing that holds the eggs is actually filled with liquid – so you put it in the freezer until it is cold – it keeps the eggs cold while they are served!

It also has a cover so you can travel with it and the insert is reversible to accommodate veggies and dip too! It seemed like a great purchase at the time but I admit it is one of those gadgets that doesn’t get used too often! Also notice the use of paprika here…very 1970s!

You just can't beat pie and ice cream!

You just can’t beat pie and ice cream!

A little early in the season for apple pie but oh what a wonderful preview of fall – which is just around the corner now!

Bruschetta Burgers

One night while on the way home from work in downtown Boston, I remembered that we had no buns for the burgers I was craving that night for dinner. What to do? I definitely didn’t feel like getting in the car after a long train/bus commute home to go to the store for just one item. In such a big city you think there would be a small grocery store or two, but no. Only one in the whole city and it was way across town.

So I improvised, popping into one of those sandwich places that are normally so crowded during the day but not at all at night as busy commuters rush home. I am not going to openly plug them but they make their own flat bread in brick ovens for the sandwiches and are famous for making custom salads too. I was excited to buy fresh, hot, tasty, flat bread for my burgers.

All the way home (Resisting the urge to immediately tear into the warm bread. ) I modified my burger plans to “fit” the bread. I decided to make the burgers thin; so two patties per bread. The bread is rectangular so this would work better. Than I remembered I had some provolone cheese so I knew I would reheat the bread and get the cheese all melt-y  before adding the burger patties.

But then I decided regular ketchup would never do. Too pedestrian for such a gourmet approach to a burger.
Since I had tons of fresh tomatoes still coming out of the garden I knew “fresh” was the way to go…

A classic “bruschetta” of chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, thin sliced red onions, olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Add in as much as you like and enjoy a “bruschetta burger!”

Pan Fryers

If you know anything about me by now, you know that my mother was ahead of the curve in the “healthy” department. So in my childhood, hamburgers were enjoyed as a rare, fast-food treat supplied by my dad when my mom wasn’t looking or at backyard barbecues, mostly hosted by neighbors or extended family. I can’t recall ever making hamburgers, grilled or pan-fried, growing up.

My husband, however, will tell you that his father would whip some hamburgers up on an almost weekly basis. His dad would pan fry to perfection the juicy patties and they would serve them up on toasted white bread if no buns were available. Cheese was an option but most of his family just enjoyed a plain hamburger. (The thought of no cheese just gives me an anxiety attack!)

The choice of beef in a “pan fryer” is important. You really can’t use any diet techniques here. You have to have enough fat to keep the burger juicy. So use a high-quality 80/20 blend or grind your own. Forming uniform-size patties helps to keep cooking times consistent. A little dimple/divot in the middle of the patty keeps it from puffing up.

Toppings are important

I don’t put the same toppings on a “pan fryer” as I would a grilled burger. Maybe it has to do with the weather…grilling + outside = summer toppings. When I pan fry, I just feel the need to go old school and replicate the diner-style burgers my father-in-law made.

A thick slice of tomato, raw onion rings, cheese, ketchup or A-1 (or both) and some pepper rings are all you need. Tip: soak the onion rings in white vinegar for a few minutes to take some of the “raw” off the onions. Drain and use right away.

Do I even need to mention that you always toast the bun – buttered too.

Are you craving a “pan fryer” yet?