Dad’s Birthday and the Burger Bar Cookbook Experience

burger

As promised, I’m reporting back on the cookbook, Burger Bar: Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers by Hubert Keller.  Sorry to keep you waiting.   I can’t weigh in an opinion on a book until I’ve at least made a few recipes.  There’s nothing more frustrating than people who have comments and criticism based on the look, weight or photos of a cookbook.  Make something then tell me what’s it’s like.

 

Anyways it was my husband’s birthday and he requested making a burger recipe from the new book – Blue Cheese Stuffed Bacon Sliders.  I’ll put the burger and accoutrements together and my husband will grill it outside.  Easy enough, I thought.  However the first challenge was when trying to buy the coarsely ground sirloin at the Whole Food’s meat counter.  They did not have ground sirloin (that’s what makes the burgers a stand out and the price in a restaurant, or so I’m told) and when I asked the gentleman behind the meat counter he said too much of the meat would get stuck in the grinder.  What?  He was looking over me at the long line and his watch.  Instead of holding my own and telling him to grind it anyway, I went with the best quality grass fed beef.  I should’ve gone to a local butcher.  Next time.

 

I was annoyed with myself when I got home, but tired and wanting to focus on the other elements of the birthday dinner and of course dessert.  The cake requested was a flourless chocolate cake.  Easy and yummy enough.  Something I can mix up in about 20 minutes, then another 20 to bake.  My usual sprinkle of powdered sugar or cocoa wasn’t going to cut it for my kids.  They think all birthday cakes should have writing.  So we whipped up a bit of royal icing and served the cake with mint ice cream (my husband’s fav) – it’s rich, quick and perfect.

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Flourless Chocolate Cake

Back to the burgers.  I have to say they were yummy.  However there were some elements or steps that were not really necessary.  Stuffing the burgers with blue cheese didn’t add much except for time to make and worry whether they were going to break open on the grill.  Adding it to the top of the burger would’ve yielded the same flavor and not made the burger so high.  These were so tall, there was not way to get your mouth around.  We made them full size and they were messy and awkward to eat at home.  If we had made true sliders and wanted to have them at a party, they would’ve ended up on the floor (or guests would’ve been too intimated to eat).   See photo.  It also wasn’t necessary to add bacon to the meat mixture.  It was plenty on top as opposed to pieces in the meat.

 On the plus side, the sugared pears were great.  This combo with the burger and blue cheese was great and yielded a bit of moisture.  My kids loved these on the side too.  Who wouldn’t?  I’m going to remember these for salads too.  Another plus from the book was the Marinated Vegetable Salad I made to accompany.  This was easy, crisp and refreshing.  This will be a new side dish at our house for just about anything.  Even a good potluck or picnic dish.

 

marinated salad
marinated salad

I’m looking forward to making more of the recipes.  However like I do with most recipes, I will read and make a few changes if too complex, to edit the ingredients and steps and make more convenient.

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I Met a Master

There are only a handful of television shows I watch each week.  Once of them is Top Chef.  I’ve blogged about my love of the show before.  But what trumps Top Chef?  Top Chef Masters!  I was so excited to watch each week and especially root for the home team chef (Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in SF).  No I had never been to Fleur de Lys (hopefully some day soon), but this chef was so nice and down to earth and french.  How could I not like him?  He didn’t win.  But I liked Rick Bayless (Frontera, Topolobampo, Chicago)  too.  Another seemingly nice person with a genuine passion for food.

When I heard Hubert Keller would be at the Tyler Florence Shop in Mill Valley, I responded immediately.  We in the Bay Area are so fortunate to have the Florence family here as a family,  business, and generous community supporter.  Hubert was promoting his new cookbook Burger Bar Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers, along with his new restaurants (opening in Macy’s in Union Square SF on Oct 16th).  I was so pleased to see this friendly and talkative “master” in person.  It was also very moving to hear a man thank him for Fleur de Lys and the experience he had dining there when he proposed to his wife.  It was also wonderful to hear that he has raised so much money for Make-A-Wish foundation because of his Top Chef Masters appearance.

Hubert and I
Hubert and I

 

The cookbook looks wonderful – everything from burgers (beef, fish, veggie, ostrich) and veggie sides (fries, pickled veggies) and shakes/floats (spiked and non).  I’ll report back with a recipe once I’ve tried something.

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