Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make a Burger, Make a Friend Creators!

I just wanted to share that the founders of Make a Burger, Make a Friend commented on my blog. Too cool, too cool.


You can check out the post here!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Burger "Rub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub!"

As we sit down to family dinners with my grandpa the few times we get to see him, he always starts to dig into the meal while exclaiming, "rub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub!"

And if you want to express your thanks for the greasy grub, what better way to do it than the Thanksgiving burger.

Yeah, you read right.

This beast of a burger combines your love for burgers with the traditional elements found on a Thanksgiving table.

Cosmopolitan blogger Dara Adeeyo recently wrote a post about a burger from Slater's 50/50 , a California based restaurants that features unique menu items. One of which, is this bad boy, the Thanksgiving Burger:


"fresh turkey patty topped with house-made brioche dressing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and sage mayo."
Yeah.



Photo Courtesy: Dara Adeeyo for Cosmopolitan 


I think this could be an awesome, day-after-Thanksgiving meal to use up your leftovers and create a new meal. 

Yelp! Reviewer Allison M. said, "It's a very unique taste in the burgers but yet still handles the burger craving. I am very pleased and satisfied and am going home happy. Thank you Slaters!"

But if you're trying to live on the lighter side of life and watch your waistline, the same restaurant also features a Cheeseburger Salad, "all natural, choice ground beef patty with melted American cheese atop romaine lettuce, chopped thick cut bacon, dill pickle chips, sliced red onions and cherry tomatoes with 1000 island dressing.
It may not be the healthiest thing to eat, but there's tomatoes and lettuce in there -- good enough!
Too bad we're not in California!

Despite the distance, these recipes are easy to make at home while still getting your cheeseburger fix in!


Photo Courtesy: EveryStockPhoto


Have you every combined burgers and Thanksgiving? 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: Shake Shack, Boca Raton, Fla. Delicious, but pricey

Review: Shake Shack, Boca Raton, Fla. 


About three things I was absolutely positive. 

First, Shack Shake made me laugh before I even went. 




Second, there was a part in "Something Borrowed" where they ate at Shake Shack that made me crave that burger. 
Photo Courtesy: Mimosas in the Morning 


And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably ready to try it. 


For some reason as I was getting ready to write this blog post, one of the only scenes I remember from the tween craze series Twilight came to mind (for your reference.) I craved cheeseburgers like that vampire craved that girl... I think. 

Today I visited Shake Shack in Boca Raton. It's disconnected from a large University Commons plaza that is always buzzing with the elderly trying to find parking spaces, you might even pass Shack Shack if you weren't looking for it.

I'm sensing the same vibe from each burger joint I actually stop to notice: metal outside, refurbished decor and seating and a very New York undertone. 




Shake Shack has an outside menu with arrows directing customers to join one of two lines: one to order burgers, hot dogs or other food, and the other just to order shakes and drinks. I thought that was an intriguing concept, as it must be annoying to stand in line just for a beer.


The menu is located outside on the patio where the roped off lines start. I heard the cashiers yell to customers "we have plastic menus inside!" as it started to rain when I was there. It made things a little confusing for a newcomer. 


The tables were made of refurbished bowling lanes, which I thought was an awesome and interesting feature.

I ordered a ShackBurger, medium burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ShackSauce. We received a buzzer and were told to take a seat and come back to get our order when it was ready. It only took five minutes or so, but for over $20 for two single-patty burgers, side of fries and two drinks, the portions were tiny. The regular drink cups were laughable, and the burgers were the size of my palm. 

My brother asked, "Did we order kid's meals?" 

Despite the size, the burgers were beautiful. The lettuce was crisp and fresh, the tomatoes were juicy and the meat was a good thickness. I asked our cashier what the ShackSauce was and she informed me that it was chipotle mayo.

I am a sucker for sauces so next time I would even order ketchup on my burger or add my own because I felt like it needed a little more UMPH! Overall, I can't complain. I ate it all in two minutes flat. 

The bun was soft, similar to a potato roll and it didn't leak grease all over the table. 

The single patty almost wasn't enough, but I'm glad I didn't get a double and tack on another $4 to our already expensive meal. It was around $9 a person for a small burger, fry and drink. 



TripAdvisor reviewer Mikey said, "I have been here two times now, and am a fan of their burgers. They are very tasty and don't seem as greasy as some of the other burger joints. I do find that the price of the double hamburger to be a tad overpriced though."

The fries were decent. They were hot and fresh crinkle cut fries. They are cooked in 100% soybean oil and I felt like you could taste a slight difference. Almost more of a nutty taste to the fries. You can also order cheddar and American cheese fries. I can feel my thighs getting bigger. 


The menu also offered hot dogs such as their Shack-cago dog: relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard. 

There is also a beer and wine menu with speciality beer and wine made solely for ShackShake. The company partnered with Brooklyn Brewery to create a "deep golden color, bright citrus aroma, slight bitterness and bready malt flavor" beer. They also have a speciality red and white wine selection from Frog’s Leap.


Their shakes are spun at high speeds making it richer than regular ice cream and custard. 

One that really sparked my interest was the "Jelly's Last Donut," vanilla custard, Doughnut Plant donuts, strawberry preserves and cinnamon sugar.






I will definitely be trying next time! This place seems like a good place to stop on your way to campus at Florida Atlantic University, or just to come for a quick bite to eat or for custard after dinner. 

But for a broke college girl like me, I don't want to be spending $10 on a little burger every time. I would come with friends for a beer and a nice chat after the beach and enjoy their shaded patio. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cheeseburger Nachos Recipes

Searching for recipes to make my soul a little happier,

I came across cheeseburger nachos. I don't really enjoy watching football, but if a friend invited me to a football-watching party with cheeseburger nachos, I would like football.

Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Spicy Cheeseburger Nachos

Ingredients:
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef 1 clove garlic, minced 2 boxes (16 oz each) Mexican prepared cheese product with jalapeƱo peppers, cut into cubes 2 cans (10 oz each) diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained 1/2 cup chopped green onions (8 medium) 22 oz tortilla chips

Directions:
1 In 10-inch skillet, cook ground beef and garlic, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Spoon into 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Add cheese and tomatoes; mix well.
2 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 3 to 4 hours, stirring after 2 hours.
3 Before serving, stir in onions. Serve with tortilla chips.
Photo Courtesy: EveryStockPhoto
HBCook, Berry Crocker reviewer said, "I made this for a bunco group and the ladies liked it. It has good flavor and is mildly spicy but I have made better Velveeta or Mexican cheese dip recipes. The beef needs to be very small and maybe using a good chunky salsa would add interest over the rotel. I did not use a slow cooker and it almost filled up an 8x8 serving dish.I made this for a bunco group and the ladies liked it. It has good flavor and is mildly spicy but I have made better Velveeta or Mexican cheese dip recipes. The beef needs to be very small and maybe using a good chunky salsa would add interest over the rotel. I did not use a slow cooker and it almost filled up an 8x8 serving dish."

Not only is this recipe easy with a slow cooker, or according to HbCook, without, but it will have your house smelling like a beautiful, cheeseburger candle all day long. 


Cheeseburger Nachos with Special Sauce - Just like a BigMac

Iowa Girl Eats blogger created a cheeseburger nacho dish with special sauce. She writes, "The nachos tasted exactly like a cheeseburger, complete with special sauce made from ketchup and Thousand Island dressing, and Ben and I each licked our plates clean. Total repeater! "

Ingredients:

2 burrito-sized flour tortillas (look for thicker tortillas)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon Thousand Island dressing
1/3lb lean ground beef
salt & pepper
garlic powder
onion powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Toppings:
shredded lettuce
white onion, shredded
tomato, chopped
pickles, chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut flour tortillas into 8 wedges each, then place on a foil-lined, non-stick sprayed baking sheet and spray the tops with more non-stick spray. Bake for 3-4 minutes, or until wedges are slightly toasted and just starting to turn golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, place ground beef in a pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, and brown. Drain, then return to the pan.
  3. Mix together ketchup and Thousand Island dressing in a small bowl, then spread 1/2 teaspoon of the sauce onto each toasted tortilla wedge. Top with ground beef and cheddar cheese, then bake for 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  4. Top hot nachos with optional toppings and serve immediately.

No, that's not thunder. It's my stomach growling through your speakers. 

Definitely planning on making this, or a variety of this recipe the next time I want to enjoy a sporting event but have no idea what's going on. 

Have you ever made cheeseburger nachos? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How would you like your burger cooked? Beef Cooking Temperatures

It's the most frightening question a waitress can ask you when you're 9. All you want is a cheeseburger, but the waitress goes down this gigantic list of questions about cheese types, toppings, bread types, and cooking temperature. Most of it is easy: American! Ketchup and mustard, no onion! White! And uh.. uh.. You look at your mom. She expects you to know. She taught you this, but you never remember and you don't want to look dumb. You plead with your eyes: Tell me mom!

"How do I like my burger cooked?" 

It's one of those things that you hear waiters and waitresses as steak restaurants constantly complaining about. Some don't understand what ordering your beef medium well, or rare, or medium actually means.  They send it back with the cook saying, "But this is medium rare!"

There really is no correct way to cook a burger, as taste and cooking temperature is subjective.

To help in case you've been ordering well done your entire life because that's what your mom told you to do when you were 9, here is what each cooking temperature will be when cooked correctly.

Photo Courtesy: EveryStockPhoto
Rare: If you order a burger rare, you're asking for a cool, red and bloody center. A rare burger must be
cooked by the United States Department of Agriculture standard of 145°, which is the minimum is accepts. Your burger will be "mooing" as my dad would say, and will taste very fresh and soft.

In my opinion, a rare burger falls apart too easily. I don't particularly like a rare burger, but it does have a much meatier flavor than a more cooked burger. I'm also very cautious of food born illnesses so I stay away from rare.

Medium Rare: A medium rare burger is firmer than a rare burger. You'll get a red or very pink center, but it will hold together more and the outside may be cooked more with a warmer center. According to an article on HubPages, "Now here we're getting to where MOST cooks believe you have the perfect burger." It's still bleeding some, but the center isn't cold. Warmness all around. 

Photo Courtesy: EveryStockPhoto
Medium: My boyfriend works at a sports bar and he said medium is by far the most popular temperature of beef customers order. A medium burger will be pink and firm in the center. It is the halfway or "medium" point between rare and well, and is a good option to order if you're unsure how you like a burger cooked. The inside will be warm and the outside cooked well.

Medium Well: Medium well is where burgers start to lose flavor and become a bit chewy. I've ordered many medium burgers in the taste that definitely come back medium well. It will past more like charcoal and have a pink line through the center about the width of a quarter.


Photo Courtesy: EveryStockPhoto
Well: A well burger doesn't leave you with much taste besides any spices you put in it. It will be very chewy with no pink in the center. At this temperature, food borne illnesses cannot survive, so this is the safest way to cook a burger, though not very tasty.

How do you like your burger cooked?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kobe Beef Unveiled - What makes it so good and so expensive?

I've definitely been tempted to order the $50+ Kobe beef burger I've seen popping up on menus all over the place. The last time I was at the CheeseCake Factory I came close to trading in my favorite chicken dish for the Kobe burger just to see what it was and why I had to sell an organ to buy it. 


What is Kobe beef exactly? 

Kobe beef refers to a type of breed of cattle called wagyu cattle raised in Kobe, Japan. I find it highly unlikely many of these chain restaurants get all their beef from Japan. But there are japanese cattle that are raised in the United States and are typically bred with Angus so they can withstand American climate. This type of beef will typically be listed as "kobe-style" or "American kobe," which basically is saying it's not true kobe beef. 



According to an interview from the Chicago Tribune with Freemont Beef Co. sales manager, Neb. Laun Hinkle, Hinkle said, "It's a very buttery, smooth-textured product completely different than U.S. beef." 

The cattle were originally raised in isolation, which eventually tweaked the genetics of the cattle resulting in mouth-watering meat. The cattle are given muscle rubs and brushed often for better quality meat. Happy cows = happy meat. They are even fed beer to help stimulate appetite and relaxation. The proof that relaxed cattle will produce outstanding meat seems to be clear as Kobe beef is some of the most expensive and desirable in the world, according to The Kitchn's outline of what makes Kobe beef so good. 


Photo Courtesy: EveryStockPhoto
Kieran W., a TripAdvisor reviewer for Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511in Japan said, "Kobe beef was amazing, melted in the mouth."
There are only about 3,000 wagyu cattle a year, which makes it incredibly expensive if you're getting the real deal. According to CNN Money, certified Kobe beef is worth about $150 a pound.

I'm looking forward to trying it next time I see it on a menu!

Have you ever had Kobe beef? What did you think? 




Campbell's Hearty Cheeseburger Soup Review: More like cheese soup than cheeseburger soup


Campbell's Hearty Cheeseburger Soup Review


So while pushing my cart through Publix a couple days ago, my eyes became drawn to the bright red Campbell's soup labels with names like kickin' buffalo chicken and potatoes and bacon . I only ever think to eat soup when I just had my wisdom teeth or tonsils removed and can't fathom to eat anything besides liquid.

But there it was. Cheeseburger soup.

I skipped over it, as I'm on a fixed income at the moment after I tried to be spontaenous and go on a shopping spree that ended up with me crying over the number in my bank account. But then I went home just to see a commercial for the new soup on T.V.

I had to get it.

Campbell's Chunky recently released three new flavors: chicken quesadilla soup, Philly-style cheesesteak soup and hearty cheeseburger soup. None of which sound delicious when you remember it's liquified and you're not ill.

I opened the can to find that the broth was essentially thin melted cheese broth filled to the brim. It smelled like alfredo sauce and looked too soupy, for lack of a better word, to be that great. The broth tasted like pure cheese, but obviously not fresh cheese you would get layered my favorite greasy grub (my new favorite term for cheeseburgers, by the way.)

The ingredients say it includes potatoes, seasoned beef sirloin, diced tomatoes, green peppers, dehydrated onions, cheddar cheese and a whole myriad of other ingredients with names too long for me to say.

After my first bite, I was unsure of my opinion. It just tasted like a cheese version of Beeferoni that Campbell's also sells. The potatoes were probably my favorite
part because the beef tasted like old meatballs that I pulled out of the back my freezer.

The meat "discs" with chewy, flat, and had grill lines as if it just came off the grill. The green peppers and tomatoes were lacking, but the potatoes and meat bits took up most of the bowl.

I only had four or five bites before I gave in. The broth was heavier than I expected it to be and filled me up fast. The entire bowl was 400 calories with 790 mg of sodium. I'd rather save that for something tastier.




Serious Eats also reviewed the cheeseburger soup and said, "I was hoping that it would have a strong flavor to match, but it tasted more like a salty mixture of tomatoes and watered-down, heavily artificial cheese flavoring."

I can see this being heaven in a bowl if I were sick and had only had jello for four days straight.

The only time I would have this again is poured over butter biscuits at a football watching party or if I wanted to eat my feelings in food.

Overall I would rate it a four out of 10, 10 being magical and wonderful and would have made me eat the whole bowl.

 I understand this is soup, but if you're going to call it cheeseburger soup, add more burger-ness.