Knife and Fork Burger

I was inspired recently by a blogger whose blog is called No Recipes today. ” My philosophy on cooking is that it’s 50% technique, 40% inspiration and 10% ingredients”, a quote from No Recipe’s blog master, Marc Matsumoto.  I haven’t actually had an opportunity to make any of Marc’s dishes, but in a way that is the point. His philosophy is one that I’ve been trying to grapple with more and more over the years.  Personally a surprisingly difficult process.  I’m a little addicted to cookbooks and I more often than not follow recipes and remain extremely envious of those creative and brave people like Marc who just ‘do’.  Well, today I decided to make lunch without thinking.  It worked for me, maybe this recipe won’t sit well with everybody, but darn it, I thought it was good.  My main ingredient was ground beef (86%) that was about to get funky, and I was really hungry so I didn’t want to spend much time in the kitchen reinventing the wheel; burger time.  I had mushrooms and chevre that needed using and spinach in the garden – although I would have preferred arugula.  I had also given the chickens the last of the hamburger buns, so the only thing bread-y left was english muffin.  My Knife and Fork Burger is born.

Serves 1

¼ pound of ground beef

½ cup rough chopped mushrooms

1 cup rough chopped fresh spinach or arugula

2 tablespoons plain chevre

1 half of an english muffin

1 tablespoon softened butter, devided

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, devided

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat a well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Form a patty with the ground beef and salt and (lots of) pepper both sides.  Toast the english muffin.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and butter in the pan.  Once the butter is melted add your patty and cover with a lid (preferably glass).  Once browned, flip and brown the other side.  Cook the patty until desired doneness.  Remove the patty and cover loosely with foil.  Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan, you may need to reduce the heat a bit.  Once the mushrooms are browned, add the spinach or arugula until wilted.  Add salt and pepper and the remaining butter.  Lightly butter the toasted muffin and top loosely with spinach and mushrooms.  Sprinkle the chevre on the mushroom mixture and top with the cooked patty.  Drizzle remaining olive oil over the burger.

The Jucy Lucy – Island Style

Having always lived in west, I have ventured only a handful of times to the east coast  and sadly, to the mid west fewer still.  When I finally get around to making THE road trip:  ‘Around America for an Unspecified Amount of Time and Purpose’ (maybe a new title?) I will be sure to stop in Minnesota for a full throttle Jucy Lucy exploration.  Minneapolis is the undisputed birthplace of this twist on the cheese burger ( it’s creator is not without controversy) and many variations from the original.  Some restaurants have even taken this unpretentious dish to other levels by changing out the American cheese for Gruyere or blue or Swiss, others are using Kobe beef! Thumbs up for experimentation I say.  Mixedsoup’s version is a combo of original Jucy Lucy and a ‘regular’ burger.  The  Jucy Lucy does not come with lettuce or tomato like a regular burger or with any condiments.  I like the flavors and textures of lettuce and tomato and all the ketchup, mustard etc. so I’ve included them.  The cooking method is up to you, however I used a cast iron skillet this time.

serves 4

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, about 80% to 86% lean

1 teaspoon coarse salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

4 slices American cheese

4 lettuce leaves, washed and dried

4 tomato slices

4 potato hamburger buns, toasted

the works:  pickle slices, ketchup, mustard, mayo …

Make patties about 1/4 inch thick and about 4 1/2 inches in diameter.  Thicker patties are difficult to cook through before the cheese has reached volcanic properties.  Place the patties in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour.    Take each piece of cheese and divide it into fours, then stack them into a pile four pieces high.  Repeat with the other slices.

Season each side of the patties with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Take the four stacks of cheese and place each in the center of four patties.  Take the other patties without the cheese and place them on top of the patties with the cheese stacks making a seal so that cheese doesn’t escape while cooking.  One reason for using American cheese is it’s melting quality, although other cheeses may work well with a different effect.

Preheat your pan over medium heat.  Place the burgers in the pan and cover with a lid.  After approximately 4 minutes turn the burgers and cover for another 4 minutes.  If the patties begin to puff with moisture, prick with a skewer or toothpick to allow the steam to escape.  Test for temperature using a instant read thermometer.  Continue flipping and cooking until desired doneness.  Let the burger rest for a few minutes before cutting or eating as the cheese may be molten.  Grab lots of napkins!

Island Style Jucy Lucy