Friday, 15 July 2016

The Southern Burger

Sometimes I make things and they are a major catastrophe.

It happens.  And I try not to read too much into it.  Occasionally, it's a bad or poorly written recipe (they exist!).  Sometimes it's just my lack of knowledge and skill.

Especially when it comes to ingredients or methods I've never seen or used before.

Like fried green tomatoes.  I mean - I've had them as an appetizer at a restaurant, but I've never been able to buy green tomatoes, let alone know what to do with them.

Luckily, I have an awesome co-worker who has a farm and gladly brings me all the fresh produce I can handle.  Like green tomatoes!

I'm sad to say - the first time around, the method/recipe I used was awful.  The tomatoes turned out soggy and tasted weird.  

But I KNEW this could be an AMAZING burger - so I forged ahead and tried again a few weeks later.

And then THIS gloriousness happened.

That cheesy saucy stuff.  That's pimento cheese.  Super easy to make and really delicious.

Topped with crispy fried green tomatoes.

If you're like me and you like to put onion rings on top of your burgers - this would totally be up your alley.

Isn't it beautiful?

My goodness.  If you're a regular visitor, you know I hold no pretenses about the quality of the pictures.  I do my best - but you don't get the gorgeous, glossy, well-styled pictures often found on other food blogs. 

But this day.  I don't know really what happened this day.  The stars just aligned I guess.

Back to the point.  The burger, topped with a flavorful, creamy, homemade pimento cheese, then topped AGAIN with crispy on the outside, tender on the inside fried green tomatoes.  With extra pimento cheese on the bun just because.  It really needed no other adornments or accoutrements.

The pimento cheese is fantastic and would be awesome hot or cold - maybe on a roast beef sandwich.  I pretty much wanted to slather it on everything.  

The method I used is this one from Allrecipes. Though I cut them into 1/4-inch thick slices instead of their recommended 1/2-inch thick slices.  I heated the oil temperature to 350 degrees and cooked for about 6 minutes in total, flipping halfway through and just watching to make sure they don't get over-brown.

I hope you enjoy this Southern inspired burger as much as I did!

xoxo - Heather

The Southern Burger
1 recipe hamburger patties
1 recipe hamburger buns
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces white horseradish cheddar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 - 1/3 light mayo
4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Make the pimento cheese:  Shred the cheddar and horseradish cheddar.  Mix together in the bowl of a food processor and remove a handful of cheese (set aside).  (you could also use the grater blade of the food processor)
  2. Put the processor's chopping blade in place and add the Worcestershire, garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, the red bell pepper, and the mayo.  Process together for 8 - 10 seconds or until it starts to come together.
  3. Add the remaining cheese and pulse together once or twice until mixed in, but not pulverized.  Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the fried green tomatoes:  Start heating the vegetable oil in a deep heavy pot to 350 degrees F.
  5. Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. 
  6. In a medium bowl or pie plate, add the eggs and milk.  Whisk together.
  7. On a plate with high sides or pie plate, stir to combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
  8. Ready and cook the tomatoes in batches of 4 - 5 slices.  You don't want to crowd the tomatoes in the oil or they won't cook properly.
  9. First, dredge both sides of the tomato in the flour.  Then coat both sides with the egg/milk mixture.  Then dredge both sides of the tomato into the cornmeal mixture.  Set aside until the other 4 slices are coated.
  10. Gently place the coated tomatoes in the hot oil.  Cook for 2.5 - 3 minutes, flip over and continue cooking another 2.5 - 3 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Keep slices warm in a 220 degree F oven until ready to serve.
  12. Burger assembly:  Bottom bun, burger patty, melty pimento cheese (I slathered a bunch on while the patties were still on the bbq), two or three tomatoes, more cheese on the top bun!  Devour.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Beach House Burgers

I'm going to be honest with you.

I've never really been a Surf 'n Turf girl.  Give me one or the other.  I think I probably felt this way because I didn't think beef and seafood ever really married well.

But, as of late, my mind has been changed.  Maybe it was the California Roll Burger.  Maybe it was the Burgers Oscar (which still have to make an appearance!  Stay tuned for that!).  Maybe it was these delightful Beach House Burgers.

Either way.  I'm now a converted Surf 'n Turf girl.  Sweet lobster or crab paired with a juicy, beefy steak.  I'm in for that.

This burger though.  Shrimp salad on top of a seasoned beef patty with cheese, lettuce, and mayo.


For the patties.  I followed my standard burger recipe and then seasoned both sides with Old Bay Seasoning (LOVE that stuff).

Top with a slice of cheddar cheese, mayo, and lettuce.

Then top with this AMAZING shrimp salad.  Very, very simple to throw together.  Cooked shrimp, green onions, celery, fresh tarragon (feel free to leave this out if you choose), Old Bay Seasoning, mayo, salt and pepper, juice from half a lemon.

Mine seemed to be fairly runny, but I was totally fine with that.  (it might have been excess water from the onions or celery, or maybe just a tad too much lemon juice)

See why I've been converted?

This was literally the PERFECT surf 'n turf burger. And the shrimp salad was so scrumptious, we ate the leftovers out of the bowl.  Good grief I need better lighting.  These were so much more beautiful in person!

The shrimp would also make a DIVINE seafood melt....  If you were so inclined.  (I'm thinking a mix of cheddar and monterey jack shredded)

If we weren't so busy trying out all kinds of different burgers, this one would be making a fairly regular appearance on Sunday.

xoxo - Heather

Friday, 1 July 2016

Red Velvet Cheesecake Pie

Happy Canada Day! 

(One more dessert before we get back to the burgers.  I promise!) 

Red Velvet Cheesecake Pie.  This couldn't be a more perfect dessert to celebrate our beloved Country's birthday. 

Not really chocolate.  Not really vanilla.  Kind of both.    

Start out by making a basic Oreo cookie crust.

I wish I had those snappy fingers like on those "Tasty" short cooking videos.  But since I don't, melt a little butter in the microwave, crush up some cookies in a food processor and mix it together.  Pour into a pie plate. 

Press into the bottom and up the sides of the plate. 

I wildly encourage out to cut out a parchment circle and place it in the bottom of the pie plate before you put in the crust.  For whatever reason, I mangle every piece of pie that comes out of the plate without parchment.  And butter (of course).

Stick the crust in the fridge while you make the filling.  Which is SO easy!

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.

Then add the sour cream.  Make sure the sour cream is room temperature!  If it's too cold when you add it to the cream cheese, it seizes and you get chunks.

And that little bottle of red food coloring in the picture above?  Dump in the whole thing.

Add in the cocoa powder.  (ahem.  The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons cocoa powder....  But I had a brain fart and put in MUCH more.  Clearly)

And the vanilla.

And sugar.

Mix that all together.  And then fold in the Cool Whip until no streaks of Cool Whip can be seen.

Then pour that into the chilled crust.

Then put the whole works back into the fridge.  A minimum of a few hours - or overnight.

Now - I'm not sure if you can tell....  But that crust is all broken.  I had to kind of surgically put it back together.  Because I didn't line the pie plate with parchment paper.  Don't be like me - line your plate!

And serve with a dollop of Cool Whip.

Creamy, tangy, slightly chocolatey, that crisp Oreo crust.  oh boy.  It's a PERFECT summer dessert that is quick to go together so you have more time to spend outside in the sun!

Now - I would understand if you were sitting there looking at these pictures thinking - "ummmm - Heather....  that's pink....."  And I don't blame you.  Possibly it's because I used too much cocoa powder....  Maybe it's the type of food color I used.  Maybe it's a trick of the light.  Don't worry - it still tastes AWESOME.


xoxo - Heather

Friday, 24 June 2016

Pralines and Cream Pie

With all these DELICIOUS burgers, I regularly forget that I ALSO make really awesome desserts.

Like this Pralines and Cream Pie. 

What is Pralines and Cream?  I actually had to go on a fact-finding mission, because I truthfully had no idea.

Pralines and Cream = popular ice cream treat.

Pralines?  A candied nut.  I remember being in St Augustine and my sister-in-law was so wildly excited because this little candy shop we snuck into in the old village had all kinds of Pralines. 

So I thought this pie would be a hit.

Spoiler alert.  It WAS.

First - we'll start off with a pie crust!

In all honesty, the recipe calls for ice water....  But I'm lazy and don't make ice.  I just ran the cold water until it was very very cold.  And then popped the measuring cup into the freezer for a few minutes for good measure.

Well that clearly explains why my water bill is a bazillion dollars.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour.

With the salt.

And the sugar.

Whisk that together.  Then add the cubed butter.  Make sure it's cold! 

Then start cutting the butter into the flour.  You can use a fork to do this.  But I really like my pastry blender.  But then you need a fork later on to mix in the water.  So you can do whatever makes you most comfortable.  Or depending on how many dishes you want to wash later on. 

Stir in the water and knead the dough until it comes together.  But don't overdo it or the dough will be tough.

Flatten the dough into a roundish, flattish, disc-shape.  Wrap in cling-wrap and put into the fridge.  Until it's cold.

When you're ready, take the dough-disc out of the fridge and roll out until just a little bigger than your pie plate.

Trim the edges, dock the surface, fill with pie weights (aka - black beans) and bake.  Which I can't show you - because I had a brain fart and forgot about that part.

Next.  The filling.  Or at least "Part 1" of the filling.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter.

Add the brown sugar.

Add the pecans and salt.

And start cooking until the whole lot is syrupy and sticky.  Try not to eat that.

Once the pecan mixture is nice and thickened and syrupy, pour that into the baked (cooled) pie shell.

Then let that cool while you make Part 2 of the filling.

In another medium saucepan (or the one you just cleaned, or a bigger saucepan) over medium-low heat, add the sugar.

Then the cornstarch.

And some of the milk!

Stir it together.  The add the rest of the milk.  Beat the two egg yolks in a small bowl and pour into the milk mixture.

Whisk to combine.

Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until very thick.  Then, scrape out the caviar from a vanilla bean pod and add that.  To get to the vanilla bean caviar, simply split the bean lengthwise and run the blade of a knife along the inside of the bean.

And then add in cubed butter.

Stir it all together until the butter is melted.  Let it cool slightly.  Pour into the pie shell over top of the pecan mixture.

Gently place a piece of cling-wrap on the top of the pie (so that it's directly on the surface of the pudding) and place in the refrigerator.  I like to let this type of pie sit overnight.  Or all day.

Just before serving, whip up some whipped cream to serve with the pie.

And, cue the yum.

Creamy and sweet, with a satisfying slight crunch from the pecans, this was a delightful fresh (though slightly rich) pie.

I would absolutely recommend doubling the pecan part.  I wished there was more of that.  (But I'm a huge pecan pie lover - so that's probably why)

I would also recommend using double the vanilla bean caviar. 

I wasn't fussy about the pie crust - I recommend this one from Alton Brown's Good Eats.  It's flaky and wonderful!

I think my favorite part about this pie was that it's the best of both worlds!  A cream pie married with a pecan pie.  That's pretty much heaven.

I hope you enjoy it too!

xoxo - Heather