A New Kind of Burger -or- Making Things Better Than the Original to Nix Nostalgia

26 Oct

In all honesty, I never thought I’d find myself writing a food blog. I don’t consider myself the type with such a fine-tuned palate that I could be overtly critical of restaurants, New York Times style. With such an ineptitude in this department, I never imagined flaunting my opinion of other people’s cooking around the internet and settled instead on providing the rare, pithy review on Yelp. On the home front, I’m not particularly inventive in the kitchen to the point where I’d put up my own recipes, at least not before this point in my newly WCRS-free life. Most of my shots-in-the-dark have either failed miserably or been so simplistic that they would not register as any sort of culinary achievement. That’s not to say I’m not daring with my cooking. I’ve gotten soufflés to rise, I’ve perfected the art of rare-cooked steak, I’ve successfully “candied” without a thermometer. But in terms of my own invention I struggle with ingredient proportion, I rarely deviate from the “noble meats”, chicken and beef, and I end up pitching more that I am able to enjoy. However, I find myself increasingly altering recipes now to the point where I can no longer call them someone else’s. It’s sort of a point of pride for me, and in the case of tonight’s burger, born of necessity.

I’ll preface this by saying that I fully intended to put up my altered “Apricot Glazed Chicken” recipe, a newfound crock pot concoction which was sure to be foolproof. Needless to say, I’m the 1 in 10 that screwed up a crock pot recipe, a blunder that found me with a dish full of what pavers typically use to seal driveways. On a Monday night after class I was left with nothing for dinner and only a few ingredient with which to come up with something.

With burgers being one of the foods Tre attested to missing the most, I decided that tonight would be the night to throw together my attempt at a burger recipe. I always encourage Tre to think of the positives and not dwell on what he can’t have. But for his top few things that he cannot live without — burgers being one — I decided to take his mind off it all together and create a substitute that would be surely better than the original, enough so to kick nostalgia to the curb. It would of course have to be bun-less, but what is so interesting about a burger on a plate? Harkening back to a Jewish open-mic night at a local coffee shop and a song “Bubby bring the kanish cart around” I decided to give latke a try as a bun-substitute. In addition to the latke bun, I dug into the pantry for some other fun burger toppers and decided to use some leftover swiss cheese (cheese being a new diet staple for Tre), a vidalia onion that had sprouted, and some guacamole that I’d made the night before for snacking. The results were impressive, and by far the highest-rated dish, according to Tre, since consciously cooking WCRS-free.

Latke (adapted from Potato Latke recipe)

  • 2 cups peeled, shredded potatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp garbanzo bean flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil for frying
  • Directions

    1. Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.
    2. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together.
    3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels.

    Guacamole Swiss Burger

  • 4 ground beef patties
  • 1 vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated swiss cheese (or 1 slice per patty, sliced swiss cheese)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup guacamole*
  • 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked and halved
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Directions

    1. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on low in a small pan. Add sliced vidalia onions and cook on low heat stirring occasionally until onions are soft and caramelized. Remove from heat.
    2. While onions are cooking, add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to another pan and heat on medium heat and preheat your oven broiler. Season beef patties with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste on both sides. Place beef patties in the pan and pan sear both sides, about 1 minute on each side.
    3. Transfer patties to baking dish and place under broiler. Broil times will vary but about 2 minutes for medium, 3-4 minutes for well done. Remove from oven and add 1/8 cup grated swiss cheese (or sliced cheese) to each patty. Return to oven under broiler for no more than 1 minute. Remove from oven and begin burger assembly.

    *Guacamole was premade with 2 avocados, pitted and mashed with the juice of one large lemon, coarse sea salt to taste, pepper to taste, and cajun seasoning. Store-bought guacamole or mixes will do as well.

    Open Face Latke Burger

    To assemble, I put down a fresh latke and placed the beef patty on top after removing it from under the broiler. I then topped it with the halved bacon slices, sauteed onions, and a scoop of guacamole.

    Despite not having a bun, condiments, and typical fries on the side (roasted carrot pictured, recipe coming soon) Tre declared that this was one of the best meals he’d had ever. The trick to this meal was really in the timing: I prepared the latke mixture first and then put it aside. I started the onions while seasoning and pan searing the beef patties. I fried the latke after putting the beef patties under the broiler. All in all I’m quite proud of the results and will be returning to this one again very soon.


    3 Responses to “A New Kind of Burger -or- Making Things Better Than the Original to Nix Nostalgia”


    1. Turkey Versions of Traditional Beef Dishes: Turkey Burgers « 23 and Grain Free - November 11, 2010

      […] it to one night a week. Feeling a lack of creativity, I decided to revisit an early favorite, my guacamole swiss burger over latke. However, this time I opted to give it a try with my ground turkey minus the […]

    2. Italian Spice Turkey Burgers — Double Onion, Double Cheese « 23 and Grain Free - November 28, 2010

      […] I enjoy making them a bit more gourmet — placing the meat over mashed potatoes or latke topping them with guacamole or handmade sauces, and stuffing them chockfull of spices, cheeses, and […]

    3. Guacamole: A New Kind of Condiment « 23 and Grain Free - December 2, 2010

      […] many people pass up this wonderful fruit. Guacamole has made appearances here on this blog in my beef and turkey swiss burger recipes. But behind the scenes, it goes on everything from cold cut […]

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