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Posts Tagged ‘best burger recipes’

2

My oldest granddaughter is old enough now to explore dating seriously. I know! When did that happen? It seems I was just holding her for the first time and introducing myself. Now she’s up and moved to Phoenix as an independent woman. Whoa. Pause the movie. I didn’t even have time to finish my popcorn.

Dating, in particular first dates, can be an arduous process. For me, whether I wished to pursue getting to know someone further usually became fairly clear by the end of spending that first evening in their company. Not always true, certainly, because we’re all showing our best sides in the early stages of a relationship. Let’s face it none of us arrives for that first dinner date in sweats and a “I Have Mixed Drinks About Feelings” tee shirt. We save these little surprises for somewhere down the line. If we posted profile pictures of our mouths gaping open with a hint of drool sliding down the side of our faces probably our mail boxes wouldn’t lighting up. I’m just sayin.

My granddaughter was asking probing questions during our last conversation about how you know if someone is “the one”, and what the difference is between infatuation and real love. You are asking me these questions? If I knew the answers to those questions I’d have written a best seller and won a car on Oprah. Speaking for myself describing love is such a personal thing. What I might deem as being in love with someone, another person might consider chemistry or simply attraction. Love, like most of our senses, is unique to the ones experiencing it. For instance, I might get positively euphoric when smelling coffee brewing in the morning (which I do), while someone else might find the smell of Starbuck’s obnoxious or off-putting. These people need to be put down, but anyhow.

Individual tastes certainly vary dramatically. The old adage tells us, “there’s someone for everyone”. True or not, finding this person in a world overflowing with people seems to be the dilemma. I think we should be tattooed with a number with an opposite number suiting us perfectly issued to another human. This would narrow the search significantly, particularly with social media and the advent of the Internet. Like all things I feel, if we were sure of our perfect match wouldn’t it take some of the excitement out of looking for him or her? Kind of like knowing you’re going to win at a game before you play it. What would be the point of setting up the board?

Caught in the tenuous grasp of attraction and excitement, it is easy to overlook differences in lifestyle, perspective, money habits, goals, and whether the person wants children or not.  No one wants to waste time while lost in another’s eyes dissecting whether they like hot climates while you like cold, or they are morning people where you like to bring in the dawn. However, if these questions are shelved until the wedding cake is in the freezer, there might be trouble down the road.

For example, I was married to someone whose job required relocating frequently and often without much notice. In such a situation you have to leave your family behind, and find your life in a state of upheaval most of the time. For some people this would be disruptive or unsettling. In my case, I found it interesting and exciting seeing new parts of the U.S. and meeting the people living there. Had I not, this definitely could have created a problem in our relationship.

Married at First Sight, a television reality show where couples agree to get married without meeting each other prior to the ceremony. The cameras then follow their journey once they’ve said “I do”. Interesting concept. I suppose it’s not a far reach from arranged marriages, which though less common, are still a practice in many cultures. In the 90’s I worked with a lovely young woman from India. Her biggest fear was that her parents, holding to very traditional values, would marry her off in such a way to someone she did not love. Having watched her parents struggle with a somewhat loveless marriage, she did not want suffer the same fate. Several prospective men were brought over from India for Pooja to be introduced to.  Rejecting each as they arrived, in the end she married a man of her cultural background of her choice in a beautiful ceremony. Happily a mother of two now, things worked out for her as they should have in the end.

Love is capricious. For some of us it eludes us completely, for others it comes later in life, and in some cases, like a friend of mine with nine children, it arrives in high school and remains in tact throughout a lifetime. Perhaps it’s how our cards read, Kismet, or fate, however one believes. Some of us destined to explore life alone, other with partners. As with most things in life love remains a mystery. An intangible emotion, with no rhyme or reason, yet as lusted after as the most perfect of diamonds.

This hamburger is a sum of the whole. Each part of it adds to the enjoyment of the next. I make the bruschetta topping and the buns ahead of time and then the onions, keeping them warm. All that’s left is the burger and you’re good to go. Gooey and delicious on their own they don’t require any condiments at all to be absolutely mouth watering.

1Mushroom Bruschetta Burger

Mushroom Bruschetta

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cubed mushrooms
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, white and green parts sliced
Pinch pepper and salt

Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic. Cook 2 mins. or until garlic just starts to brown. Add mushrooms. Stir and cook for about 5 mins. Add thyme. Deglaze pan with white wine and continue cooking until most of the wine has disappeared.

Add cherry tomatoes and green onions to pan. Reduce heat to med. low and continue cooking about 6 mins. until tomatoes have slightly wilted. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Buns

2 Tbsp. softened butter
4 hamburger buns, halved
2 tsp. garlic powder
4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler.

Butter both sides of buns. Sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp. garlic powder. Sprinkle each with 1/2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese. Place under broiler until browned and bubbly. Keep Warm

Fried Red Onion Rings

4 3/4″ thick slices red onion
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Oil for cooking

Beat egg in one shallow dish. Mix together remaining ingredients in second shallow dish. Keeping rings together dip each slice in egg and then dredge both sides in breadcrumb mixture.

Heat 1 1/2″ of oil in deep heavy skillet over high heat. Add onion rings to hot oil and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 3-4 mins. per side). Drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

Hamburgers

1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
3/4 pkg. of Lipton onion soup mix
1/3 cup water
4 slices Meunster cheese

Mix meat, onion soup mix, and water together well with fingertips. Form into four patties. Cook over high heat on grill or stove until fully cooked and brown on both sides.

Top with cheese and continue cooking over medium heat until cheese has fully melted.

To serve

Place burger on bottom of bun and top with bruschetta and fried red onion. Serves 4

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1

Facebook is social media I do not take lightly. According to articles I’ve read Facebook is cited in 1/3 of the divorce proceedings before the courts. This does not pertain to me as I’m neither married nor cheating, but I must admit I find it curious why someone would choose to post pictures on-line when having an affair. This makes almost no sense to me. Social media being by its very name, social, makes the likelihood of having someone other than the parties involved seeing these pictures fairly high. The only logic I can impose on this line of thinking is that the person posting the pics wants to get caught. That being said why not just opt out of the current relationship up front and become involved in the one playing out behind the scenes? Curious.

Humans interest me always. I interest myself, truth be known. After all these years I still can’t be sure of my own behavior from one day to the next much less those functioning around me. There’s no judgment on my part in these statements, only intense curiosity as to what makes us tick.

There are a lot of things in the news which concern me lately, aside from the obvious major news items. I only allow myself to watch so much news before going off to do something more heartening. Just enough to get the bulleted news items but not be saturated with all the craziness abounding in our world these days. I’ve mentioned many of my hot button items in previous blogs but I’m spurred to mention a few new ones in this blog.

Yesterday while coming home I waited while a school bus unloaded a group of elementary school students. Standing at the bus stop were three or four parents waiting for their kids. All of the parents were intently staring at their cell phones. I noticed as the children excitedly got off the bus and went to their appropriate moms and dads the parents nodded at them but not one of them looked up to welcome their little ones nor stopped looking at the device in front of them. Several of the children could be seen chatting away while the parents walked still working their fingers as they headed down the street. There was everything in that scene that made my heart feel terribly sad. Children grow up in the blink of an eye and are on to live their lives. Treasure the time you have with them and make each moment count. Your cell phone will still be there after they are gone to keep you company.

This morning on the news they were talking about the huge amount of time Americans are devoting to their phones. Several of the anchors were actually angry about being accused of devoting too much time to their much loved devices, while the weather man said he’d actually cut his usage after he noticed his toddler trying to get his attention by grabbing the phone. Worse yet he was fighting her for the phone rather than directing his attention on his little girl who finally wandered off.

Cell phones are aging us as well it seems. Looking down at them constantly is causing our neck muscles to break down and wrinkles to form. I must admit I have a bit of text envy. People who text often fly over the diminutive keyboard, and although I can key on a regular keyboard at lightening speed, on the phone’s keyboard I’m all thumbs. While trying to add a new contact the other day I called three numbers accidentally before finally getting the new number saved.

Another disturbing news item was this is the first generation in recorded history that is less educated than the one preceding it. Whoa. Unless I’m mistaken we’re supposed to be moving in the other direction. It escapes me what they are teaching in school these days. I mentioned Portland, Oregon to my grandson yesterday. His response was to be totally surprised to learn Portland was in Oregon. When I asked him if he new what the capital of Oregon was, he said, “huh”? At my last job I had a young girl ask me if Maryland (pronounced Mare-e-land) was in Europe. The same girl asked me why they put PA behind Pittsburgh on a letter. She was the mail girl.

I watched a show where they stopped college students on several noted campuses and asked them geography questions such as what was the capital of the state they lived in. One girl said “C” when asked the question about California. I hope she wasn’t planning on being a neurosurgeon. Another kid from San Diego state thought San Diego was the capital and that Northern and Southern California were two different states. Man. I’m sure if you asked either of these kids about IDrink or Retweet they’d be right on target.

My guess as to reasons for this would be the cost of educating oneself these days, the cost of living in general, sagging employment and slow creation of new jobs, and what I view as sort of lack of forward movement with the young people I’m in contact with lately. This is a general statement, naturally, there are over achievers, or achievers as always, but I see a lot of kids sort of roaming about with no idea about the future. A lot of lower paying jobs previously going to younger applicants such as fast food or clerking are now being gobbled up by more educated, older job seekers as the lack of jobs in the middle class segment increases. It’s tough world out there for kids getting out of school these days.

Ah well, that’s my gripe for a Saturday.

I will not begin to describe this recipe as a healthy choice, but these burgers are simply gooey and absolutely irresistible. Rick adapted the recipe from a restaurant in San Francisco he used to frequent when he was a kid.

Bleu Cheese Chili Burgers

1 1/2 lb. ground chuck
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1/8 cup crumbled bleu cheese
Olive oil

Sour cream
Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing (I use Marie’s or Bob’s)
Crumbled Bleu Cheese
16 oz. can of Bush’s Chili beans (meatless)
4 Sesame seed buns, toasted

Mix together first 8 ingredients. Form into patties and broil, barbeque, fry, or broil according to your taste. Spread buns with olive oil and heat until browned under broiler or on grill and put aside.

To assemble the burger, spread bleu cheese dressing liberally on both sides of buns. Place meat patties on bottom of bun, put bun top on. Over all spoon generous amount of heated chili beans. Top with generous dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with bleu cheese crumbles. Eat this one with a knife and fork.

This, will make you a believer 🙂

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2
I was reading recently about a 91-year-old widow who recently purchased her first home. The American dream. In an odd twist of fate, an incident involving a scam artist led her to discover her husband’s participation in the Korean War entitled her to a VA loan. Due to her advanced age, her daughter had to agree to move in with her to qualify her for the loan, but what an amazing achievement at this time in her life.

Over the span of my life I’ve owned four homes, including the one I’m living in now. My first house came shortly after my first marriage. Pregnant not long after the I Do’s were exchanged, we needed more than a one bedroom apartment for our unexpected addition. After some searching we put a bid on a house in our price range, about $1.50 and change, and when accepted by the seller signed our lives away. It was a great house in a not so great neighborhood, but it was ours and we were glad to have it.

No furniture to speak of, my husband took two twin beds and actually created a living room set which served us well for a year until it could be replaced by the actual thing. A dining room set was purchased at a garage sale. My bed, dresser, and night stands were purloined from my mother when I moved out, and the baby furniture donated by the excited grandparents to-be. It wasn’t exactly “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, but we were young and considered ourselves stylin’ in the suburbs.

As with many older houses, the house had problems. The plumbing, though working, tended towards sluggish. Equipped with central air, after fifteen years of service the unit labored on particularly hot days to keep the rooms comfortably cool. I availed myself of the two ring blow up pool in the back yard once the babies came along if the house got too warm. Two windows in the house were painted shut. Those that did open took the strength of Andre the Giant to shove them up. Former tenants, embracing the free-love movement capturing the country at the time, had hung love beads in each and every doorway. At first we found these charming, then annoying, and after having them wrapped around our necks and tangled in our hair, it came down to them or us. In the end, they had to go.

Our daughter was born in July of that first year. Three baby showers and doting grandparents contributed substantially to filling the drawers in the olive baby dresser my stepfather emblazoned with colorful flowers. A diaper service, a gift from a friend, provided us three months of service. Used diapers were placed on the porch in a pail on pick up days and returned folded and fragrant several days later. Once gone, I realized quickly what a huge blessing it had been. A washer and dryer were not included in our budget. After my husband’s entire supply of underwear, shirts and socks disappeared at the laundromat we managed to save up enough to get a used washing machine. The clothesline strung across the yard remained the only option for drying. Cloth diapers, smelling fresh when dried in the breeze, tend to get brittle enough to substitute as weapons of mass destruction despite how much fabric softener you loaded in the machine. Parents today lean towards disposables. What a godsend. Peel off the tape, fold the soiled diaper in a roll and toss it in the trash.

My sons impending arrival was disclosed by my obstetrician two months after my daughter arrived. Definitely I needed to look into what was causing this population explosion. By the end of the following summer I had two in diapers and still no dryer in place. At that same point my little girl became fully mobile. You can’t wait for your kids to walk, cheer them on as they take their first tentative steps, and then wonder as they poke through every nook and cranny of the house why on earth you were so excited.

This particular day I had changed a soiled diaper on my son, depositing it in the toilet for rinsing. During this procedure my toddler was scurrying about trying to carry on a conversation with me in whatever language babies speak. Not fluent in her language I held up my end of the conversation in mine as I placed a new diaper on the baby on the changing table. Note to God. Truly you need at least eight arms and eyes on both side of your head to manage small children. Please rethink this.

While finishing up I heard the toilet flush. Huh? Oh-oh. Grabbing the baby I rounded the corner to find my daughter beaming up at me and pointing to the toilet. “Yes, I heard”. A noise began overhead. A groaning of such proportions as I’d never heard up to that point and probably since. If someone had told me the Goodyear Blimp had just landed on my roof, I wouldn’t have been surprised. It began in one area over the commode and progressed across the ceiling. Placing the baby in the crib and grabbing my little girl’s hand I stared at the ceiling as the noise, if possible, intensified.

As if a dam had burst, water the color found on a tube of burnt sienna burst forth from every available orifice in the bathroom. The sink, the bathtub, and the toilet. Racing for the phone I called my husband. Given instructions I first turned off the water, then called Roto-Rooter, and finally surveyed the unpleasant and fragrant mess in left in the waters path. Looking up at me my daughter grinned. It is amazing they progress beyond their second year.

Roto-Rooter showed up an hour later. Removing his hat and scratching his head, the technician said “Please tell me it isn’t a cloth diaper”. “Sorry”, I said, “not your lucky day”. It was a relief to know I wasn’t the only idiot having done such a thing. After much groaning and speaking under his breath the clog was finally dislodged and life, as they say, returned to normal. This, naturally, as normal as mine ever chooses to be.

These burgers are such an unexpected and delicious burst of flavors. Yum.

Pita Burgers with Sweet and Sour Cucumbers and Yogurt Sauce

Pita Burgers

2 lbs. ground sirloin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fine black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup cilantro
4 pita halves
Feta cheese with sun-dried tomatoes (or plain feta)
Sliced tomatoes
Lettuce

Mince onion and garlic in food processor. Saute onion, garlic, cumin, cardamom, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes in oil over med-high heat about 5 mins. Cool.

Pulse ground sirloin in food processor until fine. Mix with garlic/onion/spice mixture. Add mint and cilantro. Form into 6 oblong patties.

Heat in griddle over med. heat until browned on both sides, about 4 mins. per side. Sprinkle with feta cheese, cover and cook on low for 3 mins. or until slightly melted. Drain on paper towels.

Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

1 English cucumber sliced thin
1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. Splenda or sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Place vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and pepper flakes in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour over cucumbers and onions and allow to marinate 3 hours.

Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. dill
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all ingredients. Allow to sit in refrigerator for 1 hr. before serving.

For burgers

Slather yogurt sauce on inside of pita halves. Insert burgers. Add tomatoes and lettuce if desired and top with sweet and sour cucumbers. Serves 6.

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