Friday, July 3, 2009

Writing about Food, Creating Delicious Burgers

As you can probably tell from some of my stories, and as anyone who knows me can attest, I love food. I’ve written an entire collection of 78 flash fiction pieces with food/drink titles. Ratatouille is one of my favorite films. The Food Network is popular at my house. My wife Kathy and I, and even the kids, know the names Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Ina Garten, and Gina and Pat Neely.

Besides how much I may enjoy consuming, I love making food. For Father’s Day this year, I received Bobby Flay’s great new book,
Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, as a gift. I got a bit of a preview of some of this book’s recipe offerings from a recent issue of Food Network magazine. The Cheyenne Burger is the first burger recipe I tried, finding it first in the magazine and now having it in the book. It was an instant classic with the grown-ups in the house, and I recommend giving it a shot this holiday weekend for a different take on the hamburger.

For this recipe, I’ve used 80% lean ground beef rather than ground turkey, and I also used an inexpensive, conventional bottled BBQ sauce (Kraft’s Honey Hickory Smoke, I believe) rather than making Bobby Flay’s concoction. Smoked cheddar is great stuff, but it’s kind of expensive for this middle-class cook so I’ve used Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar as well as mozzarella (I think any cheese that’s not your standard individually packaged slice will work well).

If you make this recipe, the components you have to stick with are the bacon and the onion rings (Bobby Flay’s recipe for them, not any pre-made variety). Both of these things make this burger. I’ve made the onion rings using canola oil and they tasted great, though I’m eager to try them in peanut oil.

These burgers can become a bit work intensive when you’re trying to grill the beef patties, cook the bacon, and also make the onion rings. The work is well worth it, though, as the burgers are beyond the standard patty on a bun, which is pretty much what the burger recipes in the new book are all about.

So, I’m not just writing stories about food—I’m doing the work in the kitchen. Can a recipe book be far behind? Maybe I’ll make a few more of these delicious burgers first.

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