Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mid-October Weekend Food Extravaganza!

So last Saturday, my favorite day of the week, we went to the McIntosh Florida 1890's Festival with hopes of rewriting history by snuffing out the Sherman Act of 1890 before it started; no avail. The bright side was a booth with homemade jams and preserves made by some McIntosh United Methodist Church congregation members. I only bought one jar just in case it sucked. When I said that I bet their Strawberry-Banana jam would make a vicious Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich the lady behind the table replied with: "You know, I've never thought of that. I mean I love peanut butter and bananas and I love strawberry and peanut butter, but I never thought of that!" Funny how that was the first thing to strike me. Anyway the Strawberry-Banana Jam is superb! Unfortunately they only make it once a year for that festival (argh). Here are some pics (I don't know if that's the church with the jams).

Earlier that morning I had gone to the farmer's market in search of fresh produce for cooking and pickling. I had actually gotten there at about 9:00am and it was almost a different place than to what I was accustomed (usually getting there about 11:00am). For $20.00 I got the most immaculate romaine I've ever encountered, organic grape tomatoes, green onions, sweet potatoes, sweet onions, cucumbers, yellow squash, fresh basil (a strand I never had prior), red and green peppers, and about 2 lbs of green beans!

Here's what 20 bucks got me:

On the way home from McIntosh we stopped at the Gainesville Pride Festival and checked out some Dixie Chicks wannabes and a drag show; both left a little to be desired (though I did live on South Beach for some time so I may have seen some of the better drag shows). Here's a grainy shot of the Pride Festival:

Also over the weekend I made brioche from a recipe that I called Last Ditch Brioche! Every time I attempted brioche in the past, at best the consistency was perilously close to that of Cornbread and at worst it was a desperately-in-need-of-salt brick! While there may have been something more wrong with execution than the recipes themselves, I was about to give up on Brioche entirely. I decided to give it one last shot. If this didn't work it would be over in more ways than one (it is impossible to find real Brioche in Gainesville). I used SteveB's Brioche Nanterre (slow page to load but worth it) recipe from over at!
The result? Near perfect! The draw back? When the author states that this will kill your KitchenAid he 'aint kidding. I have the 6 Quart 575 watt KitchenAid Professional stand mixer and it took about one hour of constant kneading until the dough was "satiny". By the time it was complete I could smell the motor! Also I think maybe I just barely over kneaded and I would up the salt by a pinch since I use kosher salt.

Since the author is the perfectionist he is, the formula is, rightfully, represented in weight not volume. I have converted it here, with consideration to the density of each substance, for those of us without the benefit of a scale (soon, yes, soon, it will be).

AP Flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached) ~ 6.85 Cups
Water ~ 4 1/2 Tablespoons
Eggs ~ 6 Large
Salt ~ 2 1/3 teaspoons
Sugar ~ 6 1/2 Tablespoons
Instant Yeast ~ 1 1/2 teaspoons
Butter ~ 3 sticks or 2 ounces

Good luck. Here are some pics:

Close-up to show texture

Toasted with the Church Jam. Unbelievable!

Well it seems like no post is complete without a recipe of some sort; so, I will leave you my burger recipe. See ya' next time!

The Almighty Burger

An important note about burgers
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when making a burger is timing. Timing will either elevate the burger to truly glorious dimensions or condemn it to mediocrity. Here are some general guidelines for timing to ensure proper "burgage":

Rest the cooked patty
Often overlooked but arguably the most important step to an amazing burger is resting the meat. Meats need to rest after cooking and the humble burger is no exception. Rest the patty on a grate or paper towel for no less than 45 seconds and not much more than one minute. Then serve immediately.

Adding cheese
Usually room temperature cheese to the hot side of the patty, just off the fire while resting, is enough to attain an ideal consistency (depending on the cheese). If need be, when just off the fire place the cheesed patty under a salamander (or the broil setting in an already hot toaster oven) until cheese reaches desired consistency. Use thinly sliced or grated cheese of choice. Consider this the resting period.

Adding sautéed vegetables
Sauté while the burger patty is cooking. Begin the sauté either when the patties initially hit the pan, or just after the flip, depending on what is being sautéed and the extent to which it is cooked (caramelized or sweated).

Adding other cooked ingredients
Whether it’s a fried egg, bacon, short ribs, or foie gras make sure the product is just off the fire and the last component added to the burger.

Bread Options
Grilled egg-based rolls are my personal favorite. Usually the first step in making burger is grilling the buns. Heat up equal parts butter and canola oil, cut buns in half, place cut-side down in pan until golden brown. Set aside. While burgers cook, begin "condimensation" (mayo, mustard, etc…).


Basic Burger Patty

1 1/3 lb Ground Chuck
¼ tsp (about) Kosher Salt
¼ tsp (about) Ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
4 Tblsp Ketchup
3 Green Onions

Yields 3-5 patties

- Mix and cover for at least 1 hour at room temp or over night in fridge.
- Turn on 2 burners to medium and place on them heavy pans (preferably cast iron). Or use the grill!
- On a sheet of parchment paper place a 3 ¾” ring mold and fill with meat mixture until ¾” - 1” high (deep).
- Jiggle the ring mold while lifting it and gently press the meat mixture through the mold onto parchment to extrude.
- Repeat until mixture is gone.
- Place as many patties as your size pan will allow careful not to have them touch each other or the sides of the pan (or they will steam not sear).
- Fry until desired temperature (rare, medium, etc..)
- Add room temperature cheese while resting the patty on grate or paper towel for one minute.
- Assemble Burger


  1. That KA sure had a workout but look at the beautiful brioche! One of my favorites!

  2. The brioche is really good, but I that smell of cooking electronics really worries me. I don't know if I will make this very often until I talk to some electrical engineer friends of mine!