I dream about food quite a bit. One recent dream had me in an Old Port establishment while the chef came out of the kitchen and was berated by a customer over the quality of the meatloaf (Don’t read Yelp before bed is the lesson to take from this). I have also dreamed about sitting with the Missus and enjoying a seemingly endless plate of Foie Bon Bons at Bresca (This was a few days before we were going to celebrate New Years there). There was also the dream I had of cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen in an Italian country home (Damn you Lidia Bastianich for invading my dreams!). But, I cannot recall ever dreaming about a hamburger. Ever.
So, When A. told us our last round of O-Rama would keep us at home, crafting our ‘Dream Burger,’ I realized I didn’t have one. I don’t have one as burgers just aren’t something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Though, I agree with Kate and her assessment that these rounds of O-Rama have gotten some of us(me) thinking about burgers more than ever.
But, while we were left to the endless bounds of our imaginations, I seemed lost in mine. I couldn’t come up with anything that I would define as a “Dream” or even “Perfect” burger. Honestly, if it’s not overcooked and the meat is of somewhat passable quality(ie, better than the Golden Arches), I’m going to find it pretty enjoyable. So, when I finally gave in to the fact that I couldn’t construct a burger in my minds eye, I deferred to the Missus and asked her to call this round.
She surprised me with her response. I thought it would be a decadent burger with fancy cheese, truffle oil and possibly foie and it was so ridiculously far from it that it was… well, it was ridiculous. Her response to me was:
I liked the one you made that was stuffed with Mozzarella. That was a good one.
That was a complete off the cuff one, kids. I think I made it 2 or 3 years ago. I have the nagging feeling in the back of my brain that Rachel Ray was somehow behind it, though I think I used the Mozzarella because it was the only cheese on hand. I hardly remember it but, apparently, it stuck with the Missus and a small part of me couldn’t help but feel flattered by the fact that she remembered it.
I, of course, did have to put my spin on it and I decided to, rather than cheaping out and buying a bag of rolls, that I would make some homemade Brioche buns for the burgers. I made two batches and they weren’t exactly what I had hoped they would be. I’m mostly convinced that their failure had more to do with loose instructions given in the recipe than anything else. And the Missus also complained that they were too rich because they lacked the airiness that most brioche rolls have. She was right, they were far too dense and would have been better used to sop up a french onion soup or beef stew. So, I went with the old reliable source: King Arthur Flour and used their “Beautiful Burger Buns.“
- 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large egg
- 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.
- Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
- Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
- Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter.
- Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
- Cool the buns on a rack.
- 85% lean ground chuck
- Bosario seasoned salt
- Ciliengine Mozzarella
- Caramelized onions (for me)
- Backyard Farms tomato (for her)
- Something Green
- Pickles (the other something green)
- Form 4 4oz patties
- Top two with some shredded Mozz
- Combine it with another 4oz patty and form them together into one giant uberburger.
- Add a bit of seasoning to the top
- Cook in a searing hot pan on top of the stove.
Butter and toast buns in a separate pan.
The burgers were cooked to a medium temperature–perhaps a bit overdone for me but the juiciness and grease saved the burger from ever having a dry texture. They were served with pickles on the side and a helping of TJ’s Tater Tots.
The Missus took her first bite and, before even wiping away the juice that was collecting on her chin, she turned and said:
This is really, really good honey.