Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Best Hamburger the Crazy Date Quest

Joel and I love hamburgers. When we go on dates we often find ourselves scoping out hamburger places around town. We like Smashburger and The Habit in St. George for fast food type of burger. In Kingman we loved Mr. D's.

We went out for an anniversary date and went to a place called George's. The menu had rib eye, fish, sandwiches..we found ourselves craving a burger. The burger actually tasted like meat! It was a revolution that the places we like actually were a little bland. It rocked our hamburger world.
Being on a budget we really can't afford a 10 dollar burger often so we thought why don't we try hamburgers at home. Why do we always go out for them? 15 year old habit, I guess.

I went to the library, my home away from home, after work. I found books on hamburgers. I wanted to try a recipe I found in a book by Ina Garten. I went to the local butcher because I had a coupon and got the type of meat I needed to make the most wonderful burger. Fresh ground meat, it does make a difference and is still cheaper than going out.

We loved this recipe. Made enough to eat and then freeze burgers for another day. One of the things Joel loves is a fried egg on his burger. I love fresh veggies and super sauteed onions. Onions that have cooked 15-20 minutes kind of onions. Yummy!

Hamburgers (recipe by Ina Garten)
Ingredients for 12 quarter pounders

2 pounds ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
3 tablespoons steak sauce (recommended: Crosse & Blackwell, I used A1 with black pepper)
6 extra-large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1. Mix the meats, steak sauce, egg yolks, salt, and pepper with the tines of a fork, but do not mash it. 2. Press into a patty shapes. 
3. Make an indentation and put a thin slice of butter inside each hamburger, making sure the butter is entirely encased in the meat.
4. Cook the hamburgers for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until almost done. 
5. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the hamburgers to rest for 5 minutes.
6. Serve with favorite toppings and buns

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sometimes I cry in the Kitchen

My go to when I have bananas going brown is my good friend Anne's "Good for Ya" muffins.  Which I realize I need to post! This time I thought I would try something else with those wonderful browning bananas. Cake!

Banana cake with chocolate frosting is a great idea.

I love chocolate frosting. My favorite recipe has sour cream in it..but I also love a decadent recipe with tons of guilt ridden butter, sour cream and cream cheese. This particular cookbook has a really simple yummy chocolate frosting recipe in the emergency blender cupcake recipe.

Well..cake has always been my thorn in the side! Those crazy sides..I debated cutting..possibly freezing then cutting..but I was hungry so I just went with it. Ugly but yummy and I used all my bananas going to the dark side. Did the cake bring a tear to my eye..well yes..but it wasn't for show. I wiped that tear away and bravely ate another slice.

Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

from the Weekend Baker Cookbook


For the cake:

  • 2 2/3 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups (14 ounces/397 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 medium, very, very ripe bananas (about 14 ounces/397 grams total weight, including peels), peeled
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl ounces/117 ml) buttermilk
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces/85 grams) chopped, toasted walnuts, optional (see Notes)

For the Fudgy Frosting:

  • 6 ounces (170 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups (10 ½ ounces/298 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8 fl ounces/233 ml) evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Or if not a chocolate fan Tangy Vanilla Frosting:

  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) sour cream


  • Toasted shredded unsweetened dried coconut or chopped, toasted walnuts for garnish (optional)


1. To make the cake:  350 degrees  Grease and flour the bottom and sides of two 9-by-2-inch  cake pans.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk until well blended. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Add the bananas and vanilla and beat until well blended and only small bits of banana remain. Add the eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture will look curdled and a bit lumpy. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended. Add the buttermilk and mix just until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until blended. Stir in the walnuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.

3. Bake until the tops are light brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of 1 layer comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks and let cool for about 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the sides of each pan to loosen the cake. Invert the layers onto the racks, lift off the pans, and let cool completely.

4. To make the Fudgy Frosting: Melt the unsweetened chocolate. Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, and salt in a blender. If you’re not confident of the size and ability of your blender, divide the recipe in half and make two batches. Scrape the hot melted chocolate into the blender. Cover with the lid and blend on high speed until the mixture darkens and is very thick, about 2 minutes. I just used my mixer..didn't want to overwork my blender.

5.  Spread frosting over cake and layer. Garnish the top with the coconut or the walnuts, if using. The cake is best served at room temperature.