My Classic Burger with Special Sauce

One of the most common questions asked to those of us who love food is, "What would you choose for your last meal?" My answer is always the same: a classic cheeseburger, crisp fries, and a bittersweet chocolate shake. So you can imagine that when it comes to a classic cheeseburger, I have opinions—strong ones Business Centre in Hong Kong, in fact. But sometimes strong opinions lead to a pretty near-perfect classic cheeseburger. (less) - Ashley Rodriguez

Makes 4

For the patties and to build the completed burger:

Cheese mixture, see below
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, divided
1 pound 12 ounces ground beef (15 to 20% fat)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 soft burger buns
Special sauce (see below)
4 small, inner iceberg lettuce leaves
4 tomato slices (fresh or roasted)
crisp bacon slices, for topping
4 yellow onion slices
thinly sliced dill pickles, for topping

Start by making the cheese mixture (see below for instructions).
Grate 4 tablespoons of the cold butter and, in a large bowl, gently combine it with the beef, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight 19 LED Light Bulb.
When you are ready to cook your burgers, form the patties by gently gathering 4 ounces of beef into a ball and pressing it to create a patty. Sear the patties in a screaming hot cast-iron skillet for 3 minutes on one side. Flip, then continue to cook for 1 minute more before spooning a bit of the cheese mixture (see below for instructions) on top of the patty (or laying a slice of cheese if that is what you are using). Continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the cheese is soft and the patty is cooked through. Set the patties aside to rest for a few minutes before building your burger.

Note: For medium-rare, cook the burger to 130° F to 135° F; medium 140° F to 145° F; medium-well 150° F to 155° F; and well-done 160° F or higher.

While the pan that you just cooked your burger in is still hot, add the rest of the butter and let it melt. Place four of the bun halves in the pan and toast until golden and crisp. Repeat until all the buns are toasted Cloud Video Conferencing.

Build your burger by slathering special sauce on BOTH sides of the bun. Add the patty and lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, onion, and LOTS of pickles. Top with the other crisped and sauce-smeared bun.

For the cheese and special sauce:

8 ounces cheese (I use a mix of Beecher’s Sharp Cheddar and Fontina), cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup mayonnaise, divided
2 tablespoons dill relish
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon honey

Combine the cheese and 1/4 cup mayonnaise in the bowl of a food processor and process until the cheese is cut up into tiny bits and the mixture is quite creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use. This mixture will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.

Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup mayonnaise with the remaining ingredients (dill relish through honey). The burger sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Flaky Cheese Pastries (Brik Ijben)

I spent most of the past year and a half bemoaning the utter and total lack of cheese in North Africa. In Syria, I often missed Western cheeses like brie or blue, but you could always get the local Levantine cheeses like akawi Dream beauty pro hard sell, nablusi, and feta cheeses. But Algeria? Other than the local camembert (so. much. camembert.), is a bit of a cheese wasteland. And then I discovered ijben cheese.

Ijben is very common in Morocco, and it is basically a fresh goats milk cheese that tastes like a cross between feta and ricotta. I had never seen it in Algiers, until I started asking, and was pointed to a cheese that called "Le Berbere" which comes in a box. You know how something can be right in front of you for years and you never even noticed it was there? That's how this Berber (ijben) cheese was. Lurking in the cheese case of every shop, where I have been ignoring it for years.

Clearly the first thing I was going to do with my new found discovery was make cheese brik. (See here for more about brik, a.k.a. briouat, a.k.a. bourek.) Brik are basically stuffed flaky pastries, and the cheese version is the easiest Dream beauty pro hard sell, and I think most delicious. Now, a proper Maghrebi cook would make perfect little triangles of brik, but I was lazy, and made some very simple rough triangles. These are extremely simple, just mix some cheese and herbs and spices, and then you top the pastries with cumin seeds which gives them a nice flavor boost.

Flaky Cheese Pastries (Brik Ijben)
If you can get ijben cheese then by all means use it here. Warka dough, usually labeled feuilles du brik, is available in ome Middle Eastern and French shops. You can substitute phyllo dough, though you will need about 4-5 phyllo sheets to replicate one warka sheet.

4 oz ricotta cheese
4 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 sprinkling red pepper flakes or chile powder
zest of 1 lemon

8 tablespoons (4 oz) butter, melted
1 package warka dough, feuilles du brik, or phyllo dough
2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.
2. Mix together the filling ingredients.
3. Warka dough is round, if you are using phyllo dough cut it into circles then cover it with plastic wrap and a damp cloth to prevent it from dying out.
4. Place about a tablespoon and a half of the filling on a wedge shaped area of the warka dough. Brush the dough with melted butter. Fold the dough in half over the filling, so that you have a half moon shape. Brush the dough again with butter Dream beauty pro hard sell. Fold the filled section of the dough over itself until you end up with a triangle. Brush the triangle packet with butter and place on a baking sheet.
5. Repeat until you have used up all the filling. Brush the brik tops again with melted butter and sprinkle cumin seeds on the top of each brik.
6. Bake the brik for 25-35 minutes, or until browned and crisped on the edges. Serve warm.

Boon Tong Kee

On the non edible side of the country, we also visited the S.E.A Aquarium (which was amazing, but made Audra hungry for seafood), and the alien landscape that is the Super tree grove in the Gardens by the Bay. The one certain thing about Singapore is that it is constantly reinventing itself. For an island state that turned itself from a collection of sleepy fishing villages to a global financial power player inside of one generation is astounding. That it continues to morph and grow and adapt is certainly no surprise Hong Kong Macau Tour.

That does make it pretty tricky at times to find the real Singapore, which for me is tucked away in the back streets and hawker stalls Loop HK, on the ground floor of the not so trendy shopping centres, and anywhere the smell of durian and charcoal mix together and linger in the humid night air.

In case it wasn’t obvious at the top of the post, here it is again at the bottom. This trip and tour was made possible by the Singapore Tourism Board and was a part of their Celebrity Concierge program where you can take part of a unique service that pairs you with a celebrity with local knowledge of Singapore to help plan your trip. Go check out the site and see if you too can be a winner.

Thanks again to Audra and her excellent advice, and to the lovely people at Singapore Tourism Board (and the fearless Larissa) for giving this glutton another 50 reasons to love this country. If you haven’t been yet, I’m not sure how much I can stress this… go red wine.

Blueberry Jam-Cream Cheese Bars

Recently, I shared the exciting news that I have been chosen by Haagen Dazs as an ambassador to their Moment for Me campaign. I’m not even a full month into it, and I must say that it has been so very much fun.

My first Moment for Me was a Jams, Jellies, and Preserving class at Brooklyn Kitchen. Preserving is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but I’ve been more than a little intimidated to jump in and try it on my own. So, a class was just the thing for me!
The class was taught by the lovely and talented Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars. If you ever want to know how to can anything, she’s the one to tell you. She really simplified the process and made it a lot less intimidating.

We worked in groups to make a batch of blueberry jam. I worked with a group of ladies – Julie, Nancy, and Beatrice – who made the process lots of fun. Marisa also demonstrated how to make another kind of jam. The best part? We got to bring home jars of our freshly made jam!
Since that class, I’ve even made my own batch of blueberry jam. You have no idea how pleased with myself I was when I took the jars out of the water and heard the lids make that little popping sound that let me know that I’d successfully made jam hosting service.

Whether you are new to preserving or have been making jam for years, I highly recommend the recipe we used. It’s a small-batch recipe, and it doesn’t even require any pectin. Just blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. We added a bit of fresh ginger, which I liked more than I would have thought. A variation of the recipe can be found at Food in Jars.

Now, what better way to use my homemade jam than in baking? There are plenty of recipes that use jam, but I wanted a recipe that would really showcase the jam. I happened upon a recipe that I had bookmarked a while back and immediately knew that it would be just perfect.

So, here’s what we’ve got. We start with a buttery oat crust. That’s topped off with lots of jam. Then, a sweet cream cheese mixture is dolloped on top along with a bit more crust. The result is a delicious Panama Foundation, fruity bar that’s definitely big on flavor.

You certainly don’t have to use homemade jam for these bars. Your favorite store-bought brand will work just fine. You can also substitute another flavor of jam for a simple variation.

Chinese Hot-and-Sour Soup

This authentic soup is essentially an ancient doctor's curative that combines the healing magic of chicken broth, the circulation-enhancing qualities of tree fungus and lily buds, and the antiseptic properties of vinegar Digital Signage. The heat isn't from chiles — it's actually from freshly ground white pepper.

Bruce Cost prefers the flavor of Pearl River Bridge Golden Superior brand soy sauce for this dish and for the Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage and Dried Scallops .

5 ounces boneless pork loin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce*
4 small Chinese dried black mushrooms*
12 small dried tree ear mushrooms*
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 dried lily buds* (sometimes called golden needles)
1/2 cup canned sliced bamboo shoots*, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide strips (from an 8-oz can)
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce*
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 to 4 oz firm tofu (about a quarter of a block), rinsed and drained, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil*
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens
2 tablespoons fresh whole cilantro leaves

*Available at Asian foods markets, Uwajimaya (800-889-1928), and Kam Man Food Products Inc. (212-571-0330).


Toss pork with dark soy sauce in a bowl until pork is well coated.

Soak black and tree ear mushrooms in 3 cups boiling-hot water in another bowl (water should cover mushrooms), turning over black mushrooms occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes. (Tree ears will expand significantly.) Cut out and discard stems from black mushrooms, then squeeze excess liquid from caps into bowl and thinly slice caps. Remove tree ears from bowl, reserving liquid, and trim off any hard nubs. If large wine pairing, cut tree ears into bite-size pieces. Stir together 1/4 cup mushroom-soaking liquid (discard remainder) with cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, soak lily buds in about 1 cup warm water until softened, about 20 minutes, then drain. Trim off tough tips of lily buds. Cut lily buds in half crosswise, then tear each half lengthwise into 2 or 3 shreds.

Cover bamboo shoots with cold water by 2 inches in a small saucepan, then bring just to a boil (to remove bitterness) and drain in a sieve.

Stir together vinegars, light soy sauce, sugar, and salt in another small bowl.

Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Pour peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat sides. Add pork and stir-fry until meat just changes color, about 1 minute, then add black mushrooms, tree ears, lily buds, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry 1 minute.

Add broth and bring to a boil, then add tofu. Return to a boil and add vinegar mixture. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to broth and return to a boil, stirring. (Liquid will thicken.) Reduce heat to moderate and simmer 1 minute international paper company.

Beat eggs with a fork and add a few drops of sesame oil. Add eggs to soup in a thin stream, stirring slowly in one direction with a spoon. Stir in white pepper, then drizzle in remaining sesame oil and divide among 6 to 8 bowls. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro before serving.


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