Cooking

I made this page because I like to cook and needed a place to put my thoughts/recipes.

 

Best hot cocoa

I've been making hot cocoa for a few years but tonight I made the best.

 

2 Tbs milk or half-and-half

2 Tbs cocoa powder (Dutch processed)

1 Tbs sugar

1 pinch salt

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp instant coffee crystals

2 c milk or half-and-half

 

Method

  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in sauce pan over medium heat until dissolved.
  2. Mix in next 3 ingredients
  3. Heat to temperature of 165° F (75° C)
  4. Froth with immersion blender for 1 min.
  5. Pour into 1 coffee mug
 

Hybrid burger, dressed down

A hybrid between thin, smashed, fast-food style burgers (In-N-Out, Shake Shack, Smashburger) and thick steakhouse burgers (a la Jacques Pepin), for when you have decent beef but want something quick and dirty. You could dress it up, with bleu cheese and caramelized onions, for example, or down, as here. In my opinion, this is as close as you can get to Heston Blumenthal's perfect burger without embarrassing yourself in front of your friends.

 

The order in which the ingredients are stacked on the burger is important because it determines how slippery-slidey the burger will be when you bite into it. You want everything to adhere together, not slide around. I believe that In-N-Out has obviously put some thought into the stacking and pretty much perfected it, for their ingredients (which are the ones we're using). For a Double-Double, the order, from bottom to top, is this. Bun, sauce, lettuce, tomato, beef, cheese, onion, beef, cheese, bun. A few points. Coating the bottom bun with sauce creates an oil-rich shield that keeps the juices from soaking into it, maintaining the crispy toasted layer. The lettuce and tomato do a good job at soaking up juices. The tomato is the weakest (slipperiest) structural element. Putting the tomato between the relatively rough lettuce and beef patty makes sure it doesn't slip around too much. Raw onions are placed between the two patties to add a flavor and textural contrast. The top bun is directly in contact with melted cheese. The cheese tends to melt into both the patty and the bun, which sort of glues the whole structure together.

We will re-create this stacking here, but since we're only using 1 beef patty, we have to modify it slightly. I prefer to put the onions directly on the patty, followed by the cheese and bun. This keeps the onions and tomatoes (slippery things) separate and still allows the cheese to glue patty to bun.

 

Recipe

Squishy burger bun (such as brioche)

1 Tbs butter

1 Tbs vegetable oil (peanut oil is good)

Salt

6 to 8 oz. ground beef, at least 20% fat content, per burger

Black pepper

Onion, chopped (to taste)

American cheese

Tomato, sliced

Iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped

Mayo

Ketchup

Relish

 

Toast the bun and mise en place

  1. Melt the butter in a pan (medium heat) until foaming subsides, then sprinkle a pinch of salt evenly over the pan.
  2. Split the bun and add it to the pan, flat sides down.
  3. While the bun toasts, mise en place the remaining ingredients. Make a classic sauce with mayo, ketchup, and relish to taste.
  4. If you are using pre-ground beef, the best way to get an 6 oz. piece is to tear a chunk of it off the end, so that you keep the fibers running roughly the same direction, like a bundle of sticks. Squeeze it together with hands just until it holds together, no more.
  5. When the buns are toasted, remove them from the pan.
  6. Spread the sauce on the bottom bun. Top with lettuce, then tomato, then sprinkle salt and pepper onto the tomato.

Cook the burger and assemble

  1. Wipe the pan clean, if needed. Increase heat to high and add the oil to the pan.
  2. When the pan is very hot (smoking), press the "meat bundle" onto it, using your fingers to gently smash it out into a burger shape, about 3/4" thick. Make sure the fibers (or "sticks") are vertical when you start, and try to keep them that way as you smash it out. You're roughly trying to reproduce this.
  3. Sprinkle salt on the raw side and sear for 0.5 to 1 min (until the bottom is deep brown and crunchy).
  4. With a metal spatula or fish turner, flip the burger (scrape it off of the pan with some force if necessary, so you keep that crust intact).
  5. Salt and pepper the cooked side, top with onions, and top the onions with cheese.
  6. Go ahead and put the top bun onto the cheese so that the cheese can melt into it.
  7. Cook the burger until the middle is done how you like it.
  8. Scrape it up and carefully slide it onto the prepared bottom bun. Press down gently to make it a little more structurally sound.