Month: July 2013

Lao Tomato Salsa – Jeaw Mak Len

Lao Tomato Salsa – Jeaw Mak Len

My family is a pretty big fan of Thai style sticky rice. Personally, I could probably eat it every day, just a little bit, for dinner. If you have never experienced sticky rice, let’s just say that it is unlike any rice that you have…

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto

As many of us know, the farmer’s market is almost in full swing. I only say almost because I’ve yet to see corn, and those delicious tomatoes yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saddened that the market has yet to offer these up, I’m…

Smoked Mushrooms

Smoked Mushrooms

After a long morning doing yard work, I decided to call it an afternoon and get some relaxation. With that said, I had a rack of baby back ribs marinating overnight, and decided I would have an afternoon of smoking the ribs. Whenever I begin the smoking process, I always look for other items to smoke. This particular afternoon yielded not only the ribs, but a couple of trout, and for kicks, some portabella mushrooms that I had leftover from making pizza tots.

I am always looking for new ideas and took a chance on the mushrooms. I had never smoked them before, so I was more than interested to see how they would turn out. Let’s just start by saying my wife loved them. I mean, really loved them.

Smoked Mushrooms

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sized portabella mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned of dirt
  • 1 cup of hickory wood chips, soaked in water

Yep, that’s it. Two ingredients. Big flavor.

I use a vertical drum style smoker. It’s nothing fancy, but it holds the heat, and always does a good job, whatever the season.  It also has a mid compartment which holds a container of water, which I like, to prevent direct heat to whatever I’m smoking.

Heat your charcoals until they are nice and gray. Add to the bottom of the smoker, have the water compartment in place, and the top rack in place as well. Add the soaked wood chips to the coals, the place the mushrooms on the rack. Cover, and step away for a good hour.

The initial blast of smoke is all you really need as you do not wan the mushrooms to dehydrate. Remove, and serve. I served mine in a some pasta with brown butter and sage, and well let’s just say there was no mushroom left behind. You get that earthiness you would expect in a mushroom with that great hint of smoke. It really adds nice depth to the mushroom. So next time you are smoking, try something new to place on the smoker. You’ll never know how good it might just be.

Pizza Tots

Pizza Tots

Last week I was thinking of things to make that would be easy and delicious. As you probably know, I have been on a pizza making rampage recently, and as I thought of creating a couple of more pizza recipes, I decided that I would…

Potato and Ham Frittata

Potato and Ham Frittata

A couple of weeks ago I did what I normally do every Saturday morning, and that is to wake up early, jump on my bike, and head to the farmer’s market. I get the best of both things, riding my bike before most folks are…

Merkts Cheeseburger

Merkts Cheeseburger

I don’t know what it is lately, but I have been loving smashed style burgers. In the past I was making burgers, typically on the grill, where they were big, plump, and obviously delicious, but now I have taken the burgers inside on a cast iron skillet, and allowing them to get nice and caramelized. Believe it or not, and this is just my opinion, there is a big difference between grilled, charcoal burgers, and cast iron skillet burgers. I’ll let you decide on which is better.

Merkts Cheeseburger

I wanted to make this burger because a friend on Facebook had suggested that I try slathering on some Merkts cheese on a burger. I’ve actually never tried that and was curious how it would taste. After all, Merkts cheese is somewhat of a staple in the house as a couple of the kids love eating it as an after school snack on pretzels, or crackers.

If you have never tried or heard of Merkts cheese, it is some awesome stuff. It is basically an all natural cheese spread that comes in a variety of flavors. I’ve tried most of them, and pretty much love them all, so I knew that spreading this on a smash style burger would be awesome.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients: (Makes one burger)

  • 1/4 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Merkts Sharp Cheddar Spread
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Soft hamburger bun

Start by preheating a cast iron skillet on medium, to medium high heat.

During this time, form the ground chuck into a loose meatball shape. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, to your liking.

Add the ground chuck to the cast iron skillet, and let it sear, and cook for a couple of minutes. Then, with a large spatula smash the burger down, completely flattening it. Let cook another minute, then flip it over. You should have an awesome, caramelized burger. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then add the thinly sliced onions over the top of the burger, letting the burger steam the onions. After a couple of minutes, flip the burger, along with the onions, over, allowing the onions to cook.

How to make a Merkts Cheeseburger

Add the Merkts cheese on top of the burger and allow that to begin to melt.

Place the burger onto the bun, and serve.

Biting into this burger is great. I’m actually excited just thinking about it. Maybe it is that aroma from the onions, or those crispy, caramelized edges of the burger, but then when you bite into it and get that great sharp cheddar from the Merkts, well, enough said. As you can tell, I made a couple of more as well. Oh yeah, and don’t even get me started on the homemade, double cooked fries with rosemary and garlic. Please don’t. If you want a great burger, give this one a shot, then let me know… Grilled or cast iron?

Merkts Cheeseburger
Author: 
Recipe type: Burgers
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ lb ground chuck
  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Merkts Sharp Cheddar Spread
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Soft hamburger bun
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating a cast iron skillet on medium, to medium high heat.
  2. During this time, form the ground chuck into a loose meatball shape. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, to your liking.
  3. Add the ground chuck to the cast iron skillet, and let it sear, and cook for a couple of minutes. Then, with a large spatula smash the burger down, completely flattening it. Let cook another minute, then flip it over. You should have an awesome, caramelized burger. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then add the thinly sliced onions over the top of the burger, letting the burger steam the onions. After a couple of minutes, flip the burger, along with the onions, over, allowing the onions to cook.
  4. Add the Merkts cheese on top of the burger and allow that to begin to melt.
  5. Place the burger onto the bun, and serve.