bits and pieces

Friday, November 8, 2013

EPIC Burgers: Le Twist

How big is your bite? 


In anticipation of Game Day on Sunday - I decided to fully commit to good, fast, fantabulous and mouthwatering fun.

Arguably one of the most iconic North American foods, everyone has a favourite burger.

Earlier this week I put the call out to friends asking for their favourite burger toppings. With over 30 responses, I heard everything from:

'two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of the bun!' to grilled pineapple to bone marrow (apparently it makes for a better actual burger?) to green chile, tex mex style,  to one friend who simply claimed 'AVOCADO ON EVERYTHING'.

He's not wrong.

BUT, being a flighty creature of whimsy I decided to go back into my own memories and remember the best burger that I could. For those of you who are first time readers - I don't eat meat. I haven't for about a decade. A quick venture around this blog will indicate that this has not stopped me from cooking meat by the plateful, however, I haven't actually eaten it since 2004... So trying to remember my favourite burger takes me WAY back.

Pre-2004 I was living in Chelsea, Quebec, which is also known as the most perfect place in the entire world to grow up. I might be biased, but I'm pretty sure it is.

 I had lived there for about ten years, complete with a dock, canoe, 4 best friends down the road, and the occasional adventure rearranging our neighbours' garden gnomes in a spate of late night mischief.

What does any of this have to do with burgers you ask? Not much, I'm just getting nostalgic.

Even as a carnivore I wasn't much of a meat eater. Ribs? eh. Chicken? eh. All I really loved was a blue rare steak once every 3 weeks or so. A totally normal 16 year old.

Anyone who has visited the National Capital Region recently will know it's actually become a kind of hip and happening place. Across the river, Hull is pretty kicking. When I was in high school, Hull had several beautiful heritage buildings and the occasional restaurant, but was mostly used as a place to sneak into bars. There were a few cool little strips which I imagine are crazy cool now. There was a tiny bistro I used to go with my Mom and girlfriends called 'Le Twist'.  A tiny bistro with a fabulous courtyard patio, Le Twist had THE ONLY burger I loved. I was an instant convert.

I hadn't thought of Le Twist in years until I started trying to remember my most favourite burger of all time. Tell me this doesn't look fantastic?

Burgers are easy, everyone loves them (except for me sadly), and a GREAT party food.

That's right. Party food.

You're thinking 'Girl - burgers aren't FANCY and I have FANCY food when I have people over'. Well guess what? PEOPLE LOVE CHOICE. Make some burgers, assemble a bajillion toppings - gourmet and otherwise - and let 'em at it.

Classic burger patties with all your (well really MY) favourite toppings. Who's hungry for lunch?

I'll be posting my favourite burgers over the weekend with some out of the box suggestions along with copious glamour shots of these bad boys. Nom nom nom nom nom.. .

about half a pound of 80/20 mix of ground beef (chuck if possible) and bacon/pork
a bun
thinly sliced jalapenos
mushrooms, sauteed with a little bourbon and maple syrup
caramelized onions
about a 1/4 cup of cream cheese
a few strips of cooked bacon

kosher salt and black pepper
olive oil

other things you will need: 
a knife and cutting board
a BBQ! OR - a pan/skillet to cook your burgs. 

  1. MAKE YOUR BURGERS. Combine your meat and spread out in a bowl or elsewhere. Sprinkle liberally with black pepper and salt. 
  2. Using your hands, form burgers into patties and lay on a baking tray. Using your thumb, press a soft thumb print into the middle of each burger patty. This will help the burger keep its shape while it cooks. 
  3. If needed, assemble your toppings. 
  4. To saute your onions, slice them thinly-ish and add them to a pan (medium heat) with some olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. The salt helps drawn the liquid out of the onions which pulls the sugars which naturally occur in the onions out. This 'sweating' of the onions helps them to caramelize. I like to cover mine with a lid and walk away for 5 minutes or so and do other things. Once these 5 minutes are up, remove the lid and add a tsp or so of beer/bourbon/vinegar and stir to combine and to deglaze the pan. Cook for another few minutes and set aside. 
  5. To saute your mushrooms, it's a very similar process - just make sure not to crowd your pan. It's really tempting to put all your mushrooms in at once but they won't be as good. Pop your mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper and satue your mushrooms for a few minutes. Add a splash of maple syrup, and bourbon and saute until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until your mushrooms are done. 
  6. I am not going to tell you how to cook bacon. 
  7. On the BBQ or skillet, cook your burgers! I make mine medium - so you'll want to cook them for about 5 minutes or so per side depending on the thickness. If you want them well done - well, just leave them on for 2 minutes more each side. You know a 'side' is done when you can move the burger easily. Once your burgz are done, let them rest for a few minutes. 

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