Meal Extraordinaire of the Week: man-burgers!

It’s been a long time since my last entry; I’ve been busy doing research and watching Starcraft 2. This past weekend, there were too many tournaments for me to watch; however, my post here is about food. I will leave explaining competitive SC2 for another time.

I’ve been wanting to get a cast iron pan for a while now since I cannot have charcoal or butane grills in my apartment; I’ve read that cast iron skillets are great to cook meats. On Sunday, after being a great boyfriend and installing K’s AC, I finally caved in and bought a beautiful 10-inch pan. Right after doing that that, I decided to make hamburgers and quickly went to the butcher shop to get the necessary ingredients: ground sirloin, lettuce, tomato, good quality buns, and cheddar cheese.

Once I got home, I took everything out and started to work. Luckily, the pan I bought was pre-seasoned, so there was no need to spend time on anything else but the burger. While I preheated the pan in the oven at 350 F, I caramelized some onion rings by cooking the onion in a mixture of sugar and butter; in addition, I toasted the bread on the same pan I used for the onions and prepared the lettuce and tomato slice with only some salt. Once the pan was ready, I added a little bit of olive oil to it and put the seasoned 8 oz patty to cook. I don’t have the language proficiency in my mother tongue, let alone in English, to convey how delicious my kitchen smelled when the meat was being cooked. I flipped the burger after 3.5 minutes and added some butter to the top of the patty. After cooking the other side for 4 minutes, I put the cheese on top and let it melt. I took some pictures of the process as well as the finished product (shown below).

Lettuce, tomato, and onions:
burger_extras

Cooking the patty while keeping the bread warm in the back
cooking_burger

Adding butter to the patty
cooking_burger_2

My first try was a failure because the burger was completely raw inside; therefore, I learned that in order to get a properly cooked burger, I needed to make a thinner patty. On the second time, the hamburger came out juicy and a little red inside, just how I like it! Once it was ready, I made some iced tea and watch the finals of one of the SC2 tournaments I mentioned in the beginning. What a great Sunday!

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Meal Extraordinaire of the Week: Lemon Cream pie!

This week, I craved for something sweet and delicious. As usual, I browsed Mel’s blog and found plenty of potentially awesome recipes to try. As my mouth watered, I did a lot of thinking and narrowed the list to five possible desserts:

  • Robert Redford Dessert. Don’t ask me where the name comes from; I just know that it looks and sounds delicious.
  • Tiramisu. I can’t remember at what age I started liking tiramisu, but who cares? Everyone knows that eating a well-made tiramisu can be an exquisite experience.
  • Chocoflan. I like chocolate; I like flan. What could possibly be better than both?
  • Coconut tres leches. Tres leches (and cuatro leches as well) has always been one of my weaknesses. I will do many things for you in exchange for some of this milky delicacy.
  • Lemon pie. When I Was a kid, this was my favorite dessert, so making it puts me in a nostalgic mood.

As you can see, I have somewhat of a sweet tooth; I have loved desserts my entire life. As a child, I used to say that my stomach was divided in multiple sections, of which the largest one corresponded to desserts. That way, even if I said I was full in order to not eat any more vegetables, I could still eat desserts.

To make my decision, I weighted the recipe complexity as well as the amount of ingredients I would have had to buy. Due to its simplicity, the lemon pie recipe was the winner. Like I mentioned before, eating lemon pie brings back some great childhood memories. When I was around 10 years old, my step-dad, my mom, and I came to the US for vacation. The trip was extremely busy; we stayed a couple of days in Miami and drove around multiple places including Key West; then, we flew to Las Vegas and rented a car to visit the Great Canyon and the Red rock canyon as well. Oftentimes, my mom would drive, my stepfather would sleep, and I would be sitting as the copilot. Whenever this happened, my mom would stop by a diner or a small restaurant on the road, and we would both go inside, leaving my stepfather fast asleep in the car; I would order a lemon pie and she would get something else, laughing at how sneaky we were. We had so much fun1. I miss them both greatly.

What a great trip down memory lane, but let’s get back to the cooking. Here are some pictures of the dessert without the whipped topping:
Pie out of the oven
and with the topping:

Pie with the creamy topping
Pie with the creamy topping

I was ecstatic with the result. There was enough lemon juice to make the filling refreshing, perfectly complementing the overwhelming sweetness of condensed milk. I will need a great deal of willpower to restrain myself from eating it all :).

[1] Not all of it was laughter. There was what we now call “The William’s Incident.” As we were driving towards the Great Canyon, we had to pass by a town called Williams. For some unknown reason, I was obsessed with going to Flagstaff, a small city nearby; I kept being annoying by repeatedly asking if we could stop on Flagstaff. My stepdad finally got sick of it, grabbed the map we were using, and hit me on the head with it; outraged, I didn’t speak again until we got to Williams. It was pretty hilarious.