April 11, 2012

Worcestershire Burgers with Mushroms, Swiss, and Ranch Dressing

Every now and then the craving for a big, juicy burger hits. I like my burgers with cheese, lettuce, sometimes tomato, and always, always, with a sauce/spread.

My favorite burger thus far is this caramelized onion burger. This burger comes in at a verrrrrry close second.  It's got cheese, point # 1, it's got mushrooms, point #2, and it's got a creamy, tangy sauce all over it, point #55. My mouth waters right now just thinking about eating it again.

I love making burgers at home. I rarely ever order one out at a restaurant. For some reason I consider a restaurant burger to be unhealthy- burgers made at home = healthy. I love my math skills. But truly, if I'm making a burger at home, I always use lean ground beef, sometimes grass-fed, and I don't over do it in the seasoning department. I like them simple. I also almost always top it with some kind of veggie, whether it be mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes...and I use a whole wheat bun. Win win's all around. 

This burger is definitely one I can guarantee you'll want to add to your dinner rotations. "Sandwich" night can be fun and gourmet!

Source:  adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
About 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons grated onion
coarse salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 deli slices swiss cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, slices
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup sherry (I used chicken stock)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 - 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 clove garlic, grated
Whole wheat buns

Preheat a cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat. Combine the beef, worcestershire, onion, salt and lots of pepper. Form into 4 patties (thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking). 

Add the oil to the hot pan, add the patties and cook, turning once, for 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare to medium. Top the patties with the cheese, folded to fit the burgers, during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 12 minutes. Add the shallot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Deglaze with chicken stock.

In a bowl, stir together the sour cream, buttermilk, herbs, lemon juice, hot sauce and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

Put the cheeseburgers on the roll bottoms and top with the mushrooms. Slather the roll tops with the dressing and set into place.

April 9, 2012

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe has ended in this household.

That's not to say that I won't be trying out more recipes and different versions of the chocolate chip cookie. But I have to say, I think these win, hands down, as the best classic, homemade, thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie. I've even got a second opinion- my hubby, who declared a few weeks ago that his favorite chocolate chip cookies were the ones he gets every day at work from the hospital cafeteria (they are really good). Not anymore! Take that lunch ladies.

They're huge, perfectly sweet and fluffy. I'm beyond addicted to them. The perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner snack for a pregnant woman. I could easily gain the rest of my pregnancy weight eating these babies. I'm totally planning on being that soccer mom with a jar of freshly baked cookies to dig in to every day after school. When baby arrives and has her first chocolate chip cookie, these will be it.

I highly suggest you follow the instructions to the 'T-' including clicking on the link to Brown Eyed Baker's illustration of how to roll these. Normally I skip those kinds of things because I'm lazy impatient, but it's totally worth it!

Source: Just Baked, orginally from Cook's Illustrated

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar I use light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, the yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed (or mix by hand with a spatula) just until combined. Stir in the chips according to your taste.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart. Brown Eyed Baker has a great illustration for this.

Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and  yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets