I’ve never been a “Bed & Breakfast” kind of person, always preferring the anonymous consistency of a larger hotel when traveling. I think part of the reason might have been that I never came across the right one. This summer we found it, tucked up the side of a mountain in Woodstock, NY. The amenities were nice, it featured all sorts of earthy-crunchy touches that my wife appreciated, it had great food and a truly nice owner, but the one thing that has stuck with me since our stay, and what has me thinking about returning, was the library in our room which featured a ton of old cookbooks. Odds are they were chosen as much for kitsch as they were for food dreamers, but their mere appearance hinted at a new culinary world for me and I have been on a mission to find some old cookbooks for our own book stacks. I finally had my chance a few weeks ago at our local library’s annual book sale and I felt like I scored big time with a copy of Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls. Now, of course, the first thing I did was search for a burger recipe and I was rewarded with a few in this 1957 time capsule. The first one I cooked up is above and I must admit it looks like your basic hamburger, but it has a juicy twist.
The recipe is all of 3 ingredients long, but the results were pretty impressive.Combine in a bowl and then form into patties
- 1 lb. of ground beef (we used 85/15 grass-fed beef)
- 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
- 1 tbsp. salt
I know what you’re saying. Looks kind of boring, and on paper it is. I have never even considered using evaporated milk in a burger before and to be honest I wasn’t sold after combining the ingredients. The concoction had a really loose consistency and I panicked a bit and ended up tossing the patties in the freezer for a few minutes to firm them up for fear that they would disintegrate while cooking. Me of little faith. 6 minutes per side under a broiler set to high is enough for the higher side of medium (in reality I had them under for 8 minutes per side in hopes of getting a bit of a crust on them which resulted in an incongruously moist solid grey middle). Tossed on squishy rolls with a slather of mayo, mustard and a tomato, these retro treats were legit. The evaporated milk does impart a bit of creaminess to the burgers, but it is not off-putting. I think the selling point of these burgers is you can satisfy the “well-done” folks at your BBQ with a juicy burger – something they may never have experienced before (especially at 160°).
I have poured over tons of burger recipes over the years and have never seen evaporated milk on the ingredient list. Have you? It made me wonder what other ingredients have fallen out of favor. Thankfully I have a small stack of 50′s, 60′s and 70′s cookbooks now to cook my way through in hopes of finding out the answer to that myself.
Click here for extra pictures from the cookbook.
Retreat At TreeGap in Woodstock, NY (the original inspiration for this post).
Quick dinner from a few weeks back when a 1/2 day at work gave me the opportunity to hit up two different farmers markets for ingredients. A Le Bus Whole Wheat Burger bun was the perfect foundation for our burger mix of natural, (primarily) grass-fed beef and chopped bacon ends (oddly shaped, wildly fatty slabs of deliciousness from the Lancaster County Farmers Market in Wayne, PA). Add blue cheese, a fire-engine red tomato and some extra whole bacon ends on top and the urge to go out to a restaurant and spend $15 for a fancy burger is officially curbed. When possible serve your burgers on plates with pictures of surgeons on them – its a karma thing and it fights off the bad cholesterol.
Not too much to offer by way of recipe on this one, more along the lines of advice…we find the beef available at farm stands tends towards the lean side, so chopping up bacon and adding it to the mix prior to forming your patties keeps the burgers moist (in addition to adding flavor). We tested a new (and cheap) cast iron skillet from Ikea and were happy with the results.
Beef from Hillacres Pride
Bacon Ends from S. Clyde Weaver
Tomato from Good Harvest Farms
As the days get shorter and the air a bit crisper up here in PA, the odds of foregoing preparing a home cooked dinner and ordering Chinese takeout instead have increased. This quick recipe came about the day after a recent takeout night and we resurrected it this evening for dinner with some friends. It is a dead simple recipe which produces a quirky take on familiar fare and, when combined with Sriracha Ketchup, makes for a darn good burger.
The taste? Take everything you love about bacon on a burger and then sugar that up about 200%. By itself, honey boneless spareribs may be the most addictive item on any Chinese menu (and easily account for 2/3 of my repenting on Yom Kippur) and as served here (chopped up and mingled with high quality beef) it follows along the lines of the trend led by so many “name chefs” adding different cuts of meats into their burgers (not just on them). The spicy ketchup cuts down the sweetness a bit and provides a tease of heat to take this burger to the next level.
Rough #’s here, but any combination of these ingredients will produce more than passable results.1 lb. ground beef (we used “all-natural” Hillacres Pride beef purchased at our local farmer’s market) 1/4 lb honey boneless spareribs from Pak Yue (which is a fun name to say but always sounds confrontational when they answer the phone)
2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
Dice the pork into very small slivers then combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix lightly but well and then form patties (we made slider sized burgers). As mentioned earlier on this blog, and ripped from the pages of John Torode’s book “Beef and other bovine matters,” when using the oyster sauce you can omit salt from the recipe. The oyster sauce provides you with the tang you are looking for and keeps the burgers incredibly moist.
Siracha-Ketchup3 parts ketchup 1 part Sriracha
As shown cooked on the gas grille and served on Martin’s Whole Wheat Potato Rolls.
50 E Wynnewood Rd
Wynnewood, PA 19096-2013
I first posted about Elevation Burger way back in February so needless to say the anticipation has been building for a while on this one…and I am happy to report that Elevation Burger did not disappoint.
With a mantra of “Ingredients Matter,” what many have dubbed the “healthy Five Guys” opened their first store here on the outskirts of Philly over the 4th of July weekend. It took me a whole 2 days to get down there thanks to holiday festivities but lunchtime Monday was destined to be all about Elevation Burger.
Four of us from work headed over and I was not surprised to run into another burger-loving friend already waiting in the short queue ahead of us. Word seems to have spread fast as they had a decent lunchtime crowd already for their first work-day service.
I opted for the Cheeseburger, as opposed to the Elevation Burger (1 patty vs 2 patties) and was presented with one of the best upsell attempts I have ever heard…”We find men are more satisfied with the Elevation burger (double) as opposed to just the single.” Ah-hem. Innuendo aside, I still stuck with the single burger (a rare show of restraint) in order to justify getting a side of fries and a soda.
As you can see from the picture, the burger itself is aesthetically pleasing. It is clear that they spend a lot of time training their staff to present the product well and I appreciate when a burger joint does that (ex: Shake Shack or In-N-Out) as opposed to just slapping together ingredients. I ordered my burger with lettuce, tomato and “Elevation Sauce” which I was told was a creamy, light tomato sauce. Either an homage to INO or even Big Mac sauce, I found that the sauce really didn’t add too much flavor to the package. It didn’t distract or ruin the taste, just didn’t add that much. To be honest, that is my only complaint. The burgers at Elevation are 100% organic, grass-fed and free range and you definitely can tell that something is different about the patties. Well seasoned and served on a squishy bun with a nice hunk of cheddar cheese (non-processed!) my cheeseburger was a winner. The best part may have been the complete lack of that icky, weighed down feeling (strangely enough this was a negative factor for my co-workers). The absence of greasiness meant no strong desire for an afternoon nap which could help productivity back at the ranch.
As good as the burger was, I have to say the fries are even better. Fresh cut shoestring style and crisped up perfectly in 100% olive oil (no trans or saturated fats), these were probably the best fries I’ve had in a long time and everyone in the group agreed they were the highlight of the meal. A side order was enough for 2 of us to split, though in the future I’d easily order one side just for me because they were that good (perfectly salted, each one tasted like that idealized vision of a McDonald’s fry we conjure up but have only ever experienced maybe once or twice in our lives).
Bonus points for Pibb Xtra as a fountain selection. Having spent time growing up in the south, seeing Pibb Xtra, which is the “new” name for “Mr. Pibb,” triggered lots of nostalgic memories. And despite Mitch Hedberg famously maligning Pibb’s lack of advanced education (“Mr. Pibb is a poor imitation of Dr. Pepper. Dude didn’t even get his degree.”) I’d choose it every time over the much fizzier Pepper.
The menu also features fresh-scooped ice cream milk shakes made with Blue Bunny ice cream. I didn’t have one, but they were hand-dipping a lot of them and I am sure I’ll get around to that at some point (maybe Jess @ Fries With That Shake will beat me to it).
Located half-way between my work and home I am going to have to try hard to avoid filling up one of their “7 Club” cards each week. Congrats to the team that has been working so hard on getting this location open and good luck to them keeping the steady stream of people coming. Keep delivering a good product and they will (and the demos of this area seem ideal with a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in short driving distance the health-concious bent should play well).
As much as I love iBurger (and the hilarious sounds my daughter makes while playing it) I haven’t found a truly useful burger app for the iPhone (note to self – get off high horse and invent truly useful burger app for iPhone). To the rescue comes a new app from foodie grocery chain Whole Foods featuring a full slate of burger recipes presented in a truly slick interface.
Over 25 burger recipes are featured ranging from the uber-healthy (beef and bulgur burgers) to the truly decadent (stuffed burgers with gorgonzola and smoky bacon).
Nutritional info is provided (and thankfully placed strategically so it is easy to ignore) as are diet keys which help point you to offerings that may/may not fit into your diet (you’ll be happy to know that Sliders are good for those who are “sugar conscious”).
One of the best features (though not burger specific) is called “On Hand” which allows you to type in up to 3 ingredients you have “on hand” and then suggests recipes in the library based on that. Pretty handy to have when you are scraping the refrigerator bottom before shopping day.
We’ll be testing out the slider recipe soon and probably checking in on the app while out shopping to see what we can create.
Whole Foods annual “Buck A Burger” sale ends tomorrow (July 7th) I think. We loaded up and cooked off some of their bacon and blue cheese burgers for lunch yesterday (tweet – Rounding out a weird weekend with some Bacon & Blue Cheese burgers from Whole Foods Buck A Burger sale. http://twitpic.com/9eezw10:41 AM Jul 5th from TweetDeck ) – pretty tasty.
ps: If you are a budding iPhone app designer and are interested in helping create the burgatory iPhone app (and enjoy working for free) drop me a line…we actually do have a neat idea!
Note in the comments section of the last post from the owner of the Wynnewood location says “July 4th should be the first day for Elevation Burger.”
Plus, interesting story in the Wall Street Journal about Twitter Imposters, the last place I expected to read about Elevation Burger…weird tale though -> read full story here or excerpt below.
At Elevation Burger, a seven-outlet chain owned by Elevation Franchise Ventures LLC, a vendor in March found an unauthorized Twitter profile with tweets promoting rival Z Burger. Hans Hess, Elevation’s founder and chief executive, complained to Z Burger and Twitter, which later suspended the profile after a letter from Mr. Hess’s lawyer.
Kenny Fried, a publicist representing Z Burger, says owner Peter Tabibian created the Elevation Burger profile on Twitter, as well as profiles in two other competitors’ names, “to be creative and fun in promoting Z Burger” and didn’t intend to be malicious.
Mr. Hess calls the stunt “extremely unprofessional.”
Old stuff below:
Just a quick note to say the sign went up yesterday! Can’t be too much longer now. Lots of activity over the past few weeks means hopefully they will be open before the end of the month. Will update with pics for those interested via the Twitter feed later today.
If this place is half as good as I am anticipating I am going to have to alter my route home from work.
Sunday night is burger night around the house and this weekend’s version was inspired by a viewing of a PBS The American Experience episode about Buffalo Bill Cody, which when trying to cook and tweet at the same time somehow morphed into a reference to Dabney Coleman’s early 1980′s sitcom Buffalo Bill (see tweets here – heck, sign up to follow if you wish).
What made these burgers even more special was that the beef and bacon were procured from our local farmers market. In most parts of the North East farmer’s market season has just kicked off and that is great news. Within walking distance of our house are a bevy of delicious, seasonal options produced and sold by the person behind the till. Stories, suggestions, recipes and heart are all within easy reach of the consumer and we are all a bit better for taking the time to slow down and interact on a more personal level with our food and those that grow it. Of course these markets are famous for their veggies but we have found that many offer great quality meats as well. Whether “farm-raised,” “grass-fed,” “organic” and/or “natural” meat, options abound and include not only beef from cows, but good quality bison and small-batch bacons.
Not so much a recipe on this one…more a parts list:85/15 all-natural ground beef Thick-cut all-natural bacon Ultra-sharp cheddar cheese Onion rings BBQ sauce Whole-wheat Telera rolls
Bobby Flay calls his version a Cheyenne Burger.
Carl’s Jr.’s call it a Western Bacon Cheeseburger.
Dabney Coleman Fever movie on YouTube (kiss 8 1/2 minutes of your life goodbye before clicking)
A new burger joint is opening soon in the Philly Burbs and this one has an interesting hook sure to pique the interest of the local Whole Foods/Trade Joe’s set.
Elevation Burger is described on their website as:
… a quick and casual restaurant offering 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range beef burgers.
Ok, count me as excited because of one important adjective in that description: grass-fed. Organic is great and sure I’d love to know that the cows lived a nice life on the range, but the fact that they were grass-fed is key. When it comes down to it, cows that eat grass just taste better. Time Magazine wrote about it in’06.
From a recent Elevation Burger press release:
Elevation Burger is a rapidly growing, fast casual concept serving 100% USDA-certified organic beef burgers and fresh-cut fries cooked in heart-healthy 100% olive oil. Founded by husband and wife entrepreneurs Hans and April Hess in 2002, the chain prides itself on an “elevated” experience and an organic, fresh approach that puts people and product ahead of profit. The first location opened in 2005, offering Northern Virginia a health-conscious menu bursting with flavor. Hans and April’s belief that “Ingredients Matter” has brought the restaurant rapid success and popularity. Driven by their passion for delicious food that’s organic, sustainable and fresh, Elevation Burger began franchising in 2008. Restaurants are 1,500-2,000 square feet and seat 50 to 150 guests with outdoor seating.
Outdoor seating is probably unlikely at the Wynnewood location, which fills the spot once occupied by Alex Long Chinese Cuisine in the front retail row of the Wynnewood Shopping Center (your typical suburban strip plaza with an Old Navy, BB&B, Genuardi’s and Borders).
Having never been to one, Elevation Burger sounds to me like a mix between Five Guys and Chipotle, which should play well in my flexitarian household. The fact that they even have two varieties of veggie burgers on their menu has me pretty excited (though the two pattied + cheese “Elevation Burger” would still probably win out most times). Editors Note: One of these days I’m going to have to write about the wealth of great veggie burgers in this area…the ones at the Penn Valley Pub in Narberth are actually better than the beef burgers (which is pretty darn good, too).
If you are interested/motivated maybe you can apply to be the General Manager? According to the monster.com posting, this is one of five locations coming to the area.
No idea on the opening date or further details but I will update if/when I learn more. Until then, here are a few reviews of the Falls Church, Va location.
via Menupages (D.C.)
Bittman rains slightly on the grass-fed parade in his NYT Blog here.
One more thing – the folks that created this place seem to truly understand the nuances of a good burger…check out this graphic from their website on the crucial topic of burger-to-bun ratio!