Pistachio Ice Cream

If I were a smarter person, I would have gone to The Snowman on Wednesday night. I went last night. The crowds are really minimal after 9 pm, which is a plus for people like me.
The Only 8 flavors were banana (ick) and devil’s food cake (ehh…meh). But then. Lo. Pistachio Nut under the hard serve ice creams.
My dear husbear Albany John has an affinity for, as he calls them, “Old Man Foods”. He classifies pistachio ice cream as one such Old Man Food. I loved the white trash alternative, Jello’s pistachio instant pudding, while growing up (I was SO impressed when my aunt made it). We were trying to think of where one could find pistachio ice cream in the area (he said Friendly’s), and when I saw it on the Snowman’s board, I had to buy it. $2.00 for a small (tax included).
It was okay, but it had these really tart neon green maraschino cherries in the ice cream. The licks I had sans cherry bits were nice and pistachio-y, in a subtle and creamy way. There were even good sized hunks of pistachio nut in the ice cream. Is this a traditional way to have pistachio ice cream? The green maraschino cherries really detracted from an otherwise delightful pistachio ice cream. I would have really enjoyed it if it had just been pistachio, none of this cherry business.
My pistachio hunger has awoken. I need more. So folks, where can I get more pistachio desserts in the area? And I am talking full blown pistachio desserts. No garnishes or subtleties. I want a fire hose of flavor on full blast.

Garden Salad

Garden Salad usually evokes the pre-fab wrapped trays of garden salad I could order for lunch in elementary school. I’d try to order the chef salad every now and then because I was generally the biggest girl in my class, and salads were healthy. I was not a big fan of vegetables in general, and every time I’d order it, I’d pick over the hard boiled egg, lettuce, tomato, and whatever other greenery they may have put in there, and ended up eating the strips of ham and turkey cold cuts. Not pretty, not tasty, not filling, and not good.
Eventually I gave up. How could I resist hot turkey sandwich, the fancy Chicken A La King, or spaghetti and sauce?

This salad came from my garden. The lettuce leaves are doing well. The French Breakfast radishes I planted seem to want to pop out of the ground. So I grabbed one, just one, and sliced it up into a small salad for two. Hell, it was a small salad for one, but you know. It was refreshing to eat last night, that’s for sure!

Albany John is awaiting a small but bountiful harvest of radishes. I hope they grow bigger! The French breakfast radish we had last night was a small sphere.

It’s funny – When I was growing up I’d never even think of touching the radish. But now that I’ve tried it, it doesn’t really taste like anything.

One of A Kind Tea House

Rochelle and I were on a mission to get to One of A Kind Teahouse after reading Jessica Pasko’s write up of it in All Over Albany.
Dude. Tea. Yes. Do it.

Lemme say – mission successful! Traffic was light when we went in on Friday evening. They seemed used to take out/counter service, but we opted for a table next to the wall of fake bamboo. The interior is gorgeous. Personally, I think it’s a great addition to Chinese food options in the Albany area.

Some people might think the market is getting saturated, but this is unlike other restaurants. It’s more upscale, akin to the Chinese coffee/tea shops in NYC. Or think of it kind of like a fancier Chinese Starbucks (or Professor Java’s). Hong Kong Bakery is across the street with the bare bones take out minimal service authentic food. CCK & Shining Rainbow are also on the same street, but do more full family meals.

The food choices at One of A Kind Teahouse are both more condensed, and more versatile than others. They have curries, soups, a few meals, skewers, noodles, rice dishes, sandwiches – rather continental in comparison to other Chinese restaurants in the area.

Price-wise, it’s not the cheapest place in town, but on par with coffee shop / teahouse prices. Nothing will break the bank, but you know you’re paying a bit of a premium. It’s like going to Starbucks, only instead of having a $2-3 scone with your coffee, you’re Chinese and you have a few other snacks with your beverage.

I ordered the lychee smoothie. All smoothies are $2.95. Quite fair, seeing as how it was packed with lychee flavor and took me my entire meal to finish it. And I’m no slow drinker. If it’s in front of me I sip at it until it’s gone. I also liked the colorful strips of chewy things. I forget their proper name, but they’re tasty.

You can see Rochelle’s mango bubble tea in the background. She tried asking if the papaya was red or green, but our server didn’t understand what she was asking (language barrier), so R got the mango. Also $2.95 for all bubble teas.

Albany John got a green tea smoothie. His cup was noticably less full than mine. *shrugs* It is very light – not too sweet or anything. I’m glad I didn’t get it. I would have wanted more sugar. But he enjoyed it very much since he has a low sweet tooth. Would be perfect in these 90 F + degree days though. My lychee smoothie was more creamy, and this green tea smoothie was very refreshing.

Albany John ordered a soup. Cute cover, no?

It was a shrimp and mushroom soup. Tasty mushrooms. Not overcooked or anything. It came out piping hot. I was classy and did the “spit it back in the spoon because it’s burning my mouth” technique.

R’s tofu dish came with veggies. Dude, this was awesome sauce. Some very pillowy and unctuous tofu. Seriously soft and custardy interior, with a nicely fried shell casing. Sweetish-salty miso sauce covering it. Veggies on the side to accompany.

R’s squid. This was the skewer order. Not a bad price. It was very tender, and tasted quite buttery. It was just the body, no tentacles. We are thinking those were fried lumpia or spring roll wrappers. Just a little sweeter and thinner than eggroll/wonton wrappers.
The sauce was really sweet and gloppy. I think it was the house sauce. They said it was really popular, but I don’t know… I don’t know a lot of other Asians that would like it. It had a very noticeable corn syrup flavor, and it kind of resembled the duck sauce you get out of the packets at cheap Chinese take out joints in terms of texture. Just way too sweet and processed for me.

I got the spicy chicken wings, which weren’t really spicy. There was some heat, but the sauce was again a bit too gloppy-sweet for my liking. I was hoping for a dry powder or something. It was a little too much sweet-n-sour. They came out nice and crisp, though. I love how crispy Asians get their wings! As time wore on they got soggy, so eat them while they’re hot.
Grilled lamb salad. I had no idea what ‘salad’ meant to them, so I figured I’d give it a try. At the worst, it would be iceberg lettuce, and at best, well, it would be something I’d never tried before.

I didn’t hype myself up too much, and it was an interesting salad to try. Chopped lamby slices over iceberg lettuce, mixed with some carrots, cherry tomatoes, and red bell peppers. They served both the house sauce (top left corner) and the spicy garlic sauce (bottom right corner) since we were new. The house sauce was the same as with the squid. Not a fan. The garlic sauce wasn’t spicy, but it went much better with the salad. It tasted more like seasoned soy sauce to me. Not bad, but not spicy or garlicky either.

I’d steer clear from the salads – it’s a little too Americanized for me. I will try the lamb in other forms though. Probably grilled skewer style next.

Like the lighting? R’s Droid was awesome at providing additional light for my pictures. Now I want one!

Alb John got the beef curry. And dude. Between this and the tofu Rochelle got… I want their babies. If you get nothing else, get these two.

The curry sauce is so well flavored – rich, full bodied, a nice coconut accent. I don’t usually like coconut milk curries because they can be too sweet. But this. Oh man, it was good. Dudes, much like a newly minted lottery winner in a strip club, I felt ecstatic to be in the same room as this soup. It was chock full of beef and veggies – a good combination of both. We could have used a side of rice or something to sop up the tasty liquids at the bottom. I’m surprised we didn’t use our straws. That. Good.

The curry came with four demure triangles of scallion pancake. I WANT TEN OF THESE. They might look oily, but were flaky beyond belief. So tender. So many layers of crispy flaky goodness. I don’t know how they did it. Mine end up with a completely different (more toothsome) when I make them at home. Next time I’m going to see if they can make them as a dish alone, because seriously, I could eat ten of them.
So there you have a light meal at One of A Kind Teahouse. It’s good for chatting and catching up. Our server was very friendly, we had a great time. She even put up with Albany John practicing his Chinese!
I think it would be wonderful for small groups to meet up – very relaxing, you can get a little noshies, and a beautiful location to enjoy a tasty beverage and some snacks.
Oh, and as a funny overheard convo while we were there:
Girl: Is this a Chinese place? I want Chinese food.
Guy: Yeah, yeah it’s a Chinese place. Hello.
Girl: I don’t see no Chinese food here! And I want some damn Chinese food!! If they don’t have any Chinese food I don’t wanna eat here!!
Guy: Have you even read the menu? Look, look, right here – fried rice. C’mon, it’s Chinese.
(I’d like to add that they were practically sitting under the mandoline decoration on the wall, and the restaurant was playing Chinese music. I really wonder what kind of a restaurant she thought she was in, or what kind of Chinese she is used to [General Tso’s?])

Je Ne Sais Quoi… D’Amour – The Epicurean at Latham Farms

Albany John and I absolutely love the Epicurean. When we heard they were moving to Latham Farms in the old Vin Santo space we eagerly awaited their opening.

Tonight was opening night.

The husbear signed up for their email list and received notification that they’d be opening today, with a number to make reservations. He had his weeks confused and thought that this weekend was memorial day weekend. We’re going out of town memorial day weekend, and he decided not to tell me about the email so I wouldn’t get bummed out about the opening occurring while we were away.

It was a crazy week here, and we just figured it out last night. I read the new Epicurean Bistro menu and couldn’t wait to try it out. I figured we could show up early, and hopefully score a seat without reservations. Maybe a bar seat, or something like that.

We may have been the 2nd people in, and luckily there was no problem with seating! Hooray!

We opted for a seat in the bar area near the window. The light in the late afternoon/early evening was lovely. The Epicurean has made some changes to the interior of Vin Santo, but they’ve worked well with the existing decor. I think the tables might be the same. Minor changes, just enough to make it their own and simple. Little Epicurean-style touches here and there that said “Yes, this is the Epicurean,”.

Our waitress Darleen, who was coming back to restaurant serving from banquet serving, was absolutely lovely, in spite of any lingering opening night jitters that may have been. She helped create a wonderful experience, and I will be requesting her the next time I dine at The Epicurean. There’s something to be said for the innate, charismatic optimism of opening night – the air inside felt electric and sparkling with energy.

We’ve never ordered a bottle of wine before. Usually a glass or two, or some cocktails; but a bottle of wine opening night at The Epicurean’s new locale, after a week worthy of something just a little bit more… it seemed fitting.

Here we have the 2005 Eifel-Pfeiffer Riesling ($26). It was crisp and sweet, much like a ripe apple. Albany John, who isn’t much of a sweet wine guy, liked it quite much. Meanwhile I danced in my chair after the first sip. If you like sweet Rieslings, you’ll love this.

We initially thought we’d go in for some wine and appetizers to try some things out and lounge around a bit. However, after pouring over the menu, I soon realized that was not an option. Sometimes you have to go with the flow, and when the flow says “What does it taste like? Oh, order it!”, you listen.

Here is my Pissaladiere Traditionelle, featuring caramelized onions, anchovies, tomatoes, and kalamata olives ($12). I’ve been reading about pissaladiere lately, and was beyond delighted to find it. To draw a comparison, it’s kind of like a French pizza. Kind of.

It tasted delightful. Now, I am a woman who likes pungent, heavy, salty dishes. While this pissaladiere was ripe with anchovies and olives, all of the flavors melded together to complement each other. No one flavor overpowered the other.

The crust. Oh, the crust. I am in love. I will shout it from the mountains, “I LOVE PISSALADIERE!”. It was thinner than any other I’ve tasted, crisp, and yet still maintained a doughy chew without becoming cracker-y.

I am not one for soggy Neapolitan pizzas like Bacchus makes. No, I am staunchly in the ranks of French pissaladiere. Perfectly cooked throughout, and no sight of sogginess.

This would be a great appetizer to share with a group of people. Or one appetizer if you have very large eyes with a stomach to match.

Albany John ordered the Calamar a la Proven├žal ($8). Sauteed calamari with tomatoes, garlic, onion, lemon, parsley, and herbs in a white wine reduction.

Who needs fried calamari when you have this? It was a wonderful starter to whet one’s appetite. The lemon came through as a delicate end note, with sweet garlic, tomato, and onion as the primary flavors. Tender, soft, calamari with just the right amount of tooth to them. Some bread to sop up the delicious liquids at the end would have been nice addition. I sopped up some of the broth with my pissaladiere crust.

The Onglet a l’Echalotte ($22) quieted all of my demands for red meat I’d been having throughout the week. It was perfectly seared on the outside and came out wonderfully rare. The texture of the very rare center was akin to sashimi. Light, and almost melting.

I’d been eyeing the steak tartare, but was skeptical of the meat being ground. I was hoping for a chopped beef. It was more of a texture thing to me. Maybe next time I will try the tartare.

The beef was very beefy. I’ll have to ask where they source their meat. It was so full of flavor – I loved it. I normally don’t order been in a restaurant, but The Epicurean is no ordinary restaurant. The Epicurean’s foods are so well flavored, you won’t find yourself looking for salt or pepper. I am a salt fiend, but I never once thought to add anything else.

The Onglet also came with frites. They were well fried – not oily/greasy, very soft and full of potato flavor in the center. They came skin-on, and the skin parts maintained a crispness, but otherwise they were soft fries. I would prefer them to be crispy, but then again, they were delightful as-is. They came sprinkled with what I think was flaked sea salt.

The shallot wine sauce came in a little shot glass in the center. It might not look like much, but it was more than enough. Rich and full of flavor, I found it almost unnecessary given the flavor of the beef.

One of their specials of the day was a salmon dish featuring olives, capers, and cavatappi pasta. Albany John heard “Salmon” and “Capers” and he knew he had to order it. We hadn’t been expecting a pasta dish. We thought the pasta would be on the side, or it would be a piece of salmon over the pasta. However, once Albany John dug in, he found many more square pieces of perfectly cooked salmon throughout the pasta. It ended up being quite a generous serving of pasta, gently covered in a rich sauce.

Now, the salmon. Oh, the salmon. They maintained their shape well, and were cooked just enough to remain tender and soft while being fully cooked. The pasta was not al dente, but just a hair softer, which went well with the texture of the salmon.

And the price of this dish? $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS. Opening night, and one of their specials was cheaper than all of their entrees (which are very affordably priced). We hadn’t asked and were very pleasantly surprised when we received our bill.

The total for our bill was $83 pre-tax, $89 after tax. It was a wonderful meal. The service was professional yet relaxed and convivial. The food was beyond reproach. These are some of the reasons I love the Epicurean: Meals that are created with passion, served with care.

I feel like a valued guest whenever I am at the Epicurean. Everyone is happy, it’s a good time. You need to visit The Epicurean in Latham Farms. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t.

The Epicurean is located in Latham Farms, Latham, NY. They will serve dinner through June 1st, when they will begin lunch service. Brunch service will begin some time after that. Call 518-786-8272 to check hours of operation and to make a reservation.

Princess Birthday

My neighbor is a Super Mom. For her daugher’s third birthday, she had a Princess themed birthday party.
Since her daughter and I are the same mental age, she invited me to stop on by. And dude, these guys don’t mess around with food. Hell yeah I’m there.

She made the cake from scratch and pulled the castle design out of her head. The turrets are coated in PURPLE GLITTER ICING.
I remember when a brown paper bag of misc candy was a good enough post-fete giveaway. Now there’s purse shaped paper cut out bags?

As soon as my neighbor put the cake down on the table in front of the birthday girl, all of the attendees swarmed the table and started poking in. I guess that’s the thing about three year old guests. They’re so selfish. Jeeze.

That’s where the knife came in handy. They move quickly when you threaten a shanking. I’m kidding. They don’t move at all when there’s a multi-layered pink and glitter sprinkle covered affair in front of them.
I can’t say I’d blame them. It was an awesome tasting cake of awesomeness too.

Movieland in Schenectady

Just in case you guys didn’t know, Bow Tie Movieland Cinemas in Schenectady, NY has some pretty kick ass movie theater food.

You’re not going to feed a family of five for $10, but it doesn’t put too much of a dent in your wallet, and they take credit cards both at the ticket booth and the concession stand.

Their prices are better than Regal Cinemas. Cheaper, you feel less like you’re getting ripped off (but c’mon, it’s the movies – you know you’re paying a crazy-high premium for those Sno Caps).

They’ve got beer on tap. The only catch is you have to drink it before you go in to your movie. Personally I’d just as rather sneak a few bottles into the theater to enjoy my movie, but that’s just me.

(as an aside, I’d love a frozen margarita machine at the movies. Or in my house. Albany John, get on that.)

However, I think the best thing about Movieland is their popcorn with REAL BUTTER! Real butter in a small chain movie theater! Hooray!

I don’t go to the movies all that often any more (I swore I’d see Alice in Wonderland in 3D, but never actually made it to a theater), and enjoy a bucket/tub of popcorn bathed in the fattiest of liquids when I do go. (Un?)Fortunately, I no longer have the tongue to stand movie theater popcorn with fakey buttery topping. It’s just too heavy and gloppy, and it coats your mouth when you’re done eating it. But slather my popcorn in real butter? You’ve got yourself a winner.

Oh, and their ticket prices are a little less than Regal Cinemas and they show popular movies out. All I know is now I can see both indie and mainstream movies somewhere in the Cap Region and enjoy popcorn with real butter. Hooray!

Cupcake Bouquets

Cupcake bouquets! Bouquets made out of cupcakes! I’ve ever found my favored gift basket, bouquets of food are it. If you’ve got some extra time on your hands (or just want to have a decent reason for procrastinating), these are worth a go.

My decorating skills end here. I didn’t have any green tissue paper to stuff between the cakes to cover up the empty spaces, but if someone has an issue with that, I’d snatch the sparse looking bouquet out of their hands. Dude, they are cupcakes in the form of a bouquet, and inherently awesome.

Now, I have a pretty bad track record at cake baking. My cakes are usually on the denser side, and while I haven’t been making bricks lately, they’re generally so-so.

I’ve stumbled on a real winner of a recipe for a good all-purpose cupcake/cake. Grace‘s Cinnamon Cake from her Just How Much Cinnamon Can One Mouth Handle? cake fit the bill quite nicely for a light and fluffy crumb. I couldn’t resist after seeing the texture of the cakey innards she posted. SO tender looking. What I liked the most about it was that such properties came out of a recipe that used all purpose flour.

I left out the cinnamon (I hope you’ll forgive me, Grace) and just used vanilla extact since I wanted to pair it with some raspberry icing.
I recently picked up Royal Raspberry extract at the Confectionary House in Troy. It was like $5.99 for a large bottle, and hoo-boy is it ever strong and worth the price. It’s made for candies, so that’s probably why. A little will last you a long way.

I also found out that I was completely out of big cup cake liners. Whoops. Luckily I had some small cupcake liners laying around and I used them all up. Like I said, cakes and cupcakes aren’t what I usually make when I opt for desserts.

I also finally used this mini icing piper thing. I think the aspect of icing is why I don’t do cakey desserts more often. I try to make pretty icing designs, but I am really terrible at it. It usually squirts out of the bag I put it in, and I end up covered in it and wasting a ton of icing. I don’t mind the slatherings of frosting, but the waste is annoying.
The mini thing is like a contained accordion squeezy tube. It’s small and I couldn’t figure out how to get icing in at first. Turns out it’s just a slow process, but overall now that I have figured it out I like it. I have never iced cupcakes with such ease before!

And yup, those are pixie sticks in the background. They’re Albany John’s. He likes to mainline his sugar in as pure a form as possible, while I like to add as much fat as possible to my sweets.

I used a hair too much raspberry extract (they weren’t kidding – that stuff IS strong), so I added some peach juice and ended up in fruity-frosting heaven. It was quite a tasty mistake to have made. Just your basic buttercream – butter, powdered sugar, extract, milk, juice, pink food coloring.

I loved how I could pipe little cartoonish rosettes onto the mini cupcakes with the piping accordion. And you would not believe how easy it is to shoot a line of frosting in your mouth with those things (hint: very).

Check it – I wasn’t kidding about the crumb. If you’re a cake doofus like me, give Grace’s recipe a whirl. Those whipped eggs and sugar help build one fluffy base.

I had some leftover frosting, so I built a mini cupcake iced to my preference. Y’know, a nice 1:1 ratio of icing to cupcake. Okay, this might be closer to a 1.5:1 ratio.

And now I have 3 cupcake bouquets laying around. I’m bringing one to Albany John’s and his crew tonight. They’re a bit dry at this point, but I really doubt any one will mind that much. And seriously, the icing rocks.

OCNY Wedding

Sistah woke me up with a phone call on Saturday morning.

“Yo, when are you getting here?”

“Why the fuck are you calling me this early?”

“What are you talking about? When are you leaving?”

“Oh, shit. Sorry. I thought it was a half hour earlier than it was. Never mind. I’m getting ready. I’ll be there by like 1:30.”

And there began my graceful trek to my homeland down state for my girlfriend’s wedding reception. Thank god for Sistah calling me and waking my ass up. It figures the one time I’d oversleep would be on the same day I had to be down state for a reception. I’m sure drinks the night before at Ryan’s Wake did nothing to help (man, on another note, I hadn’t been out to a bar in a WHILE before that).

The bride and groom were married in a small ceremony just about a month ago. I went down for the bachelorette party, and man, this is the way to do a wedding. Seriously, if anyone wants me to be there for their hen night and reception, I’m totally down.

The reception was super casual, and held in a local fire house. I was expecting a moderately casual affair, but her family is full-blooded Italian and there was a spread of food and drinks the likes of which made me want to flip cartwheels.

Oooh, tasty salad and tortellini in creamy ham sauce.

Dear. Goodness. Two trays of everything. And everything was AMAZING. I was expecting your usual deli spread of so-so sauced and cheesed foods for a party and was happily surprised with what tasted like home cooking.

DO YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT SANDWICH???? It was huge. Ham, sweet cappicola, prosciutto, hot cappy, greenery. Oh my gosh, that was the sandwich of my dreams. Albany John had trouble eating his in whole bite, but said I looked like a snake eating prey. Mouth, make room. Sandwich comin’ at ya!

And that fava bean salad? Ohhh, that fava bean salad.

Best of all was the cheesy slurry of sauce. I thought it was eggplant parm, but no… eggplant rollatini. I am in need of eggplant rollatini now. Like, in a bad way. Ricotta, sauce, eggplant, mozzarella. Yes, sign me right the F up.

Oh, dudes, and there were meatballs that were super soft and fluffy. Totally awesome balls of meat. Not too heavy or anything, but still meaty.

Her grandfather MADE THIS CAKE. Like, just the night before, he made the cake. Are you kidding me? He used to work in a bakery, but still – how much love was this? Poppy made the cake for his granddaughter’s wedding? Better than anything you can buy.

Her family was a trip. They totally lived up to the huge Italian family stereotype. She wasn’t kidding. Before she was like “Yeah, this is going to be like 90% my family. I have a ton.” Her hubby is in the military, so he had a handful of friends and his mom come, and the rest were pretty much her family.
Her mom was in frantic Mother of the Bride mode, making sure everything was perfect. And then after her mom would organize and straighten food that was already perfect, her grandparents would walk past and do another straightening.

They also had matching beer coozies. Super cute.

Cake cutting time! I was really looking forward to this one. They had a cute and short speech. The groom initially thanked everyone for joining them in their “captivity”. Haha, whoops, he meant “join in their festivities”.

They smashed cake in their faces. Girlie looked like a smurf when he was done. Haha. Don’t think you can out cake-smush a guy in the military!

Needless to say, grandpa’s wedding cake was awesome. Tender and moist at the same time, and the pastry custard fillings were also a smash.

A Non-Sucky Homemade Burger

I just want you guys to know that I’m the “giver” in my marriage.

FIrstly, I bought 3 lbs of ground meat from Roma for the husbear’s birthday, and we ended up not eating any of it. It’s a lot for two people who don’t usually eat ground meat.

Last night I was kicking it bachelorette style (i.e. eating stale cheetos [crunchy kind] and sipping a watered down old fashioned while procrastinating stuff I should have been doing) while the bear was out doing stuff, and figured that I could at the very least use up some of the ground meat instead of, uh, not.

I’ve gotta say, this was the best burger I have ever made. The ground meat was changing from red to grey (which doesn’t bother me. Just google “meat oxidation” “myoglobin” and “iron” – it’s fine) on the outside, but visuals and chemistry aside, it was still fresh.

The science geek in me loves reading J. Kenji Lopez-Alt‘s articles in Serious Eats, and I decided to use the multi-flip method on this particular beast.

I have no idea what temperature I had my pan set to, other then hot. I flipped it every 20-30 seconds, and I’m sure it took me longer than I was supposed to, but hot damn, I made one tasty burger! It went from the pasty looking burger patty above to the patty with crusty goodness at the very top. I used a little butter in my pan when I first started, and the exterior got nicely brown and crunchy.

The homemade burgers of my youth resembled something more akin to hockey pucks. I always hated the homemade burger for its dry, crumbly, overcooked properties. And don’t get me started on the “Use two slices of white bread” bit. Unfortunately, those were generally the only things I could reproduce in making burgers as an adult. It’s always bothered me how something so simple could be so hard to execute. Ultimately, I don’t care what temperature my burger is cooked to as long as there is some moisture and non-rubbery texture to it. I can get more particular, but that is where it starts. Don’t overcook it to oblivion.

I was greatly aided by the help of a digital thermometer. While it’s not exactly an instant-read, the Kitchen Aid Digital Probe Thermometer kicks some serious ass as an all purpose digi therm. It reads quickly, and has a little side container to put the thermometer in to keep it safe. At $25, it’s been an investment I’m very happy with. There were noticeable differences in temperature at different depths. I almost pulled this too early after lightly sticking it in. When I wiggled it a centimeter (or less) in, it dropped significantly in temperature, and more so the further I pushed it in. Otherwise I would have pulled a raw, seared burger.

The burger came out around medium rare. So good. I had some buger drippings that were in the pan, so I tossed in some onion slices to absorb them. Golly, I love onions. I had about 1/5 of an onion cooked in the juices, and another 3/5ths just raw. They go so well with burgers.