Category Archives: The Frying Pan and The Music Man

The Gentleman Caller’s Perfect Burger

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Who doesn’t love a burger? As a big fat carnivorous American, I have to say, a burger can be my go-to-late-night-shove-my-face-with-beef.

Buns and meat.

The problem is I don’t like eating store bought ground beef. If given the chance to think about ground beef, my brain will talk me out of eating it. I am not squeamish about meat. I have seen many a cow slaughtered. I think it’s good to know where your meat comes from in a realistic way.

SO… I bought some really nice grass fed organic hippy dippy beef chuck, the kind I was raised on for pennies on the dollar per pound. But I am in NYC. And then I built the perfect Gentleman Caller burger. Does it seem silly to write an article on a hamburger? Perhaps. But this one is classic and correct.

What you will need:

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  • 3/4 lb beef chuck
  • roll of choice – kaiser, challah, I chose this delightful whole wheat roll
  • white onion
  • fresh lettuce
  • large ripe tomato
  • pickle slices (see The Gentleman Caller’s  Granny’s pickle recipe)
  • salt
  • coarse ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • mayonnaise

Get out your meat grinder and get to work.

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I like a courser grind on a hamburger.

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You can see how naturally red this grass fed meat is. It’s a real thing…

Form into a patty on wax paper. Handle it as little as possible. The way the meat comes out of the grinder is ideal. There’s no need to mash and thrash and overwork the meat. Why do I keep having to type things like, “Don’t overwork the meat?”

Season one side. You can easily put a half teaspoon of salt, pepper, and garlic powder on each side. 3/4 pound of meat makes a thick patty.

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Heat a non-stick pan. REALLY heat it. You want to achieve a hard sear.

While waiting for the heat, cut your veg the way you like it. I like it like this:

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Ah, don’t those pickles look amazing? They are.

Get the meat, seasoning side down, on the hot pan. Let it go for four minutes. In that time, season the side up. After four minutes flip the burger. Let it go 4 minutes and then turn the heat OFF. **grass fed beef cooks more rapidly than grain fed. Increase cooking time if you aren’t using grass fed.

Allow the meat to rest once the heat is off. Just for a few minutes.

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Look at the perfect sear. Now turn the heat back on. There will likely be some pan juices. Watch for a bubble. Smear a little mayo on both sides of the bun; mash it into the pan drippings.

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Glance at it occasionally and when there is some color on the bun, remove it.

Start building. Mayo, onion on the bottom bun. Patty. Pickles, tomato, lettuce, mustard on the top bun.

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And that’s it, kids. The Gentleman Caller’s Perfect Burger. Shout out to Alvin Dairyland for my early education in burger making.

Till next time.

The Gentleman Caller

The Strawberry Marga-tini – without joining a sorority (video)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Summer makes me want to drink margaritas. There – I’ve said it.  Sometimes (oftentimes) margaritas, especially in New York City, are teeth-hurtingly-sweet calorie bombs made with low-tier tequila. Let’s eradicate that from our vernacular. Beyond that, let’s see if we can’t re-vamp the STRAWBERRY margarita, the even more maligned sibling of the regular margarita, a sorority girl special, a bridesmaid’s best Becky.

Today the Gentleman Caller is serving you a Strawberry Marga-tini with no risk of making you have flashbacks from your pledge period.

Here’s what you need:

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  • martini glass, in the freezer
  • shaker
  • 2 oz of decent reposado tequila (the kind that looks like tea)
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 2 oz strawberry nectar
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid
  • ice

In a bowl or shallow plate combine citric acid and salt.

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This is creating a reminiscent thing for me. In Alvin, TX where I grew up there are a lot of Mexicans. They always used to eat this weird salt/limon stuff in little packets. I was given one in 2nd grade and I was hooked.

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Do you remember these things? Anyway, back on task.

Cut the lime. Rim the glass with lime juice, then with the salt/citric acid mixture.

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Put ice in the shaker. Add all the remaining ingredients: lime juice, strawberry nectar, tequila, triple sec. Shake it shake it shake it! (see video!)

Pour and enjoy.

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You’re gonna thank me for this one. Olé.

The Gentleman Caller

THE STRAWBERRY MARGA-TINI – WITHOUT JOINING A SORORITY

The Lover’s Mojito (video)

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I had my best girl, Kelly Felthouse, over for brunch yesterday morning and we had a delicious balsamic pineapple salad (see recipe). I was about to start putting away the leftover and she said, “You could make this into a cocktail. Like a mojito!” Genius.

So we did. Here are the results.

What you need (for 2 cocktails):

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  • 1 cup (scant) leftover balsamic pineapple salad
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • seltzer
  • 4 oz Malfy Italian gin
  • 2 oz limoncello
  • square ice cubes

Put 2 tablespoons of sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Take 2 rocks glasses: dip rim in the pink liquid from the leftover salad, then roll the rim in sugar.

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Go pick some mint.

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In a jar or pyrex or sturdy glass, add the leftover rim sugar to the leftover salad. Add the mint sprigs.

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Muddle away. Get it all good and macerated. Add the gin and limoncello. Dole over ice into the sugar-rimmed glasses.

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Top with seltzer and give it a stir.

Cheers! A perfect summer cocktail. When I was naming this, I had to give a nod to my KelKel. In Trip of Love, Kelly sang the Lover’s Concerto after meeting my character. So I present to you THE LOVER’S MOJITO!

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Cheers to friends – the new ones and the old. And to you for reading. Till next time.

The Gentleman Caller

THE LOVER’S MOJITO

Balsamic Pineapple Salad – More acid than a 60’s flashback (video)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Now that Trip of Love has closed (sadly) and I am taking a tiny break, the weekend is for brunch. Hell, any time is for brunch. Who doesn’t get down with brunch fare?

Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits; number two behind cherry. Even though it is a huge pain in the ass to cut up and leaves little black things that resemble mouse shit on your cutting board, that sweet tart acidy flesh makes everything ok.

I didn’t want to serve a block of straight up pineapple today, so I set the wheels in motion.

Here’s what I ended up with.

What you’ll need:

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  • one ripe pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup(ish) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar **see note at the end
  • at least 5 sprigs of fresh mint

Spread the blueberries on the bottom of a small saucepan; cover in honey. Add juuust enough water to cover (appx 1/3 cup). Crank up the heat. When a simmer is achieved, reduce heat and allow to cook.

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Here come the knife skills: peel the pineapple, core it, try not to eat it. Good luck. I like my pieces cut into 1/4 inch slices with about an inch of width. Sprinkle the citric acid on the chopped pineapple. By the time you finish that, the blueberries should be cooked. Mash them with a fork. Allow them to continue to reduce. If it looks dry, add a splash more water. You do not want it to be watery. You want it to be syrupy. A good test is seeing if it just coats the back of a spoon.

Once achieved, take the blueberries off the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of balsamic.

Most likely there is some syrup residue on the sides of your sauce pan. We want that. Put the pineapple into the sauce pan and let it get all that syrupy syrup all over it.

Chop your mint pretty finely. Toss it in.

Put this all in a bowl or serving dish and allow it to cool before serving.

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Just a hint: if you aren’t serving cheesy eggs, grab some chèvre, put it down on your serving plate and put this all over the top. Heaven.

Can you believe this is good for you? Shhh, I never said that.

Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

**Balsamic vinegar comes in a multitude of varieties. This recipe doesn’t call for a tart screw top bottle variety. The bottle should be well aged and have a cork. It doesn’t need to be super expensive, but it should be corked.

Pairings: works beautifully with Italian Brunch Pudding.

 

 

The Italian Brunch Pudding, aka How to Make Your Sleepover Guest Think You Have All Your S*** Together

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I hesitate to give you this information because it is so powerful. If you want to go from engorged to engaged, this is the way to do it. Now is your chance to turn back, because once you have this information you can’t un-learn it.

It’s the sleepover strata, the Italian Brunch Pudding.

Sleeping over with someone is a thing. No toothbrushes. Did I sleep in my contacts? You know what I mean. If you have an inkling it might happen and you do a  little pre-production, you can FULLY entrap your prey with this little trick.

Take these steps a day or two before and have it set up in your fridge. Here we go.

What you’ll need:

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  • 8 eggs
  • 2 challah rolls / half an old french loaf / old bread (the diner by me gives away challah rolls and I never eat them)
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 5 stalks of rapini
  • 3/4 cup cheese (I used a pecorino with a  red chili pepper coating. Go with something nutty like a good parm; gruyere would be nice as well)**see note at the bottom
  • fresh chopped flat leaf parsley (couple of tablespoons)
  • fresh chopped marjoram (to taste, a couple of tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust if your cheese is really salty)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

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Steam the rapini for 60-120 seconds depending on how thick the stalks are. Do not overcook it. During those two minutes cube your bread in 1 inch by 1 inch squares.

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Grate the cheese. Chop the rapini.

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Assemble in layers in a square baking dish. I used a disposable because, well, sometimes I am lazy and these are recyclable. Butter the pan, put a layer of bread, spread some rapini, parsley, marjoram around, add some cheese. Continue till the baking dish is full/level. This should work out pretty exactly.

Combine the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, onion powder and nutmeg and whisk to break up the eggs. Carefully pour the liquid evenly over the bread mixture. I say carefully because if you go too fast the eggs will slop out. I assure you this did NOT happen to me.

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Here’s where the trickery begins: cover it with foil and stick it in the fridge. For as long as you want.

Now when you wake up in the morning to peewee, take it out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While your guest is showering, put it in the oven covered for 25 minutes. Take off the foil, and while you enjoy your coffee, bake it for another 25 minutes. Then BAM, present a fully cooked breakfast. Just like that, you tricky bitch.

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KelKel helped me eat it on this particular morning.

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Trust me – you are getting afternoon delight.

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If you don’t hurt yourself. Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

THE ITALIAN BRUNCH PUDDING, AKA HOW TO MAKE YOUR SLEEPOVER GUEST THINK YOU HAVE ALL YOUR S*** TOGETHER

Pairing: this pairs delightfully with Balsamic Pineapple Salad.

**I got my very special cheese – Red Pepper Coated Pecorino – at Calandra Cheese in the Bronx. 2314 Arthur Avenue. This store will exceed all your cheese dreams and the guys hand you samples like you’re at Costco on a Saturday. If you don’t use red pepper coated pecorino, add some chili flakes for a little heat.7909971862_7e3bd78274_z