Food Porn!

Patty Melts and French Fries

I saw this recipe for Patty Melts on an episode of Cook’s Country on PBS and it was instant love. Oftentimes patty melts can come out kind of dry and overcooked but the beef in this recipe was so juicy.

I’m not a fan of rye bread so I substituted a loaf of sliced, crusty Portuguese Saloio bread. Yum! So nice I made it twice in a week!

Patty Melts
From Cook’s Country
April​/May 2011

Why this recipe works:

Because Patty Melts are traditionally cooked twice—browned once in butter and a second time while the sandwich is griddled—many recipes produce something resembling dried-out hockey pucks. To solve the problem, we incorporated a panade (a paste of bread and milk) into the meat. To bump up the flavor of our burgers, we used rye bread and onion powder in the panade. Covering the cooking onions with the patties trapped some of the steam and helped the onions to soften quicker. This also allowed the flavors of the meat to seep into the onions and vice versa.

Serves 4

To make sure the melts hold together, use rye bread that’s sliced about 1/2 inch thick.

Ingredients

10 slices hearty rye bread
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, halved and sliced thin
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Instructions

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Tear 2 pieces of bread into ½-inch pieces. Using potato masher, mash torn bread, milk, onion powder, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl until smooth. Add beef and gently knead until well combined. Divide meat into 4 equal portions. Following photo 2, shape each portion into 6 by 4-inch oval.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 2 patties until well browned on first side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large plate, browned-side up, and repeat with remaining patties.

3. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from pan. Add onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Arrange patties, browned-side up, on top of onions, pouring any accumulated juices into pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until onions are tender and burgers are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4. Divide 1 cup cheese among 4 slices bread. Top with patties, onions, remaining cheese, and remaining bread. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 sandwiches until golden brown and cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining butter and remaining sandwiches. Serve.

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Crispy pork spare ribs and cucumber salad

Making crispy pork spare ribs is super easy. Marinate the ribs — get your butcher to chop them up into smaller, bite size pieces — in some soy, black pepper, and chopped garlic for a few hours. Then roll the pieces of meat in rice flour or tapioca starch before deep frying. I find that starchier flours like rice or tapioca give a much crispier crust than just plain wheat flour.

The salad on the side is simply a mix of sliced cucumbers with a dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chopped garlic, and cilantro. It’s an Asian classic and very refreshing alongside the fried goodies.

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Crabs Asian-style with black bean garlic sauce and Thai basil

If the world were to end tomorrow this is what I’d want my last meal to be: crabs with black bean garlic sauce. So amazingly tasty! The black beans are those fermented soy beans that I’ve mentioned before…salty delicious beans from heaven. A little bit of basil right at the end of cooking adds the perfect touch of freshness to this savory dish.

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Pan-fried Turnip Cakes

One of the cheapest and simplest Chinese recipes is the one for turnip cake. A tried and true recipe that I recommend is this one here.

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Pork Belly (Day 1)

I’ve shared my crispy pork belly recipe before here but just wanted to share another way to prep the skin. Making diamond cuts in the skin helps render the fat while roasting and looks decorative as well.

Pork Belly (after two days in the fridge)

As the skin air-dries in the refrigerator it loses excess moisture and shrinks. This drying process helps ensure a crispier skin when you roast the meat.

Crispy Pork Belly

Don’t worry about the skin charring a bit; it’s a good thing! The blackening only occurs when the fat has rendered off and not before. If you don’t see the char, that means that the skin is still undercooked and if you try to bite into it it’ll be hard like a dog’s leather chew toy rather than crispy and edible.

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Yeh’s (Red Leaf) Bakery – Curry Beef Puffs & Scallion Bun

These are my favorite items from Yeh’s Bakery in Flushing: the scallions bun and curry beef puffs. I never get tired of them.

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Melonpan

I made some melon-pan using cookingwithdog’s recipe. It’s a much easier recipe than the one I used before but just as tasty.

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Chopped Pecans

Pecans have gotten expensive, yo! I’d love to eat pecan pie year-round but at $7.99/lb it’s a once a year type of dessert.

Making Pecan Pie Filling

Pecan Pie

I used cook’s Illustrated’s Perfect Pecan Pie recipe. No surprise, it was delicious.

I always save the aluminum pie tins from those pre-made graham cracker crusts and reuse them.

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Peach Pie

I made Cook’s Illustrated’s Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie recipe except with frozen peaches. Haha. Fresh, frozen, no one can tell once it’s baked.

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Apple Galette

Here’s the apple galette I baked using some apples that were starting to go a little spongy. That’s ground cinnamon dusted over the top. It looked okay but tasted a whole lot better.

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Pistachio-Fruit Biscotti

Here’s a pretty easy recipe for biscotti from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

The recipe only called for pistachios and apricots or raisins but I used pistachios, raisins, cranberries and apricots. It’s fruity and festive!

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Candy Bars

I spotted these two candy bars at Walmart one day. Similar themes — peanut butter and nougat in milk chocolate — but I think I preferred the Snickers Fudge version because it also has peanuts.

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Girl Scouts Crunch Bars

These candy bars were located near the checkout area at Walgreens and I just had to get some. I’m not a fan of peppermint in food (reminds me too much of toothpaste which I associate with dental hygiene) so I got the Thin Mints flavor for my sister and grabbed the other two flavors for me.

My favorite of the two I tried is Caramel & Coconut hands down! I would discourage you from buying the Peanut Butter Creme candy bar; it tastes rather odd to me, kind of like toasted sesame oil rather than peanut butter. Yuck! The Caramel & Coconut, however, is really good. It’s like someone mixed a Kit Kat bar with some Rice Krispies cereal and Girl Scouts Samoas/Caramel Delites. Awesome combo!

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Godiva Chocolates

Last but not least here’s a box of Godiva chocolates that I received. I won’t be sharing 😛

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