Saturday, June 27, 2015


I've always loved hamburgers.  When I was in high school I had a little noon hour job at a restaurant across the street from the school.  There was a room downstairs at the restaurant where hamburgers, hot dogs, milkshakes and pop were sold to high school kids during the noon hour.  My aunt was in charge of that room and she hired two or three of us high school girls to help with the cooking and at the cash register.  The pay: a free lunch, limited to two items.  So I had hamburgs for lunch almost every day during high school.  I still loved them, in spite of having eaten so many.

After we were married Saturday evenings became our traditional "Hamburger Night."  We still do hamburgers on Saturdays, although the Dear One has switched to Extra Lean Turkey burgers.

In 1987 DD#1 and I made a trip to Grand Rapids to visit my mom, who was in the hospital after surgery for colon cancer.  When I arrived in Niagara Falls DD said she didn't feel like cooking supper, would I like to go out for hamburgers?  Yes, Of course!  Then we drove to Michigan and stopped on the way for a quick lunch: hamburgers.  DD and I stayed in mom's house and went to the hospital every day for a visit.  Lunchtimes we went next door to a Burger King and had a quick lunch: hamburgers.  We did that for a week.

Then it was time for her to go home to Ontario.  We stopped at a plaza on the 401 for lunch, looked at each other and said, "I'll have a CHICKEN burger."  We felt we could not down another hamburger.

I flew home to B.C. in time for supper.  Jim had prepared hamburgers, knowing they were a favourite of mine.  I looked at it and said, "I'm sorry!  I can't eat that!"  He was flabbergasted, "But you love hamburgers!"  Well, he was so sweet to prepare something that he knows I love, that I did eat hamburger for supper that night.

Fast forward to 2011, and DS#1 and I are in Chile, South America for an adventure hiking/camping trip.  We went into a small café in Punta Arenas for a supper and each ordered a hamburger.  We they came DS threw up his hands and laughed: this is how they make hamburgers there:

They were enormous, but---they were flat!  So there was basically the same amount of hamburg in the patty, but it was punched down all flat, and the bun was the same diameter, but not tall.  Well, that was a discovery: they were much easier to handle, to get our mouths around than the traditional puffy patty and bun.  It's also easier to load up the burger with condiments--lots of space to spread onions, ketchup, pickles, etc.

So when I got home I started making big, flat hamburgers and buns.  I'm just a little limited because I grill our hamburgers on a small Proctor/Silex indoor griddle.

This will be my hamburger tonight.  You can see it barely fits, but when it begins to cook it will shrink enough so that two of them can be grilled at once.

I really recommend this little grill.  It's how most of our meat is cooked.  Hamburgers, chicken breast, pork all cook in less than 5 minutes.  The fat runs off into the little drawer beneath the grill.  Clean up is easy--just rub with grill with a damp cloth.  The accumulated crusts (not much) will come right off.

You can buy formed hamburger patties, but they don't taste as good as mine (IMHO).  I buy a family pack of lean ground beef (plus sometimes some lean ground pork as well), and add: some quick oats, some chili powder, a little seasoned salt, some coarse ground pepper, some garlic powder, a little nutmeg, lots of oregano and an egg or two to "stick it all together."

The mixture is then weighed--4 3/8 ounce portions, put into a hamburg press and placed on waxed paper on cookie trays for freezing.  The patties go into a plastic bag for storage in the freezer until needed.

Yesterday I made 16 patties.  That will do for weeks, unless I serve them when the kids and grandkids are visiting in July.  Probably will do that.

But yesterday when I was making patties I ran out of waxed paper, so I substituted parchment paper.  WELL, that was totally better at detaching from the frozen patty than waxed paper!  I will stick with parchment paper from now on!

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