Aug 18, 2014

Mr. Steak Continental Burger: A Food Flashback!

Because my hemoglobin tested low last week, I've been trying to eat as much red meat as possible, but I've been wracking my brain for a hamburger dish that isn't mostly bread or pasta. I was thinking about hamburgers with mushroom sauce, and this prompted a food flashback.

Back in the early 80's, when we were dating and then newlyweds, my husband and I used to go to the local Mr. Steak once in a while. The menu favorite for both of us was the Continental Burger. I'm not claiming it would be health food, but it is, at least, a fairly low-carb way to eat a burger. For those who have never tried this delicacy, it was a hamburger patty with some juicy/creamy/mushroomy sauce in the middle, served open face on rye toast, with caramelized onions on top. My husband always ordered a side of deep-fried clams and ketchup for dipping, and a baked potato with butter and honey (yes, honey) on top. How's that for carb overload?! Back then, we could eat that way, though.

Now? Notsza much!

I remember that back then we tried to duplicate the Continental, but never succeeded. Thanks to that modern marvel we call Google, today I was able to track down what sounds like some plausible copycat recipes...

"I was a Senior Grill Chef at Mr. Steak in the early 70's.... The Continentals came pre-made. They were two thin oval patties of what we now call 80-85% lean ground (need that much fat to stay together) -- I think each patty was about a fifth of a pound. The filling was two things only - pasteurized process swiss cheese ONLY and fresh mushrooms. The 'shrooms and process swiss were diced to about 1/2" dice. Put about 1 to 2 tablespoons on one patty, cover with second patty and crimp edges gently but completely so there are no holes. Grill till medium, turning as little as possible, and use some kind of cover on top last 2 minutes or so to help cheese melt. That restaurant served them on buttered, then grilled on one side, light rye bread. The burger was served open face.... Everyone ate them with a knife and fork! They were hugely popular!! I love them, make them once a year or so."
"I worked at Mr. Steak for over 5 years. I have tried and tried to duplicate the Continental and ... have come up with a reasonable knock-off recipe. Take your ground beef and press it into two very thin and large patties.... Don't go crazy with a lot of filling, or it will leak when cooking. Then lay on a piece of 'processed Swiss cheese' -- not the real stuff! You want the fake processed Swiss cheese slices; they melt easily and are gooey; real Swiss won't work as well. Next, place about a Tbsp. of Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup on top of the cheese. Place the other patty on top and SEAL WELL. Grill -- and make sure while grilling you only turn this once or twice at the most. Flipping too much is taking a risk it will break open or ooze out the good yummy stuff inside.... It's been so long now, but I still crave them. Try the above and I guarantee you it will be close in taste and looks; not exact but close enough."

I think the ole' Continental Burger will be making an appearance in our kitchen some time this week! No fried clams, though.

All recipe info found here

Aug 1, 2014

Multipurpose Spicy Asian Marinade Recipe

This (for now) is a recipe I haven't tried -- yet.

So why am I posting it? Since it got a 4-fork rating on Epicurious -- the highest possible -- I definitely want to try it. Also, it got great comments. Bonus: it's sugar-free! But there's no pinnable image on the original, so I can't post it to my "recipes to try" Pinterest board from there.

Various reviewers said...

"I ground chicken thighs in the food processor, marinated as directed, and then browned the meat for delicious and simple lettuce wraps. I think I will go to this marinade again and again."

"I marinated some shrimp in this for about an hour, and then sauteed them with the remaining marinade; they were so flavorful!"

"Used this over asparagus. Cut the spears into 2" long pieces, marinated it a bit and then sauteed the asparagus in oil, reserving marinade. After removing asparagus from pan, I added reserved marinade along with a cornstarch slurry to thicken for a sauce."

"I used this marinade with scallops and veggie kabobs. It was fantastic!"

The author comments...
"This all-purpose marinade can be used for chicken or turkey breast, pork cutlets, firm-pressed tofu, and seafood. If you prefer to omit the chile, use smashed fresh ginger instead."

Recipe: Spicy Asian Chicken Marinade

by Spices of Life, by Nina Simonds , via epicurious
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes or hot chile paste (or 5 to 6 slices of smashed fresh ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
Combine all ingredients and use as directed in your recipe.
photo credit: formalfallacy @ Dublin (Victor) via photopin cc

Jul 15, 2014

Why it's okay to say yes to butter -- without harming your health!

This post is an edited summary of an article by Debbie Bell, a Registered Dietitian, appearing in The State Journal of Frankfort KY, July 22, 2014

For the past 60 years, saturated fat and cholesterol have been wrongfully maligned as the culprits of heart disease, one of the nation’s leading causes of death. 
Dr. Fred Kummerow has spent eight decades studying the science of lipids, cholesterol, and heart disease. His work shows that it’s not saturated fat that causes heart disease, but rather trans fats are to blame. 
Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils.”
These fats can be found in many foods — but especially in fried foods like French fries and doughnuts, and baked goods including pastries, piecrusts, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, stick margarines and shortenings. 
There is some confusion about fats and their impact on LDL cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.  According to the conventional view, high LDL is correlated with heart disease, and saturated fat does tend to raise LDL. However, we now understand that there are TWO kinds of LDL cholesterol particles:
Small, “dense” LDL cholesterol and large, “fluffy” LDL cholesterol
The latter is not “bad” at all. Research has confirmed that large LDL particles do not contribute to heart disease. The small, dense LDL particles, however, do contribute to the build-up of plaque in your arteries, and trans fat increases small, dense LDL. Saturated fat, on the other hand, increases large, fluffy LDL.
In addition, research has shown that eating refined sugar and carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels,and soda, increases small dense LDL particles. Together, trans fats and refined carbohydrates do far more harm than saturated fat ever possibly could.
To read the original article, go to: Saturated Fats, Cholesterol Are Not Evil.
Here's another article to the same effect, and from other sources, from the Wall Street Journal: The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease