Gastronomic Fight Club SM

Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Kobe Beef Hamburger Recipes

posted by snekse
Father's day is upon us and we're full on into grilling season. So what to give dear old dad? Last year we wrote a Guide to Gifts for the Foodie Father. This year, for some reason, I've only had one thing on my mind - Wagyu Beef. So that's what I think you should get pops for Father's Day.

Wagyu Beef Burger from Plan B
Plan B's "Famous Wagyu Beef Burger".
Photo by greatlettuce. Licensed under CC 2.0
Wagyu beef is also known as American Kobe Beef for the breed of cattle from which it's produced. Typically in the US the Wagyu you'll find is actually a mixed breed of Wagyu and Angus. It's prized for it's high fat content marbled throughout the meat beyond that of USDA prime. The US and Japan have their own grading scales for this prized beef. USDA prime would score at most a 5 or 6 on the 12 point beef marbling scale (BMS). The other scale ranges from C1 to A5. The highest rated A5 BMS 12 Kobe beef is: mostly white with flecks of pink meat, is $1,200 a pound and takes 4 to 6 weeks for delivery in the United States.

We won't be cooking with that. And to tell the truth, it would be a waste to make burgers from such a rare selection of meat. Instead, we recommend finding a local supplier who can provide a better value for something not so insanely marbled. There are several Wagyu beef suppliers in the Midwest, including Morgan Ranch in Burwell, Nebraska.

Morgan Ranch supplied us with a generous donation to raise money in support of the Menu for Hope IV in 2007 and the Menu for Hope V in 2008. We encourage you to check them out. As a bonus, Dan Morgan frequently makes trips to Omaha, so if you call them up, you might be able to arrange a pick up of your order while he's here to avoid paying shipping charges.

In preparing for this article, I emailed Dan at Morgan Ranch to get some recommendations for prepping and cooking Wagyu. Most of his suggestions will be obvious to foodies such as don't get in the way of the product by masking the flavors with lots of herbs or rubs. Also, try to let the meat get as close to room temperature as possible before cooking. At this temp the meat is ready to cook and relaxes as compared to shrinking up and condensing. Remember, the melting point of the fat and lipids in Wagyu is much lower when compared to your standard beef. The one tip that surprised me a little was his recommendation to sprinkle some sugar on leaner cuts, such as sirloin and ground beef. This brings out the sweetness in the meat and also creates a glaze on the meat. Great idea.

With that, I don't really have a recipe for Kobe Burgers. I'm kind of a purist and think that salt, pepper (and a little sugar) is all you really need. Get some nice toasted buns and you're good to go. Maybe get a little fancy with some caramelized onions, garlic aoili, crisp bitter lettuce greens, heirloom tomatoes and toasted brioche.

But that's probably not what you wanted to hear, so I've gathered up some recipes, but I also encourage you to leave your own recipe in the comment section below. To get your mind churning, check out these recipes from famous chefs around the world.

Kobe Burger Recipes

Kobe burger from chef Michael Mina of Stonehill Tavern

I'm sure Michael Mina has about a dozen kobe burger recipes from his about a dozen other restaurants. But this one sounds excellent. A decedent Kobe burger with truffle brioche buns, pickled onions, oven-dried tomatoes, truffle aioli. Recipe for Stonehill Tavern Kobe burger

Kobe Bleu Cheese Mini-Burgers with Cipollini Onions in Balsamic Reduction by Robert Irvine

From "The Catwalk Chef" episode of Dinner: Impossible. I've seen several recipes call for Bleu Cheese, but I'd be afraid it would over power the burger. Could be good though. Recipe for Kobe Bleu Cheese Mini-Burgers

DB Burger by Daniel Boulud from DB Bistro Moderne

This burger has become famous. Some argue this burger started the gourmet burger craze that started several years back. "The DB Burger is composed of an exterior of ground sirloin with a filling of boned short ribs braised in red wine, foie gras, black truffle and a mirepoix of root vegetables. The homemade bun is topped with toasted parmesan and layered with fresh horseradish mayonnaise, tomato confit, fresh tomato and frisée lettuce." At about $27, this was one of the most expensive burgers on the market when it was introduced. Recipe for the DB Burger by Daniel Boulud

Chef Carol Wallack's Wagyu Burger of Sola

This was one of the entries in the Amstel Light Burger Bash hosted by Rachel Ray. I thought this was unique since it was served on a pretzel roll with cambazola cheese. Recipe for Carol Wallack's Wagyu Burger

Mini Prime Burgers with Remoulade and Aged Cheddar Cheese by Wolfgang Puck

A pretty basic burger actually that relies on a Remoulade Sauce to bring some major flavor to the party. Like a refined slider. Recipe for Mini Prime Burgers with Remoulade and Aged Cheddar Cheese by Wolfgang Puck

Wagyu Burger from chef Justin North at Plan B in Australia

An entry from down under. This is one of the most unusual recipes as it calls for Madeira, pickled beetroot, and a binding filler of an egg with breadcrumbs. No judgment here though. It was good enough that someone wrote to Australian Gourmet Traveller to ask them to obtain the recipe. Recipe for the Wagyu Burger at Plan B in Australia

Hamburger Cookbooks

I couldn't find recipes online for these last two, but they are both a little iconic, so I felt I should include them.

Burger Bar: Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers by Hubert Keller

Daniel Boulud may have started the expensive burger trend, but Hubert Keller has seemed to have trumped all efforts at least for the moment - well, kind of. The FleurBurger 5000 is really only $75, but if you want to do it up right, you order it how it was intended to be ordered, for $5,000 with a bottle of 1990 Chateau Pétrus. The burger itself is, of course, a Kobe beef burger, served with truffles and foie gras and topped with a smoked onion and walnut bun. Sounds pretty darn tasty to me. There is a more economical version of the FleurBurger 5000 in Keller's Burger Bar book. Buy the Burger Bar: Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers cookbook by Hubert Keller

Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking


One of the first upscale burger joints, BLT Burger paved the way for many other restaurants to charge $10 or more for every burger on their menu. Laurent Tourondel also helped re-popularize the American Bistro with restaurants like BLT Burger. Buy the Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking cookbook by Laurent Tourondel

If you're still looking for more inspiration, check out this Burger Bonaza article and the other most expensive burgers in the world.

And don't forget to share with us your ideas, recipes and results!

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

RECIPE: Spaghetti Carbonara by Jennifer McLagan

posted by snekse
Excepted from "Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes" (Chapter: Pork Fat; Page: 86) by Jennifer McLagan. Printed with permission from Ten Speed Press

RECIPE: Spaghetti Carbonara


This was one of the first "foreign" dishes I taught myself to cook, more than thirty years ago. At the time, Italian food outside of Italy consistent mostly of lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs. The idea that a pasta sauce could be so simple was revolutionary.

As with all simple dishes, the secret is in the quality of the ingredients, in this case, pancetta, eggs, and Parmasan cheese. Pancetta, which means "little stomach," is cured (but not smoked) pig's belly that is sold either in a slab or rolled up like a jelly roll. Look for pancetta with more fat than meat, because it's the fat that is going to make this sauce flavorful. I always have some pancetta in my freezer. That way, I know I can always make myself a fast, delicious meal.

Make this for one, two, or four. Any more and you'll have too much spaghetti to handle. It's a great dish for those evenings when you're home alone. For one person, halve the recipe, using one egg and one yolk; for hour people, just double everything, but use two frying pans. This dish is great with a watercress salad.


Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 2

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 ounces / 200 g spaghetti
3 1/2 ounces / 100 g pancetta
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup / 30 g very finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti, stir, and return to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water boils gently and cook until the spaghetti is al dente, 10 - 12 minutes. Drain well.

While the water is coming to a boil, cut the pancetta into matchstick- sized pieces. Place a large frying pan over very low heat and add the pancetta. Cook gently so that it renders its fat and becomes crisp, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolk, season well with pepper and whisk in half of the cheese.

When the pancetta is cooked, pour he wine into the frying pan and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the drained spaghetti to the pan. Toss the spaghetti to coat it with the pancetta and fat. Pour in the egg mixture and continue to toss until the spaghetti is coated. The heat of the spaghetti and pan will cook the eggs.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with the remaining cheese on the side.

TIP: If your spaghetti is not ready when the pancetta is finished, deglaze the pan anyway and remove it from the head. Reheat and the pancetta and wine before adding the cooked spaghetti.


Rating: Not yet rated

RELATED LINKS:
GFC's Review of "Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes" including links to other recipes from the book.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

REVIEW: Foodie Babies Wear Bibs

posted by Foodie-E
Foodie Babies Wear Bibs
We received a new board book for our daughter called Foodie Babies Wear Bibs. It is a small colorful book with 9 pages of easy to remember text and 9 pages of brightly colored drawings that include a diverse set of patterns.

When I flipped through the book, I thought it was cute and I enjoyed looking at the drawings of big headed babies with small faces. However, when I gave the book to my 1 year old daughter she preferred to chew on it or just carry it around with her. As I flipped the pages for her, she didn't seem all that interested in the pictures or what was in them like she has with other books. I'm not sure if the drawings are too sophisticated or intricate for her to really make high or low of them, but none the less, she was not all that interested in it.

Overall, I think this book is more for the foodie parents than the foodie baby. Would I buy it for myself? Maybe not, but it would make a great baby shower gift for the parents to oooh and aaah over before the baby comes and then the baby can drool and chew on it later. :)

Title: Foodie Babies Wear Bibs
An Urban Babies Wear Black Book
By Michelle Sinclair Colman
Illustrations by Nathalie Dion
List Price: $6.95 (Available in October 2008) - Pre-Order

Rating: 87

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Alinea, Thomas Keller and Fat Duck Cookbooks

posted by snekse
So you're a busy forgetful procrastinating slacker. You forgot to get your dad a Father's Day gift. Here's a great excuse - tell him it hasn't arrived yet. Even better, tell him it hasn't arrived because the gift you ordered isn't even in stores yet!

I mean, sure for Father's Day you could have gotten pop the predictable 10th Anniversary Edition of the The Barbecue! Bible or Weber's Real Grilling or one of the many other cookbooks associated with the holiday, but that's not very GFC. You wanted to get him something extra special, so you ordered one of the many amazing books coming out later this year. But what book to choose?

Alinea Cookbook by Grant Achatz
First we have a book we told you about a couple of months back - Grant Achatz' Alinea Book. It includes over 600 recipes to make 100 of Alinea's most famous dishes and includes over 600 stunning photos. Sure you may not have a cold smoking gun or an anti-griddle, but the pictures are pretty enough to justify the price. And to sweeten the pot, buying the book gets you access to the Alinea mosaic site "containing bonus recipes, demonstration videos, supplementary images, and a behind the scene perspective". Be sure to impress your dad by mentioning Grant Achatz is a 3 time James Beard Foundation Award winner.

Under Pressure Sous Vide Recipe cookbook By Thomas Keller
Next up is the first new book from Thomas Keller since the Bouchon Cookbook. Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide will cover cooking food, you guessed it..., "sous-vide"; the almost now passé molecular gastronomy trend of cooking food "under vacuum". I'm actually really excited about this book as I've been on the hunt for an economical sous-vide setup for months. This book might help justify spending a little more money on a proper immersion circulator bath. ***UPDATE*** Keller has another new book out as well: "Ad Hoc at Home".

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal
And finally we have the book from the second best restaurant in the world - The Fat Duck. In The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, Heston Blumenthal covers a lot of the back story behind the huge success of his restaurant along with documenting over 50 signature recipes in a massive 500+ page book. Now you too can make Snail Porridge, Nitro-scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream, and "Hot and Iced Tea". A more condensed and cheaper version titled "The Fat Duck Cookbook" is available as well.

Oh, alright, I'll throw in a couple more IOU books just because they're so darn cool.

Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes
Do I really need to say much more about this book? I mean the title says it all - Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. Are you kidding me? A book about fat! Endorsing the use of fat in all it's glory. Duck fat. Caul fat. Leaf lard. Bacon. Ghee. Suet. Schmaltz. Cracklings. Hell yeah. And that covershot - foodporn if I ever saw it. [UPDATE: Read the GFC review of the Fat cookbook]

A16 Cookbook
I'm a little bit surprised about this next one, because I didn't think A16 had been around that long. I know it's a hot spot and all and Nate Appleman has gotten a lot of praise, but he seems to have gotten himself a book deal pretty quickly. Congrats to him. The book, A16: Food & Wine, focuses on rustic recipes of Southern Italy and sounds pretty intriguing.

Dessert FourPlay Cookbook by Johnny Iuzzini
Finally, if your dad has more of a sweet tooth, you can get him Dessert FourPlay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef - the first cookbook written by rockstar pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini. Iuzzini is one of maybe 10 pastry chefs I could name off the top of my head, and one of the few "modern" pastry chefs who has written a book recently. The last modern pastry book I can think of is Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts.

Of course you could always just tell your dad you were working on your own book.

***UPDATE***
3 of these books have made Amazon.com's Editor's Picks list for the best cooking, food, and wine books of 2008.
Top 10 Cookbooks of 2008
And several have been nominated for a 2009 James Beard Book award.

RELATED LINKS:
Foodies Guide to Father's Day Gifts
The International Agenda for Great Cooking

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