- By Shawn, Director of Operations, Eli’s On The Hill
Seeing that it is National Burger Month I thought I would write about the perfect burger. Unfortunately it seems like I am not the only one that has an idea about creating the perfect burger. I googled “perfect burger” and there were about five pages worth of “perfect burger” articles. There were also images, pictures and even a schematic of a perfect burger. Most of the articles were fairly similar; “to make the perfect burger you have to grind your own meat and use 80/20 chuck…” And there was no shortage of perfect burger theory coming from the best chefs from coast to coast about how to make the perfect burger. So I decided to spin it the opposite way and write about what the perfect burger isn’t. I don’t want to come across as a half empty glass guy, but after surfing the web I couldn’t read another perfect burger article, forget about writing one.
Let’s start with the patty itself. It is not frozen, it must be fresh. It is not one of those comically small four ounce burgers; those are now considered a big slider. It also isn’t one of those eighteen ounce “see if you can eat this burger”, that’s just plain offensive. And when it comes to cooking them you just can’t go past medium. I personally prefer medium rare but I will give in a little here. I am told there are burger joints now that will only let you order them pink to well done, that’s not just not right. I can’t get it medium rare? What is this – the Soviet Union? Medium well or well done? They should just ask “do you want it dry or really dry?” I don’t care what the fat content is or what you put on it, well done is dry. I am told it is a health issue. Ground beef doesn’t make people sick, people make people sick!
I digress, sorry… on to the roll. Not bread, sorry Lou’s, and not a bun either, a roll. Sesame seeds, ok. Poppy seeds, ok. You could toast or not toast it but it has to be a roll, and not one of those supermarket bought-highly processed-suffocated in plastic bag rolls either. Some of those rolls have a shelf life of six months and they taste like, like, like nothing actually. That flour has been so stripped down that I don’t think some of those rolls are legally considered food any more.
Now it gets a little tricky, what can’t you put on a burger? Hmm, I guess you could put almost anything on a burger. I saw one in a Manhattan eatery that had foie gras and truffles, sounded pretty good, actually sounds really good, although after eating that you might have to skip dinner. In the end I guess it is ok to put whatever you want on it, just make sure you use fresh quality ingredients and condiments. You probably shouldn’t make burgers a staple of your diet so when you do decide to indulge make it perfect.
- by Shawn, Eli’s Restaurant Group, Director of Operations
I travelled the other night to the western edge of Connecticut to attend a wine tasting night in Kent for the Kent Land Trust. The tasting was hosted by Kent Wine and Spirits, a store that has a very extensive and well thought out selection of wines; they have wines for every palette and pocketbook. They also had a staggering number of wines for us at this tasting; I must have counted almost 100 wines available to sample. I didn’t get a chance to partake of them all, thank God, as it’s about an hour and twenty minutes back to my house from Kent. But from the twenty five or so that I tasted, I discovered the wine that I am going to drink this Easter.
A 2010 Moscofilero from Domaine Skourasa in Greece. Yes, Greece. I know, I know, when people think of great wine countries they think France, Italia, USA – not Greece. But I tell you this wine is delicious. I was about fifteen wines into my voyage through the offerings when I came upon the Moscofilero and this wine gave my palette new life. I was told that the grapes are a pinkish/purple color on the vine which gives the wine it’s yellow-white hue (the juice is on the skins for about four hours). This wine is dry, crisp and has a pretty long finish, and best of all it just has great fruit! This wine matches Spring perfectly – clean and refreshing. Now I am just hoping that the weather holds out on Easter Sunday so I can put on my Easter bonnet, (well, not really) sit on my deck and enjoy my brand new Greek friend. Happy Easter to you and yours, cheers!
By Shawn, Director of Operations
There are a few different stories pertaining to who made the first Corned Beef Reuben. And there are about the same amount of stories as to what the original ingredients were as well. I am going to give you my cut at it. My Reuben has five ingredients. Start with the first cut of corned beef. It is leaner then the point cut and some say not as flavorful but I like to slice it thin and layer it on. Next, a little sauerkraut, just make sure you throw it on the grill for just a little bit to let it steam/sear to bring out the flavor. Then you need your cheese. Swiss cheese is the norm but I like a little Gruyère, it melts well and has a little sweetness to it. A couple of slices of rye, no seeds and grilled. Grilled, not toasted. Finish it off with a good dollop of Russian dressing. Not the kind that pours out of a bottle but the thick, dense version. And there you have it – lunch time. I am actually getting a little hungry just writing this! Almost forgot, I also like a nice glass of a good dry Riesling, it goes well with the richness of a Reuben. Of course a corned beef Reuben is far from the healthiest thing you could eat, although I have seen a recipe that calls for tempeh or soy bean curd, which is pretty scary though, but as long as you don’t have one every week it can’t cause that much damage to your waist line or your arteries. And around Saint Patrick’s Day everyone is a little Irish-American so enjoy!