You might think he's doing something else. But in reality, he's learning how to sit/stay, and not doing a very good job of it (he eventually learned how to do so beautifully ... sort of ).

lunedì 18 ottobre 2010

Birthday Retriever

Lulu turned five yesterday, and we marked the occasion as we mark all dog birthdays: we eat burgers. On Waldo’s fifth and last birthday this past May, all five of us happily tucked into Mark Bittman’s absolutely delicious dim sum burgers[1]

It was a more subdued celebration this year, as the pack is one less strong, that’s for sure, but all good dogs (which surely doesn’t include our two) do deserve their birthday burgers. (Italians either refer to hamburgers as “HOM ber ger” or, more oddly, svizzera (which means “Swiss”).)(I don’t know why.)
(Lulu was one of ten, and born in Greve in Chianti. Her mother Millie and sister Matilda live in her natal home, and her brother Oliver also lives in the neighborhood. A quick call to M&M's person revealed that Millie had decided to celebrate her tremendous output of five years ago by giving in to her wanton ways: four separate calls to her person complaining of her carousing in the Tuscan countryside.)(Millie's capers go far to explaining Lulu's personality.)

According to Alan Davidson, the hamburger “is one of the principal forms in which BEEF is consumed in the western world.” The word “hamburger” first turns up in print in 1890; the “St. Louis World Fair of 1904 was a significant launching pad for the hamburger in a bun as we know it." will give you everything you need to know about the dissemination of the burger in the United States of America, as well as the competing claims of various cities who want credit for inventing it.

Tillie loved burgers. From her sadly unpublished memoirs: “It’s kind of tough to find a well-made [cheeseburger] in Italy, though they can be had. You could, if you wanted, succumb to the allure of McDonald’s and yes, I have indeed done so … Some Italian bars will make hamburgers, or cheeseburgers, though they’re usually not all that interesting.” In Florence, Tillie loved the burgers at Danny Rock, where she often dined.

Two schools of thought re: seasoning hamburgers. The first school – we’ll call it the Purist School – advocates adding absolutely nothing to the ground meat. The second school – we’ll call it the Rococo School – salts, peppers, spices, and does other things to the meat sometimes adding so much stuff it pretty much becomes like meatloaf without the bread crumbs and egg. Mark Bittman is of the latter school[2]

All a question of taste, of course, like preferring vanilla to chocolate ice cream.

Type in the word “hamburger” on google, and you’ll come up with 15,400,000 hits. Play around with some word combinations: “hamburger” and “women” and you get “Women bringing you Hamburgers [sic], better than sandwich”(sounds like a fortune cookie gone seriously awry). You can find that Ted Reader, in an attempt to best the Guinness Book of World Record’s current titleholder, just this very year made a hamburger weighing 590 pounds. President Obama and Russian Tsar Medvedev had a cheeseburger together during recent meetings in Washington; they split the fries. Google “hamburger” and “movies” and you eventually get Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (U.S. version) or Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies (U.K. version). If any of you have seen this little gem, were you salivating by the time they finally got there?

Tillie adored the following recipe.

Danny Rock burger

¼ lb. ground beef
1 slice of Fontina
2 slices bacon
1 sesame seed roll

No need for directions, as I think we all know how to fry bacon, set it aside, then fry the burger, melt the cheese just before it’s done, toast the roll, and eat immediately.

We opted for turkey burgers last night. The Scallion, following the dictates of Mark Bittman, dutifully ground the happily-raised-‘til killed turkey, and fashioned two burgers for us, and two smaller ones for the Rotten Dogs. He equally dutifully toasted the rolls.

Both burgers (open-faced) were presented to the R.D.s in their bowls. Lulu had no doubts, and basically inhaled hers in about 15 seconds. Harry, puzzled, pulled the roll from his bowl, ate that, sniffed the burger, and then daintily ate it. What follows is part of the recipe; we were both too tired and lazy after a long day to go out into the garden, flashlight in hand, and pick season’s end basil. So we didn’t.

Turkey burgers with mozzarella, basil oil, and sundried tomatoes

1 lb. preferably organic turkey, ground, or put through a meat grinder
2 hamburger rolls
1 ball of mozzarella, sliced sort of thick
2 ample handfuls of basil mortar’d and pestle’d with
2 T. (or more) extravirgin olive oil
½ c. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained, and chopped fine

Cook the burgers in a frying pan, toast the rolls, and melt the cheese about a minute before burgers are cooked through. Liberally ice burgers with basil oil, top with the chopped sundried tomatoes, and eat immediately.

Serves two humans, one Birthday Retriever and her companion
The Queen of Kansas poses a seasonal question:
A quick cooking question: the sage in my backyard overfloweth and I was thinking of making some fried sage leaves. Some sources say just to fry them quickly in oil, others recommend dipping them in a pastella and then frying them. I don't seem to remember eating battered sage leaves in Italy but it's been so long since I've had them that I'm not sure.

My -- ahem -- sage answer: What's your recipe? If the sage leaves are garnish, just fry them w/o pastella. If they accompany an aperitivo, reverse.

[2] See his “For the Love of a Good Burger,” New York Times, May 23, 2007.

Danny Rock, via Pandolfini 13/r, Florence, 055/2340307.

1 commento:

  1. mmm burgers. What about that wonderful cream cheese/avocado topping from the Grand Poobah of Dominicans?
    And re: sage -- you can freeze it! And then it will be an endless cycle of pork and sage, sage and ravioli, what else can one do with sage? Can we have a sage post with -- ahem -- sage answers?