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Archive for Monday, August 31, 2009

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Burger bliss

August 31, 2009

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A great burger should be a sloppy, messy, overflowing ordeal that leaves your mouth ringed with condiments. It should demand a fork and extra bread to mop up the drippings. It should be intensely flavorful and juicy.

But it should not take much time to build. After all, the hamburger is the icon of fast food.

Transforming a generic burger into a gourmet — but still speedy — experience is just a matter of lining up the right auxiliary ingredients.

For example, ditch the white bun for thick slabs of challah, replace American cheese with manchego, forgo ketchup for chutney and pile on caramelized onions and peppers, and you’ve got an intense burger for about the same effort as your typical cheeseburger.

Fifty ways to beef up your burger

10 ADDITIONS

• Minced garlic

• Finely grated fresh ginger

• Grated Parmesan cheese

• Tomato paste and balsamic vinegar

• Crumbled cooked bacon

• Minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

• Curry powder and coconut cream

• Barbecue sauce

• Chopped cilantro and lime juice

• Crumbled chorizo

10 BUNS

• Pita pocket

• English muffin

• Focaccia

• Flour tortilla

• Lavash

• Challah

• Croissant

• Baguette

• Bagel

• Slice of pizza (wrapped taco-style around the burger)

10 CHEESES

• Manchego

• Extra-sharp cheddar

• Shaved Parmesan

• Crumbled feta

• Brie

• Crumbled blue cheese

• Chevre

• Fresh mozzarella

• Cream cheese

• Aged gouda

10 CONDIMENTS

• Hot sauce

• Whole-grain mustard

• Mango chutney

• Pesto

• Hummus

• Tzatziki (Greek-style yogurt with lemon juice, dill and garlic)

• Spicy Thai peanut sauce

• House sauce (blend of equal parts ketchup, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise)

• Tomatillo salsa

• Wasabi paste blended with soy sauce

10 TOPPINGS

• Caramelized onions

• Sauteed mushrooms

• Hot peppers

• Sliced jarred roasted red peppers

• Crisped prosciutto

• Wilted chopped greens (spinach, chard, dandelion, etc.)

• Macaroni and cheese (the cheesier the better)

• Avocado

• Chili

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