Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Give a Bachelor a Burger: A Homemade Dinner for your Favorite Working Man

In the past 10 years a cultural food phenomenon as appeared in the Silicon Valley. Publicised first by Google, it has become the common standard that all corporate campuses in the Bay Area now offer plentiful meal options to their employees morning through night. The thought process behind this of course is that if they don't have to go far for a great meal they can spend more time working more productively. A happy healthy employee is a loyal productive employee... and loyal productive employees make you money!

I recently had one of my favorite bachelor buddies over for dinner. He has been working for a few years at a big time Silicon Valley company and he loves his job. Like any wise bachelor he also daily takes advantage of 3 meals a day while working early in the morning to late in the evening. Who wouldn't? I don't know many guys (or gals for that matter) who enjoy heading home after a long day at the office to rustle up a meal for one (if you have started to follow my twitter:: and you should!::  you know that my domestic goddess rarely comes out on the weeknights. Example- the night I had pancakes, asparagus, & left over sweet potato fries for dinner... yikes). However even with the fine food options available after awhile the appeal of eating every meal from a cafeteria is bound to wear thin. If you have one of these bachelor buddies here is your opportunity to be their new favorite person. There is something special that a hand crafted and thought out meal provides to the eater that a cafeteria can never provide.

When planning out this dinner my first thought was "I have to do burgers". I knew my buddy was a huge burger connoisseur, but of course I couldn't do just your average burger it needed to have my own flair on it. Since it's grilling season there have been ample ideas in my favorite recipe magazines and web sites. One trend that I really attached to was the cheese stuffed burger. I went with a nice creamy Gorgonzola to give a nice surprise and then happened upon an awesome recipe for a caramelized red onion, bacon & balsamic dressing that would work so perfectly. Finishing off with some fresh arugula brought a nice cool peppery component and a nice compliment of color! While I wanted to really go all out and bake the buns myself it was not in the cards this time but I did put them on my grill pan for a few minutes to warm them up and give them a nice toast. To round out the plate I herb roasted some dutch golden baby potatoes and grilled some asparagus. It made my night when as soon as he walked in the kitchen (smelling the hearty smell of cooked bacon) he declared "it's like you went online and looked up 'what are Jared's favorite foods?' !". Nothing makes me happier than making people feel special with food and a comment like this left me glowing. It is always so fulfilling to show people how much you care with a meal you thought up just for them! Unfortunately in all the fun I forgot to take a picture but below you can find the recipes!

I found the original recipe via foodgawker on fellow food blogger's site, visit Tracey's Culinary Adventures to see what other treats you might enjoy!

Gorgonzola Stuffed Burger
with Red Onion, Bacon, & Balsamic dressing:

For the Dressing

4 thick slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

For the Burgers
2 thick slices bacon
3/4 lb 85% lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ( I just kinda dashed some in the bowl till it looked good, I may have put a little more)
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
2 hamburger buns

To Prepare the Dressing:

In a large skillet over medium heat cook bacon (chopped into 1/2 pieces) till it just begins to crisp. Transfer it from the pan with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towl to drain. Leaving the heat at medium add the sliced onions to the bacon grease to cook down and caramelize. I pulled the pan off the heat for a second while I was adding them to try to avoid hot grease splatter. stir periodically as they begin to caramelize around 10 minutes or so until they look nice and soft. Add the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, 1/3 cup of water and the cooked bacon to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to stir periodically as the liquid is reduced and absorbed another 5 minutes or so (you want to make sure it is no longer soupy). If you are going to be short on time the day you plan to serve your burgers you can prepare this part up to two days in advance and then reheat it before service.


In  medium bowl mix the ground beef, minced bacon and Worcestershire sauce with a little salt and pepper. Separate into 4 even portions flatten each into a round about a 1/4 inch thick. Top each of two rounds with a 1/4 cup of the crumbled gorgonzola. Top with the extra two rounds a firmly press the edges together to seal in the cheese (after pinching the edges I picked up each burger and formed them a little more in my hands so it felt like it was 1 piece not two halves of the whole, you dont want the cheese to escape!)

After grilling your buns set you burgers on the grill over medium heat about 5 minutes on each side for a nice medium doneness (I wait till the outside edge is no longer pink about half way up then flip it, since the center is cheese there is less worry about the doneness).

For mine I put a little mayo on my bottom bun then topped with the burger the onion dressing and some fresh arugula! Filling and flavorful this is a sophisticated twist on a classic with some great unique flavors!

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