Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 25 Degree Burger

25 Degrees at 736 North Clark, is a retro parlor bar with flocked pinkish-red wallpaper and was nothing like I thought it would be. In some sense, it reminded me of the renovated Stand Up Franks in Minneapolis.

25 degrees makes their own grown up milk shakes and floats that are far better than my version back in the 60’s. There is one edition that I tried called the Bananas Foster’s Milkshake with Captain Morgan's rum, banana butterscotch liqueur, Myer's dark rum float and vanilla bean ice cream.

Here is Bobby Flay’s version of a Banana Foster’s Milkshake. I really loved this recipe and thought that it would be great served as a dessert.

Banana Foster’s Milkshake

1 overly ripe banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup good quality caramel sauce (recommended: Fran's), plus more for garnish
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon rum, Captain Morgan’s
1/3 cup whole milk
10 ounces vanilla bean ice cream
Whipped cream, for garnish
Banana slices, for garnish

In a blender, combine the banana, caramel sauce, cinnamon, rum, if using, and milk and blend until smooth. Add the ice cream and blend until incorporated. Pour into a tall glass, and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, a few slices of banana and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Serve immediately.
By the way, 25 Degrees was named after the temperature difference between a rare and a well done burger and I thought that was pretty clever.

Instead of the brunch, I opted for the #1 Burger: caramelized onion, Vela toma, Aderkasse Reserve bacon, arugula, and thousand island dressing. Also ordered the fries which came out in a Chinese take out carton.

Unlike Red Eye, which gave it 3 ½ stars, I give it 4 ½ . The presentation was different and how many restaurants cook their burger to absolute perfection?

I recreated the 25 Degree Burger with a few slight changes. I used Blue Cheese and Pancetta and loved it every bit as much as the one I ate at 25 Degrees.
One thing I learned – Caramelized Onions are exceptionally good when cooked correctly and used in moderation. I am still recovering from a Patty Melt I ate in the 70’s that was smothered in Caramelized onions. I had not eaten them again…until today.
Bon Appetit!
Steak Burgers
2 large good-quality hamburger buns, split in half
1 pound ground top sirloin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Blue cheese
4 strips applewood-smoked bacon, cooked until crisp and drained (I used pancetta and it was delicious)
Condiments of choice

Caramelized Onions

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 slices yellow onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
Dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
Pinch salt


Form the meat into two large patties, 5 to 6 inches in diameter, and sprinkle each side with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the patties on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip, place 2 tablespoons of cheese in the center of each patty, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes longer for medium-rare. (Alternatively, the patties can be cooked in a large skillet preheated over medium-high heat for the same length time.)

Meanwhile, toast the buns on the grill until browned.

To serve, place the bottom buns on 2 large plates and top with the hamburger patty and some Arugula.

Arrange 2 strips of bacon and 1/4 cup of the caramelized onions on each patty.

Place the top buns on each burger and serve with condiments of choice. I used none the burger was that good.

Caramelized Onions:

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized.

Remove from heat and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Pork Burger With Apple and Pineapple-Jalapeno Relish

I’m a real fan of pork and the only thing that I’ve ever used ground pork for is wontons.

My butcher started making pork burgers a few months back and when I tried one, I fell in love with the flavor and it was a delightful change of pace from beef.

So what did I put on this pork burger? The only things that came to mind are apples and pineapple so I decided to combine them and to my amazement, this mixture was really delightful.

¼ pound ground pork patty
1 thin slice of a granny smith apple
Hoisin Sauce
1 thin slice red onion
3-4 hot pickle slices
¼ cup homemade relish
Stone ground mustard

Cook pork on the grill and brush once or twice with Hoisin sauce.

Put the apple slice on the grill and brush with Hoisin sauce until browned.

Place the red onion and some hot pickles on the burger(see recipe below)


Top with a relish of fresh pineapple, red pepper, tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro. I used just enough to top my burger.

Top the apple slice with grainy stone ground mustard.

Hot Cajun Pickle Chips

There is a BBQ spot in Highland Park that has the best hot pickles. I found this recipe and they were pretty close.

Sometimes it takes a few hot pickles to wake up that everyday burger recipe.
1 gallon dill pickle slices
1 1/4 oz garlic flakes
5 lbs granulated sugar
Tabasco sauce to taste
Put pickles in colander and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Push down on pickles to drain as much of the juice as possible.

Put garlic flakes, Tabasco and sugar in a large bowl and mix well.

Tightly pack alternating layers of pickles then sugar mixture in a wide mouth gallon jar.

Seal jar by putting lid on tightly and store in a cool dark place.

Turn jar over once a day for five days.

Transfer pickles to pint size jars then seal.

Chill pickles before serving.