Browsing Tag: food

    Miscellany

    Not Just Burgers … Chicken Sandwiches, Too

    July 16, 2018

    Anyone who follows me on Twitter or (especially) Instagram probably associates me with making and eating burgers. Heck, it’s in the main description right here on MattMcGee.com:

    “I love big, juicy cheeseburgers…”

    But even I know that man cannot live by red meat alone. In fact, since a few of my friends have had health scares in recent years that can likely be traced to eating a bit too much red meat, I’ve been doing my best to be more moderate in how often I’m cooking burgers and eating burgers when we eat out.

    Not to worry. I make a mean chicken sandwich, too. This one that I made not too long ago is basically my primary cheeseburger, but with a chicken breast instead of ground beef. Pretty much everything else is the same: garlic mayo, lettuce and tomato, grilled onion covered with melted Colby Jack cheese, pickles and BBQ sauce.

    Doesn’t that look delicious? It was so freaking good.

    It’ll definitely be on the menu when I get around to opening my restaurant.

    Miscellany

    Burger #3 – The Macapeno (and the cooking process)

    February 25, 2018

    This thing of beauty and deliciousness will be the third burger on the menu when I get around to opening my own burger joint … someday.

    Maybe I’ll call it “Macapeno” or something like that. It’s a burger covered in mac-and-cheese and grilled jalapeno peppers, all sitting on top of a chipotle mayo. DELICIOUS!!! This was the maiden attempt at the Macapeno, and as good as it was, I’ll make a couple changes on the next try: better mac-and-cheese, for starters. I’m using Stouffers in the photo above, but it needs a high-quality mac-and-cheese like Beecher’s. Another change will be the addition of some BBQ sauce on top. And I’m also thinking it could use some melted cheese to counter the dryness of the main ingredients.

    Still, this was a great start and I’ll be tweaking this one until it’s perfect and menu-ready.

    My Burger Process

    How about a little photo collection showing the burger making process? Feel free to skip if you’re not interested. I’ll document it for myself, if nothing else.

    First rule: fresh ground beef only. No more frozen burger patties at Casa McGee. OMG, it’s a world of difference when you use fresh meat. And while you have them formed and sitting on the prep plate (paper, in this case), sprinkle a healthy dose of salt and pepper on them. (I like to use garlic salt, too, to add some extra punch.)

    Second rule: Use a cast-iron skillet if at all possible. It heats so evenly and consistently. When you have three burgers hitting the heat, you don’t have to worry about one cooking faster than the others.

    Once the burgers start heating up, get the jalapeno peppers started. If I’d had more space in the main skillet, I would’ve done the peppers in there, too, to soak up the juices. But with the three patties, I figured I better use a separate skillet to be safe.

    BTW, I’m cooking both the meat and the jalapenos in a thin layer of peanut oil.

    Once the meat is seared on the bottom, it’s time to flip and smash.

    Once you get them flat, sprinkle another layer of salt and pepper on this side while the bottom cooks. Pretty soon you’ll have a fully browned burger and it’ll be time for one last flip.

    At this point, the patties should be pretty well cooked through (unless they’re really thick) so you can add the cheese as soon as you make the final flip.

    Meanwhile, you’re also grilling the jalapenos and making sure those are tossed and turned so both sides are equally charred.

    And when those are ready, your cheese is melted, etc. … it’s time to get these beauties plated!

    Don’t underestimate the bread — the bun will make the difference between a good burger and a GREAT burger. Don’t settle on the basic store brand seeded hamburger buns. Splurge a little extra for the good stuff — like these pub buns, or brioche if you like, or whatever else you prefer that’s not bland and cheap.

    And if you really wanna go all out, get another skillet going with a little bit of melted butter and lightly toast your bun before plating the burger. Maybe I’ll even give that a shot next time I work on the Macapeno.

    dangeruss dog
    Miscellany

    Best. Hot Dog. Ever.

    December 8, 2017

    I know, I know. I usually post hamburger photos and recipes here. But I just have to mix it up a bit for this incredible hot dog that we’ve been eating for the past few years.

    It all began one day at a Seahawks game in Seattle. I was hungry and saw something on the menu called a “Dangeruss Dog.” (“Dangeruss” is Russell Wilson’s nickname.) I wasn’t sure what all was on it, but the photo up on the menu board had a hot dog, mac-and-cheese and Seahawks-colored tortilla chips.

    SOLD!

    For some unknown reason, they stopped serving the Dangeruss Dog at Seahawks games a year or two later, but we never stopped making them here at home. And they’re fantastic.

    Ingredients & Cooking

    1) Grill the hot dog.

    2) Place it on your favorite bun. My wife uses a regulation-size hot dog bun. I prefer the bigger hoagie/outdoor roll, since it can hold more toppings. (Outdoor roll pictured below.)

    3) Put a healthy amount of mac-and-cheese on top of the hot dog. We’re partial to Beecher’s Mac-and-Cheese, which is the best we’ve ever had … but it’s not distributed widely. This hot dog works just fine with any mac-and-cheese, even Stouffer’s frozen.

    4) Put some sriracha sauce on top of the mac-and-cheese.

    5) Diced, fresh tomatoes on top next.

    6) Tortilla chips/strips on top next. We buy mini tortilla strips that are made by the Texas Toast people, and they work great. We’ve also just crushed some Doritos and sprinkled them on top, and that also works great.

    You’re done! Thank me later (or in the comments below). This is the best hot dog you’ll ever have.

    Oh, have a fork handy because you’re gonna need it to finish whatever falls out of the bun.

    dangeruss dog

    Miscellany

    The Perfect Burger, Non-Bacon Edition

    February 21, 2016

    perfect-burger

    This is my Blistering Garlic Ranch Burger.

    I wish you all could’ve tasted this thing of beauty that I made a few nights ago, because it’s the best burger I’ve ever made. I’ve been tweaking this same burger for the past month or two, and finally got it to perfect burger status.

    What You Need

    Two frying pans
    Butter
    Blistering Garlic Salt (link below)
    A good hamburger bun
    Burger
    Red Onion
    Lettuce
    Tomato
    Pickles
    Walla Walla Sweet Onion & Creamy Ranch Salad Dressing (link below)

    The Bun

    This is super important. It can make or break your burger. For years, I’d buy the inexpensive sesame seed buns and make good burgers. About six months ago, I started buying more expensive (and higher quality) buns and my good burgers became great. I tried a few kinds — brioche, ciabatta, etc. — but decided on something you can get at Costco: Pub Buns made by Portland French Bakery. You may have a different favorite bun, and that’s fine.

    To make this great bun even better, I use a small frying pan and heat up about 2 tablespoons of butter mixed with this wonderful garlic salt called Blistering Garlic Salt, that you can order online. Seriously, “blistering” is the right word. It’s so spicy that I sneeze if the jar gets too close to my face. You don’t need to use much of this at all to get a fantastic garlic taste.

    Anyway, the melted butter and garlic salt are heated on medium until the salt turns brown. At that point, you take both halves of your bun and pat it on the pan to get them covered with this awesome buttery garlic goodness. I did this right when I started cooking the burger, but I might do it last-minute next time to make sure the bun stays a little warmer.

    The Burger

    The meat is plain — no seasonings or anything mixed in. (Did that with the last batch of ground beef and I just didn’t enjoy the taste as much as plain meat.)

    I cook the burger in the same garlic/butter mix that I described above, so that gives the meat all kinds of flavor.

    The burger gets topped with one slice of American cheese and one slice of Colby Jack cheese. A couple weeks ago, I added a third slice — cheddar — and that was also really good.

    I slice and cook a generous amount of red onion in the pan while the burger is also cooking.

    The bun gets a layer of lettuce and a layer of tomatoes. The burger goes on top of that tomatoes. A few sliced pickles go on top of the burger, and then the hot sliced onions. And on top of the onions, I pour this amazing sweet onion and creamy ranch salad dressing.

    It’s the best burger I’ve ever made — at least without bacon being involved. So the next experiment is to add bacon to this masterpiece and see what happens, and then tweak and tweak it until I come up with the perfect burger with bacon.

    Miscellany

    Great Italian Food in Maui? Try Antonio’s (in a strip mall, even)

    January 24, 2016
    Antonio's Italian Kitchen, as seen on Google Street View
    Antonio’s Italian Kitchen, as seen on Google Street View

    Let’s talk first about the 800-lb. elephant in the room: It’s in a strip mall anchored by a Long’s Drugs. That’s it in the corner of the Google Street View screenshot above. But don’t let that discourage you as you drive up to Antonio’s Italian Kitchen, which may very well have the best Italian food in Maui.

    Maui has a ton of fantastic restaurants but, in my experience (been to Maui four times in the past five years), they mostly pay lip service to Italian food. Seafood reigns on Maui, with steak joints or Asian food probably the next most popular restaurant options. At most of these places, you can find a seafood/pasta combo dish (or several) and maybe some basic Italian dishes like different takes on Pasta Primavera and such.

    But if you’re looking for a great Italian-focused restaurant that offers several kinds of homemade pasta and multiple sauce options, your choices will be pretty limited.

    Enter Antonio’s. In a strip mall. In Kihei.

    Our party of four ate there on a Thursday night in mid-January and we all loved it. We read about it the well-known Maui Revealed guide book and found their review to be spot on. It’s small — maybe 10 tables altogether. It’s very clean. Service was super friendly. The food was wonderful.

    I had the Fettucine Alfredo dish with chicken. I loved the homemade pasta and the sauce, which I assume was also homemade, was fantastic. My wife loved the Ravioli, and our guests loved the Chicken Parmesan (with Spaghetti) and Italian Sausage dinners.

    Entrees were in the $15 range, plus or minus. Appetizers were in the $8 range, plus or minus. The ones we ordered (Bruschetta and Garlic Bread) were good, but not as rave-worthy as the entrees. Desserts were solid (cheesecake for me, a chocolate mousse cake for my wife). With an alcoholic beverage or two thrown in, our whole meal was in the $60/couple range, which is really affordable for Maui.

    Reservations were suggested, so we made one. But there were a couple empty tables when we arrived so a walk-in would’ve worked, too.

    Huge props to Antonio’s on Maui for what very well could be the best Italian dinner on the island. Give it a shot, and don’t let the strip mall location discourage you.

    Miscellany

    The Five Guys Diet

    June 17, 2013

    five-guys-diet

    I’ve been saying for a couple months now that I’m going to be Five Guys’ version of “Jared” — you know, the guy who lost weight by eating a lot of Subway sandwiches.

    Here’s why: Five out of the last six times that I’ve had Five Guys for lunch, I’ve lost weight when I got on the scale the next morning.

    Seriously!!!

    Let me explain how and why it works.

    The Five Guys Diet

    What I eat: This happens when I have Five Guys for lunch. I order a regular meal, which is typically a Little Cheeseburger with my favorite toppings, a Little Fries and a small drink if I’m eating at the restaurant. If I’m bringing the food home, I skip the drink and just have water at the house.

    What happens: A Little Cheeseburger at Five Guys isn’t very little, and the Little Fries turn into an enormous serving of fries because they always scoop an extra serving into the bag. It’s a lot of food and it fills me up for the rest of the day.

    I eat this at about noon or 1 pm and I literally don’t eat again the rest of the day. It’s that filling.

    Sometimes I work out in the evening, sometimes not. Either way, by skipping dinner I somehow end up being full while eating less than a full day’s worth of calories … and I lose weight.

    How much I lose: Some days I’ve lost as much as a full pound. Some days just .2 or .4 of a pound. But it’s still weight loss, no matter the amount.

    Requirement: You have to eat breakfast first. Read on for why….

    The One Time It Didn’t Work

    As I said, this has happened five of the past six times that I’ve had Five Guys. The one time it didn’t happen? Well, I didn’t exactly follow the above plan.

    I skipped breakfast that day and decided to try to make Five Guys my only meal of the whole day. Didn’t work. Since I didn’t have the breakfast calories in me, the Five Guys lunch didn’t fill me up. I got hungry and ended up having a late dinner (about 8 pm) and actually gained a pound that day.

    So the lesson is obvious: You gotta have breakfast.

    That’s it. The Five Guys Diet. If anyone from the restaurant chain happens on this and wants to get in touch, I’m easy to reach. 🙂