Friday, April 15, 2011

Bees and burgers.

You know by now that the queen bee #2 has been installed without error.


What you don't know is exactly how it all went down, particularly what it looked like to chase a bee around a backyard with a tiny cage that had no chance of ever re-capturing said bee.

Wouldn't you like to know what that looks like? OK - but don't judge me.


After that, Bubba and I had celebratory cocktails and then a few days ago I made a really good burger.

How are these things connected? They're not. I just don't want to go another day without correcting two of my household's strongly held beliefs so that we can all lead more delicious lives:
  1. A good burger can only be made on the grill.
  2. Cook's Illustrated recipes must be made EXACTLY AS DIRECTED otherwise IMMINENT FAILURE.

In this month's issue of Cook's Illustrated there's a recipe for a pub-style burger. The picture in the book, even though it's in black and white because CI really likes their old-schoolness, looked like heaven. Like heaven would look if blue cheese and beef and shallots were involved. OOH! And some awesome sounding sauce.

So I did as I normally do with my CI, I flipped it open and began proposing things to Bubba to see how happy the idea of eating these proposed things would make him.

"Hey Bubb, how would you feel about a pub style burger for dinner tomorrow night?"

He made the MMMMMMM face.

Then he made the Wait a Second face.

"Wait - are they made in a pan?"

I made the Yes, Who Gives a Crap face.

He made the Sad No Good face.

I made the Don't Doubt Me face.

"Well, I guess you have changed my mind about other foods. Maybe this won't be gross."

"I'm not making any promises."

"I'm sure it'll be fine."

"Don't you doubt my kitchen prowess."

Then he made the You Need a Cocktail face.

There were a lot of faces.

Anyway, I then made the pub-style burgers complete with the pub sauce recipe and the fried shallots and blue cheese and a chewy big bun plus a monster salad and then there were only Happy Full faces all around (even Jada - she got some that fell on the rug. It happens.)

It's hard to tell from this small photo, but the glistening on the raw beef there is butter. Yep. Butter.

So, if you need a good burger and you don't want to grill but you think that grilling is the only way to make a good burger - you're wrong and hooray! You can make a very good burger in a pan (and then in the oven, which was also weird) and then sit and savor your wrongness because OH it tastes so good.

The other thing that this recipe did was prove that my religious following of every detail of CI recipes is not always necessary in order to produce excellent results.

Because I don't know how many of you are like me in the sense that you think that the reason CI recipes are so good is because they test TEST test everything down to the last detail so you must follow these recipes to the letter otherwise the excellent results will actually be shitty results, but that's what I always thought.

Until now.

Did you follow any of that?

Let me explain.

See, the beginning of this recipe calls for buying a select cut of beef, cutting it into cubes, refrigerating it or freezing it or something crazy, putting it in the oven and then grinding it up yourself in your house, which, No.

It was just too many steps for me. I don't like a lot of steps. I also don't like grinding my own meat when I have a chest freezer full of delicious grassfed sustainably raised without hormones or other cooties ground beef just waiting to be made into a delicious burger.

So, I gave CI the finger for the first time ever and ignored the first very lengthy part of the recipe that had all the steps I sort of described above and just used thawed ground beef from our meat share.

And would you like to know that it was completely awesome. The tastiest burger ever. Even without the cheese and the onions and the pub sauce (which Bubba tried to dip himself in), the burger itself was 100% mmmmmmmm.

Know why?

You're going to go, "OBVIOUSLY" when I tell you this.

There's butter in it.

Yeah! I know! Obviously you put a couple tablespoons of melted butter into the meat mixture before you make it into patties and DER it's going to be a fucking taste sensation! Come on, now.

But still, it was fantastic and made in a pan and not to the letter of the CI recipe and I'm pleased. And Bubba was pleased. And my doctor won't be pleased if my cholesterol test comes back with a big cheeseburger where the numbers should be, but I hardly care right now.

I had this burger two days ago and I'm still basking in the deliciousness of it all.

So yeah, there's a queen in the hive and a very good pan fried burger in my belly. I mean, it's probably not *in* there anymore, but let's not be gross.


  1. I'm basking in the hilarity of the video.

    Sorry you lost your first be, but not that sorry because the video made me laugh.

  2. Obviously Bubba loves you because as much as I love you I wouldn't get within 10 feet of you if you were covered in bees! You're insane. I got the freaky-weakies just watching that. (Though yes, I did laugh when that bitch flew away on you.)

  3. That was hilarious! You sound like me when I screw up.

  4. I saw that pub burger recipe, but I didn't make it. Because for me, the whole point of hamburgers is that they are EASY--meat mixed with Worceshire (whatever, can't spell it), salt, pepper,garlic powder, form into patties, fry with (MY VERY OWN THAT'S RIGHT) beef tallow with some sliced onions. And done. I'm not messing around with the CI bullshit for that one. Too hard.

    They do look really good, though . . .

    P.S. I must applaud Bubba's role in the video. The tolerance and support of a spouse's weird hobbies are the real key to a marriage. In my own case: Sheep (my husband) and Tomato Crazy (me).

  5. Oh my god I laughed my ass off at that!! Only because I know there was a happy ending. Truly. My favorite part: the shadow you made on your fence when the Bitch flew over. Such resignation.

  6. OOPS. I forgot to sign out on my son's account. It was I who laughed my ass off!

  7. So I head off on an extended roadtrip and I come back to find a production of Westside Story taking place in your backyard complete with flighty bitches, turf wars and switchblade...well, stinger fights. I laughed, I cried, I gasped in horror. Hell, I cussed more while reading it than you did while chasing that bee down. Personally, I would have chucked that box at her ungrateful ass and then I would have had to shamefacedly go over to the Shitty Neighbors and explain that not only had I created a bee smack-down in their backyard but I chucked trash over their fence and I really, REALLY, need it back.

    Wow, thanks so much for the dinner theater (I ate while catching up on your posts). Looking forward to what's playing next!

  8. Oh, and for the record, you're my god damned hero. High five on working it out. I just love happy endings.

  9. So did they eat through the marshmallow yet?

  10. Thanks for the was like the perfect end to my week. I am glad the second one worked out.

    Those burgers look rad- did you have fries too?

  11. Several things:

    1. When you were putting queen #2 in, Olivia (who can't read yet) was like, "Be careful swearing lady!" just as you had "be careful" as a note.

    2. Yes, I watched this with my kids.

    3. My kids want to know why you are "crazy cuz bees are bad".

    4. Olivia was like, "Hey mom!! She swears like you do!!" I think this is a compliment??

    5. Poor Bubba. He looked super impressed about having bees in the yard. HA! I'm surprised he didn't throw the pliers toward the back of the yard. LOL!!!

    6. And the shadow of you on the fence in your bee suit is unintentionally hilarious. It's like one of those motivational posters for "Failure" or something. I think that needs to happen. :) Maybe that can be something in the bee keeper's manual.

  12. I loved the video, thanks for posting it. NOW I have a visual! I look forward to watching your work in progress. I have to say, considering all that happened, I think you handled the first BEE-GONE very well!

  13. Its hard to keep me entertained for 6 min and you did. Kudos for that.

    That bee? Total bitch.

  14. That was an awesome video, and pretty much exactly how it would have went down had I attempted such a thing. Which I never will, because bees totally give me the willies. I got a pretty good case of them just watching the video and hearing all that buzzing (gaaaahhh), but the entertainment value made it totally worthwhile.

    That said, I'm glad that you got your queen issues all worked out and that the hive is humming along happily now.

  15. When you're standing there, and I can see your shadow looking at the tree, so sad!! LOL

    Burgers look awesome!

  16. HAAAAAAAA! That video is hilarious! Sorry to laugh at your misfortune...but DAMN!

    Your shadow against the fence...arms reeked of defeat and made the video.

    Glad to hear it all worked out, in the end.

  17. That video is awesome! Although it kinda made me freak out for you. Did you not get stung at all?

  18. Oh I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bee installment. Truly. Thanks for sharing.

  19. To everyone who found this video funny I say, "Me too. Now." It's been an adventure so far, is all I can say.

    To answer some questions:
    *No, I did not get stung and haven't (so far) been stung working the hives at work or this new one at home).

    *Yes, they finally ate the marshmallow but 'DOH the cork then fell in the hole and I had to dig that out to let her escape. It was a whole thing.

    *No, we didn't have fries because I felt guilty due to the fried onions and blue cheese on top of that burger. Instead we had a big salad of Not Fries. Boo.

    Stay tuned - more bee goodness coming.

  20. Burgers must be made on the grill.

    This one is an anomaly. A tasty, tasty anomaly.

    Still. Gimme grill or ... gimme something else. I'm not picky.

  21. Oh Bubbs, you're too funny. Would you say that it was anomalicious? Or is that too much?


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.