Monday, February 7, 2011

"The Tail-Gate Cookbook" - Salt-fried Hamburgers with Cheese Sauce

Date I made this recipe: February 6, 2011 (Super Bowl Sunday)

The Tailgate Cookbook by April Herbert
Published by: Funk & Wagnalls
© 1970
Recipe: Salt-fried hamburgers with Cheese Sauce – p. 21-22

Okay, fair warning: I will get around to talking about today’s recipe but first a word about my (Green Bay) Packers: Woo Hoo!

Okay, I suppose that was really two words but who cares? My boys won Super Bowl 45 (I don’t do Roman numerals) last night against those evil Pittsburgh Steelers. Wow. Double wow!

So of course I watched the game but then again, I didn’t. See if you can follow this logic: I’ve been to Lambeau Field three times in the last couple of years, the last time being this fall against the Detroit Lions. And each time, I go in full battle gear: Cheesehead, green and gold beads, Packer jersey or t-shirt or sweatshirt, depending on the weather. Short of dyeing my hair or painting my face, I am good to go. (By the way, my husband inadvertently wore a “Lion’s blue” (team colors) shirt to the game and was lucky to walk out of Lambeau alive. It was cool enough for him to wear a jacket the entire game and that was a good thing!)

But when it comes to watching the game I get superstitious as does the rest of my family. I used to wear my Cheesehead while watching but then we’d lose the game. And I used to wear my Packers apparel but then we’d lose the game. And so I quit wearing anything Packer-related since I wanted them to win their games, particularly this one.

I also believe, as does my brother, the ultimate Packer fan (and shareholder), that if we watch the entire game on TV, we will jinx them, especially if things aren’t going well for us. Yes, I know, rather odd. On the other hand, we could both argue that it’s nothing more than brilliant strategy on our part. My solution is to flip between one channel and the next during the course of the game; my brother’s solution is to leave the room for a while!

So…the game started out great and my husband, the world’s most reluctant Packers fan there ever was tuned in as well. He never watched sports before marrying me and cannot believe the person I become when I watch the game. (For the record, when you marry a Verme, you marry the Packers. That is just the way it goes. It’s a total 2 for 1 deal).

Anyway, he says I go crazy and I totally disagree. I mean, define crazy? I am just an exuberant fan. I yell at the TV, I armchair coach--is there a Packer fan out there who doesn’t do that? Nope.

Okay, so as I was saying, the game started out great. We got a touchdown and then we intercepted a pass and got another touchdown. FAN-tastic! But then the Steelers came back and got a touchdown right before halftime and Grrrrr. This was not so fantastic.

So the halftime show started and Zzzzzzzz. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Black Eyed Peas but they were not their best and really - was it too much to ask that we just get on with the game already?

The Packers came out to start the 2nd half and got the ball on the kickoff and within minutes, mere minutes, they got three penalties. They looked sloppy, very, very sloppy. And my stomach started to churn. And then the Steelers woke up and started playing better and my stomach really started to churn. And so I told my poor husband that it was time for me to start flipping the channel because to my logic, if I quit watching the game so intently, we would prevail. And people believed it or not the man was peeved—peeved! He was peeved because he didn’t want to watch the game in the first place (because I get “so crazy”) but now he invested all this time and effort only to have me flip a station to channel 10 so I can watch a rerun of The Closer, one of our favorite shows and then flip back again. There’s no satisfying some people.

Anyway, if you ask me, the Packers should be damned glad that I did that. I watched The Closer for a few minutes and then flipped back to the game. “Well this is much better” thought I, as the Packers got another touchdown. So back I went to The Closer. But then I flipped back again and again and ouch—things were not so hot. And so I got myself into a “to watch or not to watch” conundrum (that is the question) and was just totally undecided about what to do and what to watch and oh….did I mention that I went and poured my first martini? (Talk about being thrown off one’s game!)

By this time, I was giving the “Last” button on my remote a workout. And now Pittsburgh was closing in and the score was 25 to 31. Holy crap! Time for more gin!! And then I flipped back to the game Pittsburg had the ball…and so I flipped back again and again and damn it—Pittsburg still had the freaking ball and the clock is ticking down to the 2 minute warning…and then it’s a minute something. I could hardly stand it. Never has a minute seemed so long! I started welling up and praying (as Packer fans do) “Oh Lord, please. Pleeeeeeeeeeeease.” And apparently God heard my plea because the heavens opened up their quarterback threw an incomplete pass that landed in Tramon William’s hands (he’s a Packer) and voila! We got the ball back with about 30 seconds to go in the game and….Victory!!! (For the record, I do know their quarterback’s name but the spelling is hard and he is with the enemy so what do I care? I call him something else anyway…and it’s not nice so I won’t print it.)

And there was much rejoicing and rejoicing and rejoicing! Wow. Super Bowl champions! I love it!

As to the meal, this was an absolute no-brainer. Last year, a friend gave me a used copy of today’s book – The Tailgate Book. I must say that I know that tailgating menus have ramped up a bit but honestly—cold cucumber soup at a tailgate party? Beef Bourguignon at a tailgate party? Peaches with mincemeat at a tailgate party? It just seems so…well, let’s say it’s not likely on a tailgate menu in Green Bay, home of beer and brats and cheese.

And so, the winner of the Green Bay Packer indoor tailgate party was…burgers with cheese sauce! These were easy to make and fun to eat. And my husband, the world’s most reluctant Packer fan, inadvertently cemented this dish in the Packer (tailgate) Hall of Fame by adding green pickle relish to the top of his cheese. It was so pretty with that green and gold and I teased him that he really was a true fan after all because I sure didn’t think to add the relish! He says “not” and has already asked me when the season starts up again (“Duh honey – August”) but not out of interest, oh no—he’s dreading the start already! On the other hand, I cannot wait. In the meantime, I am basking in the glory of that win, an absolute bright spot in an otherwise cold and grim February (as was my green and gold burger.)

Life is good.

Salt-fried hamburgers - serves 4
1-2 tsp regular salt or garlic salt
1 pound ground beef or hamburger

Sprinkle 1-2 tsp salt in frying pan, and place on very high heat until salt begins to brown. Add 4 large hamburger patties, and sear on both sides; lower heat and cook to desired doneness. Add cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce – serves 4
1 ½ Tbs. butter
1 Tb. Flour
½ cup milk
Dash garlic salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce
4 oz. cheddar cheese, slivered

Melt the butter over very low heat. Add flour and then milk (add the milk gradually) and then the spices (garlic salt, pepper and Worcestershire). Add cheese, stirring constantly and remove from heat as soon as cheese is melted. Serve immediately. (You should start making the cheese sauce while your burgers are cooking).

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