Recipe

Coney Island Burgers–Copycat

Ask and ye shall receive!  This fun project started with a Facebook posts to my friends back in Crestview, Florida.  I begged them to give me some ideas about what might be in the sauce from those irresistible burgers we love from our hometown dive:  Coney Island!  The replies were varied and numerous, so I wrote them all down on a piece of paper and headed to the kitchen to experiment.  After a bit, I had what I think is a pretty decent copycat for folks like me who crave that greasy goodness but live too far away to do anything about it on the regular.

Be warned, I’m going to give you every step I did.  You decide if you need to do every.single.one.  At first I thought if I had the sauce down, I’d be fine, but turns out each family member had their own version of what was important to them about that burger.  So, I’ve replicated it in its entirety as best as I could.

First, I suggest getting your mise en place.  That means get all of your ingredients and cooking utensils ready.  Learned that on Top Chef.

 

The Sauce

Disclaimer:  This is not exact.  I did a lot of adding and off the cuffing to get the consistency I wanted.  I will perfect and repost.  I can tell you next time I will make the sauce a day or few hours ahead of time to give the spices time to marry.  Learned that on Top Chef, too.

Mix this well and set aside:

  • 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water (add more if needed)
  • 3 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper (more if needed)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 shakes Louisiana hot sauce

 

The Meat

I found that having a thin patty is important.  So, I used a patty maker to really get it thin and even.  You may want to spray it with Pam, mine did stick after a while and it took a minute to peel it off.  I could also see plastic wrap working.  You can get one here:  Hamburger Press from Harbor Freight

Here’s a picture of mine:

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The Onions

Teeny Tiny dices.  Dice it finely and then run your knife through it again.  (Boy, that spoon has seen better days.)

The Method

At Coney Island, they credit their decades-old grill with being the secret to their addictive burgers.  So much so that when it broke, they lamented over the new one they had to buy, that was not seasoned as the old grill.  Baker School’s Welding Department fixed it right up for them, free of charge!  If you don’t have a decades old grill, just use a cast iron skillet.

I preheated my skillet to medium high and when it was hot, I drizzled just a bit of vegetable oil on for that first set of burgers.  While the skillet heats, nuke your buns for about 30 seconds to soften.    I make 2 at a time.  I place the patties on the grill, season them with season salt and then with my metal spatula, turned on its side, I start lightly chopping the burgers, to get them as flat as possible without breaking them up. Flip and cook another minute.

On top of burger sprinkle chopped onions, 1/4 cup of sauce (eyeball it, cover your meat) and then lay a piece of American cheese over that.  When you see the cheese getting melty (that’s a word.), place bottom bun on top of meat and top bun on top of bottom bun.  When done (for me it was a minute), take that top bun and scrape it along the skillet to sop up that juice and make your burger.  Easy!  But they go quick, so don’t overwhelm yourself trying to do too many at a time.

I had sauce left, so the next night we made hotdogs with it.  I boiled the wienies to make them like Coney.  Amazing!

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Recipe

Melt in Your Mouth Lemon Bars

My daughter Mary Ashley loves to cook with me, but she prefers baking sweets over dinner every night.  So, because I am a wonderful parent, I bribe her to help me make dinner by agreeing to bake a dessert at the same time.  One night we pulled up this recipe as we were making dinner and I tried to shoot it down because it had 3 separate steps.  She insisted, and lo and behold,  was she ever right.  These bars are worth every tiny bit of extra effort.

 photo Meltinyourmouthlemonbarsimadeitpin_zps5e05281a-1.jpg

 

Melt in Your Mouth Lemon Bars

Ingredients

  • CRUST
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c butter softened (no substituting)
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • FILLING
  • 4 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 2 c sugar
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice
  • FROSTING
  • 1/2 c butter (softened)
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp cold water

directions

  1. MIX CRUST INGRED. WITH FORK AS YOU WOULD FOR A PIE CRUST. PAT INTO A 9X13 PAN WHICH HAS BEEN GREASED AND FLOURED. BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 15 MINUTES.

  2. AS CRUST IS BAKING. MIX FILLING. AFTER CRUST HAS BAKED 15 MINUTES, POUR FILLING OVER CRUST AND CONTINUE BAKING FOR 25 MINUTES. COOL BARS COMPLETELY

  3. MAKE FROSTING BY BEATING BUTTER,POWDERED SUGAR AND MILK FOR 6 TO 8 MINUTES ON HIGH SPEED. THEN ADD 2 TBLSP. COLD WATER ONE AT A TIME. BEAT UNTIL SMOOTH. SPREAD OVER COOLED BARS.

 

Recipe

Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp

We love shrimp.  So, here’s another shrimp recipe.  Hope you love it as much as I do.  Serves 2

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Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested then half cut into thin slices and other half into wedges
  • 3 -4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • spaghetti or pasta, couscous or rice, for serving
  • 1 lb fresh shrimp, medium-sized, deveined with tails off
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. In a 9×13 baking pan combine olive oil, lemon zest and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Meanwhile cook pasta, couscous or rice.

  4. Remove pan from oven, add shrimp, garlic and the thin sliced lemons (don’t squeeze them), toss to coat with oil mixture.

  5. Bake for 8-10 more minutes or until shrimp turn pink and start to curl.

  6. Serve over pasta, couscous or rice tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon with additional lemon wedges for serving.

 

 

Recipe

Recipe: Buttermilk Ranch Cheese Ball

Cheese balls show up on every Christmas sideboard, don’t they?  And no wonder.  They can be made ahead, kept in the fridge and just set out with absolutely no fuss…and they are delicious.  Truly one of the world’s perfect foods.  I enjoy them as a midnight snack with a few crackers, as well.  This one is so simple it is crazy, but yummy!

 photo RanchCheeseball_zpsa6a30d67.jpg

Buttermilk Ranch Cheeseball

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

directions

  1. Mix the sour cream with ranch dressing mix in a bowl until smoothly combined. Add the cream cheese and Cheddar cheese to the bowl, and mix together with your hands until thoroughly blended. Chill the mixture for 5 minutes, then shape into a ball.
  2. Place the pecans into a shallow bowl, and roll all sides of the cheese ball in the pecans to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Dips.  Is there anything better than a good hot, cheesy dip for your party?  Easy to whip up, and slap out on your sideboard with a sliced load of some yummy French bread from the bakery.  This one will make you friends.

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cups parmesan cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts.

  3. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture.

  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Serve with crackers or toasted bread.

Recipe

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin

This recipe is dedicated to my precious grandfather, Newt Strength.  He loved pork more than anyone I know, except for maybe my father.  He came to visit me once in North Carolina before he passed away and I made him this pork loin.  He loved it.  It’s one of the last things I was able to do for him.  I love and miss you, Newk!

Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin
Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless pork loin roast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Crush garlic with rosemary, salt and pepper, making a paste.

  3. Pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and press the garlic paste into the openings.

  4. Rub the meat with the remaining garlic mixture and olive oil.

  5. Place pork loin into oven for 2 hours, turning and basting with pan liquids.6

  6. After 2 hours remove pork roast to a platter.

  7. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom.

  8. Serve with pan juices.

Recipe

Garlic Shrimp

Seafood is my passion.  I love it, LOVE IT.  I need to cook it more often, but it does intimidate me at times.  This recipe is simple and delicious.  Not low calorie, but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 8 fresh Texas toast thick bread, slices
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs peeled large raw shrimp (2 0/25 count)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots or 2 tablespoons sweet onions
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Garnish
  • lemon zest
Garlic Shrimp
Garlic Shrimp

directions

  • Preheat grill to 300° to 350° (medium) heat. Drizzle 1 side of bread slices with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Grill bread slices 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted. Cut bread slices into triangles. Place on a serving platter.

  • Devein shrimp, if desired. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt butter with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shrimp, thyme, and next 2 ingredients, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately over grilled bread. Garnish, if desired.

Source: Southern Living