Archive for August, 2011

8th August
written by Loren

The long furlough is over and we are back at it. Our apologies for the delay, Arthur was studying for the Bar Exam and I was in the middle of changing jobs and apartments.  Now that these things are out of the way, we’re hoping that we can once again get into a regular rhythm of new recipes and restaurant reviews.

I’m happy to say that my new residence is far more conducive to culinary advenutures and the documentation thereof. The kitchen is much bigger, the stove /oven is much better and I also moved in the with my buddy Tyler, whom our readers may remember from the Lasagna Files. I’m sure some of Tyler’s own cooking experiments will be featured at some point, as he has some nifty recipes of his own like soy-pickled jalapenos, pickled northern pike, creamed cucumbers and other things.


The Man with the Plan

Those serial killer eyes hide some culinary inspiration.

Today’s recipe was inspired by two things. First, my new place has a grill, something I’ve been missing for the last year. Second, we were in the middle of a horrid heat wave at the time. With temperatures hovering around 95-100 with outrageous humidity, we were doing our very best to not do any cooking inside.  Thus were born the cheddar-bacon cheeseburgers.  And because that sounds a bit too simple, we’re gonna go for internal cheddar and bacon. You’ll need:

  • 1.5 lbs of ground beef
  • 3 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, like a sharp or smoked cheddar
  • 3 large cloves of minced garlic
  • 3-4 dashes of Worcester sauce

    Pre-Burger Goodness

    Get your hands in there and make some burgers!

  • 1 egg
  • American cheese slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Maybe a little something else. I threw in a bit of minced oregano and rosemary, mainly because we have a huge herb garden outside the back door. Chili pepper flakes would not be a bad idea either.

Mix all of that together with your hands, then separate and form the patties. We got 5 burgers out of the batch, and they seemed to be a good size.  Throw them on the grill for a few minutes per side.  Because these burgers have raw pork in them I cooked them a little more than the medium/medium-rare I usually prefer.  By the time I took them off  the grill there was almost no pink in them, but because of the bacon the burgers were still incredibly juicy. Add the (fake) cheese slices  about a minute before you take the burgers off the grill, then let them rest post-grilling for a few minutes before eating. Top your burger with whatever you normally prefer. Unless that happens to be mayo; don’t do that to any burger.


P.S. FOOTBALL SEASON IS RIGHT AROUND THE GODDAMN CORNER! Its a cruel irony how much football makes me look forward to the end of the summer.

Especially when this pantload is no longer whiffing blocks all game long. Anyways, we’ll have some more great appetizers and grazing food here on ECL once the season officially starts, including beer-cheese dip and fresh spring rolls with jalapeno syrup dipping sauce!


7th August
written by Arthur

It’s been a while, a long while, since I last posted.  A difficult break-up, followed by finals, followed by studying for the bar kept me out of the kitchen and off the blog.  The last few months have been arduous.

I sat for the last day of the bar exam on July 27 and on the 28th began my return to the real world.  But, when I tried to get back on ECL on the 29th I found an unfortunate “Fatal Error” message.  After only a few hours of work behind the scenes I was able to break the blog even more—no contact with the server.  But today, I final got everything back up and running.  I had no idea when I started this thing that I would learn so much about computers.

Last Saturday, for the first Saturday in recent memory, I woke-up and didn’t open a bar study book.  Instead I grabbed an ice coffee and made the mile and a half walk to the farmers market for the first time this summer.  I went from stand to stand looking at all the green, red, yellow, and orange delights.  But I had a mission: caprese and pesto.

I found a huge plant of basil for only $3.  I say plant because it really was still a plant with roots and all.  It kills me to think about how much I’ve paid in winter for a handful of sorry looking basil from the supermarket.  For the tomatoes in the caprese I got some bright red cherry tomatoes.  Other random finds included some garlic scapes (long shoots that grow out of the head of the garlic) and a head of broccoli.  [My apologies for the details on the mundane.  What can I say?  I’m excited.]

On the way home I picked-up pine nuts from Russo’s Mozzarella and Pasta up the street from me.  On the walk home from Russo’s I realized I had forgotten the cheese!  So I stopped in a Union Market and picked-up some Parmigiano Reggiano and some amazing mozzarella.

Now when I say this was amazing mozzarella I’m not doing it justice.  I didn’t realize when I bought it, but I had gotten Burrata.  Burrata is basically cream filled mozzarella.  It’s rich, silky, and decadent—like no other cheese I’ve had in my life.  Outside is a layer of the familiar fresh mozzarella, inside is a semi-solid pudding like structure.  I started cutting the fist size balls to make caprese but quickly turned to tearing with my hands.  I then cut the cherry tomatoes in half and cut about a half dozen basil leaves into strips.  After mixing it all together with some good olive oil and some coarse sea salt I enjoyed an incredible afternoon snack.

But I can’t forget the pesto.  I used the following recipe as a template (it’s almost identical to the one in Loren’s pesto post), but improved it with two more cloves of garlic and about another cup of basil.  Also, make sure you buy actual Parmesan Reggiano and some decent olive oil–the extra few bucks are worth it and can be spread over several batches.


  •  2  3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed  [going from 2 to 3 cups made it less runny, which I personally like]
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  •  3  6-7 medium sized garlic cloves, minced [I needed more garlic, all the vampires in pop-culture today have me worried]
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:  First, combine the basil with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  Then, add the garlic, pulse a few times more.  Next you’re supposed to slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.  I only have a miniature Cuisinart Chopper and Grinder.  The lid doesn’t have an opening so I had to pulse, add oil, pulse, and oil…. you get the idea.  It was a little slower going, but worked great.  Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula and add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.  Finally, hit it with a pinch of salt to taste and give it one last pulse.  When you’re done the whole room will have a wonderful pesto smell and you’ll have enough pesto for a few people.

Oh, and the pesto keeps in the fridge for a few days or the freezer forever—so you don’t need to eat it all right away.  This is a good thing, because I made a return to the farmers market yesterday and just made a giant batch.

It’s feels good to be cooking and typing some non-law study words again.  There isn’t a lot of summer left, but I plan to make the most of it!  Sometime soon I’m coming back from the farmers market with squash blossoms.

Tags: , ,