Now we're cookin'

Posted: Sunday, May 01, 2011

OK, so here's the difference between men and women in the kitchen.

Men will try anything. And measuring is more like -- guidelines.

Women are skeptical, and the cupboard has at least three sets of measuring cups.

Example One: Larry's coronary cheeseburger.

I admit, I got this from one of my favorite shows on the Food Channel, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." The first time I saw it I had to make one. Trust me on this ... it was good.

The burger itself was plain ol' ground beef. I made mine about one-third pound. I slapped it in a hot cast iron skillet and seared as usual.

When nearly done I took about a large handful of shredded cheddar and dumped it on top. That didn't seem to be enough, so I dumped on another handful and put a lid on it.

The result was a cheeseburger with this massive melted cheddar skirt oozing out to the edges of the skillet - just like in the triple D episode. The burger was cooked medium rare, the cheese skirt was frying in the meat fat and turning slightly crispy. Excellent!

Using two spatulas I was able to hoist the monstrosity onto a lightly toasted Kaiser roll atop a few lettuce leaves and a tomato slice.

Eating it was an epic culinary adventure. Slightly fried cheese in one bite, juicy burger in another. Why hadn't I thought of this before?

My wife, Melissa, has steadfastly refused my offers to make her one. She knows not what she's missing.

Example Two: Apple pie surprise.

My daughter recently sent me a recipe and dared me to try it. An apple pie with a lattice top. But the lattice was made -- get ready -- of bacon!

Melissa looked the recipe's photo and wrinkled her nose. More perplexing was that my daughter, a vegetarian (don't know what went wrong there), had even considered suggesting it to me, much less daring me to make one.

Of course the dare, plus Melissa's doubtful look, sent me to the kitchen.

Now, I had years ago converted to cooking bacon in the oven. No more messy, pork grease splattering, forearm burning for me. If you've never tried it, trust me, it's better. Bacon baked in the oven comes out just fine.

Making the lattice was, I have to admit, a little strange, since I'm used to doing it with pie dough. But the technique's the same -- lay out the strips, come with more strips, over and under, over and under. I laid the lattice out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and baked at 400 for about 15 to 17 minutes.

This recipe called for sauting the Granny Smith apple slices in more bacon grease, along with more fresh made bacon bits, some cinnamon and sugar. Then that baked in a pie shell for about 12 minutes. They you take the bacon lattice top that has been set aside cooling, lay that atop the apple filling and bake for another 15 minutes or so.

I thought the whole dish looked mouth-watering. Even Melissa admitted it didn't look that strange.

Then we tasted it. Bacon-y, apple ambrosia! I'm not kidding. It was really good!

My point: women don't try these kinds of things. Men do. Because let's be honest, men don't think too deeply about what they put in their mouths.

Don't think that's true? Melissa started joking about my pie saying you could top a slice with a fried egg for breakfast.

Joke's on her. That was really good, too.

Larry Campbell is the executive editor at the Peninsula Clarion.

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