The French Connection Burger


So lately, my crazy schedule and my last post have got me thinking about the things I miss about living with another human.

Living Alone Pros and Cons

Cons:

1. I have to schedule mutual back porch beers.  Even if this just involves me calling someone on that new-fangled telephone thingamajig

how do I work this thing?

and being all, “hey, want to come hang on my back porch?  I will ply you with liquor. And foodstuffs. And mildly interesting conversation.  If the conversation is not so interesting, I promise to ply you with more liquor.”  Fill in “back porch beer” with…any activity whatsoever.  My social life requires, you know, effort.

2. Sole dog walker.  For those of you who don’t know, I have trained my dogs to ring a bell when they want to go out.  It’s three a.m.?  Puppies don’t care.  You just slipped into your jammies and it is completely inadvisable that you are seen in public, sans undergarments and dignity such as you are? Puppies don’t care.  They haven’t had any water in hours and you just took them out like 15 minutes ago?  Puppies don’t care. So, yeah, it would be great to pass off some of that joy.

Don’t let their innocent appearance fool you – they are merciless task masters.

3. Hey there, utility bills.  Did I really use quite that many resources?  By myself?  Really?  Well, how very patriotic of me.

4. Oh, dishes.  Would you please quit spontaneously generating in the sink?  You’re disproving centuries of scientific research.  I’d let the scientific community know…I mean, they are awfully smug. But I’m kinda of hoping they’re going to lock down that cure for cancer thing before I contract it, and I don’t want to distract them.

5. Sometimes, at the end of a bad day, I just want a hug.  The puppies help, but to be honest, when they try to put their paws consoling around me, it’s a little awkward.  For both of us.  Our current dynamic of food-giver/super-appreciative food-receiver seems to be working pretty well.  Mostly we stick with that.

Pros:

1. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.  Unless it’s chore time.  But then, they’re my chores.  Hey, who left this coffee cup sitting on the… oh, it was me.  Guess I’ll just clean that up then.

2. I can sing as loud as I want.

3. I can walk around the apartment in whatever state of undress without being the least bit self-conscious.  The animals aren’t judging.  Well, maybe the cat.  Mostly he’s disdainfully indifferent, but every once in a while, he’ll nod approvingly, as if to say, Bow-chica-meow-meow.

4. All decisions are my decisions.  Even the bad ones.  I own them.  They’re mine.

5. When I just want to curl up and read or watch t.v. and not talk, there is no discussion.  There are no hurt feelings.  There is no feigned interest because I really do care just not right this second can I get an hour to myself please geez I’m exhausted…. I don’t have these dilemmas.  I just take the time for myself.

6. I go to sleep when I want.  If I want to fall asleep in the middle of the day, upright in chair, with a plate of half-eaten nachos on my lap, I can do that.  No, this has never happened.  But it could.  No judgement.  Except mine.  (Who does that?)

7. I get to decorate everything myself.  Every time someone who has known me a while comes into my apartment they say “This is so you!”.  That makes me feel great. And alarmingly transparent.  But mostly great.

8. Speaking of dishes, I can leave mine in the sink. Ditto laundry in the basket. I try not to, but I could, and I don’t have to bargain or cajole or make lame excuses, I just have to deal with the consequences.  The worst of which is eating naked straight out of pots.  Sorry for that mental image.

As you can see, living alone is clearly something I enjoy and here’s the thing I might enjoy about it most of all –

9. I get to eat whatever I want.  Whatever.  I don’t have to argue, or hear, “I’m not in the mood for that, how about we…”. Nope.  Immediate-ish gratification.  So yesterday, after an impossibly long day, when I wanted a burger and fries, but also, French food, I got to make this –

French Connection Burger and Truffle Fries

Bridging the gap between American fast food and heavy French goodness

per burger:

1 medium onion
@ 1 tablespoon butter
1 splash of red wine or sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon roasted garlic mayo, recipe for mayo in this recipe
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 beer burger bun
4 oz ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 oz brie
arrugula if you have it (I didn’t)

Slice onion thin.

Heat a pan to low and add butter.  Once butter is foaming, add onions and a sprinkle of salt.  Stir onions occasionally, (about every minute or two), until they go from lightly caramelized

to deeply caramelized,

about 20 minutes. Add splash of vinegar and cook until dry. Taste for seasoning.  Adjust.

(oh by the way, if your pan is getting dry and your onions are in danger of getting burnt and bitter, not caramelized and sweet, add a few tablespoons of water and deglaze -scrape bottom of pan- and continue on.  Repeat as needed. Saved!)

Heat grill pan or grill to high.  Grill bun.  Slather with mayo and caramelized onion on one side and mustard on the other.

Season burger with salt and pepper and grill on one side until well-marked.  Flip and apply brie.

Cook to desired doneness. This really depends on the thickness of your burger and how done you want it.  I like mine medium rare so I do mine on high heat.  If you want yours well done, do yours on medium heat to give the burger time to cook through before the outsides are charred.

For the truffle fries: cold oil method

1/2 russet potato per person
veg oil as needed
bacon fat as needed
truffle salt as needed
thyme as needed, rough chopped

Put cut potatoes into a high sided pan or pot and submerge in oil.  Add some bacon fat for good measure.

For large amounts of fries, turn the heat to high.  For medium amounts, medium.  And for small amounts… yup, you got it, lowish.

Allow to come to a boil. (about 3-5 minutes).

Stir.  Wait another 10-15 minutes.  Take one out and test one.  If they’re dark and crispy with fluffy insides –

take them out with a skimmer.  If they’re pale and undercooked, let them go about 5-10 minutes more, until brown and delicious.  Drain on paper towels.  Salt when hot. Sprinkle with thyme.

Good for what ails ya.

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