buttermilk biscuits and sausage cream gravy chinese orange beef toasted coconut custard tart cottage pie with beef and carrots


copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2014 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

archive for November 19th, 2012

the only melt i want to see right now

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Recipe: patty melt (animal style)

Time to fess up – I’m not doing traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I haven’t done one in several years. We voted turkey OUT and seafood IN. Sea critters cook faster, taste better (to us), and I don’t become stuffed, sleepy, and belligerent. Winning! Are you having a traditional meal or are you doing something different?

I wish I could say I’m going to be skiing, but I think I’m going to be trail running and biking instead – because we don’t have much snow locally. Sure, our local hill has the White Strip of Death (the single run that goes top to bottom on the mountain), but it’s not especially appealing now… or ever. However, I was able to enjoy snow in Crested Butte this weekend, because we had some business out there. On Saturday, we were greeted with week-old snow on the ground under blue skies. Kaweah was eager to get out for a walkie even though she can’t walk very far any more. We stopped in a field and I told her to sit for a photo. Kaweah sat, then slid into a comfy lounging position. She was tired, but happy. Sunday morning brought fresh snow and once again, we got Kaweah outside for a short walk around town. I swear, snow makes everything awesome.


this car ride leads to a trailhead, right?

enjoying the snow with mount crested butte looming large

my happy girl

fresh snow sunday morning



We’re home now, looking forward to a mellow week of house maintenance, catching up on work, and quick meals. From time to time, my friends at Lava Lake Lamb like to send along some of their beautiful products for me to prepare and sample (rack of lamb, rosemary lamb noisettes, and braised lamb shanks). This time, they mentioned they are partnering with 100% grass-fed Brandon Natural Beef from the Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado. Lava Lake Lamb is good lamb from Idaho, but I wanted to give Colorado some lovin’. I received a 12 ounce Rib Eye steak, a 12 ounce New York Strip steak, and two 16 ounce packages of ground beef (80% lean) to try with no obligation on my part. After Jeremy and I had the steaks (grilled rare), I was so impressed with the tenderness, quality, and flavor, I was excited to try something with the ground beef.

the beef arrived frozen, so i let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator



I really feel the best way to let ground beef shine is in a burger, grilled. Oh, but I’ve posted many a burger here before. As I muttered to myself over the many variations on burgers that exist, Jeremy interrupted and asked me what a patty melt was. Silence. “You don’t know what a patty melt is?” He had a vague idea, but really… he didn’t. That’s partly my fault because I hadn’t had a patty melt since college much less made one. It’s the marriage of a hamburger and a grilled cheese sandwich, but I wasn’t going to make just any patty melt.

crusty sourdough, mustard, salt, pepper, fish sauce, onions, swiss cheese, ground beef



When I say “animal style”, what do you think of? If your mouth is starting to water, then we speak the same language – the language of In-N-Out Burger. If you don’t get it, that’s fine. You don’t get it. If you tell me that you can make a better burger at home, my response is “Duh!” and yeah, you still don’t get it. But for the rest of you lovers, I figured I could snazzy up the patty melt with a little riff on an animal style burger which in this instance means: mustard and caramelized onions.

thinly sliced onions

browned after about 20 minutes



First you want to caramelize the onions, because that’s the big time sink. No matter how much you try to rush the process, you can’t. Whenever I rush it, I burn the onions. So set the heat to medium and brown the onions in some oil slowly for at least 20 minutes. Stir it about every now and again to prevent burning. If you’re a multi-tasker, go ahead and mix the beef while the onions soften and brown.

the dash of fish sauce = magic

don’t laugh, i made the patties the shape of my bread



**Jump for more butter**