Last winter, Ron and I visited my brother and his fiancee (Jeremy and Michelle) down in the Washington, D.C. area. We were able to fit in a lot in the two days we were there, including seeing a lot of the amazing monuments around the city, visiting the National Cathedral, and visiting the Museum of American History. We also were able to eat at some great restaurants, including Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery. Despite being extremely crowded, and having to eat standing up at a small counter, it was well worth the visit. Our burgers were awesome, the toasted marshmallow shake was incredible, and the village fries (fries tossed with rosemary, thyme and sea salt) sold there were some of the best I’ve ever had.
Several months later I received The Good Stuff Cookbook from Jeremy and Michelle. It is one of those cookbooks where I seriously want to make pretty much every recipe in the cookbook. There are recipes for the amazing salads, burgers, fries, and shakes sold at the restaurant, among other things. I really want to make the village fries at some point, but I have to gear myself up for actually frying something in my kitchen. The burgers seemed a little more approachable, and while there are some additional steps for the burgers, such as making homemade sauce, toppings, and then the technique of wrapping the burger is wax paper before eating, they really are not hard to make at all. These are definitely the best burgers I’ve made myself, in my kitchen, and I can’t wait to try the other recipes as well.
Good Stuff Melts
Makes 4 burgers
20 oz. (1.25 lbs) ground sirloin
4 potato buns
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups Spanish onions, thinly sliced
4 slices Muenster cheese
4 slices Cheddar cheese
Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms (recipe follows)
About 1/2 cup Good Stuff Sauce (recipe follows)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Make patties by rolling 5 oz. ground sirloin into a ball, and then flattening it into a patty. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
2. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add oil. Add the onions, and stir around so that they are coated with the oil. Cook about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have browned and caramelized. Remove the onions from the pan, and place them in a bowl.
3. Season the patties with salt and pepper, and place the patties in the now empty skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes* on one side, and then flip and cook for 3 minutes. Then place a slice of each cheese, some mushrooms, and some caramelized onions on each patty, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Cover with the lid, and cook for 30 seconds more, until the cheese melts.
4. While the burgers are cooking, toast your potato buns. Heat the broiler, butter the buns, and place them face up on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for just a few seconds. Check every few seconds as they go from perfect to burnt quickly.
5. To assemble the patty melts, place a patty on a bun bottom, put on some of the good stuff sauce, place the top on the bun on, and wrap in a square of wax paper. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the bun to absorb some flavor from the patty and the toppings. Eat and enjoy!
*The amount of time you cook it depends on how well-done you like your burger.
Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushrooms
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz mixed wild mushrooms (i.e. shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes, until the liquid is released. Add 3/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned.
2. Add the butter, thyme, and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more. Add remaining salt and pepper.
*The directions here are a bit different than what the cookbook says to do as it has you cook the mushrooms over high heat the entire time. I did that, and my mushrooms burned, even cutting down the cooking time. That said, maybe it was my stove misbehaving and not the directions. In either case, I don’t think cooking the mushrooms on a lower temperature will do any damage, it might just take a little longer.
Good Stuff Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
1 large egg*
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1. Add the egg, mustard, vinegar, and salt to a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds in a food processor, or 10 seconds in a blender. With the motor running, slowly add the oil, in a thin, steady stream, until the mixture is smooth. Stop to taste and adjust thickness if needed. If too thick, add a little hot water, and blend. If too thin, blend for a bit longer. Stop here and you have a basic mayonnaise!!
2. Now add the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, and salt. Blend until combined. You can refrigerate this in an airtight container up to a week.
*This does contain raw egg. If you are skeeved out by this, or have a weak immune system, you can skip making the homemade mayonnaise portion and just use pre-made (I recommend Hellman’s). To do this, just mix 1 cup mayonnaise with the ketchup, molasses, rice vinegar and salt until combined.
Source: barely adapted from The Good Stuff Cookbook