Summit Up 5-25-10: Topped with Snøfrisk and artificial spider silk
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that wonders what people did before hamburgers. There just seems to be such a big focus on these things in America around this time of year. No social event is complete, it seems, without “burgers” – even if you’re a vegetarian, you will seek some kind of mock burger made out of plant matter shaped into a patty.
(sound of barfing/gagging)
What’s up with this? Are burgers really that good?
Well, sometimes they are. Sometimes a burger is really all you need (and by that we mean, most forcefully, a cheeseburger. Who in their right mind would eat a plain hamburger? Makes no sense. It’d be like having cake with no frosting, or a BLT with no bacon.)
With town cleanup days just behind us – where burgers were featured prominently – and Memorial Day just around the corner, we took notice of a press release e-mailed to us recently letting us know that Friday is National Hamburger Day.
MILLIONS OF SUMMIT UP READERS: Holy bras! How do we celebrate this amazing day?
SU: Did you say “holy bras?”
MSUR: Yes. Wanna know why?
SU: We can’t wait.
MSUR: Well, our kids showed us how to text using the “word” function on our cell phone, and we discovered that you can’t type the word “crap.” It won’t do any bad words whatsoever – even a mild one like that. The best it’ll do if you try to type “crap” is “bras.” So we use that.
SU: OK, well, moving on to the topic at hand, which is National Hamburger Day, we’re learning about something called the Motz Burger, which was created by “burger expert” George Motz (and you can find out more about him and another guy named Chef Harry Hawk at http://www.hamburgeramerica.com). It is, we are told, the “archetype for the ultimate hamburger.”
MSUR: Tell us more – and don’t give us any bras.
SU: ‘K, here goes:
The Meat: The Motz burger is made from fresh ground chuck, but you can also use trim from steaks; adding some well aged meat also enhances flavor. Most important is the fat to meat ratio; 20/80 the ideal. George and Harry highly recommend grinding your own, twice, on a coarse setting. If that’s not possible, have your butcher or local supermarket grind for you and make sure to ask for the 20/80 ratio. The grinding process evenly distributes the fat throughout, which is why you don’t need to use expensive prime meat (the marbling is what you pay for).
Do’s and Don’ts:
• Do preheat your skillet on high. We typically like a skillet that’s about 450 degrees.
• Do Toast Your Buns: Add butter (1 teaspoon per bun) to pre-heated pan and place buns cut-side down; toast until lightly brown. If you’re cooking lots of burgers, make buns in a separate pan. Soft, squishy buns are best and will easily soak in the butter.
• Don’t make patties or otherwise compress the meat. Instead, use food scoop or an ice cream scoop to make a 4 oz ball (our ideal). Any size from 1.6 to 5 oz is okay, but the following instructions are based on a 4 oz ball.
• Don’t season the meat or add anything to it, otherwise you’re just making meat loaf not hamburgers.
Cooking Your Burgers: Depending on pan size, place one or more balls into pre-heated (now buttery) pan. No extra butter is needed. Season top of the ball with salt and pepper, to taste. Leave ball alone for 15 seconds, then flip and smash it. After it’s smashed, season with salt, pepper and NEVER press on it again, as that will push out the juices.
Cook burger about 1 minute, flip and NEVER flip again. At this point add some cheese, since the meat will be very hot and helps to melt it. Let cook for another 1 minute and remove. Before cooking the next round, allow pan to return to its pre-heated temperature.
This should create the perfect medium-rare 4 oz hamburger. Cook longer (or less), depending on size of your hamburger, adjusting pan heat to preferred style (rare, medium, etc.).
Toppings: Chef Hawk enjoys a touch of salt, pepper and a good cheese like Jarlsberg, Goat Brie, or even tangy Snøfrisk, with pickle on the side. Sometimes he’ll smear a chipotle mayo sauce on the bun. Set up a toppings bar with raw and toasted onions, bacon, pimentos, mustard, ketchup or relish, lettuce and tomato.
Boy, sounds like a lot of work to us! We usually just get a sleeve of frozos at Safeway and chuck ’em on the grill. They taste great, even with crappy (bras-y) old Kraft Singles.
MSUR: Yeah, and what the heck is Snøfrisk?
SU: We had the same question, and Wikipedia came through: Snøfrisk (“Snow-Fresh”) is a Norwegian goat cheese made by Tine. It was introduced to the public in time for the 1994 Winter Olympics. Made from 80 percent goat cheese and 20 percent cow’s cream, the cheese is white and creamy, and soft enough to be used as a spread. It is sold in a triangular plastic packaging and comes in several flavours, including straight, juniper berry, dill and forest mushrooms.
MSUR: What the hell is Tine?
SU: Why, it’s the largest Norwegian dairy product cooperative, consisting of around 15,850 farmers and 5,734 employees. Any more questions?
Hearing none, we’ll move onto our next topic, which we are about to pull out of very thin air:
Pacman. The venerable old warhorse of a video game just turned 30 years old. Do you remember where you were when people started playing Pacman (assuming you were alive and out of diapers at the time)? Personally, we always preferred Galaga to Pacman, but we were still known to chase some ghosts once in a while.
Anyway, we’re not sure that a video game’s various anniversaries really need to be marked and celebrated, but we suppose it’s better than grim war statistics or soybean crop yields.
Next up: Have you ever wondered why we haven’t had artificial spider silk available? The stuff has a tensile strength five times greater than steel, but scientists haven’t been able to reproduce it because they couldn’t figure out, uh, well here:
According to Science Daily, scientists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the University of Bayreuth have solved the question of how spiders form long, stable, elastic fibers from the proteins stored in their silk glands in seconds. The spider silk is comprised of protein chains linked with stable physical connections, and between these are unlinked areas that contribute to the elasticity – making the silk both strong and flexible. But the mystery behind the molecules are what allows them to be stored in close confinement inside the silk gland without linking up and clumping. The scientists were able to figure out the structure of a control element used in the formation of the spider silk, and now they may be able to soon replicate the way spiders form silk.
Weird, huh? Sez here on http://www.treehugger.com that the possibilities for using a similar material in everything from buildings to bridges to cars and even clothing, are practically infinite. We could make super-strong underwear, for starters, and jeans that never wear out in the knee. Spider jeans! Imagine the marketing possibilities.
We’ll keep up on this development and let you know what all comes of it. If you care.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User