Burgers on the Grill

As you hopefully remember, it was Mother’s Day on the weekend just gone. To be precise, it was on Sunday.

I had made reservations at one of our favourite local eateries (not A&W this time!) but, seeing as the weather was hot and sunny and we had just got our backyard pool set up, we decided to cancel our reservations and stay home for burgers grilled at the poolside.

So my grilling skills were to be put to the test. I started with a pound of lean ground beef and a pound of ground pork. I added in about a tablespoon of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce. Mixed it up.

Added about half a cup of bread crumbs – except I didn’t have any bread crumbs so we used the mortar and pestle to grind into crumbs a half cup of whole wheat Cheerios. That’s your “Dad in the Burbs” food hack for today! Using what we have.

Added one beaten egg, and mixed.

The most effective mixer is your hand. Get in there and mix it up. Just be sure to wash really carefully before AND after hand mixing the meat.

Again using your hands, form the burger mix into patties. I prefer thick patties so that they stay juicier while getting grilled.

I also find it is easier to get an accurate measurement of the internal temperature on thick patties because the thermometer doesn’t as easily go right through the burger.

On the grill. I’m testing out these silicone grill mats – they work really well to prevent flare ups but the “downside” is that they don’t get the grill tracks on the burgers the same way that you do if grilling without the mat.

Keep on the grill until the burgers reach an internal temperature of 160°F. I try to limit the amount of messing around I do with the burgers – this is a personal struggle I have.

I need to develop my trust in the grill. Place the burger on the grill and leave it alone until it is time to flip it. I still don’t trust myself and tend to find myself flipping the burgers three or four times. That’s one of my goals for this grilling season – I’ll develop my trust.

Once the burgers are done, like I said I like to go to 160°F to have a medium well done burger, plate them and let them rest.

After the burgers came off the grill I put the buns face down on the grill get a bit of a crisp toasty side going.

And then serve them!

Overall, we all liked the burgers (except Picky Pants) and it was a lovely poolside dinner with the family.

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Backroads Adventure; Harrison East to Boston Bar

I went for a backroads adventure motorcycle ride with a good buddy of mine. We were trying to ride up the east side of Harrison Lake before turning further east to go up and over the mountains that separate the lake from the Fraser Canyon.

We left the burbs early Saturday morning for our backroads adventure. We rode up to Harrison Hot Springs where we gassed up the bikes and bought emergency provisions.

Then we double checked our map before heading into the back country. It is important to be prepared! We knew we wouldn’t have cell service up top so we brought along a paper copy of a map.

The scenery was beautiful and we stopped frequently to marvel at the sights, including seeing many incredible waterfalls, a black bear, and a deer.

There are many roads that branch off the main road so make sure to stay on the right road – in our case, the Harrison East Road.

There were quite a few side roads so we were thankful to have our map with us.

All things considered, the roads were in great shape. A few patches of rough riding, but overall, they were quite passable.

The most difficult riding was the deep sand parts. Sand and snow are motorcycle’s kryptonite.

Speaking of snow, we got to this point and that was it. No more forward movement due to the snow.

We knew we had significantly more elevation to climb so we didn’t even try riding through the snow. To be honest, snow is the worst for riding through.

Funny thing about the above video – if I hadn’t tried putting my feet down I probably would’ve looked more “graceful”. I just remind myself that this is my first time on a bike in two years and first time “off road” riding in many years.

So we turned around. Boo. I really wanted to make it over the summit and get down into Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon.

We stopped at the Old Settler Pub and had their bacon, mozzarella burger special.

We will try this route again in a couple of weeks.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the people who have “mothered” others.

Put picture of my Mom here – except she won’t ever let anyone take her picture.

Mother’s Day is a tough day for many. Particularly those in the restaurant business. And perhaps equally difficult for those in the flower business. But to be honest, today can be a tough day for those who’ve lost their mother’s or who had a less than ideal relationship with their mother.

With that note, today I want to acknowledge my mother.

My mom was not a perfect mother. And I’ll add that she is still not a perfect mother. But when you consider what happened to the only person who allegedly was a perfect person, who would want to be perfect after that?

But my mom. As I said, I have not always had an ideal relationship with my mother. We have disagreed and gone our separate ways for days, weeks, or months at a time. But we’ve always come back to each other.

Usually with a grudging “I’m waiting for you to apologize first” approach. And typically, we work through our differences.

And I know that no matter what my mom said or did, her motivation was her endless love for me and her family.

Yep, I often thought/think she is as crazy as a shit-house rat has a different point of view than me. But I know that she has always been motivated by love for her family.

Doesn’t mean we agree. It just is the way it is.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. And happy Mother’s Day to all the other moms out there.

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Linguine Carbonara; Dad in the Burbs Style

The other day I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to cook up some linguine carbonara.

So I did it – Dad in the Burbs style which means I used a few “hacks” and whatever I had in my fridge to make it happen.

Linguine CarbonaraFresh noodles, grated cheese, and sour cream.

Linguine CarbonaraWe diced up an onion, a few cloves of garlic and shallots.

Linguine CarbonaraAdded the garlic, onions, and shallots to the pan of already cooked down pancetta. I let that cook until it was all squishy and ooey goodness.

Linguine CarbonaraIn my large stainless mixing bowl I put two eggs and sour cream.

Linguine CarbonaraThen mixed that. Mixed it really thoroughly. Whip it, whip it good!

Linguine CarbonaraI continued to whip the eggs and sour cream mixture while holding the mixing bowl over the pot of cooking pasta noodles.

Linguine CarbonaraThen once the noodles were cooked I scooped them out without draining them and added them to the bowl of whipped up egg, cream, and onion-pancetta mixture.

Linguine CarbonaraAfter a good mixing, I plated the Dad in the Burbs-style linguine carbonara.

Linguine CarbonaraAnd we ate it all up!

I will add the ingredients list below (when I get a minute).

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French Onion Soup Take II

Our second attempt at Instant Pot French Onion soup went much better than my first attempt.

The difference? I cooked the onions longer before putting the pressure on. I also used more red wine while cooking the onions!

And yes, after the soup was done, I served it up into bowls and baked the bowls for a little less than 10 minutes – just until the cheese melted into the piece of bread I floated on top of the soup.

The results were great. My little foodie daughter loved it, I loved it, and we agreed to make it again … when the weather cools off a bit!

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Thrilling Grilling

I don’t know why I stopped grilling last fall. It doesn’t really get that cold out here on the west coast so there really is no reason to stop. So when I saw my blogger/podcaster friend Tony Conrad (teller of Bad Dad Jokes) grilling, that got me thinking – why not get grilling again?

Funny thing, many Canadians actually call it barbecuing – but my American friends are quick to point out that using gas, propane or natural gas means you are grilling.

Barbecue requires some kind of charcoal or wood like product.

At any rate, weekend just gone, the kids and I got into cleaning up the back porch where the grill sits and they asked if we could do some grilling this weekend. So why not?!

Today I did another two pork steaks – they were on sale so someone in the house (not me) bought a big ol’ bag of pork.

I figured why not try making cheese toast for Miss Picky Eater in our house? Meh. It didn’t work like I wanted. Bread just got dried out and the cheese looked sort of melted. Funny thing, the kid liked/ate it.

I also had three small sweet peppers. I put them on the grill and they got beautifully soft and sweet.

Ah, I love grilling season! My “grill goal” for this year is to make pizza on the grill. Let’s see how that goes.

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A Weekend of Work, Fun, and Food

A good weekend of work, fun, and food.

The first lunch on Saturday was in a tiny hole-in-the-wall place near the Executive Plaza Hotel on North Road. Tiny place that I didn’t catch the name of. Very nicely cut sashimi.

Finally, I’ve got the outdoor grill up and running again! The kids wanted smokies so I went to our local grocery store and bought some Presidents Choice.

I have to admit, I was very unimpressed. The “skins” were far too thick and were really tough to bite through. Not impressed.

Back to meetings so … food required! Back to the Blacksmith Bakery in Fort Langley for a Reuben sandwich. Sublime. Reuben and a lovely side salad.

And then home again and to the grill. My favourite cut of pork is the lowly pork steak. So I grilled one up and sliced it up for the kids and I for a perfect late dinner.

Of course my motto is, dessert before dinner, so we had a couple of scoops of ice cream from the patio at Coquitlam’s Pasta Polo.

We stopped at Pasta Polo for a cool drink after hiking in Belcarra up towards Jug Island.

Cheers for a great weekend of work, fun, and food.

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Travel the Fraser Canyon

We had a fabulous trip up through the Fraser Canyon last weekend. Beautiful weather – including some incredible rain storms, sunshine, and wind.

We also had some great food in our little foodie gem of a town, Hope, BC. We started with a big share bowl of truffle fries covered with a dusting of finely grated aged cheddar cheese. Truffle oil can be overwhelming but Chef Brent Gillis at 293 Wallace St nailed this point. Just enough to tantalize the taste buds.

While at the cabin we cooked and ate many delights. My favourite was the quartered, lightly oiled with Avocado oil, brussel sprouts. Oven roasted for 20-25 minutes. You know it is good when kids ask for more.

On the way down the canyon we stopped again in Hope. This time at the Blue Moose Coffee Shop for a soup, sandwich, and chicken pot pie. The chicken pot pie was our new favourite bargain meal. At $6 the chicken pot pie is a very tasty value meal that both kids and I enjoyed.

The kids loved the fact that the chicken pot pie was served “upside down” on the plate.

That’s it from our most recent Travel the Canyon foodie adventure.

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Tasty Meat and Potato Pie

The kids and I saw a video on the Facebook about making what we called Meat and Potato Pie and we decided to give it a try ourselves – with what we had on hand, in the kitchen.

We started out making a Bernaise sauce – basically melting a 1/2 lb of butter and whisking in the powdered mix we bought.

It was delicious even if it was “from a mix”.

Next, we boiled up the bag of potatoes we had on hand. Next time I would choose bigger Russet potatoes – for the texture as well as the size of the rounds we cut them into.

Then the meat. In the video they used ground beef. I had cooked (in our Instant Pot) a pork tenderloin the previous day so I pulled it apart like a “pulled pork” and added panko crumbs to it to make “meatballs”.

Meat is ready to be “meat-balled” and potatoes ready for placement. It is go time.

Place the slices of potatoes flat in your oven proof baking dish

And then add meatballs. With more slices of potato between the meatballs to create little “cups” that you can…

ladle the Bernaise sauce into. I was generous with the sauce – it tastes great!

I then sprinkled on top lotsa-mozza cheese.

Lotsa. And then slid the dish into the oven (pre-heated to 450°) and let it back.

In the video they showed it baking for 20 minutes. Snopes confirmed to me that 20 minutes is not true. I had it in the oven for 40 minutes before the internal temperature hit 170°.

It did hit the temperature though.

And then I served it. And both kids liked it enough to actually eat some of it.

So the bottom line … it wasn’t the prettiest dish. I used a sauce mix. I didn’t use ground beef like they did in their fancy video. But that is what “A Dad in the Burbs” cooking is like. I use what I have on hand. I make it work. I feed my kids.

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Friday Pinterest Fails; Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings

The guy on the Food Channel made it look so easy to make bacon wrapped onion rings!

So easy! You just wrap the bacon around the onion ring, slide a toothpick through the connection where the strips of bacon begin and end. Easy. Then bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Easy. Well, not so much.

Ironically, my troubles probably stemmed from the fact that I stopped in to see my friends at Port Moody’s Meat Craft and bought 8 strips of their finest, house made, thick cut bacon.

If I had just bought the regular grocery store variety of bacon I probably would have had more success. The Meat Craft bacon was too good. Unlike grocery store bacon, the Meat Craft bacon had actual meat on the bacon! Have you ever complained that bacon has too much meat?

I tried. I really tried.

I will try again with softer, more fatty bacon next time!

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