So a couple weeks ago I had a very strange urge, and that urge was to eat a CHEESEBURGER.
A cheeseburger! Even in California, where we occasionally rode our bikes to the In N' Out, I had started to order the secret menu grilled cheese and eat it stuffed with fries. I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually cooked a cheeseburger. I kind of still can't. Was it the time we got a hibachi grill in Ann Arbor, and I killed the burgers beyond recognition? That would make it five years since I'd cooked a cheeseburger.
So. John and I stood over the stove to make said cheeseburger. It had been so long that we actually broke out the Joy of Cooking to make sure we wouldn't kill it. We also made onions caramelized in butter to stick on top of said cheeseburger, just for ultimate cheeseburger experience.
Frying a hamburger gets grease EVERYWHERE, so if you have some sort of pan-covering screen that lets air in but keeps grease from flying all over the stove, use it. Otherwise at least take the teapot off the burner next to it. I eventually got out our wire strainer, which sort of worked.
Assembly: bun (warmed in the onion pan), burger, cheddar cheese, onions, lots of lettuce. I think I may also have put stoneground mustard on the bun.
I ate my cheeseburger and ate it hard.
Then we had half a package of ground beef left, so we stuck it in the freezer, where it will probably stay for an extended period of time. We still had the rest of the pack of buns, though. Yeah, I could totally put them in the freezer too. Mmph.
Instead, a couple days later, I roasted some mushrooms and garlic with olive oil, a little butter (easily left out, for those of you) and thyme. Then I warmed up one of the buns, slapped my mushrooms inside it, and ate it all in very much the same fashion as the original cheeseburger.
Using small mushrooms instead of huge portabellas may seem counterinstinctive, but it worked well. For one thing, I don't like portabellas; they're too tough. I also had a big bagful of farmer's market mushrooms which were just begging to be eaten properly. The end result was more of a sloppy joe than a burger per se, which I found entertaining.
In conclusion, it was really good. I blame Nigel Slater.
Roasted mushrooms do take a while, though. Another couple days later I wanted a faster, greenier version. Clearly, a stovetop mushroom kale sloppy joe burger conglomerate was the way to go.
For this one, I softened garlic in olive oil, sliced and sauteed mushrooms, added chopped kale, steamed everything for just a minute, then slapped it all into the bun and ate it.
This was perhaps the best idea ever. Do you hate kale? Make a sloppy joe out of it and see how much you hate it then! More to the point, do you like kale, but are you sick of making it as serious winter food like white bean kale soup or wilted greens? Make it into a sloppy joe and see how much more you like it then! Oh man. The whole compilation of garlicky, dense mushrooms plus totally green textured bright popping kale in a soft bun was excellent. I so want to try this with a drop or two of mustard oil sometime in the future.