Well Fed 2 By: Melissa Joulwan – Book Review
You should probably know there are a few things that I really suck at in life. The first thing is math. I don’t math. The second thing is writing book reviews in a timely manner. I know. How do I sleep at night right? If I had to offer up an excuse, it would be that I get so excited about cooking ideas in my head, executing said cooking ideas and then getting them to a blog near you, so much so in fact, that I completely space out on book reviews…The process usually goes something like this:
I check the mail and see that I have a package! Yay! I love getting packages in the mail. Every time I get one I immediately say out loud, “You’ve got mail” in the AOL voice. If you were born in the 90’s that reference probably makes absolutely no sense to you and I apologize. Then I bring my new cookbook into the house, immediately flip to the back to see the dessert recipes first and then I read through the rest of the book, devouring every single image, reading the directions, and then marking the recipes I want to make with color coded Post-It tabs…I haven’t mentioned that I’m neurotic yet have I? That can be Number 3. Then when I finish the cookbook, it’s bittersweet and I place the book, organized by size (told you), in my cookbook collection and continue with the things I don’t suck at in life. Pretty much until I’m like, I don’t want to cook out of my head at the moment and I want to cook out of someone else’s head. Then I look at my cookbook collection and have a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment and realize I’ve had a book review due for months. Oops. Fast forward straight to my shame and embarrassment and to this blog post. Sorry Melissa! I love you!
Do you guys have the original Well Fed? It’s so great. It’s like one of those Paleo staple cookbooks. As a side note the recipe for Bora Bora Fireballs is in there. It’s like world famous. Just saying. So Well Fed 2 is a continuation of the first Well Fed which makes me really really happy because that’s EXACTLY what I wanted it to be! Melissa is amazing. She comes from a long line of cooks and was born into a restaurant family. On a trip to the library one day she came across the book Middle Eastern Cooking by Rose Dosti. Melissa describes the cutest journey of this book in the original Well Fed and how it inspired her in so many ways. The dishes Melissa makes are so worldly and full of spices and flavors. Melissa amazes me. The closest I get to worldly is Thai takeout.
So I chose to make this particular recipe from the book to share with you guys because there is a restaurant that I LOVE here in San Diego called Slater’s 50/50. They call it 50/50 because their burger patties are made from 50% beef and 50% bacon. Yes you read that right. Their entire menu is bacon themed, from bacon ketchup, bacon salt, baconnaise, to bacon brownies, they are all about the bacon! They also have a burger called the “Peanut Butter and Jealousy”, it’s, you guessed it, a burger with bacon, peanut butter and strawberry jelly. It sounds so freakin’ weird. So of course I had to try it. You guys it was AMAZING! Who knew that beef paired so well with peanut butter and jelly! When I saw this recipe in Melissa’s book, I knew right away it was the one I was gonna make! So I hope you decide to take a walk on the wild side with us and make this werido burger, it’s so worth the stares and strange looks you’ll get from people. The saying, “Don’t knock it til’ you try it” was invented for a reason people. Just like this burger.
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 pound ground beef
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter or Barney Butter
4-8 butter lettuce leaves
4 slices bacon, cooked (optional)
1. In a small bowl, mix the strawberries, lemon juice, and ginger. Set aside. Preheat a gas grill with all burners on high, lid closed, 10-15 minutes.
2. Mix the ground beef with salt and pepper and shape into 4 patties. Gently press down the center of each patty until it’s about 1/2-inch thick to make a slight depression; this will prevent them from turning bulbous when you cook them. Grill patties, uncovered and without pressing down on them, until they’re seared on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the burgers and continue grilling to desired temperature: 3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes for well-done.
3. While the burgers are cooking, heat a small saucepan over medium-high. Pour the strawberries and their juice into the pan and saute the berries until they’re very soft and syrupy. They should be reduced to about 1/2 cup. Allow to cool a bit.
4. Place the sunflower seed butter or almond butter in a microwave safe dish (or saucepan) and heat until thinned, about 40 seconds in the microwave.
5. When the burgers are good to go, lay out one large butter lettuce leaf and top each patty with 1 tablespoon of melted sunflower seed butter, or almond butter, and a few tablespoons of the strawberry jelly, then top with bacon and cover with another large butter lettuce leaf.
The original recipe calls for a sprinkle of scallions instead of bacon. I didn’t have scallions on hand but I had bacon. So there.
So are you guys still all grossed out or what?! Don’t be. I promise, promise, promise, this burger is crazy delicious. If you are someone who loves the combination of sweet and salty, then guess what my friend, this burger’s for you. Go grab a copy of Well Fed 2 already. Until next week, love your faces.