Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heightened Hamburger & Baked Kale Chips

I bought some ground beef at the Farmer's Market (direct from the source!), and decided it was a night for hamburgers.  But true to form, it had to be an extra special hamburger.  I wanted interesting textures and flavors INSIDE the burger as well as on top as condiments.  It became a fun challenge - and I settled on an open faced burger in order to easily pile more stuff on top.  :)

Kale: before baking
Baked Kale Chips
And while I nearly went with some potato-heavy side dish (roasted...mashed...wasn't sure), instead I opted for an old favorite: baked kale chips.  Satisfyingly salty & crunchy like chips, but infinitely better for you (or so I continue to tell myself).  And I also definitely wanted some cheese - I knew it would Gruyere.  However my initial thought was to melt it on top - so pedestrian!  Instead I chopped up the cheese into small cubes and they went into the patties along with some mushrooms and garlic.

Gruyere cubes

Heightened Hamburger
1 1/2 - 2 lb. ground beef
Olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 - 6 dashes, Worcestershire sauce (plus 2 dashes at the end)
1/4 pound Gruyere, cubed
4-6 stalks Asparagus, chopped
1 sweet onion, sliced
Potato buns
Chipotle mayonnaise
1 tomato, sliced thick

I used the same pan for the whole dish - so in a large pan, heat up some olive oil and saute the mushrooms and garlic with a pinch of salt.  Set aside once cooked through to cool.  While this is cooling, wipe out the pan and add a little more olive oil.  Cook the onions without salt for 10 - 12 minutes, until they brown lightly and soften.  Set aside.  Wipe out the pan again, and add some olive oil and saute the asparagus until tender.  Set aside.  Wipe the pan, and heat it over medium-high heat without olive oil.  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the mushroom & garlic mixture.  Add salt & pepper to taste, and 4-6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce.  Add the cubes of cheese and mix thoroughly.  Divide the mixture up into four even patties.  As you're forming the patties, be aware of any cheese cubes that might be sticking out.  Push them in with your finger so that all the cheese is contained within the burger.  These would be great grilled, but I don't have a grill - so 8-10 minutes in the hot pan per side.  Press the burger to check for done-ness (or if you're unsure, you can make a small cut and check the inside).

Open a potato bun and add some chipotle mayonnaise.  Once the burgers are done, add a patty to each bun (top and bottom).  Pile the chopped asparagus over the hamburgers, and then add the onions.  Finally top with a thick slice of tomato, and add one dash of Worcestershire sauce to each to finish it off.

Baked Kale Chips
1 large bunch Kale, washed & torn into pieces by hand
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lay out the washed kale on a baking sheet, drizzle over olive oil, salt & pepper.  Mix by hand to ensure each piece of kale is coated.  Make sure the kale is lying in a single layer.  Into the oven for about 20 minutes - keep an eye on it to watch for crispiness.  I like mine quite crispy, but you could take it out when it still has some heft and moisture to it.  Serve immediately.


  1. I may have to make a stop after work to get the ingredients I need to make these. They look really, really, good! And, as much as I like kale chips, if I ever find out that they aren't better for me, and that they don't have less calories than a bag of potato chips, I'll be opening a big bag and eating sitting down and eating them all myself. I somehow don't think that is going to happen!


  2. The kale chips are better - rather it just depends how much olive oil & salt you use. :)

  3. So...after thinking about these hamburgers all day, I stopped at the store, grabbed all the things I needed to make these,(I forgot asparagus)swiped my debit card and my mind went blank. I could not remember my pin number. I am not even kidding. I got out the credit card, signed my name, at least I remembered that, and got to the car where I promptly remembered my pin. Then on the way home, I got a speeding ticket from a cop that I swear to god was 16 years old. My winning smile and charming personality was not enough to convince him to just give me a warning. When I got home our son was also here and his response to my ticket was "Face it mom, you're getting old, you just don't have it any more". Psh! Anyway, your hambugers were the highlight of my day. They were so good, I am seriously tempted to make them again tomorrow. They were really that good. I think the Gruyere was the perfect choice for these.
    And now, I'm going to go soak my bruised ego in a bubble bath.


  4. Barb - what a day!!! I'm surprised you even wanted to cook when you got home. But I'm glad the burger helped make everything better. And I agree with you - it was almost too good. No idea what made me want to put cubes of cheese inside the patty, but I'm so glad I did. :)