The Mark Burger

It's finally spring in Minnesota! At least for a few days. And with that comes grilling season! I've only grilled once so far this season before this weekend. To get in the spirit, I posted asking for friends favorite grilling meals. I got some great suggestions and today tried a burger suggestion - which I am calling The Mark Burger, because it was inspired by my friend and colleague, Mark. Super creative burger name, I know... but I dig it.

The Mark Burger

He said he likes to use pork burger (but I used 92% lean beef) and mix in diced onions, A1 steak sauce, and mustard (I used dijon mustard). I didn't measure, but put in about how much I thought might be good. The obvious next steps were to make patties and grill them - I made four 1/4 lb. patties.

The other twist was that, instead of ketchup, he said he tops with BBQ sauce, so I used Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. I also bought a jar of pickles that also had pickled red peppers and carrots in the jar and used a mix of pickles, red peppers, and carrots on top. 

And, to make a long story short, it was delicious - I'll likely make The Mark Burger again this grilling season and recommend you try it, as well. :)


Dear Mother Nature

Hedgie has starred in his first video - in stop action. Enjoy!
*better with sound turned on*

Created in MN on April 18, 2013.


a near disaster

OK, that may be a little dramatic, but serious.

This Easter, I was assigned to bring a dessert, so looked and looked and decided to do a carrot cake because a) it's Easter-y, b) I've never made one before, and c) it's delicious.

I made Paula Deen's carrot cake recipe from the Food Network, under the assumption that I couldn't fail. Right? Paula Deen has awesome stuff... and this was classified as "easy." So, I shredded 3 cups of carrots, mixed the ingredient, baked it and frosted it. And, except for the frosting job looking like it had been done by an 8-year-old (I've never claimed to be a good froster), it was awesome! And looked like this:

So, why the near disaster?

Because the scenario above was how it turned out the SECOND time I tried. The first time, I mixed it "all" up and the batter looked funny - dark and  lumpy. But, I've never made a carrot cake before and I attributed the "lumpy" to being filled with a bunch of shredded carrots -- what do I know? I didn't want to doubt Paula Deen.

I proceeded to bake it and they came out in what I can only describe spongy frisbee shape. At this point, I'm disappointed and a little: What the?!?! Yet, I considered that it may still taste OK... and, if frosted, no one will know it looks bad anyway.

Thankfully, I had the foresight to make a few mini muffins so we could taste it without cutting into the cake. I can only describe the taste as 'salt and gross'. And then it hit me... I didn't put the sugar in! Crap.

So, I went to town to get more carrots, eggs, and pecans and started over at 7:30 p.m. after dinner. I shredded the carrots (again). And mixed it again... this time with sugar. And it made some kind of amazing chemistry miracle happen where the batter looked normal. So, optimistically, I baked it. And, again, it rose and looked like cake this time! It's amazing what a little sugar will do, I guess.

 So, there you have it. Fortunately, no one besides me had to taste the first one.

Now, make me feel better and tell me you've done this?!