Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Grillin' Season

Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries & Shakes

Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas & Sally Jackson

"I'm not telling you, 'Never eat a hamburger.' Just eat the good ones with real beef, you know, like the ones from that mom-and-pop diner down the street, ... And it's so good that when you take a bite out of that burger, you just know somewhere in the world a vegan is crying." - Homer Simpson

When Bobby Flay first started on the Food Network so many years ago, I wasn’t a fan. I thought he was cocky and arrogant, but I had to admit, he had charisma. I remember one of his earliest shows with Jackie Malouf (who by the way disappeared never to be heard from again), Boy Meets Grill, and some others. I began to change my mind, and decided his cockiness was just New York City moxie, that those of us born in the city seem to carry with us. I then, with the exception of Iron Chef, which I don’t really enjoy, started to watch him in earnest. The boy has matured into a fine man and a Top Chef. I started to buy his cookbooks and love his throw downs – hear that Bobby, I’m up for the challenge!

In his ninth and latest book, Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, I think you see the essence of who Bobby Flay really is. I simple kid who made it big in New York City, working his tail off to be a success, but at heart is just a local boy who has lived his dream, and now wants to share it with the world.

Bobby’s newest restaurant, which opened in Lake Grove, Long Island (NY),in the Smithhaven Mall, is the culmination of a life long dream of Bobby’s, to own a successful burger joint, and Bobby’s Burger Palace is that reality. In fact, Bobby has opened two others as well, one in
Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, New Jersey, and another in Bergen Town Center, in Paramus, New Jersey.

As Bobby tells it, when he goes home at night, he doesn’t want foie gras, or caviar, he craves a nice tasty burger with great fries and a shake. He wrote this book to share his passions with his fans, and those who crave a better burger. To be fair, this is not a book for vegetarians. For the health conscious, you can substitute turkey, and there are some tuna burgers.

Bobby starts with the essentials of what makes a great burger – his preference is ground Angus chuck, some good Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. His philosophy is the burger is simple and then you build the toppings. From there, he goes on to describe the skillets, cooking times for the perfect burger, and then the cheeses. From there, he takes you through about 30 of the most delicious hamburgers you can imagine. From the Cheyenne Burger topped with Cheddar Cheese, bacon, barbeque sauce and French fried onions, to the California Burger topped with Avocado relish, onions, cilantro, lime, jalapeño chilies, to the Arthur Avenue Burger topped with olive oil, garlic, red chili flakes, ketchup, oregano, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper and a Fontina cheese Frico, there is something for everyone.

Then, it’s on to the fries, and the secret to the perfect fry – no telling – you have to buy the book! He goes through the different types of fries, regular fries, shoestring, steak house, oven roasted, sweet potato fries, plantain fries, Beer batter onion rings, buttermilk onion rings, if your mouth isn’t watering by now, check your pulse and see if you’re breathing!

From there, it’s on to condiments, sauces, and seasoning mixes, pickles, ketchup, jalapeños, recipes for spice mixes, pickling, you name it, it’s here.

To end this book on a sweet note, the final chapter is dedicated to the milkshake. If you can’t find shake you like, I can’t imagine where you would go from here. There are over twenty different types of milkshakes, from Blackberry Cheesecake to Dark Chocolate with Fluffy Coconut Cream, to Toasted Marshmallow, to Black and Whites, to a Lemon Meringue Pie Milkshake…they are all here and look good enough to lick the pages.
I may have to go right out and order a milk shake maker, lol

The food photography in this book, taken by Ben Fink, makes you want to go in and eat the pages, as you read the book. It gives new meaning to devouring the book!

Of all of Bobby’s books, this is my favorite thus far because, these are recipes you can successfully make at home, and your family (unless they are vegetarians will love them) although I bet a vegetarian could get some ideas for their toppings on a veggie burger too.
I would definitely recommend buying this book, whether or not you are a fan of Bobby’s is inconsequential, it’s a great cookbook, standing on its own merit. It will be a welcome addition to any cookbook collection, a great gift for a Bachelor, a great Father’s Day gift for the Dad who loves to grill, a great book for newlyweds, singles, just about anyone who enjoys a nice juicy burger.

As Julia Child once said, “"It is the Americans who have managed to crown minced beef as hamburger, and to send it round the world so that even the fussy French have taken to le boeuf hache, le hambourgaire."


French Fries, Potato Chips, and Onion Rings
Condiments and Seasoning
Resources and Acknowledgments

This book is a culmination of Bobby’s dreams, and you will feel a part of his world. I think you get to know a little of the man behind the persona when reading this book. Filled with one delicious recipe after another, it’s like Bobby’s way of giving back to his followers, a cookbook for the real people.

Take a deep breath, can you smell the grill heating, smell the aroma of the burgers grilling, the onions sautéeing, the fresh smells of the fruits and berries in the shakes. Are you hungry yet? Start grilling, ‘tis the season!

I always include a recipe from the book I am reviewing and this is no exception. As always, it is difficult to make a choice, but I chose the Cheyenne Burger because it looked so good, and I am a fan of those delicious shoestring onion rings

Cheyenne Burger

1½ pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons canola oil
8 slices smoked sharp cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns, split, toasted, if desired
½ cup barbeque sauce (recipe in the book)
8 slices crisp cooked bacon (optional)
½ recipe shoestring onion rings (recipe in the book)
Chopped flat leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

1. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4 –inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Cook the burgers, using the oil (see page 16) and topping each one with a slice of the cheese and a basting cover during the last few minutes of cooking (see page 21.)

3. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and slather each one with the barbeque sauce. Top with bacon, if using, shoestring onion rings, parsley, and then the bun tops and serve immediately.

Book Title: Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes
Author: Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas & Sally Jackson
Category: Celebrity Cookbooks
ISBN 978-0-307-46063-9
Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, New York 10019
Published: 2009
Edition: First
Description: Hard Cover
Illustrations: No
Photographs: Beautiful Color Photos
Price: $25.95
Reviewed by: Elise Feiner – April 26, 2009

Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes can be ordered by scrolling down to the bottom of the blog to our Foodfanataholics Cookbook Nook, go to the sidebar on the right and click on Cookbook of the Month or by hitting the button on the sidebar.

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1 comment:

  1. Great review Elise! Sounds like a wonderful book. I have tried the toasted marshmallow milkshake recipe from this book using vegan marshmallows and it was wonderful. I never would have thought to make a milkshake with toasted marshmallows in it!

    As for you getting a milkshake machine, you'd better figure out where you can put it first. LOL A blender makes a fine substitute if you're truly out of space.