Friday, May 3, 2013

"I'd Gladly Pay You Tuesday, For A Hamburger Today" National Hamburger Month

“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today.” Does that sound familiar? Yes, those of us that are from the older generation remember a character from Popeye called “Wimpy,” who just like most Americans have a fascination for hamburgers. Why is it, that the “Hamburger” is on Americas top 10 list for go to food? A hamburger or burger is a sandwich that consists of a cooked patty of ground meat and is generally served with various garnish or condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, relish, pickles, and we can’t forget the cheese. All of this is packed inside a sliced bun, often baked specially shaped for this purpose. Mostly the meat patty is beef, but hamburgers can also be made with ground chicken, turkey, and vegetarian. I guess with that being said, I can understand why everyone is in love with the hamburger.

The month of May is “National Hamburger Month” and is celebrated each year by a huge amount of people. This months special celebration should not be confused with May 28th which is “National Hamburger Day.” Did you know that the word hamburger comes from the Hamburg steak, (pounded beef) which originated in the German city of Hamburg? The term “hamburger” was first recorded in English in the year 1884 but was probably used much earlier. The recipe was brought to North America by large numbers of people emigrating from Germany at the time. The form hamburger steak first appeared in a Washington state newspaper in 1889. The first recipe close to the current idea of a hamburger, using ground beef mixed with onion and pepper dates from 1902.

Some Hamburger fun facts:
  • Americans consume 14 billion a year and buy 5 billion hamburgers
  • “Speedy” was the original mascot for McDonald’s 
  • McDonald’s is the most popular burger restaurant in the U.S.
  • White Castle is the oldest continuous running hamburger chains
  • 1945 was the year the first self-serve McDonald’s opened
There is no doubt that hamburgers are on the top of all Americans go to food, young and old. When I was young coming from an Italian background, my mom didn’t serve us hamburgers frequently. We ate more meatballs than hamburgers. Hamburgers were more of a “summer” food, grilled on the BBQ for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Fathers day, Labor Day, picnics, and family reunions. I remember those picnics with the family, having a juicy hamburger with all the fixings. I loved mine with ketchup, cheese, lettuce, and a pickle which was in-between a sesame seeded bun lightly toasted on the grill. When you took a bite, the cheese would be gooey and the ketchup would get all over your mouth. Besides the hamburger which was the main attraction my favorite side would be thinly French fries dripping in ketchup. As we grew up, my mother then would cook us hamburgers for dinner throughout the year. It doesn’t matter which way you eat hamburgers because it sill is and will always remain America’s favorite food.  So let’s have fun and celebrate this month by grilling up your own juicy hamburgers for you and your family!

My recipe this week is meal that takes the hamburger to my Italian roots. This super easy burger can be served over spaghetti or served on a toasted roll. Which ever way you devour it, you can taste the flavors of the onion, peppers, spices, cheese, and tomato sauce all wrapped into the ground beef. So delicious that with each bite you are taken back to Italy in a café overlooking the rolling Italian hillside. Molto Bene!!! 

Italian Hamburgers

Courtesy from "Taste of Home"
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons dry un-flavored bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped green or red sweet pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 pound of lean ground beef
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
Spaghetti or toasted roll, optional

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Crumble beef and sprinkle 1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano cheese over the mixture; mix well. Shape into two patties. In a large skillet, cook patties for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Combine the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning; pour over patties. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve on top of spaghetti or on a toasted roll. Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah.

Till Next Time……………………………….........

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