Thursday, September 30, 2010

Macho Nacho Burger

This is the seventh burger we've made from the Cheese and Burger Society. With burgers like this one, it's getting really difficult to pick a favorite. Fortunately, we don't have to pick!

The tortilla chips on the burger were a nice change!

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe

  • 1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 2 T black olives, sliced
  • Pickled jalapeños, to taste
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 2 large slices tomato
  • 2 Hamburger buns
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese

1. Form beef into 2 patties and season. Grill until cooked to your desired doneness. Top patties with cheddar and Swiss. Toast buns and remove.

2. To assemble burger, cover bottom buns with chips and add lettuce, red onion, jalapeños and black olives. Add patties, followed by tomato and more jalapeño if desired.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Revolver, Findlay, OH

A few weeks ago we met up with some long-time friends in Findlay, Ohio, for dinner. They made reservations at the Revolver, a small restaurant in the downtown area.

The menu at the Revolver is uncomplicated, and always changing. As soon as you walk in the doors you know you are somewhere special. Anita and I had been eagerly anticipating our meal ever since our friends proposed the idea.

Our meal began with an amuse bouche that was really out of this world. I don't remember what was in it, I just remember closing my eyes and enjoying every second. Next came soups and salads, which were also very good. My salad had the freshest organic greens. They were so good I could have eaten them without the fresh-grated Parmesan or dressing.

For the entreé, Anita ordered the duck breast which was served over braised cabbage. Anita had never had duck before, and although she might have been a tad squeamish at first, she absolutely loved it. I ordered the NY strip, which came with creamy polenta. The steak was cooked perfectly. The polenta.... was to die for. I could have had ten bowls of the polenta and probably still asked for more.

Our friends also enjoyed their meals. The restaurant was very accommodating of one our party with food allergies.

Service was great. The food was great. It was a great evening! If you're anywhere near Findlay, eat at the Revolver!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Johnny Appleseed Burger

This is the sixth burger we've made from the Cheese and Burger Society. Who would've thought that putting sauteed apples on a burger would be good? Well, it is good! Very good!

Don't be shy with the mustard.

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe

  • 1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 2 slices Cheddar cheese
  • 4 thick slices Maple bacon, cooked
  • 1 red Apple, sliced thin
  • Whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 Hamburger buns
  • 2 t butter, divided
1. In a large skillet, melt 1 teaspoon of butter. Add apple slices and sautee until starting to soften. Remove.

2. Add remaining butter and melt. Add red onion and sautee until softened. Remove.

3. Preheat grill to medium high.

4. Form beef into 2 patties and season. Grill until cooked to your desired doneness. Top two patties with cheddar. Toast buns and remove.

5. To assemble burgers, top bottom buns with half of the apple and red onion. Add the beef patty and bacon. Slather the top bun with the mustard. Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

USAF Museum, Dayton, Part 4

This is our fourth post on our trip to the USAF Museum in Dayton. Our third post was on mostly on the World War I-era airplanes on display there.

This post contains some of the World War II aircraft on display. This is just a fraction of the many planes they have at the museum.

I believe the above is the first jet actually used in WWII. It was highly unstable and didn't see much service, if any.

Me-262. A late-comer to World War II. It had to be intimidating to the Allied pilots, at least at first.

C-47. One of the most-widely produced aircraft in history.

P-52 Mustang.

This struck me as quite odd. Half helicopter, half airplane. I bet it was a handful to fly. My bud Erich emailed me and let me know that it's an Autogyro. Thanks, Erich!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muffaletta Salad

Anita really, really likes olives, so I am always looking for new recipes that include plenty of them. Black or green, the more the merrier.

This salad is easy to make. Make sure to let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours for the flavors to get happy. The longer the better. The original recipe came from Guy Fieri.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours or more
Printable Recipe


  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup olive juice (from jar or can of green olives)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 t red chili flakes
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, diced
  • 1/2 cup green olives, diced
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, minced
  • 3 cups orzo, cooked
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, diced

1. Place all ingredients from the garlic to the red onion in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Do not puree. Put in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

2. Add orzo to the vegetables and toss. Add cheese and toss again.

3. Place leaves on a platter and top with the salad. Garnish with tomato.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lumberjack Burger

Better hold off on the sides! This burger's a big one!

This is the fifth burger we've made from the Cheese and Burger Society. To quote their site:

As the story goes, a guy once dropped The Lumberjack on his left foot and ended up breaking a few bones. No one showed any sympathy since he’d been holding it with only one hand. Everyone knows The Lumberjack demands the servitude of both your mitts. Needless to say, nobody signed his cast.

Well, I can believe it!

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe

  • 1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 6 slices thick bread
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 slices Cheddar cheese
  • Bread and Butter pickles
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 small head Iceberg lettuce, chopped

1. Preheat grill to medium high.

2. Form beef into 4 patties and season. Grill until cooked to your desired doneness. Top two patties with cheddar and the other two with Swiss. Toast bread and remove.

3. To assemble burgers, top one slice of bread with mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise. Add onion, lettuce, and pickles, followed by one of the patties. Repeat with another slice of bread. Top with the remaining bread.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homemade Bacon

Homemade bacon... with store-bought biscuits! Oh no! If you'd seen my last few homemade biscuits, you'd understand. I made up for it by putting some scrambled egg and cheese fatties on them along with some sliced Tillamook sharp cheddar.

This was my first time making bacon. I was very happy with the results.

I started with a 3 or so pound pork belly. I trimmed it slightly. I then put it in a baggie with about 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of Morton Tender Quick. I put the baggie in a 36-40° F fridge for about 10 days, turning the baggie daily. I then rinsed the meat several times and dried it well.

I fired up the smoker to 225° F and smoked the pork over some apple wood for about 1 1/2-2 hours until the meat reached 150° F. I took the pork off, let it cool slightly, and sliced it. I ended up slicing it rather thick. I think next time I'll get a larger belly and use my meat slicer to get some nice slices that are just a tad thinner.

The bacon had a great smoked flavor with just a hint of brown sugar. We both really enjoyed the flavor. Anita thought the meat was a tad chewier then store-bought bacon. I'm not sure why that was other than maybe I need to cure the pork for another day or two. I fried up some more of the bacon the next night for burgers and it was outstanding. I wish I'd had more!

Oh, and I got the original idea for doing this from a great podcast I listen to, My life as a foodie. Check it out on iTunes. Really great stuff!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

USAF Museum, Dayton, Part 3

This is our third post on our trip to the USAF Museum in Dayton. Our second post was on the various airplane dioramas on display there.

Here are some of the WWI-era planes at the museum. As with all of the planes on display, they are very well restored. As you walk through the museum, you start with the early years of flight, and you end with the modern era and space. It's amazing how much airplanes and the technology that goes into them has changed in just a little over 100 years.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aunt Millie Burger

This is the fourth burger we've made from the Cheese and Burger Society. So far, they've all been great!

You'd think you were having a Greek salad if it weren't for the beef patty. The original recipe didn't call for cucumber, but I added some because, well, I like cucumbers on my Greek salad!

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe

  • 1/2-1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 2 hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 4 slices red onion
  • Arugula
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 T Italian salad dressing
  • Small cucumber, sliced thin lengthwise (optional)

1. Preheat grill to medium high.

2. Form patties and season. Grill until cooked to your desired doneness. Toast buns and remove.

3. To assemble burgers, top bottom bun with the dressing, arugula, cucumber, red onion, olives, and some of the cheese. Add the beef, more cheese, and the tomato. Add top bun and enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chocolate Fudgies

We subscribe to a wonderful magazine, Lousiana Cookin'. It is always full of great recipes and pictures. We usually end up running off and making several recipes out of an issue as soon as we receive it. The October 2010 magazine was no exception. We made these yummy chocolate fudgies almost immediately!

These cookies are super fudgy, yummy!

Makes: 4 dozen cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 18.25 oz box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 8 oz container fat-free Cool Whip, thawed if frozen
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar(more as needed)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large bowl, mix the egg, cake mix, whipped topping, and chocolate chips by hand. Batter will be very thick, sticky, and gooey.

3. Coat two baking sheets with non-stick spray.

4. Spread confectioners sugar out in a pie plate. Form batter into ping pong ball-sized balls, roll in sugar, and place on baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2"-2" between balls so cookies can spread. As the batter is very sticky, you might find it easier to handle if you first put some confectioners on your hands before making the cookie balls.

5. Bake 10-15 minutes until starting to crisp just along the edges. Remove and let cool on cooling racks. Continue making cookie balls and baking until all batter is used.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grilled Avocado, Tomato and Red Onion Salad

Times are good when tomatoes are in season.

I wanted to try something new, and this recipe hit the spot. The pesto and pine nuts really add a nice twist. The original recipe from Michael Chiarello called for sprinkling shredded Parmiggian-Reggiano over the salad before serving. I had some fresh buffalo mozzarella on hand, so I used that on hand. I think it would also be good with crumbled feta or even queso blanco.

Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
Printable Recipe


  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and halved
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 T red onion, diced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T pesto
  • 1 T pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Cheese for topping (fresh parm, mozzarella, or feta)

1. Preheat grill to medium.

2. Drizzle avocados with olive oil and place on grill pit-opening side down for 30-45 seconds.

3. Place tomatoes on platter and top with avocados. Drizzle with more oil.

4. In a small bowl, mix the red onion, lemon juice and a little olive oil. Spoon onion into avocado cavities then drizzle the dish with the remaining lemon juice/olive oil mixture.

5. Drizzle dish with pesto and pine nuts. Top with cheese.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Firehouse Burger

This is the third burger we've made from the Cheese and Burger Society. Only 27 to go, and so far, all of them have been great!

The firehouse burger brings the heat, but not so much that you can't enjoy it. I was a little skeptical about putting fresh dill on a burger, but it really worked out good. In fact, I put quite a bit of dill on them. And Havarti cheese on a burger really steps it up!

I couldn't find any capicola at the market the day I made these, so I ended up substituting regular ham. I'm sure capicola would've cranked it up another notch! Once I can find capicola, I'm definitely making these again.

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2-1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 2 hamburger buns
  • 2 slices Havarti cheese
  • 2 slices Provolone cheese
  • 4 slices thin Capicola or Spicy Ham
  • Pickled jalapeños, to taste
  • Pepperoncini, to taste
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fresh dill

1. Preheat grill to medium high. Form burger patties. Season, and grill until cooked to your desired doneness. Toast buns. Remove.

2. To form burgers, top bun bottoms with pepperconi, jalepeños, mayonnaise, and provolone. Add capicola, burger pattie, Havarti cheese, dill, ketchup, and top bun. Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

USAF Museum, Dayton, Part 2

This is our second post on our trip to the USAF Museum in Dayton. Our first post was on the airplane nose art on the planes on display there.

This one is on the various dioramas at the museum. They have done a really great job on their displays . If you're anywhere near Dayton, we'd recommend that you stop by.

This is the observation basket from a dirigible.

The nose gunner on a B-25, I believe.

Early flight trainer.

Hawkeye Pierce's hangout.

WWII prisoner pilots.

WWI bomber.

Plane crash. The officer on the scene was not happy with the pilot!

A lot of work goes into these displays.

The older planes with nose gunner positions are the most scary to me. Probably a pretty nice place to sit and watch the scenery until it's cold... or worse, the enemy shows up.

Actual pieces of the Berlin wall.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mamma Mia Burger

This is my second burger from the Cheese and Burger Society. The combination of pizza sauce, mushrooms, pepperoni, onions, and mozzarella is great!

I used our favorite home-made pizza sauce. You can substitute a pre-made sauce if you like.

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2-1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 4 slices fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 4 large button mushrooms, sliced
  • Pepperoni
  • 2 Hamburger buns
  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
  • 2 T butter, divided

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet. Add mushrooms and sautee until tender, but still slightly crisp. Remove to a plate.

2. Add remaining butter to skillet and melt. Add onions and sautee until tender, but still slightly crisp. Remove.

3. Warm sauce in skillet.

4. Preheat grill to medium high. Form burger patties. Season, and grill until cooked to your desired doneness. Toast buns. Remove.

5. To form burgers, top bun bottoms with one slice of the mozzarella, pepperoni, 2 tablespoons of the sauce and half of the onions. Add burger, and then top with more cheese, pepperoni and sauce.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Keri's Hog-Apple Baked Beans

These beans are truly the most fantastic baked beans we have ever had. I can't even begin to describe them. I even had them for lunch as a main dish.

We used leftover smoked pulled pork, but you can substitute crumbled cooked sausage if you don't have any on hand.

I found this recipe on the BBQ Brethren forums, a great place for BBQ-related discussions. Many thanks to Keri for posting this recipe! The original recipe made enough for a party. We didn't need so much, so the recipe below is cut back.

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 (27 oz) can Bush's Baked beans
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used Grandma Foster's Smooth and Spicy)
  • 1/2 pound smoked pulled pork (or 1/2 pound crumbled pork sausage, cooked)
  • 1/2 can apple pie filling (chop larger apple pieces)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce (I used Cajun Power)
  • 1 T prepared mustard
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t BBQ rub (I used Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust)

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.

2. Brown the bacon in a large skillet. Remove and drain.

3. Saute onion and green pepper in the bacon grease. Add in remaining ingredients.

4. Pour into a 9 x 11 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 1 hour.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Casanova Burger

I decided to try and make all of the burgers that you can find at the Cheese & Burger Society. I'm doubtful I'll be able to get all of the ingredients for all of the great burgers they have, but I'm going to try.

My first burger was the Casanova. According to the web site:

The Casanova will have your taste buds at “Hello.” Fully stuffed with more flavor than it knows what to do with, this robust cheeseburger can satisfy the hungriest of bellies and the most discerning of palates. If you’re craving a little burger and cheese romance, it’s time you spent some quality time with The Casanova.

We certainly enjoyed this burger!

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: Varies depending on desired doneness
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2-1 pound fresh ground beef (recommend 75/25 or 80/20)
  • 4 slices aged Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices thin-sliced ham (can use sandwich meat)
  • 4 large button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T mayonnaise
  • 2 Hamburger buns

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and melt the better. Add mushrooms and sautee until slightly tender. Remove from heat.

2. Preheat grill to medium high.

3. Form beef into two patties and grill to desired doneness. Melt one slice of cheese on top of burger. Toast buns, melting another slice of Swiss on each of the bun bottoms. Place ham on grill, turning once, until just slightly charred and warmed.

4. To make burgers, divide mayonnaise between bun bottoms and spread. Also divide the mustard between the bun tops and spread evenly. Top bottom bun with the ham, burger, mushrooms, and top bun. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

USAF Museum, Dayton, Part 1

We went to the Air Force museum in Dayton last Friday. We'd never been there before. I've been to the Air & Space museum in DC many, many times, but this was a totally different experience.

First, the place is huge. I mean mega huge. And the planes are so well preserved. Even Anita enjoyed it!

Here's a collection of my nose art pics. Nose art was a really big thing mainly in WWII. I guess now it's not so common.

You know it'd put some fear in you to see this coming at you.

Some designs were more artsy then others.

Dennis the Menace

Bockscar. Dropped the Fat Man nuclear bomb on Nagasaki. Kind of eerie standing there with her, I have to admit.

Fiery Ginger 4.

One of my favorites. And one of my favorite planes of all time.

The AC-130. I flew on a C-130 many, many years ago. It was a cargo plane. The AC-130 is heavily armed, to say the least.

I'm not sure of the origins of nose art. But, I believe this is a WWI plane, so it's a tradition that has been around for a while.

Another favorite plane of mine.

It amazes me how many missions some of these planes ran. I heard the other day if they made it through their first 10 missions their survivability went up significantly. Good thing.

F-4 Phantom. We were able to sit in the cockpit of an F-4 later in the museum. I think it was Anita's favorite display. Well, next to the B-52 and the B-2.

Even the Brit's have nose art it seems.

Snafu Snatchers. Interesting name. I wonder if it comes from them rescuing a lot of pilots from the ocean. I should have asked one of the volunteers at the museum. They are very helpful!

I think I made the most models of this plane when I was a kid. This and the C-47 were always my favorites.