I had this great theme ready for today’s Friday Football Foodie.
I wanted to talk about how doing the small things — making your own aioli, choosing good quality ingredients — mattered just as much as the main menu item. The special teams of the football loving foodie.
And then my first batch of aioli failed. I’ve made aioli before, but for some reason it wouldn’t emulsify. I thought about how the Steelers had lost their past four games, but here against the Browns they were going to try again and I changed my theme and attempted the aioli again.
I wanted to talk about failure and picking yourself back up and trying again. And again. And again. And again. And even though it didn’t work the first few times, you try again. Four stabs at the aioli and it still was not coming together. Tried again with a different whisk, an immersion blender and a food processor. None worked. Was this my losing streak to match the Steelers four-game slide?
Aioli wasn’t going to defeat me this week. I got a fresh carton of eggs and tried again.
This batch of aioli? Perfection. You keep going and eventually just like magic you can combine oil, garlic and egg.
Unfortunately, the Steelers forgot to try and four losses in a row have turned into five.
Maybe it’s time for some fresh eggs.
Mini Burgers with Multiple Aiolis
You will need…
Just under a 1/2 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
1 egg yoke, room temperature
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic, to taste
1-2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard or powdered mustard (optional)
If you are interested in other “aiolis” for your burgers.
Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
Mash 1 teaspoon of garlic into your chopped garlic to make a paste. Mix in the lemon juice and then the egg yolk until frothy.
Now comes the hard part.
Put your vegetable or canola oil in a measuring cup. Should be just under a 1/4 cup. Fill to the 1/2 cup line with olive oil. Mix together.
While whisking, slowly add one tablespoon of your oil mixture until completely blended. And then the next tablespoon. Slow. Slow. Slow. Slow. Slow. Slow. Keep repeating until the oil and the egg mixture are completely incorporated together, without separating.
Remember the failed aiolis I talked about earlier? I had no idea what was going wrong. So I studied the game tape. I looked up aioli in all of my cookbooks. I searched “runny aioli” on Google. I read Chowhound and Epicurious forums. You succeed because you don’t give up and you learn from what you and others have done. This video reminded me of what I already knew. Keep it simple. There is no need for a machine. (A must watch if you have never made aioli before.) Someone else said that even though eggs were not expired, if they were getting older the emulsifying quality of the eggs could be weakening. Of course. Something so basic, yet so easily overlooked.
Like you know, an offensive line NOT GIVING UP EIGHT OR NINE SACKS FOR EFF’S SAKE.
Once your aioli has come together, whisk in more salt if needed and the mustard.
What if you just don’t have that type of patience? What if you are fragile as 2008-2009 Tom Brady and you just don’t think you can make it? What if you are lazier than JaMarcus Russell? Can you fake it? Can you get away with the bare minimum of work and still be a star?
Yes, yes you can. And surprisingly, this is how many restaurants make their “aioli” with different ingredients.
Depending on how much you need, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of mayo to a couple of ounces of blue cheese and a pinch of salt will do you just fine.
Depending on quality needed, mix 1/4 – 1/2 cup mayo with a pureed chipotle pepper and a small pinch of salt. RESIST the temptation to add a second pepper. As the flavor opens up the longer it sits, the hotter it will get.
What if you don’t like egg based condiments?
Puree together 1/2 cup of ketchup and 1 chipotle pepper.
And what was I saying about other quality ingredients?
Huntington Farms at the 3rd Street Farmer’s Market has a blend of ground beef that is called the Nancy Silverton (of Campanile / La Brea Bakery / Mozza fame) mix that is a course ground, 20-28% fat ground chuck. It is wonderful, and serves as great reminder that a good burger is one that is moist and well put together with fuller, fattier pieces of meat. (The LAT piece from a couple of years ago on her home burger is well worth the read.)
As far as making a small burger, I like Alton Brand’s trick of rolling out the beef on a cookie sheet. Since I prefer to use smaller 2-inch brown and serve rolls for my mini burgers, you can get a good ten small burgers out of a pound of beef, planning on two to three burgers a person.
Remember the smaller things that make the football snacks special I was talking about? Garnish with real smoked bacon. Vine-ripened tomatoes. Red onions. Arugula. These small items are not to be overlooked or taken lightly.
Just like the Browns.
No cocktail this week as we have moved on to black tar heroin after last night’s loss. Losses to the Chiefs, Raiders, Browns, and the Ravens? How did this team ever get past the Lions?