The Classics: Bacon Cheeseburger

Here we are again! The Classics are back; bigger and better than ever! This time around I’m taunting you with this crazy awesome cheeseburger. The cheeseburger to end all cheeseburgers. If you remember correctly, the last classic was this insanely good Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and if for some reason you don’t remember, I took the liberty of linking it for you. You can thank me later. I’ve gone ahead and added bacon to the mix because as I’m sure you’ve heard, everything is better with bacon. Just in case you didn’t know, I invented that saying. Okay, maybe I didn’t (but let’s pretend I did). Bacon just takes everything over the edge. You always want to invite bacon to any gathering, it’s basically the life of any and every party. You can quote me on that, although I’m sure you’ve already experienced it for yourself. 

I know what you must be thinking, “Jonathan, burgers are so SIMPLE to make. Why are you sharing this easy recipe with us?!” Okay, so burgers are easy to make, I’ll give you that. But I’ve actually been told a few times that burgers are somewhat daunting to people. Actual homemade burgers, that is. I think it’s the whole mixing of the meat and shaping of the patties that scares people away. It shouldn’t be frightening at all, though. Not in the slightest. These posts are meant to bring you those classic recipes without all of the complicated steps and hassle of spending hours in the kitchen, remember? So that’s why I’m sharing my favorite cheeseburger recipe with you. Perhaps you’ll even learn a new tip or trick that you didn’t know before. Maybe, it’ll just inspire you to go out and make your favorite burger, that’s okay too. That just means I did my job well, and that’s all that counts. 

The most important thing is that I’m not ready to let summer go—just for the food, the heat can go away—so I’m still cooking and grilling as if summer is in full swing. Although, it does feel like summer just started over here in Los Angeles. The heat has been insane. I figured why fight it? I might as well embrace it. Hence, burgers in late September. I’m okay with that though because cheeseburgers are everything to me. Especially if they’re mini cheeseburgers. Well, that’s a whole other topic. These? These aren’t mini cheeseburgers, no. But I will tell you what they are. They’re 100% awesome and bigger than life itself, and that’s a fact. 

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The Classics: Buttermilk Fried Chicken

I’ve recently been told by a few people that many of my recipes on the site seem to be a little too demanding or time consuming to make. Some of you have even mentioned that during the week it’s impossible to try out the recipes because you have so many other things going on. You’ve asked for more quick and effortless recipes. I really do appreciate the feedback and have been listening intently because it helps me grow as a food blogger. The main reason why I run this site is so that you try out the recipes for yourself. I want you to fall in love with these dishes and make them over and over again, the way that I do, without feeling overwhelmed about it. So if you’re looking for more simple and delicious recipes, without all of the fluff, simple and delicious recipes you shall get.  

In honor of this revelation, I’m starting a new series on the site called, “The Classics.” It’s pretty much what you might think it is. For the past few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of creating and sharing easy recipes of classic dishes we all know and love. Recipes with straightforward ingredients and easy-to-follow, uncomplicated steps. I sometimes take for granted how great it is to get into the kitchen and make really simple dishes. It’s therapeutic almost, to not have to think too much and just cook because it’s soothing. Because it’s fun. It’s so easy to get lost in the marvels of the internet with all these delicious recipes popping up, the kind that combine a couple different dishes into one mega dish. I’m all for those recipes, don’t get me wrong. I mean, you have seen my creations on here, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and appreciate the classic dishes we grew up with.

I’ll be sharing “The Classics” in installments every few weeks (mixed in with my regular posts) so keep an eye out for them. If you happen to have any suggestions or are dying to see a particular classic on here, let me know by dropping a comment down below. Also, if you try out one of the recipes be sure to hashtag them with (#TCAclassics) on FB, instagram or twitter. (I want to see them!) I’ll keep track of that tag and share the photos as they come in. That’s exciting right? Not as exciting as fried chicken I’m afraid. Speaking of, as you can see, the first installment happens to be fried chicken. The king of all classic dishes, and one of my all-time favorites. 

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Sausage and Pickled Jalapeño Pizza: An Ode to San Francisco

I was recently in San Francisco for a few days, with my better half and I have to admit that I’m still on vacation mode. It’s so hard for me to return from any sort of trip, whether it’s a week long or just a day, and get back into the right mindset to work. Does that happen to you guys as well? Please tell me it does, that way I don’t feel totally guilty for feeling this way. This laziness to be an adult is hard to shake off, especially after a great getaway.

San Francisco is one of those places where I can actually see myself living in (if it wasn’t so darn expensive). The best thing it has going for itself—aside from the calmness and laid back people—is the amazing weather. Can we talk about how it always seems to be just the right amount of sun and warmth mixed in with the perfect amount of fog and coolness? Los Angeles has too much sun for my taste. I can say that, I was born and raised here. Too much sun and too much heat, at times. Do we even have any cool bridges here? Incidentally, one day we overheard a tourist confuse the Bay Bridge for the Golden Gate Bridge, telling anyone who would listen, to snap a picture in front of the famous Golden Gate Bridge, but that’s okay because SF does have a lot of bridges. I don’t blame you, tourist. I do blame our hotel room view for making me want to do nothing but stay in bed all day long and just peer out into the beautiful city, adding to my laziness. 

I wasn’t really allowed to lay around on the trip though, because we had a lot scheduled in such a little amount of time. We took a twenty plus mile bike ride—through the Golden Gate Bridge (the real one) and up north to some Old Mill town—that was insanely beautiful but at the same time, it was insanely tiring. We got way too much sun (one of us more than the other) and saw some killer red woods which sort of made it all worth it. The beers at the end of the bike ride though, that’s what got me through the end. I did almost get blown away by some gusty winds on the bridge, but that’s a story for another time. 

The most important part of the trip was the food, of course. We pretty much ate our way through the city and I don’t regret a thing. There are an unbelievable amount of restaurants throughout SF, it’s kind of insane. Everywhere you turn there’s something delicious calling out your name. We devoured an entire tray of fresh oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. and some mussels and fries and one too many baskets of bread. But who’s counting? Certainly not me. Julian took me to a tiki bar one night, called the Tonga Room which I swear I can live in for the rest of my life. Did I mention there’s indoor rain and tiki huts with little lights involved? Well there is, and it’s awesome.

I gulped down so many watermelon beers at 21st Amendment Brewery, that I lost count. (Sorry mom!) It’s my new favorite beer, that’s all you need to know. My favorite fruit mixed into beer? Yes please. A million times yes. 

The most memorable meal we had, however, was actually on our first night, at a restaurant in Russian Hill called Gioia Pizzeria. We gorged on a simple arugula salad, a spring pesto pasta dish, and the best pizza I’ve ever had. Said pizza was just the right amount of thin crusty dough, sprinkled with house made sausage and pickled jalapeños. We both sort of looked at each other after that first bite and telepathically communicated to one another just how amazing it was. We came back home rather depressed that we had to leave, but I knew that I needed to recreate that meal anyway I could. So here I am now, going on and on, talking your ears off  about my trip. Reminiscing about the delicious food and fun times. This super long intro was basically to say I fell in love with this pizza and that’s why I made it for you guys. 

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Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Sliders

I’m on a mission in life to become the Slider King of America. I don’t really know if that’s an actual thing, but it sounds really cool. I can totally see myself being King of the Sliders, too. It’s definitely not a bad thing to have on my resume. If anything, it’ll make me well known by millions, right? At the very least, it’ll grant me some free sliders whenever I want. Which is always. Sliders everyday of my life sounds even better than being king. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to be king. Give me a slider kingdom to rule where all anyone ever eats are sliders. Where sliders just rain down from the skies above. Sounds like a dream come true, if you ask me. I’d walk down the streets of my kingdom pointing at people, screaming, “You get a slider. You get a slider. And you get a slider. And you get a slider!”

Last week I decided to torment you guys by putting up a recipe for Mini Challah Rolls—have you checked it out already?—with a promise to post a delicious slider recipe the following week. Well, guess what?! It’s the following week already, and here I am with the promised delicious slider recipe. And just in case you’ve been living under a rock or something, and aren’t familiar with the fact that I’ve had some great sliders on this blog before, I’ll refresh your memory.

This one time I got all kinds of crazy and made a big batch of pot roast in a slow cooker and put together some killer Pot Roast Sliders that I’m still day-dreaming about. I can’t seem to shake them out of my mind. If you like crispy onion rings and avocado and sriracha, then you’ll love those sliders. Then I decided to one up myself and I created these BLT Biscuit Sliders which is everything right in the world. Biscuits with jam and heirloom tomatoes and lots of crispy bacon and of course, avocado and lettuce. If all of that has you thinking, “Oh no he didn’t!” Well then just sit down and hold on tight because I’m about to blow your mind! I’m now bringing you these Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Sliders. I couldn’t just use the same rolls I used before or even those biscuits, so I made some new buns. Challah buns. And I’m piling it high with a cajun remoulade sauce, fried green tomatoes, grilled shrimp, lettuce and pickles. It’s an explosion of delicious flavor upon delicious flavor. I don’t know what else to do right now, other than to go to a tall place and yell out “I’M KING OF THE SLIDERS!”

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Bacon Cheddar Jalapeño Corn Dogs

I’ve been wanting to make corn dogs for the blog since for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’m like 99% sure that I wanted corn dogs to be my very first recipe/post. I said, “Jonathan, you should totally make corn dogs as the first ever recipe/post on this new blog you want to start!” Unfortunately, as life would have it, it didn’t work out that way, and I ended up making a cinnamon swirl loaf instead. I wasn’t upset or anything, I happen to love cinnamon and bread is sort of my weakness, so there were no complaints here. I kept telling myself that corn dogs would be the next post, and then the next post and the next. Each post came and went, and as you know, corn dogs always got cut. So flash forward to me now, about two and a half years later (or is it three already? I really can’t remember at the moment) and corn dogs are still no where to be found. Until now of course.

Whenever I wrote it into the schedule of upcoming posts, something would always come up, be it a holiday or special day, where corn dogs just didn’t seem to fit. Now I know what you must be thinking, “Corn dogs always fit, Jonathan. Always and forever.” You’re right they do. That’s where I dropped the ball. I wasn’t thinking straight. I didn’t realize that by continuing to push corn dogs down the long list of upcoming posts I would be depriving not only me, but you as well. Corn dogs are delicious and I’m happy I finally got around to fulfilling my deep fried, corn battered hot dog dreams (with a few jazzed up ingredients of course). It’s hard for me to do simple on here. Don’t get me wrong, I love simple recipes. It’s just that I think you all deserve better than that. Plus, how can you possibly tell me that bacon and cheese and jalapeños don’t make everything better. They really do. 

Sure it’s summer and I should be making lighter dishes and sharing healthy recipes that don’t require too much time in a hot kitchen. Sure, I should be doing that, but somehow my brain isn’t getting the memo. Somehow, I keep craving rich comforting foods, loaded with cheese and bacon and butter. I’ll get around to that “healthy” cooking and eating at some point. Right now, just let’s enjoy the moment. This moment being hot dogs on a stick, coated in a corn, bacon, cheddar cheese and jalapeño batter, and deep fried until crunchy and golden brown. Did I mention there’s a sweet and spicy honey mustard dipping sauce involved?  

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Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza

I’ve always had this fantasy in my head where I’d eat pizza everyday of my life and I’d never get bored of it. I don’t think you quite understand just how much I love pizza. How deep my admiration for pizza runs. It’s pretty deep. Deeper than any ocean and higher than any mountain, that’s for sure. In my fantasy, everyday would be an entirely new (and entirely delicious) type of pizza. New toppings, along with new crusts and various different cheeses. That’s 365 days of nothing but fun and exciting pizzas. Can you live with that? I can totally live with that. 

Pizza tends to be my go-to dinner whenever I don’t know what to make for supper because I’ve run out of ideas, and I can’t really come up with anything new because all I seem to do is develop recipes for the blog and various other projects I have going on. There’s only so much my imagination can take. So on those nights when I’m simply drawing a blank—and I’ve managed to do nothing but stare into space for about 20 minutes before coming to the conclusion that pizza is the right answer—I end up deciding to make pizza. And it’s not like a, “Fine, I guess we’ll have pizza tonight. Pull my arm why don’t you?” Maybe out loud that’s what it sounds like but in my mind it’s completely different. In my mind, there’s a party going on. Confetti is being thrown around and champagne bottles are being popped open. In my mind it’s like, “YAY!!! Pizza for dinner! This is the best night ever!!! Pizza pizza pizza PIZZA!” 

My pizza preference tends to fluctuate from day to day or week to week. Sometimes simple is the name of the game. My number one favorite topping will always be pepperoni. Just pepperoni. Nothing but pepperoni. I especially go nuts over those tiny pepperoni that curl up a bit while it bakes, causing the edges to get slightly burnt and slightly crisped. It’s the best. At the same time, I do go through these phases where I’m in an adventurous kick, and I can’t get enough of really fancy pizzas with interesting toppings. Like this Brussels sprouts and pancetta pizza for instance. A couple of eggs on top just takes it to a whole new sophisticated level. The moral of this story is that pizza is king. We all should dedicate a day of the week (I’ll even take one day a month) to be a pizza party day. We should be making different kinds of pizza and eating them all like we’re getting paid to do it. Let’s start now with this pizza!

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