Friday, August 13, 2010

Double Double Toil and Trouble

This week's experiment started when Daley sent me a link to this website wherein a mad genius hacked the infamous Double Double Animal Style and figured out how to make it at home. We decided we'd give it a go. Or more accurately, I would since he was working late that night and I at least had the foresight to realize this was going to be time intensive and I should start well before he gets home. Start to finish, this took three and a half hours. Apologies in advance for my crappy photography, which makes this look not nearly as appetizing as the burgers were in real life.

For those of you non west coasters, a Double Double is a double cheeseburger from renowned fast food chain In-N-Out. If you get the burger animal style, it comes with added pickles, grilled onions, and the meat is mustard grilled. We followed the directions as precisely as possible, but deviated in a few (possibly key) areas. Mainly, we did not do the 60/40 meat and our meat was not fresh, never frozen. We used the 85/15 patties that were sitting in our freezer. We did get the thick sliced American cheese from the deli, but we got white American out of habit, so the look is a little different. Also, I'm warning you right now: there is no good picture of the finished product because I accidentally took it with no flash. Sorry :-/

So I started with my favorite topping: the spread. It seemed that on the original site he only made one burger so I assumed his recipe was enough spread for one. As we were making two burgers, and I like extra for my fries, I tripled it.

That's a lot of spread, friends.

The flavor is dead on. I didn't even add the vinegar or sugar like he recommends, just a tiny extra shot of ketchup. The highlight of this for me was that I now know I have a perfect spread recipe for all my delicious fattening topping and dip needs.

Now it's not Animal Style without a ton of grilled onions. As the Burger Lab genius says, these need to be caramelized and grilled into the creamiest of grilled onions. If at any point the contents of your pan still look like onions, you're not finished. They should look like marmalade. These are seven onions all chopped and ready to go:

And these are those same onions after two and a half hours of careful caramelizing and deglazing:

Yes, I know that looks disgusting. But it's because of the crappy photog skills, remember? It tasted like delicious, sugary, onion-y dessert. Plus I used the leftovers to make really good French onion soup from scratch. So it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Now it was time to assemble the deliciously toasted buns with spread, pickles, tomato, and lettuce:

And grill the meat:

Before reading the hack, I had no idea Double Doubles Animal Style were mustard grilled, but apparently it's a key component of the cooking process. So mustard grilled ours were:

After the meat was grilled, we topped one patty with cheese and onions:

Topped it with the other patty and assembled the burger:

Like I said, I know this sucks. But as soon as I realized the flash was off, the whole thing toppled over. We are not going to get jobs at In-N-Out any time soon.

Daley LOVED them! That made the slaving pretty much worth it. I was not so enamored, for many reasons. Mainly, I never order a Double Double and there's a reason for that: I cannot eat that much food. I couldn't finish it. I could barely eat it, to begin with. My jaw just can't unhinge that way (no jokes, I hear you giggling). So I guess for me, the three hours of work just wasn't worth the outcome, generally. Especially considering just how tired I was and had hoped to go to sleep much earlier.

But to look on the bright side: the onions were heaven and the spread is the stuff of dreams. I just have to really work up the energy to ever do this again. It was a toughie.

But that shouldn't stop you from trying and telling me all about it!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It was this or go see Inception...

Our plan for today was simple enough: I'd start cleaning the house and do some homework while Daley was at work, then we'd go see Inception, finally, before everyone starts spoiling it for us. The downfall was that while I was cleaning I started opening bills and stuff and having Part VII in what I like to call my "I'm mad at life" crisis. It basically involves my frustration with not being able to travel anywhere any time soon. I don't know what possessed me to think I'd be able to take a cool trip next summer. That's probably not happening. I came across my passport while cleaning and remembered when I had to get extra pages added because I was out of space. That was a proud day of glee. Realizing today that I probably won't actually have reason to use any of those extra pages before my passport expires was a day of significantly less glee. Significantly.

But this post isn't about that. It's about the fact that I was in a bad mood and didn't want to go see a 2.5 hour movie that doesn't even start until 8 on a Sunday. But then I started stressing that I was being dull-and-useless girlfriend instead of fun-and-spontaneous girlfriend. So I suggested we go to Friendly's instead.

Now let's just stop and remember for a moment that Friendly's is a restaurant that has a breakfast item on the menu that entails cutting a cinnamon roll in half and putting three scoops of ice cream between the two halves creating some sort of sugar sandwich. (I just looked it up. The cinnamon roll is in fact halved, battered and cooked like French toast, stuffed with maple syrup ice cream, and then topped with cream cheese, caramel topping, and whipped cream. And death). We'd been talking about going to Friendly's for a while because trying the burger melt is on my list and because the burger melts are currently only $5 with fries. And appetizers are half off after 8pm. So there was no reason not to go.

It took 60 minutes from our door to their door and back to ours. Sixty minutes that will bring us sixty days closer to death (at least). It started innocently enough. We decided to get their "munchie mania" appetizer combo wherein we could pick three appetizers rather than trying to decide on one (I hypothesized about halfway through this meal that most of Friendly's menu was created by some dude high in his dorm room about 2am. Munchie mania? People's Evidence A). So after we said we wanted the Munchie Mania, we realized the buffalo chicken strips Daley wanted weren't an option for the MM. So we said, never mind, we'll just have the mini mozzarella sticks. What we got was this:

That is a mountain of mini mozzarella munchies. We had a whole debate about whether or not our server thought we wanted one each, but she was new and sweet and we'd already weirded her out by trying to alert her to the fact that some of the cakes in the freezer display had things growing on them (They did! It was disgusting! But she seemed really confused and unnerved when we told her. We just wanted to help them sell their surely delicious cakes with better representation). Anyway, so we said nothing about the cheese sticks. Turns out, once we got our receipt, we saw she thought we still wanted the Munchie Mania, but just three servings of mozzarella sticks and nothing else. Oh well. But still, half off! Whoo, cheap heart attacks!

Now onto the main event. We wisely decided to split the burger melt. And I decided that was a good idea because even half is still a whole grilled cheese sandwich. Eating the whole burger means eating a burger plus two grilled cheese sandwiches. That's disgusting. Behold:

You'll first notice that's mayonnaise. On something containing a grilled cheese sandwich. That's gross. In fact, all the toppings are gross. Because lettuce has no place on a grilled cheese sandwich. Neither does ketchup. I tried. It wasn't right. Plain, it was quite tasty. But anything else was totally off-putting. I shared this opinion with Daley. His response: "No. You are wrong." This is what Daley thought of the sammich:

He was so happy, he didn't even care he had food on his face when I took this picture. He wants to go back next week.

But in case that wasn't enough to slowly destroy our insides, we also got dessert. Specifically, we got a warm chocolate cake with peanut butter lava, hunka chunka PB fudge ice cream, peanut butter sauce, chocolate chips, and a Reese's cup. TAKE THAT, ARTERIES!

Alas, we wore jeans and not Thanksgiving pants so we weren't quite able to finish it. Plus Daley thought the ratio of peanut butter to everything else was too high (which is where he is wrong). We got close though:

But wait! I think I have figured out how one can enjoy delicious dinners such as this guilt and artery plaque-free! On the way home, giddy with triumph and success and several high fives over what a fantastic evening this had turned out to be, Daley mentioned a homemade ice cream place he couldn't remember the name of, Treadwell's? Or Treadmill's maybe?

And that is how I got the greatest idea ever: Treadmill's, the ice cream shop where your order is served on a treadmill pre-programmed with the exact combination needed to work off your order. One scoop of cinnamon ice cream with chocolate fudge? Your treadmill is set to one hour at a 5% incline. It's genius! People always stress about getting ice cream and ruining their streak of healthy eating, and they plan to go to the gym to counteract it, but they don't. Now, they don't have to worry! I'll make it so easy for them! Daley thinks this will backfire as people will think I am guilting them into exercising. He won't mock so much once he's living the easy life paid for by Treadmill's money.

However, working off tonight's dinner may take about 6 hours with a 90% incline. Worth it.