Project 3 1/2 Inch: Burgers for brunch

ingredients

I spent a nice weekend lazing around at home with Melody and decided to throw together some burgers for brunch. Well, here at sixthseal.com, all our cooking projects requires a catchy name and an irreverent goal, so this was dubbed Project 3 1/2 Inch – to make a burger that would have a height of at least three and half inches. :)

You will need:

Beef burger patties
Unbreaded crab flavored claws (this adds bulk and height, as well as taste)
Six (6) eggs
Burger buns
Arrack Putih (local distilled 50% alcohol)

arrack putih

Melody insists that Arrack Putih (translated as “bai jiu”) is meant for cooking. I vehemently disagree, having had more than my fair share of drinking cheap local liquor. It’s RM 5 – RM 10 for a 640 ml bottle containing 50% distilled liquor that tastes like vodka.

down

I have to applaud the local distilleries for marketing a high proof alcohol that doubles as an excuse for cooking purposes so stay-at-home moms can live in denial about their drinking habits. It’s the local equivalent of “just a nip of the cooking sherry”. ;)

drink

To prove my point, I downed a full glass of the alcohol neat, while Melody had 1/4 an inch of the stuff, also neat. She agreed it tasted like vodka too. This begs the question as to why we’re drinking the cheap stuff and the answer to that is simple…times are hard, my friends. :)

thaw

Anyway, after being imbued with some Dutch Courage (or Irish Motivation rather), I fired up the gas stove and heated some oil (coz we used up all the butter in the previous cooking expedition) in a frying pan…before remembering that the beef burger patties weren’t defrosted yet. Thus, we waited 30 minutes for it to thaw out and started with the crab claws.

crab claws

There happened to be some debate about how this should be done. I was in favor of steaming it, which she said was ridiculous since the metal instrument was way too tall for the wok to be of any use.

steam

She was all for boiling it in a pot of water with some salt, since that would not only quick defrost the crab claws but we could turn off the gas and control the heat so it’ll still be warm when the burgers are done.

boil

I agree in principal, but boiling will result in an unacceptable loss in the taste of the crab claws. Still, I went along since the ethanol was kicking in and I was in a cheerful disposition. =D

fry

Thus, with the disarmament peace talks reaching a positive conclusion, the beef burger patties were fried in vegetable oil. We fried four beef patties – two for each of us, while the crab claws were being boiled tasteless. ;)

oil

I’m not much of a health conscious person, which is pretty obvious by the way I live my life, but Melody insisted on lining the plate with tissue paper before putting the beef patties in to soak up the excess oil.

egg

However, there is on thing I excel at – The Ancient Art of Breaking an Egg with One Hand (!!!). =D

This is the sixthseal.com guide to breaking an egg with one hand. It serves no purpose whatsoever, but makes you look like you know what you’re doing in the kitchen. Chicks dig it. ;)

egg trick

Anyway, I soon realized that six (6) eggs would not make a paper thin wrap around the burger patties Ramly burger style due to the volume so I decided to just fry it all and make an omelet of sorts.

swirl egg

The sheer volume of the unborn chicken fetal material was a bit too much for the wok to handle, but I have a trick I learned while frying eggs in primary school (I love eggs!) which basically involves moving the liquid pooled inside the recessed wok out to the sides so it’ll cook faster…

eggs done

…and then use the spatula to move the cooked egg back in so more liquid egg can be displaced into the treasured hot surface area to the sides. It’s called The Swirling Egg Trick (TM). I’ve been doing it for ages. You’ll have an omelet up in no time using this method.

drain

Meanwhile, Melody started draining the crab claws. I didn’t have a strainer but she has some tricks up her sleeves as well, and managed to get the crab claws out. She dropped one into the sink though…

crab claws cooked

Crab claws are actually made of fish meat and flavored with crab flavoring – whatever that is. The flavoring industry has made leaps and bounds in their technology and I’m sure they can make an artificial flavoring that tastes exactly like you. ;)

me cutting

The problem with the kitchen at my place is that there’s really no proper cooking implements to speak of…bread knifes were nowhere to be seen. I tried my hand at cutting through the burger buns with a regular knife…

knife

…which didn’t work out so well,

melody cut

so Melody did the cutting instead.

process

The burger bun was sliced in half, and the beef patties layered on top of fried eggs before everything is topped with crab claws, peppered with…er, pepper, and doused with chilli sauce.

burger

It’s a huge gooey burger, but it tasted delicious!

burger project

It’s 3 1/2 inches. We measured. :)

eat

I must admit…I had a bit of a hard time eating it though…

Project Monsary – Pasta with roast beef and razor clams

ingredients

Project Monsary
was initiated yesterday afternoon to commemorate my monsary with Melody. I cooked pasta with roast beef and razor clams for our lunner (lunch/dinner as opposed to brunch). Razor Roast Fusilli is the official designation I gave the dish – not very romantic, but it kinda rhymes. ;)

You will need:

Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara Pasta and Sauce
Fortune Razor Clams
Libby’s Roast Beef (“Great for Burritos”)
Absolut Vanilia
Wall’s Viennetta Kurma (dates) ice cream

alcohol

New readers of sixthseal.com might be wondering why there’s always alcohol involved in my cooking posts – the rational is simple, it’s better to drink and cook than drink and drive. ;)

You might need to get a mixer as well, I forgot that not everyone is an alcoholic and drinks it neat and straight from the bottle like me. ;)

butter

The Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara is a ready mix packet of pasta with the fusilli and (powdered) sauce in the packet. It’s kinda like the Italian version of ramen (our instant noodles) – just add water (and milk). I also forgot about getting milk and butter for the pasta, so it’s a good thing I manage to scavenge some from the fridge at home.

open

I also couldn’t find the automatic can opener so I had to use a manual one. We started up by opening the can of Libby’s Roast Beef, which comes parboiled and steam roasted in gravy.

exhibit a

I have to admit that Melody’s skillz in using a manual can opener is much better than mine. Exhibit A above shows the can she opened.

exhibit b

Exhibit B here shows the one I did. I’m a “shortest distance between two points is a straight line” kind of guy and I guess it manifests itself in all aspects of my life…including opening tinned food. ;)

razor clams

The razor clams were drained from the brine in the can and placed in an appropriate receptacle. You don’t need to cook the tinned razor clams, it’s ready to eat.

roast beef

This is Libby’s Roast Beef, which comes in nice, huge chunks complete with gravy. You have to heat it over a saucepan before serving, but it’s best to do it when the pasta is almost cooked so it’ll still be warm when served.

melody

I also didn’t have a measuring cup and this is where Melody’s pragmatic brain comes into play – she counted the columns on a standard 500 ml bottle of mineral water and told me where I should pour up to.

milk

The recipe calls for 125 ml of reduced fat milk (it’s a good thing I have low fat milk in the fridge since I neglected to RTFM while shopping for the cooking project)…

water

…and 310 ml of water. I just mixed the two together in the mineral water bottle (which doubles as a not-very-accurate measuring cup) for easier handling.

milk water

The land of milk and honey, I mean, water. I added more milk and less water since I want it to be creamier and also coz I’m not sure “reduced fat milk” is a synonym for “low fat milk”. ;)

polyblah

The recipe also calls for “salt reduced polyunsaturated table spread”. Jesus Christ, why can’t you just say BUTTER! ;)

teaspoon

It requires a teaspoon of the “salt reduced polyunsaturated table spread” (Continental must have very high regards for the English comprehension standard of their consumers) and I could not for the life of me find a teaspoon in the entire house. It’s nowhere to be found. There is no (tea)spoon.

agaration

Melody teaches me agaration.

The results of camwhoring while estimating a teaspoon of butter:

camwhore

1. Butter starts slipping from knife
2. Cell phone falls into butter when mouth opens to communicate
3. Cell phone gets sticky
4. Butter drops to the floor

mixture

Anyway, after the mess was cleaned up, the bottle with the water and milk is poured into a saucepan and the butter (margarine, actually) added into the mixture.

timer

I set my timer for 8 minutes…

p<br />
asta in

…and poured the Continental Creamy Bacon Carbonara mix into the saucepan. The saucepan was put on low heat and stirred occasionally.

heat beef

The roast beef should be stir fried in a wok at the 5-minute point to ensure the chunks are nicely heated up before the pasta is al dente.

matching plates

This is Melody with matching Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse plates for our pasta extravaganza.

pasta done

The pasta was done at the 9-minute mark – apparently I put in too much liquid and it needed more time to coagulate with the low heat that I was putting it on.

razor clams in

The pasta was heaped onto the plate and the roast beef chunks added in on the side before the razor clams is mixed into the pasta. The packaging states that it serves four (4) but Melody and I didn’t even find it filling for two!

final dish

This is what the dish looks like when it’s done. The hot pasta will heat up the razor clams so it will be warm and appetizing. :)

final dish macro

Here is a macro shot of Razor Roast Fusilli – it tastes more tempting that it sounds. Melody loved it and so did I.

walls kurma

This is what we had for dessert – it’s the limited edition Wall’s Viennetta Kurma (dates) ice cream. It’s only available during Hari Raya Puasa since dates are traditionally eaten during the breaking of fast.

kurma ice cream

It tasted delicious and rounded up a great meal. We shared the ice cream and finished it in one sitting. There are dates in the dessert ice cream and it tastes great with Absolut Vanilia.

kurma macro

I love cooking together with Melody and it was a great Monthsary together.

monsary

Muaks! I love you dear! =D

Happy Monthsary!

monsary

The 28th of September, 2008 marks our first monsaryHappy Monsary, Melody! :)

The etymology of monsary from an amateur etymologist:

Monsary is a concatenation of the words “month” and “anniversary” and it has entered my vocabulary through a friend. A quick Google search revealed the usage of this term amongst certain demographics in the Philippines. It’s the first time I’ve heard about it and perhaps a social indicator that our relationships don’t last very long anymore in today’s fast paced, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) world. Relationship anniversaries have gradually shifted over time from annual to monthly, and I’m not sure that’s a good indicator.

Daysary anyone? ;)

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