Monday, September 24, 2012

Royale with Cheese

We're kicking off an entire week of Dinner and a Movie posts with a modern (well, 18 years old) classic - Pulp Fiction.  Even if you haven't seen the movie, you have most certainly seen the "Royale with Cheese" scene.  Rather than try to imitate a Quarter-Pounder, or the more prosaic Royale with Cheese, I decided on the recipe for the Shake Shack burger I found on What's Cooking in Your World.  Except I didn't want to pay for sirloin tips and short ribs.  Also, my food processor is broken.  Also, I'm lazy.  So instead, I bought one pound of ground sirloin and it was still the best burger I've ever made. The key is that you don't mix anything into the meat.  In fact, you touch it as little as possible.  I just broke it into four pieces, heavily salt and peppered both sides, and the smashed a thin slice of onion onto one side before placing the burgers on a screaming hot cast iron skillet.  The resulting texture was slightly crumbly and really delicious.  I'm never mixing up my burger meat again.  You have to love a recipe where the end result is improved by putting in less effort.

Since the patties were so easy, you'll have more time to whip up a special sauce - equal parts mustard, mayo, ketchup, and pickles (homemade is great).  And, of course, you must have fries to go with your burger.  I have a favorite baked fries recipe that I've used in the paste that calls for coating the fries in corn starch to get that really crispy exterior.  This recipe from Ellie Krieger doesn't give the fries the same texture, but does call for toasting garlic in olive oil, using the garlicky oil to coat the fries before baking, and then sprinkling the crispy bits of garlic (and rosemary if your me) over the fries once they are done.  And that, my friends, is genius.

Okay, now that dinner is ready, what about the movie?  I really liked it.  I forgot how much I enjoy Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and even Bruce Willis.  I've seen some other Tarantino movies before so I was familiar with his pacing and love of violence.  I really like the way his characters speak - analytical and stylized - and I'm a real sucker for Uma Thurman so I was already predisposed to enjoy Pulp Fiction. The movie braids together apparently disparate story lines into a single film with a jittery timeline that clearly comes together in the end - a storytelling technique I usually enjoy as it allows your understanding of events to evolve in a natural way.  (Sidebar: Whenever there are multiple stories, you expect them all to come together by the end of the film.  Am I the only one who wants to see a movie where all of the storylines tie together except for one.  Man, that would drive people crazy.)  I'm not sure what I can say about Pulp Fiction that hasn't already been said and re-said so I'll just conclude by saying that if you haven't seen it (I can't the only one to wait 18 years, right?) and you have the stomach for the violence, you definitely should watch it.

Did this blog post leave you hungry for burgers, but wishing I was a better movie critic?  Check out my friend Bryan over at Bryan Loves Movies where he gives each movie a "Snack Food Analogy Rating" as in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is pudding.  Even when I think I’m really in the mood for pudding, I always end up eating about half of it and tossing the rest aside."

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