By Nan and Jan
Curious which tools food pros treasure the most in their gadget pantries? We are posing that question to food celebrities around the country and are reporting
back in this and future GadgetGals blogs.
Chef Hubert Keller may be French by birth and training, yet since moving stateside, he has embraced grilling and the all-American favorite—burgers. In fact, in 2004
Chef Keller unknowingly and single-handedly launched an upscale burger craze throughout the U.S with the success of his Burger Bar restaurant at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas.
Known for his innovation and creativity, Chef Keller also shows a very practical side for home cooking. “I love to grill,” he says, while also acknowledging that he doesn’t always
want to do it outside, especially in less-than-ideal weather. His solution? “There’s nothing like Cuisinart’s Griddler, “ he says. “It heats up beautifully, giving your food a great sear and terrific grilled look. It’s easy to control the temperature
and cooks food evenly. I love that you can use it for so many different things, like grilling steaks and chicken and even making grilled sandwiches.”
If you are unfamiliar with Cuisinart’s Griddler, it is a versatile, compact countertop appliance with reversible plates, one side with grids for grilling and the other side smooth
for griddle-cooking. Used with the top down, it cooks food twice as fast as in a skillet, since both sides cook simultaneously. Open the top and it easily converts to an extra-large cooking surface for pancakes, bacon, or open-faced sandwiches.
Details: The electric Cuisinart Griddler consists of a “floating” cover that adjusts to the thickness of the food and one
set of reversible, nonstick, dishwasher-safe plates that snap in and out of the two cooking surfaces. The cooking plates drain grease off for healthy cooking into a grease collector drawer that is easy to remove for cleaning. A selector dial lets you perform
five separate cooking tasks: contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, or half grill/half griddle. Separate griddle and griddle/panini controls adjust to desired cooking temperature. Brushed stainless steel housing. Three year limited warranty.
Suggested retail $100. Available at cuisinart.com.
Stuffed Blue-Cheese Sirloin Burgers with Apple and Bacon –
For a Crowd
4 lbs. ground beef sirloin
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
8 oz. Blue cheese, preferably Stilton or Roquefort
12 slices bacon, apple smoked
2 Fuji apples
2-1/2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
24 mini buns
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the Cuisinart Griddler fitted with the griddle plates in the open position, to High. Once preheated, place the bacon on the hot plates and cook to your liking. Carefully transfer
bacon to a paper-towel lined plate or tray to drain and set aside.
While bacon is cooking, prepare burgers. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped onions, thyme leaves, and pepper. Mix well using your hands. Form into 48 thin patties. Create small craters in the center of half of the patties, leaving
an edge of about 1/4 inch all the way around and place a small dollop of blue cheese in the center. Place a second patty over the first patty pinching the sides together. Make sure the cheese stuffing is completely covered. Season the mini burgers with salt
and pepper on both sides.
Using a heat-proof spatula, carefully scrape excess grease off the griddle plates into the drip tray. Place prepared burgers on the bottom griddle plate, leaving at least 1 inch in between each burger. Close the Griddler and grill for 3 to 4 minutes,
or until desired doneness. Remove and reserve and repeat with the next round of burgers. (You can also grill these in the open position. Place burgers evenly on both plates in the open position. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.)
Note: Be gentle when you turn each burger so that it does not break open.
Thinly slice the apple and top each burger with the slices just before removing from the heat. After cooking the burgers, place the buns on the hot griddle plates and toast lightly. Remove and cover the bottom half of each bun with a few leaves
of arugula. Top with the burgers, then the bacon and the top half of the bun. Serve immediately. Makes 24 mini burgers.
Meet Hubert Keller
Growing up in Ribeauville, Alsace, France, Chef Keller lived over Patisserie Keller, and the children frequently helped their father with the baking. By the age of 16, Chef Keller knew he wanted to become a professional. Some of the greatest French chefs
recognized the teenaged Keller’s exceptional talent and became his mentors. After working
in France and South America, renowned chef Roger Vergé sent him in 1982 to San Francisco to open Sutter 500.
In 1986, Chef Keller took over Fleur de Lys, San Francisco’s most romantic restaurant, and
it soon gained a stellar national reputation, putting a national spotlight on its chef/owner.
In 2004, Chef Keller opened two distinctive restaurants in Las Vegas: the elegant, signature Fleur de Lys and the hip, casual Burger Bar.
Chef Keller’s influence extends beyond his restaurants to the millions of people he reaches through television and books.
His PBS series, Secrets of a Chef is starting its fourth season in spring/summer 2013. His latest cookbook,
Souvenirs: Stories and Recipes from My Life (Andrews McMeel) will be available in November 2012.