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Epicure 4-21


Lew Larason: Thoughts from an Epicure Adapting recipes to changes Like many cooks, I often “tinker” with my dishes. When I hear or read something with food that sounds interesting, I’ll try it. Sometimes, it’s used only once. Other times, I adapt it. Although we don’t eat a lot of red meat, Patti and do I like hamburgers occasionally. Recently, I heard of a trick that sounded good. Someone suggested adding a little butter to give lean patties more “juice”. When I buy ground beef, I choose the 90% lean to avoid too much animal fat. I divide the beef into ¼-pound patties, freezing those we aren’t having that night. When I’m ready to prepare them, I spread about 1½ teaspoons of soft butter over each, then roll up the patty so the butter is hidden. After cooking, I put each in a slider roll. We like sauteed onions and ketchup on them. The butter adds enough fat to give the lean meat some juiciness. The third time I made them this way, I added garlic powder to the butter. The result was the best burgers yet. We also like tacos. Instead of using ground beef, we prefer Italian sausage. Because I usually buy it loose, not in links, I divide it for this dish into half sweet and half hot. I saute them together in my skillet with about ¼ cup of water. By cooking it slowly, I stir and mix to blend the two flavors. Once the meat has been cooked through, I remove it and drain the fat. Then, I return the meat to the hot skillet, add the taco sauce we like, and heat thoroughly. While the meat is cooking, I cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces, clean and tear lettuce, and have plenty of grated sharp cheese. We “assemble” and eat the tacos. Enjoy and stay safe! If you have suggestions or questions for this column, please contact me either through this newspaper at or directly at