Sunday, July 22, 2012

Meatless Maid Rite/Loose Meat Sandwich

I made these last week, just as I was getting sick, and forgot to post them. How I managed to bake hamburger buns to go with them is still a mystery (and kind of lost in a hazy fever-induced fog), but I'm told they were enjoyed, and the leftover buns didn't last long enough to be frozen. So, if I can do this with 103 F. it should be a breeze to put together when you're feeling well.

Ten days into whatever the hell this is, I'm still miserable. The high fever is gone, but a persistent low-grade temperature hangs around just enough to make me feel wiped-out. I slept all day yesterday. I hadn't bothered getting dressed. Today is a bit better, but I'm still pretty weak. I can honestly say this is worse than any flu I've ever had. Anyway, enough about me, how are you all surviving summer?

I'll post the bun recipe as well, but really, if your weather is anything like ours, do yourself a favour and buy them-the world won't come screeching to a halt if you serve store-bought bread.

For The Buns:

From Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Book, 1973
(Note-I did these by hand without a mixer, and it worked fine. I also used half strong flour)

In a large mixer bowl combine4 cups AP flour (or half plain and half strong if you prefer) and 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast. Combine 2 cups warm water, 3/4 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Add to mixture in bowl. Add 3 eggs. Beat at low speed 1/2 minute, then beat 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in 4 cups AP flour by hand. You may need more or less, until you have a soft dough.

Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl turning once. Cover, and let rise until doubled-about 1 hour. Punch down, divide dough in three portions. Let rest five minutes, covered. Divide each portion into 8 balls. Turn each ball in your hands to shape until smooth (it helps to pull and tuck it under as you go). Press ball flat between hands, then place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Bake at 375 degrees F. about ten minutes, or until done. If you like, before baking brush tops with a bit of water and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds (I did both, because I'm indecisive).

For the Maid Rites:

A bag of ground beef substitute (I used the Morningstar Farms crumbles that come frozen)
1 tablespoon Crisco (no, you can't use olive oil, this is a Maid Rite, for fuck's sake)
2 teaspoons salt (yes, plain old table salt, see above comment for reasoning)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon yellow mustard from a squeeze bottle (ibid)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Water to cover

Melt your fat in a heavy pan (I used cast iron). Sprinkle the salt directly onto the melted fat (look, don't overthink this, just do it). Break up the crumbles as they hat in the pan. When they begin to brown, add the onion, and then when they are nearly softened, add the mustard, vinegar, sugar and water. Simmer, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the water cooks out.

Put it together:

Mustard, ketchup, and pickles are traditional. A slice of cheese is also OK. The buns are best if you can give them a bit of steaming first, but a quick nuke in the microwave works as well. This is one of the few times you'll get the desired results microwaving bread.

Serve hot. Potato crisps are optional, but pretty authentic. So are root-beer floats.

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