Beware the Ides of March: birthdays, burgers, and cake- oh my!

Today is John's birthday.  We generally celebrate this momentous occasion by going out to dinner at the restaurant of the birthday boy or girl's choosing.  This year, however, John has been feeling a bit ambivalent about how to celebrate the day he squished into the world, and decided to keep things pretty low key.  We would be spending the evening at home with a bottle of wine, and the latest episode of No Reservations.  I shouldn't go into any more detail, because things could get pretty out of control here.  You know the usual birthday debauchery- strippers, belly shots, and oh, I don't know, staying up until 11 o'clock.  Party A-N-I-M-A-L-S!  

The belly shots this evening would be accompanied by a bacon studded hamburger with mango chipotle chutney, avocado, and Point Reyes blue cheese, topped off with a buttery brioche bun.  This burger is all business.  The smokiness of the bacon and chipoltle paired with the sweetness of the mango, and the creamy earthiness of the blue cheese are a manage a trois made in heaven.  I dare you to not lick your fingers, or your plate, after you're finished your last bite.  

And can I just say that there is nothing better than the smell of porky, beefy, burgers smoking up the apartment.  If you could bottle this stuff I'd wear it as perfume.  

But let's not forget the dessert, it is a birthday party after all!  Since John's birthday is so close to St. Paddy's day I decided to make a chocolate Guinness cake, and do as the Irish do, get drizzunk.  Well not literally drunk, but you could get drunk off the smell of this cake, I swear.  I had stumbled upon this recipe months ago while doing my daily lunchtime blog reading.  This recipe comes from Design Sponge via an in the kitchen with: spotlight featuring Katie Quinn Davies of the fantastic food photography blog, What Katie Ate.  The cake is chocolatey and rich, but so unbelievably light and moist, and is topped off with a fluffy cream cheese frosting. I adapted the frosting a bit to get an extra dose of the stout flavor by adding a couple shots of Guinness.  The frosted cake looked like a frothy pint of beer and was just as smooth going down.

DSCF0523

 Happy birthday Johnnie, I hope you had a great one.  <3

Bacon Studded Mango Chipotle Chuntney Burger

Bacon studded Hamburgers with Mango Chipotle Chutney and Point Reyes Blue Cheese

Ingredients:

3/4 lb ground beef

3 strips of applewood smoked bacon

1 heavy pinch of salt

black pepper

1 teaspoon Sriracha

2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 mango, diced

1/4 of a small red onion, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles

1 tablespoon sherry

juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

Point Reyes blue cheese

Avocado

brioche bun

Bacon studded Burgers

Cut the bacon into a small dice.  Mix bacon, beef, salt, pepper, Sriracha, and Worcestershire sauce together in a medium sized bowl until combined.  Separate meat mixture into two equal sized portions and form into patties.  Pre-heat a heavy cast-iron skillet on high heat until almost smoking.  Add burger patties and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  Finish cooking in a 350 degree oven until medium rare.

Mango Chipotle Chutney

Heat olive oil in small saucepan on medium heat.  Add onion to saucepan and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Next, add mango, adobo, and a tiny pinch of salt to the cooked onions.  Stir everything together to combine and cook for 2 minutes, continuously stirring so that the mango doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Then, add the cooking sherry and lime juice.  Continue cooking for 2 more minutes, then add the chopped cilantro.  Remove from heat until burgers are ready.

Toast brioche buns in the cast-iron skillet with a teaspoon of the meat drippings.  Add burger to bun and top with blue cheese, chutney and avocado. 

Egg Shells

Chocolate Guinness Cake (adapted from Katie Quinn Davies' recipe featured on Design Sponge)

Cake

1 cup and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 cup Guinness

3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Add butter, cocoa, and Guinness to saucepan.  Warm over medium heat and stir until butter has melted.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Next add flour, baking soda, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine completely.  Pour in the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients, and add eggs, vanilla and sour cream.  Beat until everything is combined.

Pour batter into a greased angel food cake pan and bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.  Let cake cool for 20 minutes before removing from cake pan.  

Frosting

1 1/3 cups cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2/3 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons Guinness

Add cream cheese, cream, and powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl.  Beat until cream cheese has no lumps and is smooth.  Add Guinness and mix until combined.  Beat for about 5 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy.  Once the cake has cooled completely, frost the top of the cake only to make it look like a frothy pint of Guinness.

DSCF0529