Thursday, March 26, 2009

Patty Melts with Honey Balsamic Onions

My mother made a nice dinner every night-just about. If we had a friend that had come over to play, we could invite them for dinner without informing my mother. She would have expected it. After all, when you're feeding ten children, what's one or two more, give or take? But one night, my older sister had a boy over after school. A boy, like a boyfriend kind of boy. We younger kids trailed them around the yard (jumping on his back and asking for piggy back rides) until they told us to scram, and then we went into the house, huddled around the window, and watched them shoot basketball. It's pretty exciting to watch your older tomboy sister slaughter a potential suitor at the hoop. After the game, my sister invited her new friend to stay to dinner. I remember the night so distinctly. Normally, before dinner the table was a lively, boisterous place where we exchanged the goings-on of the day while Dad quizzed us on our gleanings from public education. But this night, it was different. We sat quietly, almost reverently, not having anything to say. Maybe it was because the boyfriend looked painfully shy, staring up from his plate, akwardly folding his arms to give one of the world's shortest and quietest prayers. (You better believe my dad asked HIM to offer the prayer. Clever man.) My mom went into the kitchen and brought in a tray of Patty Melts for dinner. They looked so delicious, meaty patties covered with caramelized onions and gobs of melted cheese. I remember counting them silently, wondering if there was enough for seconds-and what if the visitor wanted seconds too? Did a friend that was a boy have patty melt priority? Not in my ten year old mind (or thirty something year old mind either). And suddenly things were back to ear-piercing normal. Thankfully, once we started eating, we remembered all of the daily minutia that we had to fight, between mouthfuls, for a chance to share. Dinner was unforgettable. I can't make a Patty Melt without thinking of that night, the only time that a boy friend got a moment of quiet at our dinner table. PS The names of the innocent have been protected in this story. My sister would kill me if I mentioned her name, but if you want a hint, its the same sister that curses the existence of bananas.
Money Saving Tips:Have you got any rye bread left over from St. Patrick's Day? It'll be great here-even if it's a little stale. Catch your ground beef on sale to keep the cost of this sandwich down. Any bread can be substituted for rye with good results. Use yellow or white onions if you don't have a red one on hand.
Patty Melts
Estimated Cost: $6.50 for four
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
a few drops of tabasco
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or balsamic
1 tablespoon honey
8 slices rye bread, toasted and lightly buttered
shredded cheddar cheese, about 1 cup
Combine ground beef with garlic powder, worcestershire, tabasco and about 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Shape into patties. Heat non stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook patties for about 6 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over high heat. Add oil and warm through. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutees, or until just browned. Reduce heat and cook until softened, about three more minutes. Add vinegar and honey; cook just until syruppy. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat broiler. Arrange half of toasted bread on foil lined cookie sheet. Top each with a patty, some onions, and some shredded cheese. Broil just until cheese melts. Top with remaining toasted bread.
Up Next:
Coconut Curry Chicken


MK and Co. said...

Boy am I glad I looked at your blog before I went grocery shopping this morning! Those look so absolutely delicious and wonderful that I can't wait till dinner time now. Thanks Prudy for the great recipe that I know will be adored by two hamburger lovers tonight. And thanks for the story about our dear sister. I was too young to remember this event but even had I been older I probably would have only remebered the Patty Melts!

The Renouf Family said...

I LOVED that story! So typical of our madhouse and so funny. Ooooh those poor boyfriends. It's amazing any of them stuck around (maybe it was really for Mom's delicious food :)). Very funny and very well written, and the recipe looks delicious. We will try it soon.

gigi said...

I just love how some foods bring back such fun memories! I love your stories, with 9 siblings you should never run out of them! Keep them coming!

I love, love, love balsamic onions on anything! Patty Melts are just an added bonus. Thanks.

Carolyne said...

Hmmm. My mom hates it her? I don't think I ever heard that story. :)

Carolyne said...

By the by, your photos are fantastic! I really need to work on mine!

And, of course, your food looks scrumptious!

Prudy said...

Not your mom....but close. I would have said she hated eggs for your mom! Thanks for the photo compliments!

Cathy said...

LOVE this story. These patty melts look delicious -- those honey balsamic onions really sound like they top this off perfectly!

Marjie said...

Dinner is always a raucus affair here, also. The only kid ever to bring home a serious girlfriend had introduced her to all of his brothers in advance, so they were on their usual worst behaviour. I enjoyed your story, and your burgers look divine!

Rindy R said...

Oh my word - my heart just skipped a beat reading your blog today. I LOVE Patty melts. That is good ole diner food at its best! Your mother was a saint. Feeding 10 mouths makes me appreciate my 4!

The Morris Family said...

I love me a good patty melt! I can't wait to try this recipe!

Leslie said...

I knew it was me. While I was reading along I kept thinking it was about me.
Funny thing is, in my usual picky-particular sort of way, I remember being mortified that this was what we were having for dinner when my boyfriend was over and wondered why on earth we weren't having something normal like tacos.
I do remember him having to give the prayer and being mortified about that, too. Clearly, I was too young for a boyfriend if I was mortified and embarrassed by everything.
But, I still take pride in the fact that I was always able to beat every boyfriend I ever had in a game of basketball.(Not to mention, Dad, too.) It's really my only claim to fame, and you know I love it when I run into an old flame and they still remember I could do it.
Also, I prefer the term Tomgirl to Tomboy. I was always too picky-particular and clean to be a true tomboy type. I really blame it on my hair. Had my hair been long, I would have only been considered athletic. I hate to say it was Mom's fault, so we'll just blame it on that ice skater, Dorothy Hamill.
Laugh at this, too; today I just ordered a book called Rapunzel's Daughter's to do a little research on some themes in my book. Laurie was with me when I ordered it and thought I was making it up!
Well, thanks for the walk down memory lane today. Nothing like a little public attention and patty melts.
Publicly Yours,

Leslie said...

The book was Rapunzel's daughters.
I hate it when I catch an error.

Emaline said...

Looks like a party in every bite! I am a Patty Melt Addict! I am loving your recipe!

taffi said...

Those look delicious. But of course, the real question is, were there enough for everyone to have their own patty? ;-)

The Blonde Duck said...

It looks delicious! Who doesn't love patty melts?

Anonymous said...

Patty melts are one of those meals aren't they? Funnily enough... I have lots of memories of patty melts too, just uh... college memories best not shared on your wholesome site.


Catherine said...

I loved your story. And I have a question, is the young man who was so mercilessly beat at basketball, now a part of the family? Or was that a short lived affair? =) These patty melts look delicious even to my vegetarian sensibilities. I think I could love this sandwich on rye bread even without the meat, it looks so delicious! Thanks for the story and the recipe!

Catherine said...

I know Mother's Day is a still a couple months away, but I have to tell you, we made your homemade pie sticks for breakfast this morning, and we absolutely loved them! I had never made them before but always loved them when you made them. I think youre recipe is even better than the original. Anyway I wanted to tell you that they were a huge hit. I loved them, Paul loved them and the kids loved them. I did feel a little like Frog and Toad, though. I had some difficutly stopping myself, but instead of offering them to the birds, I let the kids polish them off! =)

Nicole (Nico said...

Fun story, and a slobber-worthy recipe I will have to try.

Aggie said...

Oh what a great story Erin! Love it!! And boy do I really love those patty melts!!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I love reading the stories you post and it has been so long since I've made patty melts, I mean years! These look so rich and savory and I love the balsamic onions! Great way to take a retro meal up several notches!

Michal said...

great story! and that sandwich looks so very tempting. i have been craving hamburgers a lot in this pregnancy, and this is a nice twist.

i can just picture that poor, shy, boy at your family's dinner table. lol.

Venessa said...

I made these last night and the family loved them. I love your blog.

Grammy said...

Ok - so I made these last night and my husband loved loved loved them. I asked his if this was a do again recipe and he said "yes, how about tomorrow night". This is a definate winner. I think it is the yummy saucy syrupy onions that makes is so good.

Kim (Michal & Alli's aunt)

Anonymous said...

When I arrived at my daughters house this afternoon, she said, " mom,stay for dinner, I am making those Patty Melts you sent the recipe for yesterday!

We just got up from the table and already they are a family favorite! Everything we have made from your site is delish! What a lucky family you have, and how lucky for our family that you blog! thanks!

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Johnston said...

Those look delicious. But of course, the real question is, were there enough for everyone to have their own patty? ;-)